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Coasters Galore! Beware of RiDATA (Ritek) Blu-ray Media

Updated on April 8, 2011

Long ago, a brand name used to mean more than it does today. I feel like a grouchy old man saying this; however, there are few that would argue against me.

The majority of consumers still aren’t aware that there are only a handful of recordable media manufacturers in the world. Yet we have countless brands to choose from when shopping for a spindle of BD-R discs. To name a few, Memorex, Maxell, TDK, JVC, Verbatim, Imation and Quantum Optical are all competing for a slice of the market. The names are meaningless badges that hide the true manufacturers of the media. You don’t know if you are getting a good batch from Japan or a lousy batch from Malaysia.

Free software like ImgBurn can quickly tell you where media was made. Sadly, once the cake boxes are in your hands its game over. Testing discs and returning media that isn’t of acceptable quality isn’t allowed by retailers because it is a consumable product. Even if you could get away with it, this method simply isn’t practical.

Finding good quality DVD+R or DVD-R media was never much of a worry in the past. At first I had a few bad experiences with cheap media, but once I found out about premium, unbranded Taiyo Yuden discs it was smooth sailing. Discs that were burned up to five years ago are just as readable now as they were then. Granted, I haven’t done any thorough diagnostic tests.

Pretty discs but elusive.
Pretty discs but elusive.

Getting decent, reasonably priced blank Blu-ray media is proving to be challenging. The bane of my existence, Ritek media is hiding behind the labels of a seemingly growing number of brands. Memorex and Maxell are notorious for outsourcing to the lowest bidder. The ladder brands have always been suspect, from the days of CD-R. Sadly the virus of low quality products is spreading to once trusted sources like TDK and even Verbatim. It is expected to get a batch of Ritek BR2-000 when you buy a pack of Memorex discs. When you get the same garbage quality media from a supposedly premium brand, it is twice as annoying.

So is Ritek or RiDATA Blu-ray media really that bad? Yes, it is. If you don’t experience failed burns right out of the gate, do not assume that the data gods have shown you any favour. Numerous reports speak of degrading burn quality of discs that are a mere three months old. If the information is temporary and completely expendable it does the job in a pinch. However if you are burning media for archival storage, stay very far away from Ritek’s offerings.

If you can’t trust most of the media out there, what names are good bets? First off “bet” is an appropriate word. LTH media from Verbatim seeks to lower the cost of decent quality media. The catch is that it uses organic dye that isn’t compatible with many burners and players out there, especially those made prior to 2008. Still, it is a good middle ground between the cheap stuff and the high-end discs that are priced out of reach to the average consumer. Verbatim’s non-LTH media is often recommended but it doesn’t come cheap. JVC/Taiyo Yuden makes excellent quality Blu-ray discs. The only problem is that spindles are currently outlandishly expensive.

I can`t help but look forward to the day when great quality discs can be purchased for a quarter a piece like DVDs are today. Until then, stick to the more expensive discs and burn only the stuff you really love. There is nothing worse than the false security of media gone awry.


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