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Printing Your Own CDRs With Ink

Different Printable CDR Media Yields Different Results, Continued

When using an ink jet printer, the type of paper you use will dictate the quality of the print output that you receive. The type of ink jet printable CDR is no different. In our testing, we found that the Memorex had the brightest printable surface of the white colored media. The Taiyo Yuden discs, however, offered the smoothest printable surface; the Memorex branded media produced the crispest and brightest looking end product when printed on either printer. We would rate the Imation the next best, followed by the Verbatim media.

Since the Taiyo Yuden offers a silver colored printable surface, it really is not fair to compare the printed end result on the Taiyo Yuden media to that of the other media that offers a white or off-white printing surface. When printing on the silver surface of the Taiyo Yuden media, we noticed that the colors appeared to be somewhat muted, but the effect and look were different from that of the printable CDRs that offered a white printing surface. If a vibrant color look is what you are going for, you will be wise to stick with the printable CDRs that offer the brightest white colored printing surface possible. While the silver colored printable surface offers some interesting effects as well, the colors do appear dull when compared head to head with any of the three other CDRs that offered a white printable surface.

While the Imation, Memorex, and Taiyo Yuden CDRs from our test lot were rated at a maximum of 48X write speed, the Verbatim was only rated at a top write speed of 16X. (While not recommended, it should be noted that we able to burn the Verbatim discs at speeds up to 24X in our test drive with no errors or problems.)

Expect to pay a slight premium for CDRs that offer an ink jet printable top surface. From our understanding, it isn't that the printable surface costs that much more to produce than CDRs that offer an ink jet printable surface, but the amount of ink jet printable CDRs that companies can sell is somewhat limited. While the numbers of users that are seeking this type of media continues to grow, it can't compete with the quantity of traditional CDRs that are being sold. This causes a potential problem, due to the fact that you can't buy ink jet printable CDRs in every store.

Availability of printable CDRs is improving, but it is going to be some time before you can find them on every shelf next to traditional CDR media. The good news is however that DVD -/+ R/RW media that is ink jet printable is starting to become more available, as well. This extends the range of the possible media types that can be printed with your capable ink jet printer, which is good news. Still, experimenting with the media will be required to achieve the best results when printing on it. At least for the near term, it is a question of balancing the cost of the media against the traditional method of printed adhesive labels.