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Recycling: the security-driven market

October 15th, 2018

The amount of the disc returns and wastage is growing every year

The amount of the disc returns and wastage is growing every year

With billions of CDs and DVDs being released every year, the demand for dealing with returns and confiscated pirated discs is still bigger than supply. This branch of industry has a promising future since it seems like there is a market for everything: recycled shrinkwrap, paper, cardboard, the plastic case and the disc itself. And the most valuable and desired in the whole process is its security. Recycled material is later used in the automotive industry and in household utilities.

Every single stage of the disc recycling is an extra secure procedure – mainly because of the intellectual copyrights of the returned material and data sensitivity, but also to ensure that the discs coming from raided pirated facilities will be removed from the market forever. The returns from replicators and distributors are delivered on pallets and wrapped in a black plastic film to make any attempt of tampering easy to detect. All employees are vetted before being allowed to work at the facility premises. Destruction takes place in a separate containers and is closely monitored by CCTV cameras. Discs are dismantled automatically, there is almost no manual job involved in the recycling process. Recycling plants have dedicated granulators for each kind of polymer processed, so basically there is no ‘waste’. The higher percentage of plastic contained in the final product, the more valuable the mix. The amount of plastic should exceed 96%.

Not only CDs and DVDs are subject to recycling. Specialised plants can deal also with tape, VHS and even vinyl, which is enyoing the renewal of its popularity, to extract the plastic.

Although recycling is already a green business there are attempts to make it even more green and efficient and thus more profitable. In order to optimise the chain destruction, companies are moving away from storing loads of packaged material to be manufactured and set up destruction facilities on site. They provide the necessary equipment, the qualified staff and bags for the destroyed discs. Replicators’ job consists only in feeding discs into the machine. Everything else is fully automated and secure, because nothing ever even leaves the site. It allows to get rid of the transportation issues and as a result – cuts down the carbon dioxide emission.

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Archiving and storage – still a promising market for CDs and BDs

October 8th, 2018
traditional archive and modern cd archive

Traditional archive and modern cd archive

Optical disc media is maintaining its strong position in the archive and storage industry. It seems like it has almost battled paper, microfiche and tape and is ready to face new challenges from hard drives, flash media and cloud – based systems. The global recordable and re-recordable optical disc production reached 18,6 billion disc in 2009 which holds nearly 50 % of global (re-)recordable optical disc production.

The secret of its ongoing success lies in three factors. It has the lowest cost- per-gigabyte compared to solid state and hard disc drives. It’s fully portable and easy to use. In addition, there are a plethora of compatible CD writers and burners available.

The future for optical disc media looks bright, especially that BD and DVD format are joining the game while new markets like video archiving, surveillance, law enforcement and medical services are emerging. The multilayer capability of BD – R provides large data capacity, up to 100 gigabytes on a single disc. It’s perfect for passing archiving, where there is no need for regular updates. The main drawback is its increased instability caused by its multi-layer capability. But there are solutions developed to guarantee the durability and reliability of the discs used by the archive industry. One of them is using 24-carat gold reflective layer, which prevents corrosion and oxidation.

No matter how sophisticated the solutions are, it is still recommended to test the archiving media at least once in two years to assure the data is still readable.

Another opportunity is a newly launched low-reflective M-Disc which uses DVD+R specifications. It allows for permanent storage and the DVD+RW reflectivity makes its production more economical, because less power is required to get enough power absorbed for recording the data.

In order to burn M-disc you need a special M- Writer which can be configured to act like a standard DVD-recordable drive.

However, if you want to be sure that your archives will survive as long as you want, the best option is still to use combined solutions as no media is perfect.

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Replicate or Duplicate?

October 1st, 2018

There are two distinct technologies available for producing Optical Discs, whether CD, DVD or Blu-ray, and the choice of which to use for any given project is not always immediately obvious.

