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Appeared on: Thursday, August 02, 2007
Lite-ON LH20A1S

1. Introduction

LITE ON present its new DVD-Burner, the LH-20A1S, supporting the 20X writing speed for DVDs. The new drive offers SATA connection which is the main difference with the LH-20A1H which offer PATA ( Parallel ATA).

Let's move on to the feature list and drive specifications...

- Drive Features ..

- .. And Specification

DVD Family Write
DVD+R 20X maximum by CAV
DVD-R 20X maximum by CAV
DVD+R9 8X maximum by Zone CLV
DVD-R9 8X maximum by Zone CLV
DVD-RAM 12X maximum by PCAV
Read 16X maximum by CAV
Access time 160ms

CD Family Write
CD-R 48X by CAV
CD-RW 32X maximum by Z-CLV in UltraSpeed disc
Read 48X(7200KB/sec) maximum by CAV
Access time 160ms

- Drive Package Information

The retail package includes the LITEON LH-20A1S, and Nero 7 Essentials:

The drive comes with a black front bezel as well as with two extra ivory bezels to match your PC case.

The heart of the drive is the MediaTek MT1899E.

An inside look...

- Nero Info Tool

- DVD Info

In the following pages, we start with our usual CD and DVD reading and recording tests, and progress to the writing quality tests which include the DaTARIUS measurements.

2. CD - DVD Reading

For our CD transfer rate tests, we used the Nero CD-Speed utility and a set of data and audio CD-R/RW/ROM media. The drive can read CD media at a maximum speed of 48X. The results of two other 20x DVD burners have been included in the charts for comparison.

For each CDSpeed graph, you can click on the image to see the complete screenshot, including the measurements results.




The following CD Speed graph shows the reading performance with US-RW media. For all the CDSpeed graphs, you can click on the image to see the full CDspeed snapshot.

- AudioCD

In the CD Speed Advanced DAE quality test, the drive's average speed was 28.53X with a quality score of 100.

- 90/99 mins Audio disc

Both the 90min and the 99 min audio CDs produced a read error, as you can see in the screenshots above.

- DVD Format

Now let's have a look at how the drive performs with DVD media. This time, a set of SL and DL DVD media was used. The drive is capable of reading at 16X maximum speed with single layer DVD ROM and at 12X with dual layer DVD ROM media.

DVD-ROM SL media -


The two layers of a PTP DVD-ROM disc are read sequentially with the drive starting reading from the inner part of the disc, which is the beginning of each layer, progressing towards its outer range.


The first layer of an OTP dual layer DVD-ROM is read exactly the same way as the first layer of the PTP disc we tested previously. The difference here is the reading strategy of the second layer of the disc. The beginning of the second layer is located in the outer part of the disc, so the drive starts reading from the outer tracks and progresses towards the inner part of the disc.








- DVD Ripping speed.

Average - 11.705 kB/s (8.5x)
Maximum - 17.089 kB/s (12.3x)

In general, the drive is a very capable reader. It read all our CDs and DVDs except for the 90 and 99 min CDs, and at speeds as fast as other similar drives on the market.

3. CD Error Correction
CD Error Correction In the following tests, we check the drive's behavior when reading scratched / defective audio discs. The test discs used were the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.


Errors total
Num : 6094230
Errors (Loudness)
Num : 80215
Avg : -51.3 dB(A)
Max : -14.4 dB(A)
Error Muting
Num : 21481
Avg : 1.1 Samples
Max : 17 Samples
Num : 1960
Avg : 6.4 Samples
Max : 36 Samples
Total Test Result
55.8 points (of 100.0 maximum)

Extremely high error total count, very high Loudness levels and far too many skipped samples. It is no wonder that the drive is awarded the very low score of 55.8. This is one of the worst performances we have seen with this disc.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num : 26524
Errors (Loudness)
Num : 503
Avg : -43.3 dB(A)
Max : -11.0 dB(A)
Error Muting
Num : 64
Avg : 1.1 Samples
Max : 2 Samples
Num : 23
Avg : 6.8 Samples
Max : 12 Samples
Total Test Result
75.7 points (of 100.0 maximum)

Better with this disc but still not a very satisfactory. Again we see skipped samples.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is another tool for evaluating the Sound Reproduction / Error correction capabilities of a CD player. The disc offers a signal combination with disc error patterns to rate the drive's abilities to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively more difficult tests. These tracks are referred to as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The tracks are reproduced through a software multimedia player (e.g. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested drive.

