Blu-Ray burners. Anyone using them yet?

I need more storage space. I’m a really bad digital hoarder, and I also have a 700GB video editing project to work on, so I’m out of space again. I could just buy another 2TB harddrive, but I’m looking into getting a Bluray burner instead. Right now you can get a drive for about $110 (roughly the same price as a 2TB drive), and discs seem to be going for $1-2 each, for a 25GB disc. Aside from the ahem obvious benefits to getting a bluray burner, they also take up the same space as 1 DVD, yet have the capacity of 6 DVDs (just like 1 DVD was the capacity of 6 CDs).
Soooo…anyone else using them yet? How have they worked out for you so far? My biggest worry is that if you get a scratch, that’s 5GB you’ll never be able to access again…

The main reason I dont get them is because even at 25gb, thats about 40 to back up a 1tb drive. They just cant store enough to be very practical even before you get into longevity.


My LG is supposedly a dual-layer burner, so that’d be 50GB per disk. I only used mine once with the free disk that it came with (not sure if it was single- or dual-layer) to make sure the burner worked. For the most part, I’ve given up on optical media as a backup solution, because it’s just too many disks to manage. (The Blu-Ray drive is for ripping.)

When I run out of space, I just throw in two more drives (RAID’d). When I run out of space for drives, it’s time to buy larger drives. Right now I’m okay with two RAID-1 sets plus the system drive (solo), so that’s five, 1TB drives total. Now that I’m rebuilding my library with HD, I see myself moving up to 2TB drives. I have huge stacks of unused 250GB and 500GB drives that I mean to sell, but it takes hours and hours to zero out each one.

For truly critical stuff, I don’t count on RAID (it’s redundant, but not a true backup), but I mirror to all of the computers in the house and keep a simple Time Machine backup offsite. Maybe I’ll consider using the burner again for this, because the super-critical stuff wouldn’t take that much space.

At this time, what do you think is safer for longevity, a hard drive or a set of BD’s?

I’ve had harddrives fail on me before. It hasn’t happened since I started using SATA, but I’ve had at least 3 IDE’s stop working on me in the past. CLICK CLICK CLICK - does that sound familiar? That’s the sound of your ENTIRE drive being inaccessible.

However, I’m ALWAYS having read problems on my DVD’s. Sometimes a little cleaning will help, but there have been discs I haven’t been able to recover files from no matter how much I buff out the scratch. A couple of gigs isn’t usually a big deal, since the most important stuff I always keep multiple backups of, and the rest is usually replaceable, but I’m worried about an entire 25GB disc failing on me - that’s A LOT of stuff to have to replace.

One appealing thing for a Bluray burner is to consolidate the existing data DVD collection I have by 5 fold. Instead of taking up 6 binder slots, those can all fit onto one BD that takes up 1 slot.

Also, I’m not looking to backup an entire TB drive, just get some stuff off of it (mostly media files) to give me more room for my editing projects. I may look into creating my own/backing up Blu Ray movies, but that isn’t a priority right now (seriously, it’s not!).

If its a lower amount, cant see how it would hurt to add to your backup options. Just dont rely on them for more than a year or two at one time.


I’ve got one on my laptop, but after a whole day, I haven’t used it yet :smiley:

Gee thanks newegg for bringing the price of the burner I was gonna buy up another $30. They must read this board too.

Woot, the drive is back down to $109. I’m ordering!

The only reason I ever wanted a DVD burner was to make movies. I assume that’s also the only good reason for a Blu-Ray burner.

Well I primarily got mine for backups and cleaning up my harddrive. 25GB discs can hold A LOT, for a relatively cheap price.

And my biggest fear is unfounded - blank BD’s are thicker than laserdiscs! I couldn’t scratch one of these with a rusty key!

I’ve had one for a couple of years as part of my Vista Media Center box, but I’ve never used it to burn a BluRay disc. It’s only been in the last 6 months or so that BD-R discs were even close to affordable – my local Fry’s occasionally offers them at $30 for 25.

I don’t burn CD/DVD for backup in general – I just backup to other devices on the network or occasionally to external hard drives, which for me are just recycled PC/laptop drives stuck in a cheap enclosure.

The DVD pirates have started using them here. I’ve seen pirated Blu-ray movies going for 400 baht (US$13).

I have one - a Pioneer BDR-205 - and couldn’t be happier with it. Pioneer is actually good at releasing regular firmware updates. I just don’t trust LG because it seems like they release a burner, maybe release one firmware update if you’re lucky, and then crank out a new drive.

The $1 - $2 apiece discs you’re talking about (such as Optical Quantum or Memorex) are probably el-cheapo ones that are most likely manufactured by Ritek. The reason they are so cheap is because Ritek has almost no quality control. If you go to and read their forums, you’ll see a thread about Ritek discs, filled with horror stories about ones that have burned fine at first, then deteriorated and become unreadable a year later.

