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Printer Data Storage

Disc Writers Now Print the Label Too 258

gardolas writes "Rippers and burners with an eye for design have a new way to smarten their image. Disc writers that can print images onto the label sides of the discs will hit the market next month. The LightScribe system has been developed by Verbatim and HP."
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Disc Writers Now Print the Label Too

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  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:01PM (#11497927) much extra does the media cost that'll let you write to the label side?

    • by Blapto ( 839626 ) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:05PM (#11497984)
      LightScribe blanks will cost more than ordinary discs, but Verbatim says the difference will be less than the price of a sticky label and the ink needed to print on it. But anyone wanting to use the new system will need to buy a LightScribe drive, and that will cost around $200.
      Says the New Scientist article linked to above. So I'd guesstimate that it would be around 50 cents per disk...
      • by zakezuke ( 229119 ) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @08:06PM (#11498683)
        Says the New Scientist article linked to above. So I'd guesstimate that it would be around 50 cents per disk...

        Where one can buy a printer like the Epson Stylus R200 [] and use ink jet printable media. The printer fetches $100 and the printable media 25 cents to 77 cents each plus ink. You can print on regular media but the drytime is 1-7 days and the quality is piss poor. I have only printed 100 DVDs with it so far on one black cartrage. The black cartrage runs about $20 for the Epson or less than half for a generic.

        There is also the Signature Z1 CD/DVD Printer [] which is a 200dpi thermal ribbon printer that fetches $140 or so. The ribbon fetchs $20 or so which from what i've heard prints on about 200 cds. So about 10cents a piece. This can be cheaper if you buy brand name media like Verbatim.

        LightScribe looks nice, wouldn't run like liquid ink can, and would take up less desktop space but it isn't here yet. At least with the two above options there is a snowball's chance in hell the media will still be around in 5 years.

      • For about $0.50/pen I can buy a sharpie and label the disc myself.

        Unless you have some kind of a business where you need semi-professional looking CD's, I don't see the point of this other than a "cool" factor.
        • For about $0.50/pen I can buy a sharpie and label the disc myself

          And for a little more, you can buy a marker that is actually meant for CD labeling, and doesn't contain any solvents that might damage your disc.

          The sole reason people think Sharpies are safe is because a lot of people have used them with no known data loss yet, but for any important CD that you want to keep using for a long time, that seems pretty risky to me.

          • I've been burning CD's since 1997 at least, and this is the FIRST time I ever hear of a sharpie being able to damage a disc.

            Are you sure this isn't something that just schlopped its way out of your ass? }:)

            Seriously, I've written on hundreds of CDs with sharpies with nary a problem. Got a link or something that explains this further?

            • I didn't feel like waiting for a response from the grandparent and googled for it. I found this thread on cdfreaks []. Apparently there is credence to this claim, and there's a poorly formatted correspondence 8 posts down that describes the issue in detail. This seems to be a worst-case it-might-happen scenario since I couldn't find any reference via google to someone actually having a CD go bad as a result of the solvent from sharpies or other permanent marker, but it might just be overlooked as the cause. I
            • Strictly anectedotal evidence, but of the five discs I've had die, one was broken in half, one scratched very bad (still sometimes could read it, took iso-buster set to retry a sector 4 times before I finally got it read) and the other three were written on with 'sharpie' type pens. Those last three were all done in the same week and all refused to read less than a month later. I've no other disc's written on with sharpies, just regular cd lable pens that cost about the same.
              I don't remember where I re
    • FTA:
      LightScribe blanks will cost more than ordinary discs, but Verbatim says the difference will be less than the price of a sticky label and the ink needed to print on it. But anyone wanting to use the new system will need to buy a LightScribe drive, and that will cost around $200.
      • I wonder how they're going to do color. Perhaps multiple layers, for which you burn down to the desired color layer? Or perhaps it's something like titanium, where the thickness of the oxide can determine the color? Here's a titanium etching like that: s/ 022.34/index.s12.html
    • From the article, "LightScribe blanks will cost more than ordinary discs, but Verbatim says the difference will be less than the price of a sticky label and the ink needed to print on it...."
    • who cares.

      until it can print in full color and cost nothing extra per disc except for the 36 cents in ink like my Epson R300 on the CD's and DVD's it's a joke that will not catch on like Yamaha's system that will put lettering or GFX on the data side empty space.