Error Level

The drive managed to correctly play the first three tracks. Problems occurred with the fourth and fifth tracks. An average performance from the LH-20A1S.

The drive does not appear to be very good when it comes to CD error correction.

4. DVD Error Correction
DVD Error Correction

In the following tests, we examine the DVD reading capabilities of the drive (error correction) with scratched / defective DVD media. For the tests, we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed. The reference test media comes from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media


This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.


This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as that of the TDR-821, with the difference that there are no scratches on it but instead, defective areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.

- Dual Layer media


This is an 8.5GB dual layer, single sided DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches of dimensions ranging from 0.4 to 3.0mm, on both layers.


The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the first includes defective areas and fingerprints.

Our drive here had some hard time reading both middle of the first and the second layer that is why we see the sharply drop down of the speed, but managed to finish the test correctly.


The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with a capacity of 8.5GB.The disc is based upon the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The disc checks the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also includes test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files.

The speed fluctuates dramatically around the layer change where the drive had some hard times reading the disc.


The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc with a capacity of 8.5GB.The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the data surface, size d from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It also has 65 - 75 micrometer fingerprints.

A flawless reading here, easily overcoming any defects.

Much better at handling DVD defects. Other than the TDV-541 disc, the drive read all other test discs with a near perfect performance.

5. CMC Magnetics CDR
Memorex CD-R

For this test (and for all ensuing tests with CD-R media), the CD-R disc was burned to its maximum capacity and at its maximum speed. Then, the same disc is read with the CDSpeed software, and the disc is scanned for digital errors (BLER, C1 and C2) with our system provided by Clover Systems. To simplify the presentation, we present the BLER, E31 and E32 error rates for each disc, which unveil the most serious errors on each disc.

-Disc Info

Memorex 48x

CMC Magnetics


703 MB

- Writing strategy

Average Writing Speed: 37.33x
Writing time: 02:38:min

- Reading speed

- Writing Quality - Clover Systems

Good writing and a PASSED rating from the otherwise austere Clover Systems tests..

- About Clover Systems

The Clover Systems CDX Compact Disc Analyzer is a tool to quantitatively measure the quality of a CD. It will analyze CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD-I, CD-R, Photo-CD, Enhanced CD and CD-RW discs at 4X, 8X, 24X, 32X or 40X speed. It effectively measures disc quality by examining the quantity and severity of CIRC errors generated during playback. It also provides the capability to measure signal parameters related to pit geometry, such as asymmetry and reflectivity. Together, all these bits of information provide a thorough analysis of disc quality. The Clover Systems Analyzers can also perform various format-checking tests on data discs, and do bit-for-bit data comparison on all types of CDs. All tests are carried out at the speed of 4X.

CIRC error correction uses two principles to detect and correct errors. The first is redundancy (extra information is added, which gives an extra chance to read the disc), and the second is interleaving (data is distributed over a relatively large physical area). The CIRC error correction used in CD players uses two stages of error correction, the well known C1 and C2, with de-interleaving of the data between the stages.

The error type E11 means one bad symbol was corrected in the C1 stage. E21means two bad symbols were corrected in the C1 stage. E31 means that there were three or more bad symbols at the C1 stage. This block is uncorrectable at the C1 stage, and is passed to the C2 stage. Respectively, E12 means one bad symbol was corrected in the C2 stage and E22 means two bad symbols were corrected in the C2 stage. E32 means that there were three or more bad symbols in one block at the C2 stage, and therefore this error is not correctable.

BLER (Block Error Rate) is defined as the number of data blocks per second that contain detectable errors, at the input of the C1 decoder. Since this is the most general measurement of the quality of a disc, you will find BLER graphs for all media tested below. If you click on the images you can see a more detailed table, indicating error levels. The Red Book specification (IEC 908) calls for a maximum BLER of 220 per second averaged over ten seconds. Discs with higher BLER are likely to produce uncorrectable errors. Al low BLER shows that the system as a whole is performing well, and the pit geometry is good. However, BLER only tells us how many errors were generated per second, and it does not tell us anything about the severity of those errors.

