What is the difference between Duplication and Replication?
Duplication is the process of recording information onto 'burnable' discs, like DVD-R and DVD+R (DVD discs) and BD-R (Blu-ray discs). These are beneficial for quick turnaround jobs or for runs with relatively few copies needed. When you "burn" a disc either on your computer or with a duplication machine, the laser in the disc drive heats up a colored dye on the disc surface and records the information by "burning" variations in this dye. This mimics the mass production process of Replication, albeit with a slightly higher margin of error. Replication requires clean rooms, technicians in white suits, and massively expensive equipment. There are only a handful of companies in the world that can actually make these, and we have great, long-term relationships with them. The benefits of replication are in the compatibility of the discs and their low cost on a large scale.
Do duplicated discs have any problems?
Duplicated CDs work fine overall. Duplicated DVD-R's don't always play back as well as Replicated discs in DVD players. Duplicated discs will generally play well in many DVD players, but they do not always play in all players. Even today, not all DVD players have the same technology inside the box. As is generally true with electronics, you get what you pay for. So while you may have a 'good disc' it may not play back smoothly, or at all, because of a finicky DVD player. Another problem that can hinder a DVD-R's playback is the use of cheap discs or poor recording/authoring techniques. We have done extensive testing and follow the DVD specifications to make the most compatible DVD-R's around. So if you are quoted a far lower price elsewhere, cheaper and lower-quality brand DVD-R's may be the primary reason for the lower quote. To compare apples to apples, check to see what brand of media is being used - we prefer Taiyo Yuden discs, a Japanese brand of exceptional and consistent quality.
Can I play this DVD anywhere in the world?
There are 2 things to consider when attempting to play a DVD around the world. The first consideration is the video format on the disc, called NTSC or PAL. Here's the technical explanation: The US, Japan and other parts of the world that use 60 cycle power generally use NTSC, whereas places like Europe or other 50 cycle power countries use PAL. In simple terms, an NTSC disc will not play on a PAL TV, and vice-versa. However, many PAL countries have 'multi-format' TVs that can play back both PAL and NTSC. So, your NTSC disc stands a good chance of playing on a TV over in Europe. Computers more or less ignore the PAL or NTSC format and just play the disc. The other consideration for worldwide compatibility is the Region Code. Some DVDs have a digital signature on them that only allows them to be played in certain areas of the world. If you have a Region 1 disc (playable in the USA), it will not necessarily play in a Region 3 area, like Thailand. Sometimes, you will hear of 'region free' discs or "All Region" discs that will play in every region. Generally, we recommend authoring your disc so that it is playable everywhere by including all regions. One other interesting note on regions is that recordable discs, like DVD-Rs, do not have the capability to have these regions turned off. Only replicated discs can have sections of the world region coded to "off." Blu-ray discs have 3 different regions that may be coded for different parts of the world.
Can I put High-Definition footage on a DVD?
Video DVDs can only hold Standard Definition (SD) video; for the tech people out there that's 720x480. If you have High Definition (HD) video we can either create a Blu-ray disc or other type of HD delivery format, or we can down-convert your HD footage to SD by "letter-boxing" or "center cut" (see below).
What is letter-boxing?
High Definition video is 16:9 or widescreen (e.g., like a movie theater screen), which means it is much wider than older 4:3 style TVs. To view all of your original widescreen footage (width and height) on a older TV, we can design a DVD to show the entire image with black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. When shown on a High Definition TV, your footage will fill the screen with no black bars. We can do this either by converting the footage to be displayed anamorphically or by forcing letterbox. Anamorphically displaying video is a sophisticated technique that uses the entire screen to display video. To achieve the highest possible resolution, the video is encoded in a way that initially looks stretched. However, this stretched encoding is later decoded by the DVD player and will appear un-stretched and sharp on a TV. Forced letterboxing builds black bars into the actual footage, as seen in letterboxed footage on YouTube. If your original footage is 16:9 widescreen and the final product is a DVD, then we recommend Anamorphic.
What is Anamorphic - it sounds complicated?
