Henninger Media Services is Washington D.C.’s premier production and post-production company.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Duplication vs. Replication
One of the biggest mistakes to avoid when talking about copying discs is interchangeably using the words duplication and replication. While these two processes produce a very similar result, they couldn't be more different. Duplication, or burning, is a process that copies your data onto a disc (DVD-R), by using a laser to "burn" small pits onto the surface of the disc. A very similar process is done in your home computer (assuming you have a DVD or CD burner installed).
Replication is far different as it involves an injection molded manufacturing process that ultimately creates a "glass master" which is then used to stamp out copies of the disc. The replication process also enables copy protection to be incorporated into the disc image. This is NOT an option with duplication as DVD-Rs have only 2048-byte sectors without extra header information. All replicators accept DLT type III or type IV tapes written in DDP 2.0 format. Some replicators will also accept DVD-Rs, but keep in mind, these will not be copy protected.
Because of more extensive and expensive project start-up and low per-unit costs of replication, this process is most efficient at volumes of 500 units or more. Duplication has very low project start-up and higher per-unit costs, so it is most efficient at volumes below 200 units. That in-between range is where costs are roughly the same depending on other factors such as turn around time. Duplicators can typically turn around projects in a much shorter time frame than replicators.
An additional factor to keep in mind is compatibility of players with DVD-R media. Typically, replicated DVDs have a higher probability of trouble-free playback than DVD-Rs on any random selection of players. It's surprising how many new DVD players reach the market with poor DVD-R compatibility. This has already been complicated by the introduction of DVD+R (plus-R) media which is supposed to be more compatible with off the shelf consumer players, as well as the proliferation of dual layer DVD-R and High Definition recordable media.
On average, we can report a failure rate of about 25% for any given DVD-R on some machines, where the same disk plays perfectly on the rest. It would be best to test a sample DVD-R on a set of players if any significant number of disks are going to be released.
The best case is the example of museum displays or point of purchase displays where the client will install the same type of player everywhere. When it's time for equipment selections, we will help you determine which machine is likely to succeed in your application of DVD-R playback. The goal is to reduce frustrations surrounding these installations and will save money by eliminating more expensive disk replication when only a few disks are needed.