DVD-R duplication and full DVD manufacture


DVD Information


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Information About DVDs

What is a DVD? | DVD Formats | Authoring | Packaging | Bar Codes | MCPS


What is a DVD?

DVD (or Digital Versatile Disc) is the next generation of media which moves beyond CD in terms of its capacity (up to 17.5 Giga Bytes of data), speed and flexibility.

Like CDs, DVDs consist of a reflective metal layer embedded in a polycarbonate (clear plastic) disc. However, unlike a CD, DVDs can be double sided, and if required they can also contain two layers of data. The table below shows the capacities available. The reflective layer is covered with a pattern of millions of tiny pits which represent the �ones and noughts� that make up the DVD data. This data is recorded in a spiral (a bit like the groove on a vinyl disc): single layer discs start in the middle and wind towards the outside edge, whilst the second layer of a dual layer disc can start at the outside or inside, depending on whether continuous video play is required. 


Nominal capacity



4.7 GBytes

Single sided, single layer


8.5 GBytes

Single sided, dual layer


9.4 GBytes

Double sided, single layer


17 GBytes

Double sided, dual layer

The pattern of pits in the DVD is pressed from a master mould called a stamper (again a bit like vinyl records). Stampers are the end product of the process known as glass mastering. The data from the production master (DVDR or a DLT) is used to switch a laser on and off (a laser beam recorder or LBR) which 'records' dots onto a photo coated piece of glass. This 'glass master' is then photographically processed and exposed to a powerful acid which burns pits into the surface of the glass where the dots were. The glass master is then electroplated to create the stampers which are used in the moulding of the DVDs

Once the discs have been pressed, any �on-disc� printing is then applied using either a screen printing or on-disc litho (offset) technique. As standard we include printing in colour litho within our prices. We supply 'flight checked' pdfs from your artwork files which carry your design for the litho (offset) print. DVD-5 and DVD-9 are single sided, allowing the non-playing surface to be printed. However DVD-10 and DVD-18 use both sides for playing, so the design must be limited to the central non-playing area and is only available in black and white.

All discs are examined for defects in the playing surface and sub-standard on-disc printing. Any discs which fail these quality checks are discarded. Finally, if required, discs are packed into cases, with any printed materials, before being boxed for despatch.



A variety of packaging is now available for DVD. The main types comprise:


DVD Formats

There are already a plethora of different formats in use, such as:


Digital video with non-linear random access, picture quality better than VHS, full surround sound capability, plus the possibility of adding text, graphics and a navigation interface to allow much more interactivity than has ever been available before. Unlike VHS, it is not possible to record video onto DVD (although you can on DVD recordables). DVD-V discs can be region coded to ensure that they can only be played in certain territories.


Computer read only storage with capacities currently up to 4.7 GB. You will need a DVD-Rom drive to use these discs (standard CDRom drives will ignore them). However DVD-Rom drives will also allow you to access current CDRom discs.


Computer re-writable storage discs. Capacity is currently about 4.1GB


Audio only discs. The standards for these discs has recently been finalised, and allows for several different versions of the same track (i.e. stereo and surround mixes) with the potential to use audio quality up to 192kHz, 24 bit. However with the rival SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc) format also available, it is by no means certain that DVD-A will flourish. Using our Pyramix digital audio work station, The Digital Audio Co can currently work at up to 192kHz, 24bit.


DVD recordable discs are now available in four types: write once DVD-R, DVD+R, and rewritable DVD-RW and DVD+RW. Write once DVD is a generic format, originally developed for data storage, although it is now regularly used for pre-release copies of DVD-V, and even as masters. There are 3 types available:

  • Authoring media (DVD-R) storing 3.9 GBytes of data. This is the most reliable and compatible type, which can also be used as a master format for both duplication and pressing (subject to certain limitations). It can only be written on an authoring drive.

  • Authoring media (DVD-R) storing 4.7 GBytes of data. A higher capacity disc, but it can only be written on an authoring drive and is not recommended as a source for pressing.

  • General media (DVD-R/+R/-RW/+RW) storing 4.7 GBytes of data. Cheaper media for the new generation of general media drives (fitted to many newer Macs and PCs). DVD-R/+R general media can be used as a master for pressing, although this is the least reliable method, unless the data is transferred to an interim format. Also, some programs which generate DVD-V data for writing to general media are not fully compliant and might not work correctly in all drives. Duplication of DVD-V to DVD-R/+R is used for short run copying but not all set-top DVD-V players can read them!

  • Dual layer DVD-recordables, offering just under 9GBytes of data. You need a special 'dual layer' drive in order to read or write these discs. DVD+R are the only dual layer recordable discs which can be used as DVD9 masters.

Please note that DVD-RW and DVD+RW should never be used as masters for duplication or manufacture!


