Hugh Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org), an EMedia contributing editor and columnist for Th CD Writer, is president of Forget Me Not Information Systems (www.forgetmenot.on.ca), a reseller, systems integrator, and industry consultant based in London, Ontario, Canada.
Articles By Hugh Bennett
Hugh Bennett | Will Blu-ray Disc (BD) recorders, drives, and players read and write all types of CDs and DVDs? Will they clear the fog of application formats and content protection measures?
Hugh Bennett | The recent flurry of press releases from CES demonstrates once again that manufacturers and content publishers have yet to clearly and consistently articulate BD device compatibility with CDs and DVDs.
Hugh Bennett | The Blu-ray camp's latest scheme for establishing supremacy in the next-generation optical disc game--adding more layers to existing disc designs--will leave users, manufacturers, and content providers drowning in a sea of player-disc incompatibility.
Hugh Bennett | Primera Technology has expanded its offerings to now include the DUP-07 ($1,695) a manually operated, standalone tower duplicator with seven 16X DVD/CD recorders.
Hugh Bennett | In a few weeks 18X DVD recorders will begin arriving on store shelves but to what end? 18X writing is of no practical use, it has negligible marketing value, and technical people say it’s a bad idea.
Hugh Bennett | Does Blu-ray's capacity advantage over HD DVD really matter? When it comes to employing blue-laser discs in next-generation high-definition (HD) camcorders, it certainly does.
Hugh Bennett | Samsung’s new WriteMaster 16X DVD/CD recorder reliably gets the job done, albeit a touch slower than its competition and at a slightly higher price ($199).
Hugh Bennett | How long will it take to record a BD disc? How much will its writing speeds increase in the future? How quickly will it get there? Will the industry to avoid past problems and intelligently ramp up to these speeds?
The effects of scratches, scrapes, fingerprints, and dust on the writing and readability of optical discs have always been an issue for manufacturers and users alike, and the implementation of hardcoat and other solutions for forthcoming HD DVD and Blu-ray media remain in flux.
Hugh Bennett | While the advances made in Pioneer’s DVR-A09XL ($129.99) aren’t sufficiently compelling to warrant running out to replace your existing high-speed recorder, the A09XL is a solid state-of-the-art choice when shopping for a new unit.
Hugh Bennett | With impressive writing and reading performance as well as its more competitive price tag ($109) the Plextor PX-740A is one of the best recorder choices going.
Hugh Bennett | There's no end of reasons, of course, to backup and archive hard drive contents. But tape and hard drives are corruptible, manually operated DVD/CD recorders are inconvenient, and mechanized jukeboxes are expensive one-trick ponies. Enter what I call the "backulator."
Hugh Bennett | Using MPEG-4 AVC or VC-1 compression (both required by BD and HD DVD specifications) and makes current writable DVDs practical vehicles for many HD tasks. But BD and HD DVD drives need to play writable DVD discs to reap their benefits.
While not in the same league as its industrial PRV-LX1 cousin, Pioneer’s PRV-9200 ($1,025) is a tremendously useful tool in its own right. Its relative simplicity is welcome and its large built-in hard drive, high-speed DVD recorder, and rudimentary editing abilities are well-suited for all manner of work including budget projects, videotape and camcorder conversions, broadcast capture, and banging out quick proofs-of-concept and prototypes.
Hugh Bennett | The word 'round the campfire is that DVD rewritable dual-layer (DL) will appear early next year. Maybe it's inevitable, but it's also pointless--why add another soon-to-be outdated technology to an already-muddled market?
Hugh Bennett | The BravoPro is an affordable and painless in-house DVD production solution that yields professional results and gives you room to grow if your needs don’t immediately justify a system of its speed or capacity.
Hugh Bennett|Pioneer's latest boasts 16X DVD±R, and is the first Pioneer recorder to offer DVD+R DL
Hugh Bennett|Though groundbreaking in incorporating a fully functional disc labeler into a standard form-factor DVD recorder, LightScribe will not replace the usual suspects for serious commercial and decorative work.
