Issues and information regarding DVD Case and plastic products
The future expectations of data storage and backup
With the ever rising data volumes in industry, interactive gaming and home computers (let alone the music and film industries) some have speculated that there will be no place for recordable storage in our digital future and that we will rely on solid state storage devices and online data backup options. Other people and possibly the wise ones look at the scenario where data is valuable, so precious in fact that we have need of instantaneous access to it and it is of such significant nature that if lost it could critically jepordise a enterprise if lost or corrupted.
It was only yesterday that I found myself re-installing a critical program for a client who had his hard disc pack up in his office network, that storage and backup was held on an old fashioned blank DVD disc! As soon as I went into his workplace I found loose Cd's scattered about the place or piled randomly on top of one another on a desk - possibly not a conventional circumstance but I would wager allot more widespread than some might imagine. Take into account the run of the mill Small to medium enterprise does not have the systems and wherewithal of a multi national and similarly doesn't have the ethos to make backups as methodically as they should. We could consider an internet backup solution for them but the customer was apprehensive about the security of their data and data protection problems - this left them with one valid alternative and that was to create on a daily basis backups on to recordable dvd blank dual layer discs and take the disks off site. Protecting the discs from damage was the only concern then and we chose to supply the client with a set of DVD case and an aluminium storage and backup case for them to be kept offsite.
The entertainment sector is currently the main consumer of the standard size of DVD case - this is not though for backup reasons and is mainly for the transport of new films and corporate video presentations, there is of course the ongoing problem of software and movie piracy which has as per the last few years had to claim it is enabling 'backup' of consumers films - The monster that is hollywood evidently is now pushing more and more Blu-ray with the goal of moving rapidly away from DVD movies and at last putting a stop to piracy. As the production strikes toward Blu-ray there previously exists Blu-ray blank discs (BD-R) and of course Blu-ray DVD case copies, Hollywood is for that reason the driving power in the direction of solid state and downloadable pay per view content, the most important drawback being as I see it that if you can view it you can make a recording of it and if Dvd-r or Bluray type storage devices exists then you can easily burn and share out copyrighted content.
So, where does that leave the matter of where the future is heading with regard to computer and video backup? It's a complex one to answer and we will most likely have to hang on and see how things pan out, for myself I feel that there are two sections of the general public emerging - those that are the download generation and those that we could classify as the CD generation, the subsequent group like to have a touchy feely physical experience with their data storage and want a disk, usb pen or even removable hard disc in their hands. The download generation are more prone to software and movie piracy and have been delivered up not to set great store by copyright and to take what they can for free of charge, the danger arrives when you unite the 2 and something has to give. In the long run I think we have to move to a pay for online / download experience but how that is accomplished you might as well get a crystal ball! - in the mean time it will take more or less of the important manufacturing players like Sony or hitachi to put a stake in the ground and their recent push is in the direction of the dvd case type product and in particular Blu-ray disc - so this for the for-seeable future is the technique by which we will be backing up our data from our computer networks and home video solutions.
This month - DVD-and-Media.com
Kodak Archival Sleeves protect optical media against light and heat
Kodak and Verbatim both offer archival media but a lot of customers have become frustrated with the quality of build of jewel cases like the ones that Kodak and Verbatim use to ship their recordable CDs and DVDs, unfortunately in this day and age manufacturers have tried everything to keep costs down and that includes the reduction in the quality of the cases. This week, I received our first shipment of the new Kodak Archival Disc Sleeves. These thin plastic pouches have been silverised with a metal coating and protect against damaging light and heat - the packaging states they are a 'metalised nano coated' wallet and protect against light and heat and are environmentally friendly.
There are two factors to consider when you are looking into the archival life of recordable media and in particular DVD, CD and Blu-ray discs - their shelf life and their longevity after recording. Who would want to record a disc and then pop it safely into a case only to come back to it a couple of years later to get some precious photos or a backup only to find there were disc read errors due to media degradation - no one, and in a lot of situations this would be more than a disaster, having said that I still have CD's that I burned more than 10 years ago and are still fine - they were not even specifically archival media and not stored in any particularly special environment!. Disc shelf life is something you have little control over but the volumes of discs sold these days means that every disc you buy should be reasonably 'fresh' so to speak.