      One set of ink carts in my R300 will print full color on over 200 CD's.

      That is only 36 cents in ink for 100% color coverage on each disc. I can easily quadruple that yield by printing only black or color text and no photos, graphics or backgroun
    • Since probaly 90% of CD burning is disc duping, you really need a scanner to dupe the label too.
    • memorex 10 pack is ~8 bucks
  • by DoorFrame ( 22108 ) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:02PM (#11497933) Homepage
    At last the goatse guy can make an album! I've been waiting for so long. And hell, the hold is already built into the disc!
  • Great... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:03PM (#11497953)
    Now they can nail you for reproducing copyrighted artwork on your CDs full of downloaded music...

    Add another 20 years in the pokey...
  • In case the site is slashdotted...

    The media is designed so that the laser that burns the data onto the CD can also create an image on the (far) side of the CD. It requires special media and special CD drives (of course) so who knows if it will become widely adopted, but a nice concept nonetheless.

    No clue as to resolution of the image.
    • It is actually pretty pointless. Seems like a gimmick to keep drive prices high, and therefore profitable.
      • Re:Neat concept (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I'm not seeing the "pointless" part. At the moment, I label my CDs and DVDs with a black marker (which can result in illegible labels, at least for others). My other option is to use a round-shaped label and a separate printer (and hope that either I or the printer don't screw up and have to print a second copy). I don't see that something that takes additional user error and adds convenience is entirely 'pointless'.
  • This means that rather than have to write the contents onto the media by hand, use a separate specialist
    (word choice?) disc printer, or sticky label, users can achieve silk-screen quality images using LightScribe-enabled Verbatim CD/DVD discs with the optical drive's laser pickup.

    apparently a bad word choice for "word choice?"
  • Next month? (Score:4, Informative)

    by glenmark ( 446320 ) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:04PM (#11497968) Homepage
    Er, they are already available. I know someone who has one....
    • Re:Next month? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:09PM (#11498031)
      Well it was next month, the first time [] /. ran this story.
    • Re:Next month? (Score:2, Informative)

      by SlySlick ( 854003 )
      Yes, the computers have been available in retail outlets since at least Christmas, having sold many of them myself in the last month. Very nice concept and a strong selling point as well. Now all we can hope is that the technology becomes as widespread as Betamax...
    • Re:Next month? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Bariclef ( 760414 )
      As a warehouse coordinator for a major electronics chain I can tell you that we first started getting HP models with this technology about two weeks ago. Check web sites for the HP a832n, a820n As for the media, Verbatim has a 10 pack (non-spindle) of the CD-Rs for $7.99.
  • Fantastic! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bigtallmofo ( 695287 ) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:05PM (#11497973)
    This will make it much easier to label the 42 DVD+Rs it takes to back up the home MiniDV digital camcorder videos I store on my computer.

    Now if only they'd do something silly, like agree on future DVD standards that actually might make a removable media device that keeps up with today's hard drive sizes, we'd be set. In the meantime, we now have been spared the torture of printing DVD labels on a separate device. That's something.
  • Cool ... finally I can make pretty images for my Linux distro CD's !!! I think this will be good for the home user and hobbyist but not for professionals. Michael.
  • Not Yet (Score:2, Informative)

    by Adrilla ( 830520 )
    Call me when they print in color, the FAQ says it only does grayscale.
    • ...print? Dude, this is the same kinda thing they do on the other side of the CD to burn the data. There is no ink, other than changing the properties of the ink that's on the label side of the disc.
    • Re:Not Yet (Score:3, Funny)

      by dswensen ( 252552 ) *
      I won't buy one till they can print in stereoscopic 3D and holograms.
  • Now I can make just about exactly the same thing they sell in the stores at a tiny fraction of the cost. I can burn the disc, print the image on the disc, and then print out the insert.