In order to help with that decision, it is important to understand the differences and the effects that those differences can have:

The first thing to remember is that whatever process is used, the data at the beginning and end are exactly the same, though there will be slight differences in the appearance and performance of the finished product.

Duplication is the name given to the process whereby the data are written to individual blank recordable discs using banks of high-speed writers.  Artwork is then typically thermal printed or paper labeled.

Replication is a much more involved process in which a glass master is first created from the original data. This master is used to make metal stamping discs which are used in presses to press the data wholesale onto polycarbonate blanks.  A reflective aluminium layer is then applied, and the discs are then lacquered, sealed and artwork typically silk-screened or offset printed.

All retail discs are replicated.

Replicated discs have no compatibility issues – they will play in all players and drives, whereas duplicated discs will sometimes not play on older stand-alone players or set-top boxes.  Recordable media are also more vulnerable to damage by prolonged exposure to sunlight.

The big advantage of Duplication is very quick turnaround time, and digital printing with no prepress charges, BUT the unit cost is higher than for replication, and duplicates can only have one layer of information, meaning their data capacity is up to 4 times less.

With Replication, the unit costs are lower (after mastering and other setup costs are taken into account), and multilayering is possible so the data capacity is much greater.

Because of the need for mastering etc., however, the turnaround time is longer, and the setup costs make it uneconomical for runs less than 500.

So, the ultimate decision is yours: is a lower price or time more important to you?

In general, though, up to 500, discs will be duplicated; over 10,000, discs will be replicated.  In between, the decision is yours!

Please do not hesitate to call Replicationcentre where our knowledgeable staff will be pleased to advise based on your individual requirements.

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Green trends in Disc Replication, Printing and Packaging.

September 24th, 2018

Most often when discussing CD and DVD replication, the conversation revolves around the production aspect. We don’t often think about the destruction or, in other words, what to do with the waste. As in many other industries, the CD/DVD replication business is trending toward sustainable packaging and other eco-friendly means of production, so that when discs reach the end of their life, they’re making the smallest possible impact on the environment.

Packaging

In addition to regulations trending toward more pollution controls for trashed CDs and DVDs, individual companies are taking the initiative toward sustainable packaging and printing. Recycled papers and cardboards are being used in the production of CD sleeves, and jackets can be made from 100 percent recycled fiber. These materials are not only eco-friendly, they are comparable to traditional products in terms of durability and longevity and aren’t limiting in terms of printing options. Plus, this new style of eco-conscious packaging is typically lighter and, therefore, cheaper to ship.

Printing

When it comes to printing, it’s difficult to avoid some of the harsh, petroleum-based chemicals used in the production process, but now the printing process is trending toward more natural inks. Soy and vegetable extracts can be used as an ink base, and several ink producers have introduced products into the market that are compatible with existing printers. And with these “green” inks you won’t lose anything in quality; your print jobs will be flawless just like they’ve always been.

Our Commitment

Here at Replication Centre, we strive to be at the leading edge of currently available technology, and are always on hand to advise on every aspect of the replication process, so don’t hesitate to give us a call to discuss your individual requirements.

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Replication – the basics

September 17th, 2018
Replication is best if you want minimum 500 units of a disc

Replication is best if you want minimum 500 units of a disc

Effective data storage is now impossible to deal with without CDs and DVDs. These mediums had revolutionised the way information is processed and accessed. The highest demand for quality replication services comes from well – developed countries and is strictly linked with their fast – growing economy. One of the biggest source of upsurge in the demand for replication services is also entertainment industry, fuelled by avid gamers, film and music fans, so obviously a huge target.

Replication consists in copying the information written on your original master onto a “glass master.” The glass master is later used to make a stamper mold which serves as a copying medium. It allows to stamp the data from the original onto injection-molded DVD-ROM or CD-ROM discs as they dry. The copies are then lacquered, metallised, tested and packaged. The final packaging is suited to buyer’s requirements. Packaging guarantees sustainability of a discs by protecting it from external factors like heat, dust and direct sunlight.

