What Type of CD or DVD Discs Should I Buy?
There is many different types of CD and DVD discs making it very confusing for a buyer who might not understand all the various options available. I will try to educate you on what you should look for when you buy blank CDs or DVDs.
The first thing you should consider is to make sure you buy high quality media. In general, name brand discs (such as JVC/Tayio-Yuden, Verbatim, or Memorex) will be manufactured to higher quality standards than a cheaper store brand. I actually purchased a case of 100 discs once that were so poor quality that the plastic layer on the disc was already separating from the recording layer right out of the box! Since CD and DVD discs store data digitally, using a lower-quality disc doesn’t mean that your data will look any different. Instead, the disc just won’t last as long and some devices have problems when playing lower-quality media. Save yourself the trouble and spend the extra money for good discs.
For both CDs and DVDs, you will have the choice of purchasing re-writable discs (usually marked as RW). For most people, this isn’t necessary. RW media was more popular several years ago when discs were much more expensive, but they have little use today. There is also a special re-writable DVD format called DVD-RAM which is supported by very few devices and should not be used unless you have specific hardware that requires it.
Next you’ll have a choice between two competing DVD formats: DVD-R and DVD+R. Most devices made since about 2005 or so support both formats equally so don’t sweat this one unless you have a lot of older electronics. In general, DVD-R is considered to be the most compatible if you have the option to purchase either one.
One more thing you might find is that blank CDs are often labeled as either Music CDs or Data CDs. The discs themselves are identical except for a hidden “flag” that some electronic devices can see. If you are just burning music from a computer, save yourself a few extra pennies and buy regular data discs as they will work just as well. Some standalone audio recorders require Music CDs so check your owners manual if you are not sure.