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CD and DVD Copy, Duplication and Replication

Do you need to copy a DVD or CD disc?

From DVD and CD copying and duplication to replication and printing, Sunray Video can help.  Whether you need 1 copy, 5 copies, 100, 1,000 or more.  We offer fast service and can complete some projects within 24 hours.

Don't let this happen to you

A few years ago we had a client come in with a DVD of their child they couldn't get to play on any DVD player or computer.  This DVD contained video of a school program that was very precious to the parents and they were sure the contents were lost forever.  It turned out that the reason the it wouldn't play was due to a label that was stuck to the surface of the disc by the company who made the DVD.  For whatever reason their DVD, after just 4 years, was unable to play as a result of the label.  They informed us of their efforts to locate another copy from the other families that had purchased copies.  It turns out that none of those other copies would play either, so several families were also affected.  That is one major reason why Sunray will not apply label stickers to any of our DVDs or CDs.

In my research, I have found several websites verifying that labels applied to the disc can prevent DVDs from playing.  For over 16 years, Sunray Video has strived to deliver the most professional-looking, trouble-free, quality discs with all of our DVD and CD Duplication and Replication projects.  And we provide personal attention to every detail on every project.

We've always tried to keep the public up-to-date on the latest trends in our industry and inform them on how to keep from being ripped off by competitors.  Our local network affiliate television news station has chosen Sunray Video on 3 separate occasions to help them with stories intended to provide consumers with valuable information on the topic of media conversion.

Did you know that writing on a DVD or CD with a magic marker can permanently damage the disc? 

In the materials below and other pages on our website, I've compiled years of research to provide you with the most comprehensive information on everything you should know about copying DVDs and CDs including duplication and replication.  For example, did you know that you can make a DVD or CD unreadable to players by writing on it with a magic marker?  I'm not talking about the side of the disc the laser reads, I'm referring to the other side, the labeling side.  Magic markers have been known to "eat" through the layers of a DVD or CD making them unreadable.  If you have to use a magic marker, at least make sure it doesn't contain anything that you'd hate to lose.  

Below you'll find more useful tips like this along with a lot of missing and misleading information I've uncovered from competitors' websites.  Would you believe there's a company that claims they've "been making DVD copies for over 20 years"?  Notice they said "over 20 years".  That's amusing considering that DVDs were just invented in 1995 and they didn't sell a machine to burn them until the late 90s.  At Sunray, we believe it's important to keep consumers up-to-date on the latest trends in our industry and informed on how to keep from being ripped off by other duplication companies.  Our top advice: Beware of companies that claim to offer high-quality and fast turnaround at the lowest price, it's just not realistic.

We have additional information about DVDs and Cds on our DVD FAQ page.


Why do more customers trust Sunray Video to copy their DVDs and CDs?

Sunray Video has continuously led the industry with dedication to providing the most professional-looking and trouble free DVDs and CDs for copies.  We've invested more than 10 years researching the most reliable duplication equipment and trouble-free discs for providing high-quality duplications and replications at a reasonable price without sacrificing quality.

Sunray Video leading the way by making DVD & CD copies you can depend on.  Personal attention and professional service including:

High quality, trouble-free CDs and DVDs - We use only high-quality discs for trouble-free playback.  Our discs offer maximum compatibility and low error rates during recording.
Labels printed directly on the DVD - We don't use stick-on labels that can peel off and damage the disc or DVD players.  And we don't use magic markers that can damage the disc.
Water-resistant DVDs - Unlike normal inkjet discs, our DVDs are water resistant, scratch resistant, and features a glossy finish that will make your labels stand out with a polished, professional appearance. They're designed to ensure your discs stay protected from harsh everyday elements.
Custom CD / DVD label design  - If you need a custom label designed for you disc, our professional graphic design team is at your service.
Large selection of packaging options - We have a large selection of packaging options to fit your specific requirements.
Custom packaging design - If you need custom designed inserts for your DVD or CD cases, our professional design team is here for you.
No hidden fees or surprises - Our estimates are all-inclusive so you don't have worry about hidden fees. From glass-mastering to artwork layout and preparation, all costs are included in one price.
Fast service - Most projects completed within a week, same day service available in some cases.
Gold Archival DVDs available with 100 year life expectancy - Made with real gold (that won't rust or break down over time) to last longer than any other DVD available.  (See article below & our DVD FAQ page)
Quality product, fair price, personal service - When you need it done right the first time. 