    I wish that more music/games/movies/etc. came with cool packaging or another incentive to actually buy the physical media. I still buy all of the music that I listen to legally, but the reasons/benefits for doing so (other than 'it's the law') are disappearing quickly.

    • Burned disks tend to age badly. Estimates are that you will lose about 1 disk in 10 after just two years, if you are like the avarge home media burner. Most will need recopied in four or five years at best. So if you hope to get the CD or DVD out again ten years down the road, better go with commercial media. That said, if you expect the disk to get scratched up in six months, or you get bored with the music in two, your incentives for buying a lasting one are non-existant anyway.
      Here's to the RIAA - p
  • by dim5 ( 844238 ) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:16PM (#11498131)
    I can't watch TV for half an hour without seeing the snowboarding ad showing off LightScribe.

    Sure, it's cool... the first time you see it. But it's all done in one sepia tone. I don't see how the technology could advance to include color using a CDR laser, so prepare to get all the monotone fun you can handle. As soon as a more useful idea for CD labelling comes along, no one will be impressed with LightScribe, and the people that couldn't wait to use it will be embarassed to, because it will have gone from looking "high tech" to very dated.

    Kind of like my Casio wrist camera.

  • I'm surpised to see it come with HP affiliated with it though. They aren't exactly inovators these days. If I had to guess, I would have guessed: Apple, Sony.

    My question is cost. Media any different? Is there any patents that would hinder low cost of unit?

    That typically defines what succeeds and fails. cost of use.
  • Pirated media that is indistinguishable from the original!
  • Didn't we have this before on Slashdot? I remember the whole comment feel was "been done, this is just an advert".
  • Yes, but any word on whether these printed discs will be region-locked [] or not? Because we can never get enough region-locked CD-R's!
  • Hmmm.....replacing a perfectly fine cd writer and a massive stockpile of blank cdr's and having spiffy labels vs using a sharpie and having functional ones.

    Hmmm....let me think about this one a momment...

    Wait Wait, don't tell me...


  • When I log into ./ and check the latest news, I sometimes wonder wether by some twist of caching I am watching a page from ages ago...

    Exactly how many times do news on LightScribe [] have to be reported?

    Oh well. :)

    A lot of things have been said on that previous news thread, including media costs and other companies subscribing to this technology, so if you're actually interested, reading it [] is recommended.
  • I noticed the existence of this technology several weeks ago while when I passed by the TV while it was on. HP had an ad that said something like, "Now with LightScribe, so you can put labels on your CD!"

    Since the ad wasn't really clear, I thought it was talking about a simple label maker, like the POS things you can buy for $5 at BestBuy. Then I thought about it for a while, and realized even HP isn't dumb enough to market something like that as a major feature, and came to the (correct) conclusion that t
  • Having used these drives already I am disappointed in the quality of print on the DVD lightscribe discs. The print on CD is quite nice but the DVD comes out somewhat blurry in comparison.
  • ... are available right now at Costco. It blew me away -- there's a separate feed for putting your disk in the printer, and it prints your image on the textured label side of the disk.
  • Until the system can print color high res and do so in under 30 seconds for less that $.20/cd (cost above standard cdr) this will be niche device.

    Those of us doing alot of short run CDr find the cheapest and easiest method is still paper labels through a color laser printer.

    I've never had a label peel off inside a drive... heck, I can't even get 'em loose when I misplace them for 1/8 of a sec, so that isn't my worry.

    Now according to the NIST (Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs [] the 2 worries wrt to CDr and

  • FYI, it's Black and White only (No Colour) and you have to take the Disc out and turn it upside down in the Writer after (of before) the data is written.
  • by minga ( 124572 ) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:37PM (#11498349) Homepage
    I was a beta tester for the LightScribe program and have one of the external burners. Here are some answers about MY experience.

