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Question Blu-ray writers are they worth it, what alternatives?

right_to_know

Member
Nov 19, 2015
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Are blu-ray writers worth buying at this point in time. Memory cards lose their charge over time and hard discs can fail so a better solution is needed.
Are BR DL 50gb discs good enough or should people go for the writers that can manage triple layer 100gb or are those discs too expensive to make it worthwhile? Some of these writers can use M discs which are claimed to last for 100s of years.

Is there anything better around the corner. What is the best to buy for storing GBs of files?
 

mnewsham

Lifer
Oct 2, 2010
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As far as I know, BDXL uses a metal layer instead of an organic layer used on standard BD-Rs (single and dual layer). Triple-layer (100gb) and quad layer (128GB) are theoretically much more durable because of this.

In practice, a well stored BD-R of any kind should be readable 20+ years from now. I would recommend only using branded BD-Rs (I like verbatim discs for their price and availability). I prefer 25GB BD-Rs as they're the cheapest cost per GB.

I have a WH14NS40 and have no issues writing verbatim x16 rated discs at my drives maximum 14x write speed.
 
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Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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As far as I know, BDXL uses a metal layer instead of an organic layer used on standard BD-Rs (single and dual layer). Triple-layer (100gb) and quad layer (128GB) are theoretically much more durable because of this.
Standard HTL BD-Rs are a phase change media. BD-R LTH are not and should be avoided for archival purposes. 50GB BD-R(E) and BDXL discs are exclusively HTL, so can be considered a safe buy.

LTH was developed to enable manufacturers to reuse their DVD equipment, and so are generally a bit cheaper then HTL blurays. But come with all the tradeoffs of an organic recording layer.

Using the media code, you can check which is which here:

https://blu-raydisc.info/licensee-list/discmanuid-licenseelist.php

In practice, a well stored BD-R of any kind should be readable 20+ years from now. I would recommend only using branded BD-Rs (I like verbatim discs for their price and availability). I prefer 25GB BD-Rs as they're the cheapest cost per GB.

I have a WH14NS40 and have no issues writing verbatim x16 rated discs at my drives maximum 14x write speed.
This^^

You can occasional good deals on 50GB discs though, so it varies.

I suspect the main issue in 20 years will be finding a drive to read the discs, so you may indeed wish to avoid BDXL discs, since drives are pretty uncommon.
 
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mnewsham

Lifer
Oct 2, 2010
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I suspect the main issue in 20 years will be finding a drive to read the discs, so you may indeed wish to avoid BDXL discs, since drives are pretty uncommon.
Well I'm not sure about that, Sony seems to be having massive success in the archival space (enough to warrant the 10+ years of R&D for continued optical media development despite a decade of waning consumer interest) with their Optical disc archive they're not directly compatible with bluray readers and writers, but they use the same underlying technology. They have 3 generations of the tech with the latest allowing for 5.5TB in a write-once cartridge of 11 500GB discs, claimed to be triple layer and double sided, so more than double the capacity of current quad layer BDXLs (128GB per side). Sony is also targeting a 100 year lifespan on these cartridges. While saying they'll have drives available for decades to come.

Pretty sure this is what props up the standard bluray market as they certainly aren't as popular for the movie industry as DVD was now that most people stream their movies instead of buying blurays or UHD blurays. It's been said Facebook does a lot of cold storage on Blurays, and it's rumored Amazon might be using Blurays as well for some of their long term storage.

I think we'll see bluray hold on for awhile, drives may go up in price but I don't think they'll disappear entirely.
 
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sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
80,453
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Are blu-ray writers worth buying at this point in time. Memory cards lose their charge over time and hard discs can fail so a better solution is needed.
Are BR DL 50gb discs good enough or should people go for the writers that can manage triple layer 100gb or are those discs too expensive to make it worthwhile? Some of these writers can use M discs which are claimed to last for 100s of years.

Is there anything better around the corner. What is the best to buy for storing GBs of files?