I recommend a more reliable (and unfortunately more expensive) brand, such as Verbatim, Sony, or TDK. I regularly buy Verbatim 4x-speed-rated 10 packs.

If you have a broad band connection, the best investment is off-site storage via ftp. You can get a domain registered and unlimited storage and bandwidth for about $140/year - maybe less now since I haven’t checked prices in a while. If you do encrypted backups, your data is safe from both loss and theft.

But that only makes sense if you’re talking about hundreds of gigs. I’m a digital pack rat so I have stuff going back more than 20 years including entire libraries of scanned images, sound recordings, etc.

For a few hundred gigs that is relatively static like a pictures library where you are mainly adding a limited number of items on a regular basis, I think BR is a good choice. I have heard some negative comments about shelf life but I can’t verify those. I would assume it is at least comparable to DVD-R

Anyway, expect the prices to drop further since there are 2 new BR specifications that will turn up soon and both are incompatible with current burners -

BDXL will give you 128gig of storage per disk. IH-BD is a hybrid model combining read-only and RW on the same disk.

Funny how there’s so much slack about Ritek. I’ve used their DVDs for years (Newegg constantly has 100 packs for around $20) and… hmm, well, I guess I’ve had some problems, but for the most part they’ve done their job. Memorex is actually the company I’ve ALWAYS had problems with, both CD and DVD, and I almost never buy from them. I only did this time because it was the only brand on newegg with free shipping when I ordered my drive.

I’ve bought a spindle of Memorex’s (those are the laserdisc-thick ones) and just got one of Verbatims (which DON’T have the extra layer of protection).

I can’t believe you aren’t screaming about how TY is the one and ONLY backup brand to use. Back in my audio bootleg trading days, I dealt with a couple of traders who would ONLY accept discs on TY. Most of them I refused to trade with, but I had to give in and buy their discs a couple times for some people who had something I couldn’t find elsewhere. I personally never saw what the big deal about that brand is…

Right now I’m working on authoring my first homemade BD video. I am going to test it out at my dad’s house this weekend (120" home theater with a stand-alone BD player). If that passes the test, I’ll tap his collection and maybe look into movie backups…

For those other Mac users, one thing I didn’t mention way upthread was, you need a burner to rip Blu-Ray movies. That’s why I have a burner (and the aforementioned free disk) versus a much cheaper player.

I’ll go with that as a good use, but not much else.

A few years ago, I investigated moving up my backup storage from DVD to Blu-Ray. It seemed the natural progression…CD->DVD-BluRay. But my storage requirements are much too big to be practical on Blu-Ray (mostly video & audio). And hard drive costs per GB have come down faster than Blu-Ray media has.

So I am now using 1.5TB SATA internal hard drives for all long-term storage. At $100 each, that’s much more cost effective than Blu-Ray; they write and read faster, and can plug into any computer with either a SATA cable or a USB cable with an adapter.

I don’t see that trend reversing any time soon. I expect to move to hi-def video sometime, and the storage requirements will again zoom up.

So, in short, Blu-Ray is too expensive and the capacity too small.

I have a 25Mb/sec (down) connection, and off-site storage isn’t practical in the least for the amount of data I generate and need to have readily available; it’s too slow.

When I had to reformat my computer, the tech guy said not to use DVDs (single and DL) or CDs as backup for that reason as well as the number of discs. Instead, he recommend using either a portable HD, flash drive(s) or another computer. I ended up using a friend’s notebook.

It’s not clear from what you said, but if you only have one copy of each file, that’s not really what you could call “backup”. Also, since bad disks tend to come in batches, if you do in fact have multiple copies, they should be on different brands of hardware.

Also, if you need to refer to these files more than occasionally, I would have one copy on an internal drive and one on an external that I would shut off when not actively in use.

There are products like Acronis True Image that will do continuous backups for you so that as the files change on one drive they will be mirrored to a backup drive.

Who said I only have one copy of each file? Who said they were all the same brand or even model of hardware?

Exactly, but I rotate disks. I have 8TB in active, online storage on one machine and about 10TB in a cabinet across the room, multiple disks in both cases. You do know that internal, bare drives can be inserted and removed from action without any case or power supply attached, don’t you?

A good idea, but some of my work is realtime and CPU intensive, and anything running in the background without warning can really screw things up. I prefer to handle those tasks manually or let them run overnight.

And as far as disks going bad, I haven’t seen one do a hard crash in over 15 years, and I have probably used 50 disks in that time, from 6GB to 1.5TB. I have one in daily use, 6GB, running continuously for at least 15 years. Before they wear out, it seems they get too small.