CD and DVD replication is a process of mass reproduction, which means you should consider it if you plan to make between 500 to 2000 copies of a data disc, music disc and video disc. This amount proves to be the most cost effective. The whole process is fully automated and takes between 7 to 10 days maximum. It is longer than standard duplication, which takes 2 – 3 business days, but the unit cost of replicated disc is lower. Replication is best to deal with CD – and DVD -ROMs and Blu-Ray discs. Replicated DVDs can contain 1 layer (DVD-5) of information, 2 layers on one side (DVD-9), 1 layer on each side (DVD-10) or 2 layers on each side (DVD-18). When comes to compatibility, a replicated disc will work on all DVD players and computer drives.

Previously companies specialized in CD DVD replication were mostly interested in bulk orders. Before choosing which method (duplication or replication) is best for you should define your needs and balance costs.

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UltraViolet streaming cloud-based Blu-ray and DVD video

September 10th, 2018

On December 26, Final Destination 5 is the first Ultraviolet enabled title to be made available to consumers in the UK.But what is UltraViolet exactly?

You’d be forgiven for having never heard of it — but once you know what it is; you’re bound to either love or hate it.

Basically, UltraViolet is a cloud-based library of your digital possessions. When you buy your first UltraViolet Blu-ray disc and slot it into your Blu-ray player, it will connect to the internet and ask you to make an account. This Blu-ray disc will then be forever connected to your UltraViolet account.

UltraViolet


There is a variety of useful benefits associated with using such a system. For example, you need never worry about losing the original disc, just log into UltraViolet and you can download a copy or stream it directly from the web.  Also multiple devices can be used on the UV account. For example, once you register a Blu-ray disc at home, you can then stream it on your computer at work or on your smartphone.

UltraViolet is the first ever completely legal way to download TV shows and movies, which you can start watching after a license is purchased on the UV online store. You’ll even be able to download your online purchases and burn them onto DVD or Blu-ray. Though for many people UltraViolet may be a way of finally being able to get rid of their discs and bulky plastic cases.

There is a downside to this amazing new technology system. For starters,to play UV Blu-ray and DVD discs, you need to access your digital library to download your license key, therefore if you’re not connected to the internet, the TV show or movie simply won’t start.

Also to consider, is the fact that your entire library of movies and TV shows will be stored in the cloud, and on the UltraViolet website there isn’t a single mention that your library will be private. And with almost every major studio, broadcaster, ISP, and tech company on board, there will inevitably be a lot of interest in the contents of your digital library.

Because UltraViolet media cannot be played without internet access, information about what you a watch and when you watch it, could, in theory, be accessed and used for targeted advertising both on your TV and the web.

UltraViolet; new revelation in how we access our entertainment or a new channel for Big Brother surveillance?

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It is all about verifying…

September 3rd, 2018
Testing is run just after the replication process is finished

Testing is run just after the replication process is finished

The need for test and verification services is growing rapidly, because the content market is changing. It includes now not only physical product testing in the games and movie industries, website and software testing, but also 3D content and digital downloads designed for mobile devices. And a novelty like the arrival of 3D content affects all other aspects of the market and distribution channels. And changing content introduces unique errors that have to be corrected. So it is always the content that influences testing methods, not the other way around. The only thing that does not change is the need for convergence and compatibility to ensure client’s satisfaction.

Testing is needed to ensure that the end-user experience is of the highest quality. Skimping on testing isn’t in anyone’s intrest. Both format and quality are subject to reliable methods of testing. As some stages of production became more stable, it is sometimes tempting to cut the procedures for quality assurance, but that would first require a full risk assessment and careful cost-benefit analysis.

