You may have noticed in the last major shopping push for the holidays that there are several different types of discs available to listen to your favorite music or watch the latest film. We now have Compact Discs (CDs), Digital Video Discs (DVDs), and Blu-ray discs that all seem to be doing the same thing. In reality, all of these formats for media storage work along the same principles but use different standards of technology to record and play back media. What are the major differences between these discs and how should you decide which is the best for your media storage needs?
CDs are the oldest type of disc on this list and arguably the most widespread. The CD debuted in the US and Europe in 1983 as a step up from cassette tapes, primarily intended for music play back. These CDs could hold up to about 700MB of data and could guarantee a much more clean sounding reproduction because of the laser technology used to read the CDs. CDs were built as light weight circular discs that could be read by a red laser in the CD player whose beam would fit into the tiny grooves that were built into the disc. These discs are covered in a protective coating to prevent scratches and errors in playback. The longevity of a CD is theoretically infinite with perfect handling and storage, but is estimated to be over one hundred years with normal usage. Deterioration due to extreme temperatures or humidity levels can quickly lower functional expectancy.
DVDs were the next technological step up from CDs. DVDs take advantage of the same technology as CDs having information physically imprinted onto discs, but are able to put as much as 4.7GB of data and support higher playback speeds– a DVD can use 96,000 samples per second and 24 bits per sample while a CD can only use 44,100 samples per second at 16 bits. DVDs are also able to record and play back in surround sound. DVDs have not completely replaced CDs as the primary source of music distribution because many DVD players do not support audio only DVDs and CD players almost never support DVD formatted discs. Further, although the difference in the numbers of samples per second is significant, the actual change in sound quality is practically unnoticeable by the layman. DVDs tend to have a lower estimated shelf life than CDs because they have more data crammed sensitively into a small space.
Blu-ray discs are identical looking to CDs and DVDs but take advantage of blue laser technology in blu-ray players instead of the technologically-outdated red laser. The blue laser in blu-ray players produces much smaller rays than that of the red, allowing for the grooves in the disc to be more numerous and tightly packed together. This in turn allows for up to 25GB of data to be stored on a disc and for playback to occur at even faster rates than with DVDs, producing High-Definition (HD) results. As a relatively new technology, the lifespan of these discs is yet to be verified, but is estimated to be more or less equivalent to that of a DVD.
If you are looking to reproduce media on a disc and are not sure which will best suit your needs, contacting a professional media duplication and replication specialist like MaxDuplication can walk you through the process and help you order the best form of storage discs for your individual needs.