Burning discs for archival backup purposes is a different matter from recording for presentation or short term data transfer between locations. The most common use of DVD-R currently is for archiving of audio and video clips, photos, images, etc, this means that you want to be absolutely sure the files can be read or played back in a number of years time without the media returning data reading errors.
Believe it or not but the actual life span of a recorded piece of media whether that be a CD, DVD or Blu-ray discs depends on storage quality, if humidity and particularly temperature are not within manufacturers specifications media will deteriorate and data will be lost as the recordable layer on these types of disc is normally an organic dye. However, the guidelines for tolerance on these specifications are fairly forgiving as far as CD, DVD and Blu-Ray discs are concerned. Heat as infrared and light as UV light are proven to have the most serious effect on disc degradation, the simplest explanation is to look at how a photograph will deteriorate if left in the sun on a window sill - much the same can and will happen to your burned discs if left to suffer from these two factors.
This is for example why museums choose to store their exhibits inside cardboard boxes often in temperature and humidity controlled environments, so short of wrapping up your recorded discs in blackout materials and putting them in the loft inside a vivarium at a constant temperature you are looking for a different solution to protect your discs! The new Kodak sleeves are made of a plastic type synthetic material that has been coated with metal, on the packaging it is described as a 'metalised nano coating' and it looks like the sleeves have been sputtered with aluminium or some other silver coloured metal. This gives a sleeve or wallet that you can't see through it’s this coating that keeps heat out as well as damaging UV light.
So the results of my findings having tested these new wallets from Kodak - The Kodak Archival disc wallets - I am sure that they are going to be a very good addition to the archival strategy for those consumers and users that have sensitive and precious data backed up onto DVD, CD and Blu-ray - they effectively block the light from reaching the discs recorded layer and are extremely thin but durable. The wallets can also be labelled or written on with a permanent marker, all round an excellent product and at around £6 for 50 well worth the price to ensure the future of your data, video or photos.
The long term archival strategy is something all of us should consider but to be honest most do not, so next time you have some precious data on a disc think carefully how you will store it just in case you want to get at it not just in a few weeks time but perhaps several years later. Hard drive storage isn’t the best solution to long term data backup, they are notorious for failing at the very moment you want that essential photo or video – and guess what, you forgot to back it all up to disc! People have said that DVDR and CD are on their way out, but in this day and age of everything coming in more and more larger chunks of data and quicker download speeds are we moving to a throw away culture in that people consume their download ‘fix’ and immediately delete it or are there always going to be bits you want to keep? Well I say those precious memories need to be kept separate away from your PC, media station or mobile device (all of which can and will go wrong at some stage or be lost stolen or damaged) and the current best choice to achieve that is to back it up onto DVD, CD or Bluray disc and get into the habit of storing these discs in your own archive system, all you need is a disc wallet and some of the Kodak disc sleeves and your memories are safe and sound for your future generations to look at and smile!
Simon Young - DVD-and-Media.com
Recycling - can you actually be bothered?
I would like to start by talking about the recycling of DVD and CD cases, discs and paper material as this relates most closely to my industry but I have a further and more important discussion point to make later in the article. With the billions of both CD and DVD cases out there their recycling has now become big business - but most people are still disposing of these materials in their normal bins and not specifically recycling.
There are many companies in the UK now that specialise in plastic reclamation - normally grinding the waste materials into flakes, pellets or scraps and sending the resultant plastics to China, normally for use in the automotive and building materials industries.
The trouble with the types of plastic contained in DVD and CD cases is that they refuse to break down when in landfill sites meaning they will never bio-degrade. When asked in a survey if they had thrown away broken DVD or CD cases in the last year 72% of customers surveyed had done so (something that can only increase with the demise of these technologies over the next 5 years) but when the same group were asked if they had recycled these types of plastics a surprising 32% said that they had done. However that said, recycling services across the UK vary greatly in the different materials they accept in peoples green bins for recycling - overwhelmingly the people surveyed which said that they had not recycled regularly had not done so because 'it was inconvenient and not easy enough to understand', some sited the fact that collections were 'not regular enough' mainly being every two weeks and that often items which they expected to be recycled were rejected at the point of sorting their recycling bin.
In the last year recycling rates have risen for all areas of the UK and in some cases are rocketing up - but are these figures to be believed? Apparently according to government figures the national average is around 20% of rubbish is recycled, I don't know about you but I don't think my green bin would equate to 20% of the volume of my standard wheelie bin and seeing as its only collected once every other week it tends to fill up quickly with a lot of dead space this means items that would normally go into it often end up in the normal bins.