When was the last time you needed anything burned to disk?
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
3,851
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Well I'm not sure about that, Sony seems to be having massive success in the archival space (enough to warrant the 10+ years of R&D for continued optical media development despite a decade of waning consumer interest) with their Optical disc archive they're not directly compatible with bluray readers and writers, but they use the same underlying technology. They have 3 generations of the tech with the latest allowing for 5.5TB in a write-once cartridge of 11 500GB discs, claimed to be triple layer and double sided, so more than double the capacity of current quad layer BDXLs (128GB per side). Sony is also targeting a 100 year lifespan on these cartridges. While saying they'll have drives available for decades to come.
Yes. Those are certainly interesting developments. I doubt we'll ever see a consumer standard to supersede BDXL (UHD bluray is based on it too BTW), but at least 128GB discs are large enough to actually be very useful.

Pretty sure this is what props up the standard bluray market as they certainly aren't as popular for the movie industry as DVD was now that most people stream their movies instead of buying blurays or UHD blurays. It's been said Facebook does a lot of cold storage on Blurays, and it's rumored Amazon might be using Blurays as well for some of their long term storage.

I think we'll see bluray hold on for awhile, drives may go up in price but I don't think they'll disappear entirely.
You -can- still get floppy drives, so there is hope yet.

I was thinking more mechanical reliability. F.x. even if you buy a spare drive today, it might have gummed up due to not being used in 20 years. I hope you can at least get something capable of reading a disc by then.

When was the last time you needed anything burned to disk?
Last month actually.

Look, discs may look old fashion, but as last tier cold backup they're still very useful. Why is too large a subject to get into in this thread. I still have DVD-RAM (no, that's not a typo) written in 1997, which a still fully functional today. That is how durable optical discs can be.
 
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sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
80,453
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Yes. Those are certainly interesting developments. I doubt we'll ever see a consumer standard to supersede BDXL (UHD bluray is based on it too BTW), but at least 128GB discs are large enough to actually be very useful.



You -can- still get floppy drives, so there is hope yet.

I was thinking more mechanical reliability. F.x. even if you buy a spare drive today, it might have gummed up due to not being used in 20 years. I hope you can at least get something capable of reading a disc by then.



Last month actually.

Look, discs may look old fashion, but as last tier cold backup they're still very useful. Why is too large a subject to get into in this thread. I still have DVD-RAM (no, that's not a typo) written in 1997, which a still fully functional today. That is how durable optical discs can be.
encrypt and backup to cloud.
 
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gorobei

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2007
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anyone have experience with external bd writers?

i was waiting for usb3/typeC versions to come out and they seem to have hit commodity prices. even the cheap no-name versions list all the compatability. the main issue i am seeing is lack of a known good software package and maybe questions of whether they need 2 usb ports for power or an external brick.
 

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
80,453
7,279
126
anyone have experience with external bd writers?

i was waiting for usb3/typeC versions to come out and they seem to have hit commodity prices. even the cheap no-name versions list all the compatability. the main issue i am seeing is lack of a known good software package and maybe questions of whether they need 2 usb ports for power or an external brick.
I would not get any external drive without its own power supply.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
3,851
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126
i was waiting for usb3/typeC versions to come out and they seem to have hit commodity prices. even the cheap no-name versions list all the compatability. the main issue i am seeing is lack of a known good software package and maybe questions of whether they need 2 usb ports for power or an external brick.
If it's USB3, there shouldn't be power issues. I'd recommend a proper 5.25" drive, with an optional external case if needed, though.

My older Pioneer BDR-04XDT actually allows both options. You can use a dual USB cable, or an external 5V adaptor.

encrypt and backup to cloud.
;)
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,387
279
126
encrypt and backup to cloud.
This presumes you have access to decent Internet. Surprisingly enough, a lot of the US still doesn't. In my case, there are probably 3rd world countries with better Internet than I have, and 3rd world quality Internet connections don't lend themselves to cloud solutions. ;)
 
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Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
3,851
510
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Burned disks fail as well. You have to have multiple backup strategies.
Of course. I didn't imply otherwise. Backups should always be tiered.

The key here is last tier. Discs are an inexpensive solution for doing off-site* backups. Even a simple (double layer) DVD can hold enough data to be viable in most cases, and way better then nothing if suddenly your house gets flooded. (Main risk here, YMMV). As a bonus they're easy to mail. Encrypted of course.