Additional services available only to our clients:

Custom DVD authoring
Graphic design for CD / DVD labels and cases - We can create professional looking designs for your CD or DVD label and the case as well.
Marketing assistance for your CD / DVD - Our marketing experts can help you market you CDs / DVDs.
Encode excerpts for your website - We can encode select clips from you CD / DVD to put on your website.
Distribution assistance - We can help you get set up with fulfillment services so you don't have to process all of your sales orders yourself.


How do I copy a DVD or CD?

Doing it yourself

You need to copy a DVD or CD, but you're not sure where to start.  You're not alone.  There are CD / DVD duplicators available, but it may not be worth the cost to buy one just to copy one or two discs.  While there is software out there that will enable you to copy your own DVD or CD (assuming you have the appropriate hardware in your computer), it may not always be the best idea.  If you've never done it before, learning the process could be intimidating. 

Then you have to make sure you choose the correct media.  You'd be surprised at how often I've talked to clients that wanted a DVD copied onto a CD.  The blank media you choose to copy to must be the same format as the source you're copying from.  Did you choose a format that is compatible with all players?  

Then there's the issue of labeling the DVD or CD.  As mentioned above, if you write on either side of the disc with a magic marker, you'll cause permanent damage that will lead to it eventually becoming unreadable by any player.  The stick-on labels that you run through a printer and then attach to the face of the disc have also been known to cause permanent damage.  Both of these practices results in a disc that you'll have to throw away and whatever is on it will be lost forever.

Having it done professionally

There are some obvious benefits to having a professional copy your CD or DVD.  You won't have to buy or learn any new software.  You know the disc will work in most machines.  You can have many copies made in much less time than it would take you doing 1-at-a-time.  And, if done right, you'll have a professional-looking label that won't peel off and destroy your DVD player.  

Whichever path you choose, here are 10 things you should know first.


10 Things you should know before you have your CDs or DVDs copied

1. What's the difference between a CD and a DVD?

  For some this may seem obvious, but we've noticed over the years that many people have been using these 2 terms interchangably without knowing there is a difference.  A CD can hold up to 700MB of digital information and is common format used for music and audio CDs (up to 80 minutes of audio).  A standard DVD can hold up to 4.7GB (based on a single-layer disc) of digital information and is commonly used for video and movies (up to 2 hours of standard definition video).  Since video information requires a lot more storage space than audio, you can see why DVDs are usually preferred over CDs.  A DVD player can play both formats, a CD player cannot.  Sunray can copy both formats.


2. What's the difference between DVD-RAM, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, DVD+R and DVD-R?

  Much like the format wars of the 1980s between VHS and Betamax, the various electronics manufacturers continue to develop their own proprietary media that they want everyone to use so they can collect the royalties.  Well it happened again with DVDs.  DVD-RAM, DVD+RW and DVD-RW are 3 rewritable formats that enable you to burn information on them multiple times, allowing the ability to "record over" previous information.  They are not recommend for use as DVDs that you want to be able to play on other machines as they are only guaranteed to work on the machine they were burned with.  DVD+R and DVD-R can only be written to once.  Between these 2 formats, DVD-R seems to be compatible with more DVD players, so it has become the standard in our industry.  Sunray uses DVD-R discs for all of our DVD copies.


3. Is there a difference between the different brands of CDs and DVDs?

  There are several companies that sell blank CDs and DVDs for copying.  In some cases, the same company will make discs for several different brands.  Not all blank CDs and DVDs are created equal.  A DVD is made up of separate layers of materials that each serve a different purpose.  These layers are molded together to create the DVD disc we're familiar with today.  There have been stories circulating about how the layers on one particular disc had separated from each other within just 3 years of being burned.  That's what you can expect from a cheap disc.  There are Gold Archival discs on the market that are reported to be able to last 100 years in part due to the durability of the gold material used in the disc.  Some brands of discs allow for more accuracy during the burning and/or reading of information.  When duplication/replication companies are promoting CD and DVD copying services that are significantly lower price, it's usually a result of using an inferior media.

Read more about the 100 year Gold Archival DVDs


4. Is there is a difference in the labeling surface of the CD or DVD?

  Yes, CDs and DVDs are available with several different types of labeling options.

Some CDs and DVDs come with the manufactures information printed on the label and don't really have a place for labeling.
Some are specifically designed for Thermal printed labels.
Some are specifically designed be inkjet printable.
Some are water-resistent inkjet printable.
Some have a white background and some have a silver background for printing on.
Replicated discs are designed to be screen-printed.


5. How much can a CD or DVD hold?

  CDs will hold between up to 700MB of digital information.  That makes them better suited for data and audio recordings, such as music CDs.  While they could technically hold video, it's better to use DVDs for that since the cost is not that much more.

  There are DVDs that can hold up to 17GB of digital information.  There were 4 different burning methods created for DVDs that allowed for different disc capacities.  

