Automated CD/DVD Publishers
Disc publishers operate as multipurpose duplicators for optical media. They simultaneously function as a recorder and direct to disc printer for artwork or text. A majority of CD, DVD and Blu-ray publishers on the market are automated, meaning that they require little to zero manual operation from the user through the use of a robotic arm device.
The robotic loading mechanism employs a few steps that take a disc from blank recordable media to a fully finished product. Once the publisher's front cover is lifted, discs are typically loaded into a designated input bin to prepare them for the duplication process. A robotic arm will lift an individual disc by its label surface and transfer it to its burner tray.
Once the disc is written, the tray ejects the disc. The robotic arm proceeds to transfer and insert the disc into a separate tray to be printed. When printing is completed, the tray ejects the disc and the robotic device transfers the printed disc to an output bin.
The disc production capacity of duplicator hardware can range anywhere between an output of 20 to 200 discs per run. Publishers provide user flexibility in that they can be used in conjunction with a computer operating system like Windows or Mac or as a standalone unit with its own hard drive. Currently, this equipment can be interfaced with USB 2.0. High burn speeds with disc stability are a forte of publishers, with discs that can be effectively written up to approximately 48x for CD and 24x for DVD.
The final outcome of duplicated CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays heavily relies on the printing variables. A user can set the publisher's settings to different modes in order to adjust the quality and saturation of the print. The color coverage demanded by the artwork as well as the speed of the operating system used will affect a consumer's publisher selection.
Additionally, the use of thermal or inkjet printing will greatly affect budget and disc appearance. Thermal disc publishers will provide a vivid photographic quality whereas inkjet devices can provide a 4800 dpi resolution. The thermal printing versions will always have a higher price point due to the increase in quality over inkjet in addition to the moving parts required to employ the printing technique.
Nearly every quality manufacturer of disc publishers provides low-end to high-grade equipment depending on budget and production requirements. Rimage, Primera, Epson, Microboards and TEAC are among the premier consumer disc publisher choices.