*Local too obviously. They're inexpensive, so burning a couple or four doesn't really matter. Best thing is that once they're burned, you can't change data on them. Which provides an additional layer against f.x. ransomware or accidental deletion.
 

mnewsham

Lifer
Oct 2, 2010
14,311
327
136
Burned disks fail as well.
Generally not all that frequently when stored properly. At least from my own experience.

I have some 20+-year-old CDs at work that I backed up onto our NAS and then re-burned a bluray copy of just about 6 months ago. None of the 20-25 CDs had issues. Though to be fair, they had sat in the same sealed CD binder for the entire ~20 year period. And that binder was kept in a climate-controlled library.

Obviously leaving them in jewel cases on a shelf in the garage or attic isn't going to help things, humidity, heat, light exposure all are detrimental to optical disc lifespan.
 
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mikeford

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2001
5,367
80
91
USB external writers I just put a powerbank on the second USB "power" cable.

Fry's I think had 128GB thumb drives for about $25 in the latest sales flyer, for the most part that kills the idea burning data on a disc. All the smaller stuff goes on a thumb, and we have 10TB of disc, only practical backup is to mirror it to other drives.

That said, I have a few BD burners at this point, so in "some" cases I can see putting "some" files on BD burnt discs, but so far haven't bought any.

Looks like "about" a buck each for single side 25GB, so about $40/TB, cheaper to buy hard drives.
 
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mikeford

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2001
5,367
80
91
I've seen some spindles of 25 BD rom media on ebay for less than $10, but the real bottom line I think is do you already have a BD writer? If so then for at least some data its cheap insurance type backup. Practical main backup will stay rotating for some time to come.
 

mikeford

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2001
5,367
80
91
OTOH rust on a platter is well known, cheaper, and still the choice for high capacity. We don't know what sorts of issues a 20TB SSD might have.
 

AnitaPeterson

Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2001
5,611
28
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I've been archiving audio and video since 1997, first on discs (CD-R/RW, DVD-R/+R), then moved to HDD.

Here are my notes:

1) Out of about 300 CD-Rs recorded between 1997 and 2010, I had 4 go bad. They appear OK during a visual inspection, but they're not recognized by the optical unit.

Three of these were made by Princo. One was a no-name generic disc. Interestingly enough, one of the Princos would not play in a computer or in a CD deck, but it will still be read by a standalone Blu-Ray player. I guess that Blu-Ray players have better laser focus and/or error correction.

2) Out of about 250 DVDs recorded between 2004 and 2015, I never had a problem with the data becoming unreadable. Based on my experience with CD-Rs, I always took care to buy good discs (I used utilities such as DVDidentifier and followed web discussions about blank media).

3) I recorded around 30 BD-Rs by now, and they don't have any problems (and did not expect them to, either).

4) Since 2010, I've been using HDDs as a media of choice for storing digital content. Everything I have on external HDDs is backed up on identical-size desktop HDDs, which then get stored in clamshell cases and placed in a storage cabinet with no humidity and constant temperature. I find it hard to believe that both the original and the back-up would go bad at the same time.

Hope this helps.
 
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mikeford

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2001
5,367
80
91
Devices made for audio playback don't just have error correction, they have a flexible system of muting even fairly long uncorrectable error sections without making any indication other than maybe some led on a circuit board hiding inside the case.
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
6,933
579
126
I will say this about HDD ... the Western Digital 3.5" external drives always seem to come with a crappy controller. Half of the My Boos I have have had the controllers go bad and visual inspection shows just have pathetic a PC board can be made by Western Digital. Now when I see a WDC My Book special I may buy it, but I do so with the intention of tearing it open for the physical HDD as it is still cheaper than buying the same drive sold via internal drive channels.
 
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simas

Senior member
Oct 16, 2005
230
31
91
Is there anything better around the corner. What is the best to buy for storing GBs of files?
Network Attached Storage (aka NAS) ? Cheap, low power, with vendor support including security updates , TB worth of storage , easy accessible with full ecosystem behind them. QNAP and Synology are known leaders in this space..
 

mikeford

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2001
5,367
80
91
BD media is cheap, BD burners not so cheap, like $60 even for used on ebay. Without some volume of stuff I wanted to archive beyond mirrored hard drives, I would not bother with buying a burner or media. If I had a burner, then its kind of a no brainer given the low cost of media and added reliability the data won't be lost.
 

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