6. Verbatim - CDR
Verbatim CD-R

-Disc Info

Verbatim 48x CD-R



703 MB

- Writing strategy

Average Writing Speed: 37.03x
Writing time: 02:41:min

- Reading speed

- Writing Quality - Clover Systems

Another PASSED rating.

7. Mitsubishi Kagaku - CDRW
Verbatim CD-RW

-Disc Info

Verbatim 32x CD-RW

Mitsubishi Kagaku


656 MB

- Writing strategy

Average Writing Speed: 24.45x
Writing time: 02:38:min

- Reading speed

- Writing Quality - Clover Systems

As we can see here, the writing quality was not so good, producing E32 (uncorrectable errors) and a high amount of E31 errors, especially at the end of the disk.

8. DaTARIUS DVD Analyzer R 2x
DaTARIUS DVD Analyzer R 2x

The DaTARIUS DVD Analyzer R 2x is one of the cornerstones in DVD quality control equipment, and is truly unique in the industry. It allows checking of replicated DVDs with single and dual layer structure (DVD-5, DVD-9, DVD-10, DVD-14, DVD-18) and written DVD recordable, at 1X and 2X speed. It is based on the Pulstec Reference Pickup and Drive, developed in close co-operation with Pulstec and according to the standards of the DVD Forum.

In short, the device's features include:

Analysis of pre-recorded DVDs, single and dual layer, and written DVD Recordable
Analysis of pre-recorded DVDs, single and dual layer, and written DVD recordable
Double and single speed analysis
Double-check function at reference speed
Double-check function at reference speed
Multi-dimensional calibration
HF, jitter, mechanical and tracking parameters checked
Radial tilt control, focus offset compensation and slicing level adjustment for jitter measurement
Local defect detection/missing pits
Error flag analysis (PI-errors, PI-fail, PO-fail)
According to DVD Forum specification
Double-Check function
Control datasimulation
DVD-9 OTP sector number check

An explanation of the various parameters the DaTARIUS DVD Analyzer R 2x offers is available here. At the same page, you can read more details about the error signals and a brief analysis the possible meaning of its parameter in the overall quality of each burn.

In the following pages, we present the writing quality measurements of various DVD recordable and rewritable media, burned with the LITEON LH-20A1S reader / DVD/CD burner.

9. TYG03

We start our DVD writing quality measurements with DVD-R media. A variety of different MIDs were selected and burned at the maximum allowed speed. In each of the following pages, you will find detailed information about each disc, the burning and reading procedure as well as the related signal measurements that construct the overall quality picture for each disc.

You can always navigate across to the different MIDs in this review, using the page navigation drop down menu.

-Media Info

- Writing - 20x (14.67x average) in 05:05min

- Reading - 16X (12.18X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Lots of PISum8 errors and one POF (uncorrectable) error. Not a good start for the LH-20A1S.

10. MCC 03RG20
Verbatim MCC 03RG20 DVD-R

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12.02x average) in 05:55min

- Reading - 16X (12.16X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

A nice burn. Only Jitter is a little off the limits.

11. TTH02

-Media Info

- Writing -

Since the disc produced errors during the writing process, there's no point reading or measuring it with our DaTARIUS system. A little disappointing not to at least complete the burning process.


12. TTG02

-Media Info

- Writing - 8x (7.80x average) in 08:26min

- Reading - 16X (11.67X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Report of a POF error, but the whole burn is generally good.

13. ProdiscS05
ProdiscS05 DVD-R

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12.06x average) in 05:54min

- Reading - 16X (12.13X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

High amount of PISum8 and POF errors make this burn unacceptable.

14. ProdiscF01
ProdiscF01 DVD-R

-Media Info

- Writing - 8x (7.79x average) in 08:25min

- Reading - 16X (11.88X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Here is another nice burn, but still the Jitter is a problem as was the case with the MCC 03RG20 media as well.


-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12.06x average) in 05:54min

- Reading - 16X (12.16X average)

OPTODISCR016/disc read_edited_2.png" width="167" height="168">

DaTARIUS Scans -

Another unacceptable burn reporting a huge amount of PISum8 and POF which might make this disk totally unreadable.

16. Infodisc-R20
InfoDisc R20 DVD-R

-Media Info

- Writing - 8x (7.71x average) in 08:28min

- Reading - 16X (12.12X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

This is a very good burn that's worth congratulating the LH-20A1S for.