The most common is the 4.7GB single-sided DVD.  This is the most recommended format for making copies and accommodates a printed label.
There's a 9GB double-sided DVD that requires turning over the disc and makes the labeling process difficult since normal labeling area is now used for burning information instead.
Dual-layered DVDs will hold up to 8.5GB.  Since the information is burned onto 2 layers contained on the same side of the disc, labeling can be done similarly to the original 4.7GB disc.
The double-sided, dual-layered DVD will hold up to 17GB, but will have the same challenges as the previous double-sided disc.

There have been numerous reports of problems with reading dual-layered and double-sided DVDs that have been burned in a duplication process.  If you really need to have a dual-layer and/or double-sided disc, we recommend you have them replicated.  Hollywood has been using the replicated dual-layer DVDs for many years and they seem to have performed well.  If you don't need 500 discs or more, we encourage staying with the single-layer 4.7GB DVDs as they will be much more reliable while playing in most DVD players.


6. What is the Difference between DVD / CD Duplication and Replication and how do I know which one to choose?

There are 2 different methods for copying DVDs and CDs, duplication and replication.

Duplication is where a disc is copied to a blank disc with the use of a CD or DVD burner. The information is "burned" onto the CD/DVD with a laser during the copying process.  

Replication is where the information to be copied is put directly onto the discs as they are being manufactured (stamped out).  Replication requires the creation of a "glass master".  Once the glass master is created, it is used to stamp out the DVDs or CDs with the information as the discs are being created.  Replication typically costs less per copy than duplication, but in order to make the process cost-effective it usually requires a minimum of 1,000 DVDs or CDs to be replicated.  Hollywood movies are usually copied onto DVDs using this process.

If you need more than 500 copies, we recommend replication.  

For quantities less than 500, duplication usually makes more sense and it's faster.  

There's more detailed information on duplication and replication at the bottom of this page.


7. What factors determine the cost of making CD / DVD copies?

There are different factors involved when it comes to determining the cost of making DVD or CD copies?

Quantity - Like with many things, the more copies you order, the less you'll pay per copy.

Quality of the media - Each CD / DVD duplication & replication company uses different quality levels of media.  The better the media, the higher the cost and you get what you pay for.  If you come across an estimate that is significantly less, it could be a result of using substantially inferior DVD or CD.  If they are to be sold or given out as promotional materials for a business, we'd recommend using better quality discs.  Not only will they look more professional, but the quality of the product you are distributing will be representing your product and/or company.  It's not worth ruining a good reputation to save a few cents on a DVD or CD that falls apart easily.  The durability of a quality disc can translate into a lot more business in the future.

L - Sometimes the type of labeling being used may make a difference.  For example, black & white vs. color, thermal vs. inkjet, etc.

Packaging - The type of packaging for the DVDs or CDs will always have an impact on the price.  

Some of the options include: 

Paper sleeve with a clear plastic window.
CD jewel case or slim jewel case like they use for music CDs
Clam-shell case
Cardboard sleeve
Custom-printed cardboard sleeve
Standard (alpha-style) DVD case like they use for movies
A pouch or sleeve that will go into a wallet or vinyl album.

Consumer Alert

  In order to appear more competitive, most companies will give out quotes based on copying the disc only without any packaging, so be careful.

Paper Sleeve      Jewel Case       Slim Jewel Case         DVD Case        

Custom printing for case/cover - Jewel cases have 2 places where you can insert custom printed materials, inside the front lid and under the CD tray.  Look at a music CD and you'll see what I'm referring to.  DVD (or alpha) cases have a place inside the sleeve that goes around the outside of the case for custom printed materials.  This is often referred to as the casewrap.  Some DVD cases also have clips inside the front cover where additional printed materials could be placed.  All of these options involve an additional cost to cover the printing and sizing of the materials.  

Shrink-wrapping - If you want your case to be wrapped with a clear plastic wrap, that can add to the price as well.

Timing - The sooner you need it, the more it will cost.  Most of the estimates you'll receive will NOT include additional fees that will be added for rushed projects.  

"Hidden" surprises to watch out for with DVD / CD replication

If you're planning to have your DVD or CD replicated then here are a few more surprises to watch out for.  The replication industry is notorious for hidden fees.  These fees are virtually never mentioned at the time the quote is given; that's how they make themselves appear more competitively priced.  It's only after you've agreed to hire them (and usually later in the process) will you be informed about the add-ons.  