Anamorphic footage is a little tougher to explain. Anamorphic video is a display method for viewing 16:9 footage on a 4:3 medium, like a DVD or miniDV tape. To show Standard Definition (SD) 16:9 material in the highest quality manner, the widescreen 16:9 footage is squeezed horizontally into a 4:3 space. On playback the DVD player or deck stretches it back out to display 16:9. This will create a letterboxed look on a 4:3 TV (i.e, black bars on the top and bottom of the screen), but fill the screen of a High Definition TV. The reason anamorphic is preferable to 'forcing letterbox' is that all the vertical lines of resolution in SD are used - resulting in the highest resolution 16:9 image. While it sounds a little odd, we highly recommend this practice.
What kind of footage can I put on a Blu-ray Disc?
While Blu-ray Discs can hold SD or HD, they are generally used for High Definition video. DVDs hold Standard Definition video only. Video DVDs cannot play HD video, so an anamorphic DVD is recommended if you want to put HD content on a DVD.
Can I copy protect my DVDs?
There are 2 types of optional copy protection available for DVDs. One is called CSS and makes it harder to make a digital copy of the disc, such as copying the disc to a hard drive. The other type of protection is called Macrovision which makes it tougher to make an analog copy of the disc, which could be done by hooking up a VHS player to record the footage. Both types of protection are only available on replicated discs, DVD-R's have no way to actually be copy protected. Call us for more info.
Can I copy protect my Blu-ray Disc?
Blu-ray Discs must have copy protection when replicated. This is called AACS, or Advanced Access Content System. There are licensing fees; A yearly license fee for AACS costs $500, plus a per title fee of $500, plus a per disc fee. These costs used to be much higher, thankfully these fees were reduced in June 2009. Replication costs are then applied on top of the licensing costs to get the final per-disc price. All of this is part of the Blu-ray standard, so no one can get around the licensing when replicating. You cannot copy protect a BD-R.
What are the turn around times on replication?
Generally, we say it takes 2-3 weeks once we have all the elements approved to get the discs pressed. We can also do rush jobs in a matter of days with some extra fees. Get in touch with us to talk about time frames in more detail.
What are the turn around times on duplication?
DVD-R's can be produced quite quickly. Generally, we like a couple of days to get jobs done, but let us know if you are in a rush and we will get it done!
What does DVD stand for?
This has been debated in the past, but it seems to have come to mean Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc.
What does Blu-ray mean?
Blu-ray describes the laser used to read the disc which is... blue, big surprise! Older CDs and DVDs use a red laser.
How much can a DVD hold?
We can answer this in a couple of ways. First, in more understandable terms, a single-layer DVD (DVD-5) can hold about 2 hours of video; and a dual-layer DVD (DVD-9) can hold about 3.5 hours. You can fit more or less video on either DVD-5 or DVD-9 discs based on your compression method: greater compression = more video per disc , but with lower quality; less compression = less video per disc, but with higher quality. On a data level, a DVD-5 holds 4.7 GB (4.37 GB in real usage) and a DVD-9 holds 8.5 GB (7.95 GB in real usage). You may also use a DVD-R as a video disc and a data disc at the same time - the same disc will play in your computer or on your DVD player.
How much can a Blu-ray Disc hold?
A BD-25 holds 25 GB (23.28 GB in real usage) and a BD-50 holds, you guessed it, 50 GB (46.56 GB in real usage). Because there are several different ways to encode video on a Blu-ray Disc, length of video varies greatly, but start with the idea that a BD-25 holds about 2-4 hours of HD video.
Can my Blu-ray disc play on a DVD player, and can my DVD disc play on a Blu-ray player? Cross compatibility between DVD and Blu-ray is not written into the specifications of either format, so compatibility is not possible between formats. Some Blu-ray player manufacturers have added DVD playback capabilities to their players, so you may find a player that has both the blue and red lasers to play back either disc. Check the player's specs before you buy one! Even within Blu-ray, being such a new format, certain players may have problems with certain Blu-ray Discs. Also, new firmware updates are regularly released by the manufacturers, which changes the playback capability of BD recordable discs as well. Whew, it's a jungle out there!
What about HD-DVD? What is happening there?
HD-DVD was the competing format to Blu-ray, similar to the VHS/Betamax battles of the early 80's. Blu-ray has won the format war. We can still make HD-DVDs for you, but since it is a dead format, the section of the population who can play back an HD-DVD disc is small.