Many respondents to our survey cited the fact that their kitchen wasn't big enough for recycling! - We took this answer to mean that they just didn't have enough room for a couple of extra bins. Or does this come back to the fact there is no 'real' incentive to recycle for most people.
So what is the answer? I personally believe that people cannot be bothered on the whole with recycling, does this mean we should introduce fines for people who don't recycle enough, or should there be a monetary incentive / reduction on council tax for those that meet quotas? And how on earth would such a scheme work? Who knows what the future is for recycling but there definitely needs to be some greater new initiatives and not just by local councils to justify their 'eco policy compliance'! A national scheme is what is required to break the back of the 'can't be bothered' attitude.
Simon Young - DVD-and-Media.com
What do you look for in a DVD case and is this the end of the cheap product from China?
In 2009 profit hungry distributors in the UK shot themselves in the foot! Many people now are at last starting to see the variance in quality when buying DVD cases. Its a matter of 'you get what you pay for' and has been for the last 9 months. Why 9 months, well last Christmas oil prices went through the roof and with that raise shipping costs also rocketed - with 90% of the UK's supply of DVD cases coming from China this mean't the average shipping cost of a 40ft container more than doubled.
In 2008 with cheap shipping charges wholesale DVD case prices were in the region of 5p a case for the cheap but acceptable quality cases, 1.5 cents of this cost relating to the cost of shipment from China to the UK ports - so what happened in 2009 and how come people now have come to buy the higher quality cases? - Let me tell you, In early 2009 with oil prices still high distributors had no choice but to push the price up of the cheap cases, so much so that a cheap case went from around 5p to 8p in a matter of weeks - but what happened next was the final nail in the coffin for those cheap cases which contain a large percentage of recycled material (you can smell the quality of DVD cases - literally you can! The cheaper the cases the more they smell!) - anyway eventually oil prices fell and so did the shipping charges, but the distributors in the UK chose to form a cartel and not drop the price of their cases, effectively fixing the pricing for several months between 6.5 and 7.5 pence a unit.
It was this profiteering that was to be the downfall of these cheap cases, the differential between the cheap cases and quality products such as Amaray or Coral was now negligable and slowly but surely consumers moved en mass toward the much superior products. Now that the distributors continue to operate their fixed prices Chinese manufacturers took the opportunity to also slowly increase their price for the DVD cases and caught the distributors at their own game.
A recent survey of the customers of DVD-and-Media.com (with over 70,000 customers for DVD cases in the UK) revealed some figures that totally confirmed my suspicions regarding quality vs price - of the 631 respondants an overwhelming 93% said they would choose a quality DVD case like Amaray over a cheap Chinese copy based on current price levels and when asked at which point would they switch back to the cheap product and given a range of price differentials 47% said they would not change regardless of price and 31% expressed that the Amaray price would have to be more than 2.5 times higher that that of the cheap prices for them to swap.
Simon Young, Senior Partner
Damaged deliveries - PLASTICS - Please read this honest and essential bit of advice.
As we ship very large numbers of plastic and polypropylene dvd cases it is unfortunately inevitable that rarely however well we package these types of products there may be some damaged by couriers or the post office. If you notice ANY damage to a box or parcel you receive from us it is prudent for you to sign for it as damaged as this allows a claim to be entered against the courier or post office. Where a box is signed for as damaged it is company policy not to dispatch replacement plastic items but to process a refund onto your credit or debit card to the value of the damaged items (you will be asked to email a digital photograph of the damaged items)- we reserve the right to ask you to send the entire consignment or just the damaged items back to us - however we would rather not involve you having expense in sending items back, as you can hopefully appreciate it is totally uneconomic to send out 5 or 10 replacement cases from an order of say 100 - every case so to speak is treated on its own merits. It is recommended you order slightly more dvd cases than your job requires and not the exact number where the job is crucial, remeber plastics are fragile and couriers are heavy handed - we gaurantee to pack our items EXTREMELY well to protect them.
If you dont have the time to copy your dvd discs yourself why not let us do it for you with our DVD disc duplication and replication services - or if you want the ultimate quality dvd cases the look at the Amaray range.