Blu- rays and BD –Live , with their ability to be overwritten, updated and edited with various applications leave entire room for compulsory testing. It seems that 3D testing will develop less rapidly as entertainment consumers need some time to digest each novelty step by step. This means HD displays and Blu –ray players will be the first stage. It will require some physiological nuances as well as extra knowledge about whether the content was shot in 3D from the beginning or converted from 2D to 3D.

It needs to be remembered that all portal –dependent content requires different testing in terms of compatibility. It matters especially when content is to be played on mobiles and other portable devices.

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Flash Drives in Comparison to Disc Media

August 27th, 2018

Computer writable compact discs have been around in the consumer sector since 1995 (when writers finally dropped below $1000) and digital video discs have been on the commercial market since 1996. Flash media, on the other hands, has been accessible since the mid 1980’s. Yet despite this fact, many people have seen discs as a storage medium in a more positive light than flash media.

One major difference between the two is that commercial media has been traditionally delivered on discs since the 1980’s when the CD audio format stormed the music world. With the advent of DVDs to drive out video cassettes in the mid 1990’s, the idea of discs as media storage was firmly entrenched in consumers’ minds.

Connecting USB flash memory stick

Flash media on the other hand has been very popularly powering small equipment for a long time. Originally consumers used PCMCIA cards to add storage to laptops in the 1980’s. Digital cameras have used varying flash media formats since they arrived on the market. Mobile phones are expanded by use of flash cards.

The perception is that media long term storage is best accomplished with discs, while recording that media is often done using flash. In recent years, flash media has become a component of high end computer storage as SSDs have been brought to market.

Now, the question is, when should you be using disc media, and when is flash the better bet? The answer is that it’s highly dependent on what you want to do.

  • If you want to store audio files in a standard CD format, you have a single choice: the writable CD disc. This is not a good bargain in terms of actual storage space, however.
  • If you are looking for easy access to your media at all times, you might choose to go flash with an SSD, but this will be quite expensive. (A traditional hard drive is a great alternative here, and if you buy a sufficiently large one it’s extremely inexpensive on a per GB basis.)
  • For larger file storage if you don’t mind swapping discs, DVDs are extremely affordable per GB. (Only large traditional hard drives will generally outperform them on price. Flash media has no chance.)
  • If you’re looking to move from place to place with highly portable, robust media, flash memory is your clear choice. From USB thumb drives to memory cards of varying sizes, many devices can read this type of memory. It’s not susceptible to wear and tear as much as discs are.

While it is clear that flash memory is more expensive than DVDs, prices continue to fall for flash, while discs have remained relatively unchanged in terms of price for a significant period of time. In the future it’s probably that we will be trading in our discs for something “flashier” but for now, DVD discs in particular offer excellent long term storage.

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ISRC Codes

August 20th, 2018

OK, you buy a new album and insert the CD to your computer. itunes opens the disc and automatically knows the album title, artist name and track names. How is this done?

Codes

Well the explanation is a ‘International Standard Recording Code’ or ISRC code. The IRSC is a unique identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings.  Each ISRC code identifies a specific unique recording or track which can be permanently encoded into a product as a kind of digital fingerprint.

Applications such as itunes read the ISRC codes and reference them against online databases. This then enables all registered information related to the album or songs to be displayed.

If you are an unsigned or independent artist that is selling music online, then you will already be using an ISRC code, even if you are unaware of it.

The main reason for ISRC is not just so itunes will display your song information. As well as accurate airplay data identification, ISRC is used by online music download stores for sale tracking. Every time a song is played on radio or TV the ISRC code can be automatically read and logged to a computer system to help with accurate airplay royalties be paid back to the artist. So whether your music is being played in Cardiff, Tokyo, or New York, it will be instantly recognised, all thanks to an ISRC code.

You can get ISRC codes when you register your tracks with an ISRC agency. In the UK this is usually carried out by PPL (phonographic performance limited) www.ppluk.com. A set of ISRC codes are issued and details added to an on-line database. The ISRC codes can then be added to your master at the PMCD pre mastering stage. During CD Replication manufacture these codes are copied to all your replicated CDs.