The straightforward Scribe EC SA allows copying, verifying, and printing at the touch of a few buttons, as well as audio compilations, simulating operation, executing alignment routines, displaying recorder information, and the like
Lightweight disc printer can create everything from straight and curved text, bullets and tables
New Double Layer Dual Format (D2) model doesn’t deliver significant time savings for most applications
Added space accomodates about four more minutes of typical-quality audio and video
Hugh Bennett | Until Primera's Accent Disc Laminator ($3495) came along, desktop disc decoration had seen and done it all. The Accent raises the stakes for inkjet-printable label durability, appearance, and visual authentication. A specialized device best left for volume-batch production situations, the Accent introduces useful and innovative capabilities, and challenges the industry to take note.
Hugh Bennett | After consumers have begun to make some sense out of writable DVD formats, along comes more confusion. Dual-layer recordable technology is promoted as a significant advance, but where does it fit in the real world?
Epson's Stylus Photo 960 combines color inkjet paper and CD-surface printing
Hugh Bennett | From adhesive labels, inkjet printers, and overcoating systems to thermal transfer and re-transfer devices, there is now a desktop device to satisfy discerning tastes and handle most disc-labeling chores. High hopes rest with industry innovators Primera and Rimage and newcomers Epson, Hewlett-Packard, and Casio to advance the state of the art and reach new markets.
Synopsis: With its well-balanced ratio of recorders to printers, excellent incremental scalability, the attractive redundancy of multiple optional autoloaders, versatile multiplatform control software, and its peerless DVD label output, the Protégé II is a genuine digital studio thoroughbred.
With well-rounded software bundles, solid rewritable performance, respectable CD-R/RW functions, the fastest writing speeds in recordable DVD, and the option to write to more affordable DVD+R discs, the Sony DRU120A and HP DVD Writer 200e have a lot going for them. However, when all is said and done, our test results here put DVD+R and DVD+RW short of DVD-R and DVD-RW when it comes to physical compatibility with current DVD devices and on low-cost blank media. But keep in mind that DVD products are still in their infancy, and much could change with next-generation products due within the year.
With its lovable size, full range of features, integrated label printer, and competent operation—all at price to die for—Primera’s Bravo Disc Publisher sets a new standard for personal CD and DVD duplication, and may prove the ultimate digital studio peripheral. Anyone interested in desktop convenience should take a long hard look. While the jury is still out on whether or not the Bravo will be successful in attracting a wider audience—or merely steal sales from more expensive systems—there’s little doubt that it indeed suggests the shape of things to come.
With broad operating system support, clever labeling software, easily interchangeable disc trays, large buffer memory, straightforward maintenance, a competitive price, and the lowest operating cost of any thermal transfer printer currently on the market, MediaFORM’s Spectrum2 has a lot going for it. As with most new products, however, the Spectrum2 still needs some refinement including enhancements to its printer drivers, more careful craftsmanship in its assembly, flash firmware upgradability, and tweaks made to its image output in order to realize its full potential
With two or four recorders, optional in-line printing, cavernous 400-disc capacity, and competent operation, the ComposerMAX continues Primera’s long-standing tradition of offering useful products at attractive prices. It’s important, however, to carefully consider your application needs and appreciate there will always be a variety of solutions to call upon. For unattended duplication and inkjet printing for large quantities of discs in situations where turnaround time is not critical—all in a single unit—ComposerMAX fits the bill to a “T.”
Synopsis: Aimed squarely at the emerging market for low-cost automated solutions, MediaFORM’s SCRIBE may be a little rough around the edges, but it is a competent performer well-suited to short-run CD and DVD duplication and labeling chores. With its wide selection of printers, no-nonsense features, and reasonable speed, the SCRIBE stacks up well against its competition and is well-worth considering.