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How labeling a DVD or CD affects the life of the disc

CD/DVD Duplications, Film Transfers, Video Transfers

The way a disc is labeled can affect the life of the disc and/or how it will perform inside a disc player.

I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but if you have any DVDs or CDs that have been written on with a Sharpie or magic marker, the disc contents may be lost.

Any time someone uses a DVD or CD disc for recording video, audio or data it can be so easy to just grab a marker to write a label on it. After all we want to be able to know what is on the disc, right? I’ve discovered that not many people are aware that when you do this you are damaging the disc permanently.

Writing on the disc surface with a magic marker

It doesn’t usually happen immediately, but over time the chemicals in the marker will gradually “eat” through the layers of the disc to the other side where the information has been recorded. This process makes the disc harder for a DVD player or drive to read and you will then see error messages.

Once the damage has progressed to this level the information on the disc is no longer available. You can’t copy it or recover it, the information is lost forever.

Applying stick-on labels – There are round, disc-shaped labels that can be printed on with a laser or inkjet printer. Then you peel them off and attach them to a DVD or CD. There are 3 major issues with using these labels:

  1. These labels have to be perfectly centered on the disc when they are applied or the disc will be out of balance causing it to “wobble” when it spins inside a disc player. This can lead to read errors by the disc player such as stuttering, skipping or stop playing altogether. I was shocked when a client brought in a disc they received from another transfer company with a small stick-on label about the size of a return address label. You can imagine the balance issues caused by this.
  2. Over time the glue on the label may lose its ability to hold the label on the disc, causing it to start to peel off. Should the label get “snagged” while the disc is spinning inside your DVD player it will not only ruin the disc, but could damage the DVD player as well. Both the disc and the player will probably have to be replaced.
  3. The most important reason not to use the “stick-on” labels is that over time the chemicals in the glue may “eat” through to the other side, similar to the magic marker issue above, rendering the disc unreadable and the contents lost forever. I’ve actually seen this happen many times. As with the marker issue, the disc cannot be copied and the contents can not be recovered.

Printing directly onto the disc – To avoid the above mentioned problems with labeling DVDs and CDs, we’ve opted to use discs that allow us to print directly on them without applying any labels or using any chemicals that will break down the disc over time. We’re able to print full color labels on these discs. Our premium discs resist water so the ink on the label will never run or smear and the glossy finish give the discs a professional appearance.

Don’t let this happen to you!

Years ago a client come to us 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.

How are Sunray’s DVDs and CDs different?

We use a specific type of disc that is specifically designed with a surface that we can print directly onto without damaging the disc. We can print text and/or full color images so the disc labels can be customized the way you want. Also, our disc labels are water resistant so a drop of water or moisture from your hands will not cause the printing on the label to smear or wipe off.

Whether transferring film to DVD, video to DVD, audio to CD or making DVD and CD copies, our discs last longer.