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Appeared on: Wednesday, April 06, 2005
VSO Online Statistic Database Results

1. General information

The latest builds of CopyToDVD and BlindWrite include an optional feature where a statistics database is updated every time a burning sequence finishes and information about the used drive, media ID, speed, error code, if any, etc is automatically posted to the VSO database. VSO Software, a leading CD/DVD software developer, kindly offered their latest statistics to CDRInfo.com.

VSO comments on the new feature saying "... it will be an opportunity to be more reactive and provide more reliable products. By detecting new drives released on the market, latest firmware releases, and statistics about media usage and failure rate, the real time information will be used to improve the technical support and knowledge. We don't collect any information about users or the kind of data burnt. Of course, this is optional, and users can deactivate the feature during installation. Drive and media manufacturers will be able to benefit from the data collected to improve their own products as well. They can contact us for more information. Users will benefit from this exciting database by checking which drive and media are the most reliable...."

- Why should I use VSO's anonymous database feature?

You can use VSO's anonymous database feature for various reasons:

  1. In order to improve the quality of VSO software and to establish a chart of good media, based on real world experience on a wide range
  2. If you refuse to participate, no information is sent
  3. If you accept to participate, a small block of information is posted at the completion of each burning sequence
  4. The information sent is very small and there is no noticeable impact on system performance

- What kind of information is collected?

Each time a burning sequence finishes, the following information is automatically posted to the VSO web site :

* The VSO software that has submitted this information, and it's version number (ex: "C3" for CopyToDVD)
* The burning device manufacturer and model string (ex: "PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-108")
* The firmware revision of the burning device (ex: "1.18")
* The inserted media identification string (ex: "RICOHJPN-W01-01", a ricoh DVD+RW media)
* A unique identifier for the media (a hash string, which differ for each series of media. this help to find out if media is fake of good quality brand)
* Media Kind (a numeric code representing the type of media DVD-R, DVD+R, ...)
* Logical Write Speed (The information returned by the drive)
* Burn Size (size in sectors of the data to be burned)
* Written Size (size in sectors of the data effectively burned)
* Burn Date (When it's been burned)
* Completion Time (Time to burn, from start of lead-in to start of lead- out, with Written Size will give us the real writing speed)
* Status (a code indicating everything went ok, or in case of error, what kind of error ocurred)

All the information sent is protected with a hash key, to avoid malicious attempts to send fake information. As VSO claims "...We *do not* collect any information that may help in identifying a given computer or person..."

- How can I turn this option off?

You have to create a registry key, by following these instructions:

If this value is absent or set to 0, no information will be sent. Otherwise, the aforementioned information will be uploaded to the VSO statistics database.

2. Most popular drive manufacturer

We have the data collected so far from VSO's database, which include the results from only two weeks. The current results refer to the period between the 4th ~ 10th April 2005 and we plan to update the article next week. Lets start!

Before proceeding please read the following statement:

"...The following stats are based on real burn report using CopyToDVD and BlindWrite, because of the privacy protection, the data is not grouped and analyzed per user, so please understand that a small number of bad drives or computer configuration can change the results.

RATIO value is a complex calculation between the number of reports and the number of burns successfully completed. Nevertheless a media burnt successfully doesn't mean the result can be played correctly in a dvd home player, or by computer devices, so understand this data needs to be understood by expert people. Ratio = 1.0 means perfect result (on a write completion point of view)..."

- Most Popular Manufacturer

The results are very interesting, According to the information we got so far, LG seems to be the most popular manufacturer at 25.49%, with NEC following next at 19.12%. LiteON is the third most preferred manufacturer with 14.99% and Pioneer comes fourth with 11.12%.

Let's see which brand is considered as the most reliable. LiteON takes first place with a 92 ratio (success/uses), while NEC comes second with a ratio of 91. LG and Plextor share third place with 90. Notice here that the reported ratio illustrates that the burner can successfully complete the burning process, which is irrelevant of burning quality.

3. Most popular DVD burner

- Most Popular DVD recorder

The most popular DVD recorder according to VSO users, is the NEC ND-3500A with 17.82%. LG's 4163B comes second with 11.73%, while the newest NEC ND-3520A gets third place.

In total, NEC has four (4)! drives in the Top10 list (ND-3500A, 3520, 2500A, 1300A), LG follows with three (3) (4163, 4160, 4120) and Pioneer, Samsung and LiteON appear in the list once.

As we mentioned before, the report here gives information based on successful burns for each drive, for specific recording retries. The NEC 3520 and LG 4120 share first place with a ratio of 94, while the LG drives take second and third place.

4. Most popular media type/brand

- Most Used media type

According to VSO users so far, the most popular DVD recording format is DVD-R, while DVD+R is close behind. With re-writable media, DVD+RW holds first place with 7.01%, while DVD-RW only has 2.60%. Users still cannot afford to pay for Double Layer media (DVD±R DL), since the percentage is rather low. Notice that the CD-R format is still very popular :-)

Buying cost is the main factor for choosing the DVD media brand, according to VSO results, and the answer for this is illustrated clearly in the following table. PRINCO DVD media holds the title of the most popular DVD media with 19.11%. CMC Magnetics (ID codesAE1 and E1), are also very popular, mostly because they are used for OEM business under various retail names, while both G04/G05 from RITEK are presented in the Top 10 used media. Verbatim media seems also to be strong.. No TDK or Taiyo Yuden are present here.

For the specific statistical sample, the most reliable media seems to be RICOH and Verbatim.

5. Most popular DVD-R brand

- Most Used DVD-R media

The most popular DVD-R media according to VSO stats is Princo (!), while other manufacturers (Ritek, Verbatim, TDK, Prodisc and Optodisc) complete the top 10.

Verbatim's 8X -R media proved to be the most reliable DVD-R media.

6. Most popular DVD+R brand

- Most Used DVD+R media

The most used DVD+R media according to VSO stats comes from CMC Magnetics at 31.99%, while Verbatim's 8X comes second with 24.18%.

The most reliable DVD+R media is from Ricoh (8X) at a ratio of 97 with Taiyo Yuden (8X) following very close with a ratio of 94.

7. Summary

VSO Software has really made a clever move here, by supporting such an interesting feature. A reliable statistical analysis would require a large number of samples, regional information about users and of course, a prolonged testing procedure. However, although the specific results come from just a two-week sample, they certainly reflect the market trends.

According to the first results, the most popular recorder is NEC's ND-3500A, while the most reliable recorders come from NEC (the ND-3520A) and LG (the GSA-4120A).

If you are looking for the most reliable DVD media, Ricoh's 8X +R showed the highest ratio with 97 out of 100! The most popular DVD recordable format is DVD-R, followed closely by DVD+R. The high prices as well as limited availability of DVD+R/-R DL media, seem to be key factors in keeping users from using it. What we should say here, is that we do not have any regional information about the users that submitted the results. For example, submissions from Japan could lead to different conclusions, regarding the popularity of media hardware brands.

We are looking forward for the next additions to the database. CDRInfo plans to update this report on a weekly basis in order to present a more reliable picture of market trends. Stay tuned!

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