-Media Info

- Writing - 8x (7.76x average) in 08:30min

- Reading - 16X (12.16X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

This isn't far from being a good burn but a POF error spoils it.

18. YUDEN000 T03
YUDEN000 T03 000 (00h) DVD+R

-Media Info

- Writing - 20x (14.66x average) in 05:03min

- Reading - 16X (12.17X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Another disc which might be unreadable, having lots of PISum8 and POF errors, not to mention that the Jitter is also beyond the limits. Also, look though the DaTARIUS graphs, we can observe that the disc was unreadable from around the 49mm to the 52mm radius.

19. MCC 004 (000)
Verbatim MCC 004 000 (00h) DVD+R

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12.03x average) in 05:52min

- Reading - 16X (12.14X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

A good burn considering the writing speed. Some PISum8 and Jitter out of limits, but other than that, all measurements are within limits.

20. RITEK R04
RITEK R04 001 (01h) DVD+R

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12.06x average) in 05:51min

- Reading - 16X (12.13X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Another unacceptable burn, reporting a large number of uncorrectable (POF) and correctable (PISum8) errors, and Jitter. Here again, the DaTARIUS system found errors at the end of the disc. Also RADIAL1 and RADIAL2 are increased which means the DaTARIUS drive's PHU had to move left or right (more than usual) in order to follow the pits on the disc.

21. RICOHJPN R03 (004)
RICONJPN R03 004 (04h) DVD+R

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12.09x average) in 05:50min

- Reading - 16X (12.10X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

A large amount of PISum8 errors here too but most importantly no POF errors. Considering this is at 16X writing speed, this isn't a bad effort.

22. PRODISC R04 004
PRODISC R04 004 (04h) DVD+R

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (12.05x average) in 05:52min

- Reading - 16X (11.93X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

POF errors as well as RADIAL1 and RADIAL2 are increased, way beyond limits. We can see that the CD Speed graph also had some problems with this disc.

23. OPTODISC R16 000
OPTODISC R16 000 (00h) DVD+R

-Media Info

- Writing - 6x (5.94x average) in 10:32min

- Reading - 12X (09.21X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

A good burn reporting only one POF which is probably due to the out of limits RADIAL1 and RADIAL2.

OPTODISC 0R8 000 (00h) DVD+R

-Media Info

- Writing - 8x (7.80x average) in 08:20min

- Reading - 12X (09.20X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

High PISum8 and Jitter, resulting in POF errors. Average burn considering the 8X writing speed.

25. DAXON AZ3 (000)
Daxon AZ3 000 (00h) DVD+R

-Media Info

- Writing - 18x (13.52x average) in 05:20min

- Reading - 16X (11.93X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Reporting too many PISum8 (correctable errors) enough POF (uncorrectable errors) and Jitter, we cannot say that it is the best burn from the LH-20A1S, but it is at 18X.

26. CMC MAG M01 000 (00)
CMC MAG M01 000 (00h) DVD+R

-Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.99x average) in 05:53min

- Reading - 16X (11.82X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

And the same results here as with those on the previous page, but this time at 16X writing speed.

27. RICOHJPN D00 001
RICOHJPN D00 001 (01h) DVD+R DL

-Media Info

- Writing - 2.4x (2.37x average) in 44:39min

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- Reading

The DVD was not recognized by the LH-20A1S after burning it, even thought the DaTARIUS managed to read it. Although we tried later again to read the disc, the DVD was unreadable so we tried on another drive which also couldn't read it.

28. MKM 003 000
Verbatim MKM 003 000 (00h) DVD+R DL

-Media Info

- Writing - 8x (6.78x average) in 18:09min

- Reading - 12X (09.20X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Layer 0

Layer 1

This is excellent writing quality on DL media at 8X speed.

29. MKM 03RD30
Verbatim MKM 03RD30 DVD-R DL

-Media Info

- Writing - 8x (6.79x average) in 18:27min

- Reading - 12X (09.19X average)

DaTARIUS Scans -

Layer 0

Layer 1

Not so good this time, where mostly the first layer faired worse.

30. MKM A03 000
Verbatim MKM A03 000 (00h) DVD+RW

-Media Info

- Writing - 8x (7.21x average) in 08:38min

- Reading - 12X (09.23X average)

- Writing Quality - Almedio AEC-1000

This is good writing from the LiteOn drive with Verbatim DVD+RW media.

