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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD Recorders Double Layer

Friday, April 22, 2005
LightScribe Drives Comparison

4. Benefits and Limitations

LightScribe technology offers PC users creativity, simplicity and professionalism. According to HP, LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling delivers:

  • Silkscreen-quality labels with the precision and fine detail previously only available on professional and entertainment industry labels. No more messy, marker-scrawled labels
  • A no-hassle way to burn labels direct to CDs and DVDs. No adhesive labels that require aligning and tomping. No more voided disc drive warranties when the adhesive label delaminates in the drive
  • Freedom to print when and where the consumer wants, without using a printer
  • Durable disc labels
  • The ability to make simple or complex labels of uniformly high-quality. Labels can be as creative as consumers wish with text and graphics designed to express their unique styles

Unfortunately, there are some limitations. First of all, only grayscale labels can be printed on the disc, for now. However, during CeBIT 2005, it was mentioned that LightScribe will be available in colour in the near future. On the other hand, considering the way LightScribe works, this is a very difficult thing to do, since future colour lightscribe media should have different chemical sensitive layers to print different colours. Also, there are rumours that media manufacturers are trying to create LightScribe erasable discs, so as to erase undesired labels. Unfortunately, HP did not comment on this.

LightScribe is currently available on Windows 2000 and XP, and support for Mac OS X 10.3 is scheduled for the near future. Also, LightScribe is considered to be rather slow. It takes almost 20 minutes to print a label on a disc. However, LightScribe has just announced a 50% speed enhancement to be available in the next quarter. The enhancement comes from changes made to the discs themselves, and these new media will be compatible with the existing drive. So if you were to buy a drive now, you would be able to take advantage of the faster discs when they become available.

According to Hewlett-Packard Development Company's tests, when discs are exposed to indoor lighting, they will last up to nine months with no image degradation once the disc is labeled. If unlabeled discs are stored in a stack or paper sleeve and kept away from direct sunlight and extreme heat, they will last much longer before labeling. The image will fade under direct sunlight, but the rate will depend on the light's intensity and exposure time. To prevent damage to both the data side and the label side, it is recommend that you keep discs away from direct sunlight. Fingerprints may affect the image on a LightScribe disc. Residual chemicals on your fingers could cause discoloration. And some hand lotions (those containing polyethylene glycol and vitamin E) have been found to discolor the coating and image on a disc.

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