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What’s Wrong With Digital Rights Management?

August 12th, 2018

You may have heard a lot of talk about DRM, or you may be completely new to the concept, but in either case it’s wise for us to set up a basic explanation of what Digital Rights Management is before we talk about what’s wrong with it. DRM is a form of access control, or gate-keeping technology. What DRM does is secure digital products against unauthorized use.

So from the standpoint of someone looking at releasing their work into the world, it seems to make sense to have DRM be a part of your picture, but the truth of the matter is that it is not so cut and dried as all that. In fact, DRM has major flaws.

There are a number of reasons for this, but one of the most important ones is the fact that DRM puts restrictions on the people who have paid for a product. The people who have become your customers are often the ones hurt most by DRM. Hardly a just reward for paying you, is it?drm1

A recent example of DRM that has caused an uproar due to how poor it makes the customer experience is the multimillion copy selling video game Diablo III. The way the protection on the product works that it forces each player to be logged into a game server at all times during play. This means that despite the fact that it is playable by between one and four people, the actual game play is dependent on the presence and speed of an internet connection, even if only one player is involved in the game.

Buyers of the product is that they are not only required to have an internet connection present, they need to ensure that it is of sufficient quality to reach the servers of the game reliably. In many cases, this is functionally impossible (in the cases of audiences in regions with poor connectivity, like much of middle America) or extremely cost-prohibitive.

Still, you may be thinking this is a reasonable stance, as it ensures that only people who have paid for this game can use it. Sure, it inconveniences people, but it protects the intellectual property of the company selling the product, right? You would be incorrect in that assumption. Within a week of the game reaching the market it was “hacked” to work offline. It is now possible to download the entire game and play it without paying for it. Thus pirate access has not been prevented by this application of DRM. And as we have established, legitimate consumers are being inconvenienced on a daily basis.

You need to understand that all DRM can be broken. DRM applied to audio, ebooks, PDFs, games, video, and more is not going to keep anyone who is determined from breaking the protections you have put into place. This can be as simple as retyping a book (people can pay a tiny amount to workers in third world nations to do this) into a DRM-free format, or as complex as breaking into executable code and building fake servers to fool a video game into working when it shouldn’t. It can and will be broken, so there is no actual protection offered outside of guarding against the kind of people who are very unlikely to be interested in illegally accessing your product.

In the end, the best protection you can offer your work is to make sure it is a good quality effort which has been priced reasonably. These factors will combine to make it more desirable for people to pay you for the product, and will serve to help sway individuals who have acquired your product through piracy to purchase legitimate copies in the end. One major barrier to acquisition of products is their perceived value. The better you position your product in terms of value, the better protection it is! Best of all: doing so is completely free. You don’t have to pay for a DRM solution, you simply have to make good choices regarding the content of your product, and its price point.

The underlying reason here is that people want good value in their products. They tend to “steal” things that they have no intention of buying, so the concept of an illegally accessed copy of your work equating to lost revenue is feeble at best. Most people do not have more money than they spend, and if they have already determined that your product is not worth buying, they won’t buy it, even if they can’t obtain a bootleg copy.

But that means that there’s good news when people do get to download your product for free. Since they are now in possession of your product, you have the chance to let your work shine through and convince them that they should in fact spend money on it, or on other products from your company. Many illegal downloads are converted into sales, when given the choice, the person who illegally downloaded the product in the first place would never have even tried the product had it not been available for free.

So instead of investing in costly, ineffective access control, skip the DRM and hope that people do spread the word about your products. Because nothing sells more than word of mouth, and the more mouths that are exposed to what you have to offer, the more sales you can make.

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Address: Replication Centre, Gleniffer House, 2 Hall Road, Rochford, Essex, SS4 1NN.    Tel: 01702 530 357    Email: info@replicationcentre.co.uk