E-Blue is not one of those companies which many would hear about unless they lived in Hong Kong. I’ve only ever seen their brand in Hong Kong, but in general, their reputation has always been that of a media rebadger – one that typically takes the “lower”, less-famous brands of media and brands it as their own.
My mum recently took a trip to Hong Kong – and she had some time left over to roam the computing centres there, scouting out for BD-R media which I had carefully instructed her to buy. Unfortunately, most of the media there were the usual suspects – Ritek, Ridata, Mr.Data, HP, Imation, TDK. She really only ended up with one interesting spindle – you can count on surprises when you buy E-Blue.
This was from their E-Blue Professional Line (I don’t think they have any other) – fully white printable surface with no identifying characteristics. The underside is the regular charcoal-grey similar to Verbatim, not like the deeper blue-grey of CMC 6x discs and not like the chocolate brown of most 4x discs. The BCA markings were definitely NOT Verbatim. So who were they? I had to stick it into a burner to find out – the text looked similar to Prodisc but the format wasn’t – my burner solved the mystery – they are UMEBDR-016’s – from UMEDisc.
Many would already run miles to avoid anything from UMEDisc – they are a Hong Kong disc manufacturer (part of the Anwell group, which also doesn’t have too much of a positive reputation), and are generally associated with low quality. In fact, anything from Hong Kong disc-wise is normally assumed to be counterfeit and low quality – but I’ll give them a go anyway. I don’t necessarily expect them to last – but if they can burn well from the outset – that will be a better result than some might expect.
Unique Disc Identifier : [BD-R-SL:UMEBDR-016-000]
Disc Type : [BD-R SL : Class 0 – Version 1]
Manufacturer Name : [Manufacturer Not Found In Database]
Manufacturer ID : [UMEBDR]
Media Type ID : 
Product Revision : 
Stamper Date : [Not Present On Disc]
Layer Info : [1 Layer (L0) : 25.03 GB (23.31 GiB) Per Layer]
Blank Disc Capacity : [12,219,392 Sectors = 25.03 GB (23.31 GiB)]
Recording Speeds : [1x , 2x , 4x , 6x]
[ DVD Identifier V5.2.0 – http://DVD.Identifier.CDfreaks.com ]
Unfortunately, the media code is not supported by older burners like my LG GGW-H20L, so we’ll have to do testing on my LiteOns. Unfortunately, since the box containing my iHBS312 is currently busy with other things, I’ll have to use my iHBS212 instead – it’s a bit harsher in general (but media compatibility and burn quality are similar), but the results will indicate just how this media works with the LiteOn burners.
The media was rated at 6x, and the iHBS212 decided that it was capable of being burnt at 4x and 6x. A burn at 6x was made – this was done P-CAV, switching to CLV for the majority of the burn. The burn was successful – a great start! Now time for the hard test – that of quality.
A valiant effort no less – the burn itself doesn’t meet the criteria of LDC Avg < 13 and BIS Max <= 9 (mainly due to thick spikes which are due to dust and not the fault of the media itself). A visual inspection found a piece of dust surrounded by some burn irregularities. It would definitely have a chance if the dust was not there. The jitter of the disc is quite excellent as it is very stable throughout and at a fairly low value below 12% which gives us hope that this disc isn’t too bad. Another indication is that the errors only subtly rise on the outer edge of the disc.
The more expensive, branded discs sometimes do quite a bit better, but as suggested by a few, it may just be a shortcoming of the LiteOn write strategies. Only time will tell just how the disc fares in the long run.
Lets try it again with another disc at 4x … and special care to try and not introduce any dust. The reduced speed CLV strategy should help attain a more stable burn as well – this will give it a good chance to impress us.
Not the best I’ve seen, but not too shabby. Definitely better than what I was expecting, knowing the discs came from Hong Kong.
That’s another mediacode explored – from a manufacturer which should be avoided in general. The discs themselves are quite surprisingly usable- but for the same price, you may have better alternatives and I would probably seek them out first. The actual results (the second time round) are actually quite good for an initial burn for discs of this price range, although the lack of compatibility with my LG GGW-H20L is a bit of a let down.
CMC Magnetics 6x was retailing at the same price, although earlier, it was found not to be much chop with my burners. Ritek is definitely to be avoided due to longevity issues, which may or may not apply to the modern Ritek media, but I’d stay away just in an abundance of caution. So maybe the UMEBDR-016’s are worth a shot after all …
In light of that, for cheap media I guess INFOME-R30’s, PRODIS-CR0’s and LGBRA-S04’s would be stuff of similar level that might be worth looking at. But one should ideally stick with MEI, Verbatim and pay the extra cash if they really care about their recordings.