- About Almedio AEC-1000

The AEC-1000 consists of a DVD Drive and the "ALChecker" error measurement application which can check the written data quality. The application is capable of 1X CLV measurement as well as 4X CLV on DVD-Video/ROM and finalized DVD+R/-R media.

There are three measurement modes:
Fine Mode: checks a series of eight consecutive ECC blocks,
Rough Mode: checks eight consecutive ECC blocks every 100h ECC blocks
Quick Mode: checks three specified areas

The checking status is shown graphically in real time while you can save the error graph at the end of the test. The reported errors are the PI and the UncPO. In the case of PI, it counts the number of rows corrected by the PI error correction in each group of eight consecutive ECC blocks. In the case of UncPO, it counts the number of ECC blocks in which more than one byte is uncorrectable in eight consecutive ECC blocks. For our quality scans, we set for 1X CLV and Fine Mode which is the slowest and with the safest results. Also, we chose to measure all the media burned at the maximum available writing speed.

31. MKM 01RW6X01
Verbatim MKM 01RW6X01 DVD-RW

-Media Info

- Writing - 6x (5.73x average) in 11:07min

- Reading - 12X (09.21X average)

- Writing Quality - Almedio AEC-1000

Again good writing from the LITEON drive, this time with Verbatim DVD-RW media.

32. Media List
Media List

In the following table, we have gathered the findings of the DVD quality measurement tests. Note that each disc was measured under the same conditions with the DaTARIUS equipment. On the left side of the table, you can find the discs that did not produce uncorrectable digital errors, while on the right side are the rest of the discs. For detailed measurement data, visit the corresponding pages.

- Media List

Media type
Digital errors within limits
Digital errors exceed limits
Verbatim MCC 03RG20 burned at 16x TYG03 burned at 20x
ProdiscF01 burned at 8x TTH02 Error during burning
InfoDisc R20 burned at 8x TTG02 burned at 8x
  ProdiscS05 burned at 16x
  OPTODISCR016 burned at 16x
  CMC MAG AE1 burned at 8x
  YUDEN000 T03 000 (00h) burned at 20x
  Verbatim MCC 004 000 (00h) burned at 16x
  RITEK R04 001 (01h) burned at 16x
  RICONJPN R03 004 (04h) burned at 16x
  PRODISC R04 004 (04h) burned at 16x
  OPTODISC R16 000 (00h) burned at 6x
  OPTODISC 0R8 000 (00h) burned at 8x
  Daxon AZ3 000 (00h) burned at 18x
  CMC MAG M01 000 (00h) burned at 16x
DVD+R DL   Verbatim MKM 003 000 (00h) burned at 8x
  RICOHJPN D00 001 (01h) burned at 2.4x
DVD-R DL   Verbatim MKM 03RD30 burned at 8x
DVD+RW Verbatim MKM A03 000 (00h) burned at 8x  
DVD-RW   Verbatim MKM 01RW6X01 burned at 6x

- Booktype Settings

The booktype feature is supported for both DVD+R and DVD+RW

- DVD Overburning

As we can see, the drive does not support overburning of DVD recordable media, according to CDSpeed.

33. Conclusion

The LH-20A1S from Lite-On, supports 20X DVD writing speed, making it one of the fastest on the market. Having tested other 20X burners in the past, we were anxious to see the drive's capabilities and the quality of writing at 20X.

The drive is a good, steady reader with both CD and DVD media. It is also very good with defective DVD media. But it was very disappointing when it came to our CD error correction tests and does not appear to be a good choice for those old, scratched CDs. In contrast, it did very well with our array of defective DVD discs.

Proceeding on to writing quality, results with the discs we burned were a bit disappointing. The CMC Magnetics and Verbatim CDs were burned with excellent quality. But almost all DVDs produced POF (uncorrectable errors) and some were even unreadable with the LH-20A1S drive itself. There were of course some good burns but of the problem burns, a prominent characteristic was the out of limits Jitter and Radial measurements, so perhaps a little more fine tuning with the drive may be in order for Lite-On and hopefully a new firmware release.

Generally, the drive didn't leave us with the best impressions, although to be fair, it did come with a prerelease firmware( 9L03). When it comes to writing quality though, we should say that we expected more .... from Lite-On and the LH-20A1S.

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