    1) There are 3 different modes/quality settings for burning the graphic. Good/Better/Best. The "BEST" setting is the darkest, and takes around 45 minutes for a good graphic. Pure text is quicker. And the "good" setting burns really quick with just plain text.

    2) I forget the software provided - but it's a basic label making software package that usually prints on Avery labels. It is pretty powerful and easy to use. Easy to import graphics, manipulate text, etc. Works with any font you have. And even comes with about 30-50 "built in" designs that are soft of cheezy - but look good.

    3) The media is "special". No idea of cost. My big complaint was that the print able service was GOLD. So, the dark didnt show up as well as I had hoped it would. If the top was silver or white it would be alot cooler. Hopefully they figure out a way to do that.

    4) The external burner is either FIREWIRE or USB2. It is a CDRW burner. It is also a 4x (single layer) DVD burner. Mine is external and BLACK - comes with a seperate power supply cord that is nice and small. I never tried it in Linux, sorry.

    5) Right now , the media is CDR only. But when I asked about DVDR media in LightScribe format I was not greeted with "no, way". But instead I was informed that if the media became available during beta testing, they would send it. That sort of tells me its in the works.

    Burning: The only problem I ever had was burning some DVDR images using Nero. I dont know why it didnt work. Got to 99.9% done and never finished. The problem eventually fixed itself. Everything worked perfectly with the provided software.

    Overall (This is what I told HP as well):

    I was happy with the device and would continue to use is AS LONG as the media wasn't TOO pricey.

    The burning of the image takes too long - but for CDs that I REALLY care about - I am willing to wait. But I wouldnt use the fancy light-scribe media for all the crap I burn and only use once or twice.

    • 5) Right now , the media is CDR only. But when I asked about DVDR media in LightScribe format I was not greeted with "no, way". But instead I was informed that if the media became available during beta testing, they would send it. That sort of tells me its in the works.

      Yes lightscribe DVD works identical to CD-R including the color of the surface. However the "print" quality on the DVD discs is significantly lower. Even a high quality "print" appears blurry where the same "print" on CD looks crisp.
    • I've got to ask, as a beta tester, didn't you sign a NDA? I beta test several software applications, but I can't talk about any kind of details about the applications until they hit the market officially.
  • Of course real inkjet images will always look better. I know a small company called R-Quest makes printers that produce an astonishingly good image, using an HP mechanism. (No, I don't work for them.)
  • by Triv ( 181010 )

    ahem [].


  • DUPE (Score:4, Funny)

    by BillsPetMonkey ( 654200 ) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:42PM (#11498420)
    Dupe [].

    This only confirms that the finger of this site isn't on the pulse, it's errr ... hidden somewhere else.
  • Dupe (Score:4, Funny)

    by AaronStJ ( 182845 ) <AaronStJ@gmail.cUUUom minus threevowels> on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:48PM (#11498489) Homepage
    This is a dupe [] of a dupe []
  • Anyone else feel a bit of deja [] vu []?
  • It would be sooo much nicer to have an inkjet built into the drive, it would be able to work the exact same way as the laser (eg disk rotates, head moves side to side) either that or a thermal printer which would be much more compact and robust. It could work with pre-stamped blank labels or specially coated or pre-labelled disks or special inks and the radial motion of the disk would lower the resolution requirements of the print head. Although technically this is kinda like a thermal printer anyway, colou
  • Why not build a writer into a printer. As it is these days all the new printers have trays for printing to printable CD/DVD. How much more effort would it be to build in a writer so you could write and print all in the one device?...and all with current technology.

  • User Friendly? (Score:3, Informative)

    by morganjharvey ( 638479 ) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @07:58PM (#11498598)
    From the article:
    More recently, special printers that print directly onto a disc's label side have come onto the market, but the process isn't very user-friendly.

    My Epson Stylus R300 [] can print directly onto printable CDs. The process isn't that hard. You have to feed a special tray into the front, but that's about it. You have to use Epson's special software, but you also have to use special software for these doodads. Yeah, you have to buy special media, but I'm guessing the price is about the same as for the LightScribe discs.

