All of the testing went smoothly, except for one problem: when working with various brands of CD media we had around the office (HP, Ridata, Memorex) the tower's drives wouldn't successfully burn ten discs simultaneously. Every time that we tried, anywhere from one to five discs would generate errors and quickly be relegated to the pile of coasters that this office generates. DVD performance was flawless with our original stash of Verbatim and Ridata 8X DVD±R media, but the hit-and-miss with CD media remained cause for concern. We contacted Microboards about this problem, and they promptly shipped us two boxes full of Taiyo Yuden CD and DVD media (Microboards is actually one of the world's largest distributors of CD and DVD media). With these higher-quality discs, the duplicator's CD success rate climbed to 100% immediately, and the duplicator continued its top-notch DVD performance, repeatedly pumping out ten flawless discs on multiple successive efforts.
This serves as a lesson for anyone interested in bringing DVD production in-house: if you're producing DVDs for commercial use—and why else would you be duplicating in quantity—don't use cheap media. Also, it pays to use the media recommended by the manufacturer of the drive. Choose a brand that works and stick with it—even if there's a minimal price differential, you'll be glad you did. Ruined CDs and DVDs aren't much of a problem if you're burning one disc at a time, but when you're producing dozens for a larger project, each bad disc means wasting unnecessary time and expense.
Price, Accessories, and More
The DVD-D8810 has an estimated street price of $2,345. The standard model does not include any connectivity options, but for an additional $129, a USB 2.0 connection can be added that enables you to record to the first hard drive partition of the DVD-D8810 from a PC or Mac. Prassi Tech's Zulu 2 comes bundled with the USB 2.0 connection to facilitate communication between the tower and the desktop or laptop. The unit that we received did not have this functionality, so we were unable to test it or the accompanying software.
Nearly $2,500 may seem to many videographers like a lot of money to spend on disc duplication, but if you're already working on projects that require the output of dozens of discs, you'll eventually realize a cost savings by moving towards in-house DVD production and reducing your outsourcing expenses. You'll also gain the freedom to produce multiple copies of your work in very little time. On top of all this, if you're looking to generate a little additional revenue to make up for the up-front costs of the DVD-D8810, you can always sell your services doing small-scale DVD duplication. As with batch video encoding and A/D conversion, DVD duplication is a valid and profitable way for videographers to broaden their offerings.
All in all, the DVD-D8810 performed nearly flawlessly, effortlessly pumping out disc after disc. While we did have some minor quibbles over usability and interface design, these weren't major enough to change our opinion that any videographer involved in projects that output to more than ten discs at a time would benefit tremendously from adding a DVD-D8810 to their workflow.
Minimum System RMinimum System Requirements for Hosted Operation:
• P3 PC (2GHz for 8X DVD recording) running Windows 2000/XP
• 128MB RAM (512MB RAM recommended for large filesets of small files
• 4GB available HDD
Other Companies Mentioned in this Article:
Hoei Sangyo, Co. Ltd., www.hoei.co.jp
Memorex Products, www.memorex.com
Ritek Corporation, www.ritekusa.com
Taiyo Yuden, www.t-yuden.com
Verbatim Corporation, www.verbatim.com