DVD Authoring

Authoring is complex, and shares much in common with the creation of a CDRom. Typically the process for creating a DVD Video master involves:

Please call us for more details and cost.


Master Formats

There are 2 principle ways of supplying a master. Either on a recordable DVD, or a DLT (Digital Linear Tape). DLT is the fully professional method and is the most reliable. Recordable DVD is becoming more widely acceptable and if used with caution can yield good results. For a more detailed examination of formats and 'rules' for their use, please see our supplementary information page here.


PAL / NTSC and Region Coding for DVD Video

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the issue of region coding. There are really two issues here:

PAL / NTSC Compatibility

Video elements on a DVD-Video must conform to one of the two main international standards: NTSC (for USA, Japan and some other territories) or PAL (for UK, Europe and most of the rest of the world). It is not possible for a single DVD title to contain both PAL and NTSC video. In addition because the picture sizes are different, menus and background images must be separately created for PAL and NTSC. 

If you create an NTSC title for the USA and / or Japan, it is worth noting that many PAL players will also playback NTSC discs (subject to the TV to which it is connected also being able to display NTSC, which many newer sets can). Also note, that computers will playback PAL and NTSC without problem because they are not tied to a TV standard. So if you don't want to create versions for PAL and NTSC (often due to budget!), you will still reach a large part of the PAL market. BUT, there is a further complication : -

Region Coding

The DVD specification allows the producer of the master to determine the territories in which the disc will play (subject to the PAL / NTSC restrictions above).

The world is divided into 6 regions (1 to 6), with region 7 being unused and region 8 being for "International territory" (ships, planes etc). In addition, Region 0 is what is known as 'region free' which means it will work in all territories (subject to PAL / NTSC playback compatibility). There is a good explanation of the issue on Wikipedia here with a detailed list of countries and a map.

A DVD can be set to region 0 (play anywhere), or any combination of regions 1 to 6 or 7.


Bar Codes

If you think that your products will be distributed by a commercial distribution company, or will be stocked by a 'large' retailer, you should consider using a bar code. Bar codes are often used in conjunction with ISRC codes for automatic royalty payments by radio stations. Bar code numbers are controlled in the UK by gs1. Visit their web site at www.gs1uk.org or for more contact information see our links page.

Each bar code number consists of three parts:

In order to use a bar code number you must be a member of gs1 who will allocate you a company prefix to which you add a reference item number. Only members of gs1 can use bar codes. However, there are companies who will act as intermediaries. Barcode 1 UK have been used by our customers and seem to give the level of service needed.


The Mechanical Copyright Protection Society administer the mechanical copyright of the vast majority of music in the UK on behalf of songwriters and publishers. If you are going to use someone else's material, you will almost always have to pay a royalty. In order to progress your manufacture, you will need to fill in an Application For License form (available from us or MCPS), regardless of whether you are recording your own or someone else's songs. Once the form is completed and returned to MCPS they will let you know how much you will owe (if anything) in royalty payments, and then once this is paid, they issue a License To Manufacture. Other than for runs of less than 500 units, we (along with all other reputable duplication facilities) will require a license before we can commence manufacture. Visit their web site or for more contact information see our links page.


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DVD Manufacture Prices


Glass masters

DVD Unit Costs

In order to work out your manufacturing costs, you will need to include the following items:

As we use different factories depending on quantity, packaging and delivery time, you need to contact us for your requirements and we will be happy to provide you with a quotation.

Please read the 'small print' at the bottom of the page for final details!

For small orders or very fast turnaround, we can duplicate to DVD-R.


Pre-flight Artwork Check

One off charge for checking all artwork meets the specifications laid down by the factories. Includes supply of templates and telephone assistance. Please see our design information page for more details




The Small Print

  • Delivery of DVDs is normally free of charge to one UK mainland address as standard. Other carriage will be charged at cost.
  • Spot colours, metallic ink, metal foil, etc all available. Please call for a specific quote.
  • Digipak, DVDigipak and other custom packaging systems available. Please call for prices.
  • All prices are Ex VAT.
  • Manufacturing plants work to a tolerance of +/- 10% of the ordered quantity to allow failures to be removed during quality control. You will be charged for the exact number of units delivered. (Average is 3% over ordered quantity).
  • All materials (tapes, discs, films, etc.) are the sole responsibility of the client.
  • Print prices for on-disc print are based on your supplied colour print files to our specifications.
  • Print prices for printed paper parts are based on your supplied PDFs to our specifications.
  • We do our best to ensure that the prices on our web site are up to date, but they may vary from time to time. Please contact us for the most up to date quotation.
  • Accounts must be settled in accordance with invoice dates.
  • All orders are accepted subject to our standard terms and conditions. E&OE.


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Page last updated Sunday 29th June 2014 at 19:00.