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HP DVD 640i - A First Look at LightScribe Disc Labeling... - 2/18/2005 9:45:39 PM   

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A while back, Yamaha introduced their innovative CRW-F1 CD writer that gave users the ability to label their discs right from their drive. While this feature, called DiscT@2, was indeed quite impressive and sparked quite a bit of interest, it certainly had its drawbacks. For one, you could only "tattoo" your discs on the data side, reducing the maximum storage capability of your media. It also required CDR media with a special darker (blue) colored dye in order to yield the best results. Fortunately, at least the one major drawback has been addressed, thanks to Hewlett Packard's exclusive new disc labeling technology called LightScribe. Drives featuring this new technology allow users to create and burn their labels where they should be...on the label side of the disc. But does it still have its disadvantages? Today, we take a first look at LightScribe and show you how it works and why so many have such a strong interest in these new and upcoming drives.

What is LightScribe?
LightScribe is an exclusive technology developed by HP that is integrated in select CD/DVD Writers, giving users the ability to create laser-etched labels right from their drive. "Burn Flip Burn" is basically the term used to describe just how easy it is to create your own professional-looking labels.

How exactly does it work?
A LightScribe enabled CD or DVD writer basically contains a special laser that pumps light energy into a thin dye coating on the label side of certain special LightScribe discs. The light from the laser causes a chemical change in the dye coating that shows up as a visible point on the disc. With laser precision, LightScribe delivers closely controlled light energy to multiple points on the disc as it spins in the drive. The result is a high-resolution reproduction of the data that is selected to be burned as the label.

What drives carry this capability?
LightScribe was actually introduced quite some time ago. However, it was only recently that HP finally made their first writer somewhat available to consumers. I say "somewhat" because they first only offered it in a select few of their Pavilion Desktop PCs. I personally have been following this since day one, and their is actually some conflicting information as to which drives will carry it and when. While it is said that third-party drive manufacturers need to wait till April before releasing their own LightScribe enabled models, I've found that a select few companies have already developed and will be releasing their drives as early as February and March. Lacie and BenQ are two of these companies. But for now, it's the HP 640i that offers this capability and I've managed to get my hands on one to show you, in detail, just how it works. The 640i is an appealing drive available only with a black bezel.

Does it require special media?
Unfortunately, like Yamaha's DiscT@2 disc labeling feature, it does require special media. The problem with DVD writers and media manufacturers is that drives are always introduced and released to consumers before supported media is actually available. This has honestly been quite frustrating, especially for hardware reviewers who would like to thoroughly test these new drives. For now, the only LightScribe media available on the market are CD-R discs. Even HP doesn't have DVD media available for purchase yet. However, DVD+R discs will slowly but surely start popping up in the coming months. After some extensive searching, I was able to acquire two brands of LightScribe CDR discs, both of which support high speed 52x writing. HP and Verbatim are the first to make these available for purchase at this time.

Full story...

Source : ExtremeMhz
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