Some of these fees may include (but not limited to):

Glass-master charge - A glass master is required for all replication projects.
Film charge - For the artwork that is to be printed on the disc label.
Setup fees (for the label) - For making sure the artwork will fit the template for the disc label 
Setup fees (packaging inserts) - For making sure the artwork will fit the template for the packaging materials (if there are any)
Additional colors on disc label - Adding more colors to the label than their standard process.
Shipping - To cover the cost of shipping from the location where the discs are actually being replicated.
A pouch or sleeve that will go into a wallet or vinyl album.

  Sunray includes all of these services in our pricing - No hidden fees!

Some replication companies are so competitive that quality sometimes suffers and so will your results, be careful.


8. If I have a DVD burner in my computer, can I copy DVDs and CDs myself?

Yes, as long as you have the appropriate software and blank media.

CAUTION:  Here are the most common problems you need to be aware of that have actually happened to people who have copied their own DVDs.

1.  They used the wrong format of DVD and it won't play in some players.

2.  They use cheap blank DVDs that start falling apart within a few years.

3.  Some people who make their own DVD copies have been using press-on labels. Here are the biggest problems caused by stick-on labels:

  1. If the labels are not perfectly centered on the disc, the DVD will be unbalanced, causing it to "wobble" during playback.  This can lead to read errors by the DVD player that may keep the disc from playing correctly.
  2. Labels make the disc thicker than a normal DVD and some DVD players (like the ones in laptop computers), don't have enough room for the extra thickness and the disc will get stuck in the player with the disc being unable to spin, rendering it unreadable.  There's also a possibility of damaging it when you attempt to remove it from the player.
  3. After several plays, some labels have started to separate from the disc.  Since it spins at several hundred RPMs (revolutions per minute), the label may separate even more while spinning inside the player.  This increases the possibility of the label getting snagged inside the DVD player.  If this happens, it will not only ruin the disc, but could damage the DVD player as well.  Sometimes, just the separation of the label can cause the disc to become unreadable by a DVD player.  Once a DVD is damaged, there is no way to fix it.
  4. After 3-5 years the discs seem to just stop playing altogether.  It becomes useless and the contents are lost forever.  We've heard from many people who have experienced this.

4.  Some people choose to use a marker to label their DVDs.  The chemicals in markers have actually reacted with the materials in some discs causing them to break down to the point of becoming unreadable in a DVD player.  For this reason, WE STRONGLY DISCOURAGE THE USE OF MARKERS ON THE FACE OF DVDs and CDs.


9. Why do various CD / DVD duplication / replication companies charge different rates and what is the difference between them?

  I covered many of these difference in #7 above.  In addition to the quality of the discs being used, the quality of the labeling can be a significant factor as well.  I've had clients in the past that went to a bargain company first and were very unhappy with the results.  The labels came out looking a lot different than the original artwork and the duplication company couldn't or wouldn't fix it.  It was so bad they had find another company to redo it and pay to have the entire project redone; not to mention the additional time wasted for a 2nd duplication.

  We recommend that you decide exactly what you want before you start calling around and then be sure to ask about pricing for EXACTLY what you want.  Also, make sure there are no hidden fees.  Otherwise, you may find yourself using a company that quoted you a lower price for duplication but ends up charging you more for the rest of the process and end up paying more overall for the final products you're ordering.

  It's important to choose a company that will ensure the product will meet your specifications.  A good company will make sure that everything gets done according to plan. 

  When it comes down to it, it's not realistic to expect the highest quality in the shortest time for the lowest price.  You will ultimately get what you paid for.

Did you know Sunray Video offer proof copies on duplication projects?


10. What do I need to do to get the process started?

Once you have determined the number of copies you need, we'll just need to know the following:

  1. Determine how many copies you will need.
  2. Do you have the artwork for the label or do you need us to create it for you?
  3. What type of packaging do you want for the discs?  Paper sleeves, jewel cases, slim jewel case, or the standard DVD cases like the ones that movies typically come with?  We can design and print full color DVD case inserts for the traditional DVD cases to give your DVD that professional look.
  4. Give us a call or go ahead and bring in your materials so we can get started right away?


        Give us a call to get your project started today!




ORDER 100 or more DVD OR CD COPIES AND SAVE 10% OFF YOUR ORDER:  Order 100 or more DVD or CD copies of one disc and receive 10% off your duplication order.  Offer requires a minimum of 100 copies of the same disc.  Offer expires May 31, 2013.  Offer not valid on previous orders. May not be combined with any other offers.

ORDER 300 or more DVD OR CD COPIES AND SAVE 15% OFF YOUR ORDER:  Order 300 or more DVD or CD copies of one disc and receive 15% off your duplication order.  Offer requires a minimum of 300 copies of the same disc.  Offer expires May 31, 2013.  Offer not valid on previous orders. May not be combined with any other offers.




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