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Optical Disks Explained

Optical disks

An optical disk is commonly called either a CD, DVD, or Blue Ray disk. This creates some confusion, as people expect a CD to have music on it and to work in a CD player. The same is true for DVDs and Blue Ray disks, as people expect these to have movies on them, and play in a DVD or Blue Ray player on the television.

Actually, CD, DVD and Blue Ray refer to different types of construction and different data capacities of optical disks. Music has to be encoded as a music file and written on a CD disk to play in a CD player. Movies have to be encoded as a movie file and written on a DVD disk to play in a DVD player. There are a variety of music and movie file types as well, so it’s no wonder everybody’s confused.

What is on the disk we will send you.

We will send your images to you on a DVD-type disk, encoded as image files, not movie files. This type of disk is usually referred to as a “data disk.” The image file type we use is called  JPEG, which is universally accepted by all photo viewing and editing software packages.  This type of data file is specifically designed for digital images, and the files are intended for viewing on computers, not televisions. However, some DVD players can read and display these image files on your television.

You can read and copy the images on the disk often, and you own the copyright to these images. However, the disk is protected to prevent accidental deletion. These disks are archive quality, and will last up to 75 years if you keep them in the jewel case and protect them from light and heat. Your great grandchildren will appreciate the effort you take now to preserve these disks!

Disk handling

The laser in your computer’s optical disk drive works by finding and reading extremely small holes in the surface of the disk.  Grime or fingerprints hide these holes from the laser, and make it hard for the computer to read the digital images from the disk.  Please handle the disks by the edges, and avoid touching the shiny side of the disk.