    And the Epson does pretty darn good color and has software for the Mac. (At the time of this writing, Mac support for LightScribe was only available as an SDK for integration into other applications.)

    • I have an R200 and I am pretty happy with the results I get. Very professional looking and unlike labels you never have to worry about bubbling or peeling.
  • ... but it'll fail. First, the drives cost much more than normal drives. Second, you have to use expensive discs. Third, printing out labels is not that hard.

  • Seriously. A rewritable lightscribe surface would be (to me) the perfect solution to labelling my RW discs. I use mainly +RW for rapidly changing stuff and for interim backups, as well as video which I'm not going to keep indefinitely. Being able to re-write the label side would be cool. Cool enough to be able to live with monochrome, imho.
  • So how long until we see this as an option in cdrecord?

    Plain text:

    cdrecord -tao -v -eject MyCD.iso -scribe "Trogre's Vorbis Backup #1"


    cdrecord -tao -v -eject MyCD.iso -scribeimg /home/trogre/CDScribes/CoverArt.png

    Or is this technology obscured by some horrible intellectual property racket?

  • by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @08:23PM (#11498820) Homepage
    It should be able to add something to an already labelled disk. Perhaps by printing a marker and reading it.

    Here I have a set of shell scripts that make a list of files, do the backups, open the CD tray, pop up a dialog window, and burn the CD when I click "okay". All that would be needed to make it even better is to print a mark on it.

    I'm thinking of something like burning a calendar on the CD, then being able to burn over it to indicate the day the backup was made.
  • For some random bizzare reason I headed over to the HP site about an hour before this article was posted and spec'ed out their top of the line system with what I would have wanted (the pavilion series). I managed to reduce their recommended configuration (which was $1800+) to about 1000 (cut out the 3 year HP extended warranty among various other things). It was there that I was quitely dazzled by their "LightScribe" writer that they were giving as an upgrade.

    Then I hit slashdot and see this article poste

  • I work at a large national electronics retailer and I can say that HP and Compaq are already shipping systems with Lightscribe enabled drives however we don't yet have the media to take advantage of that yet.

    The Compaq SR1350NX and I *believe* that HP A820N both have the Lightscribe enabled drives, but I know only of the Compaq for sure.

  • Looks like Verbatim [] and Imation [] already have their LightScribe DVDs out.
  • These kind of things have been on the market for a while already. My company had a buddy who has a burner/printer print our own design on a fat spindle of blank cd-r's and that's what we use for client deliverables. But the thing also burns.

    We did that about 8 months ago and they guy who did it bought the device used off of ebay.
  • Last time around it was called Disct@2 (disc tattoo) and was available from Yamaha. This has been around since mid 2002. The fact that it never went over well isn't much of a surprise, this is gimmicky tech that requires special media.

    Let me know when someone builds some tiny inkjet heads in a cdrom drive, and you can slap white stickers over the disc and let it do the work after it burns. All it has to do is some special image processing and it can print as the disc turns slowly either direction.
  • A software that will let you write images on a Lightscribe CD in an ordinary (one-sided) burner merely by flipping the disk over and inserting it. Or at least burn text into the unused portion (along the outer rim perhaps) of an ordinary CD-R or DVD±R.
  • Combine OS X, Printshop, and an Epson 960 and anyone can create good looking labels. Printshop even integrates with iTunes [], so you can burn an audio disc from iTunes, flip over to Printshop, and print the CD label from the playlist that created the CD, so you have all the artist and song information.

    Very cool stuff. And Epson has quite a few printers now that will print on printable CDRs and DVDRs.

  • Sharpie (Score:3, Funny)

    by Preferred Customer ( 735463 ) on Thursday January 27, 2005 @11:12PM (#11500014)
    So I'm thinkin' of makin' a font called "Sharpie" for those who want to do things the long way round.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein