The Optical Disc Corner

Optical discs are a technology for data storage involving the use of lasers and photodiodes which sense variations in reflectivity or light polarity from the disc. It encompasses a vast number of technologies, and was most popularized in the home between the late 90’s through to the mid-2000’s with the advent of CD-recorders and DVD-recorders. However, they have existed much longer since the mid-80’s as a read-only format and are still present today, although waning in popularity due to their physical size, limited data capacity and speed.

Optical disc technology includes various flavours of CD, DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-ray, LaserDisc, Magneto-Optical, MiniDisc, UMD, GD-ROM, DDCD, Nintendo Optical Disc, UDO, PD-Dual and possibly others.

As other technologies such as magnetic hard drive storage and flash as well as network streaming technology overtake optical discs, it seems quite possible that the optical disc may be relegated to history at least temporarily. Modern computers frequently no longer ship with optical drives, a similar blow that eventually killed off the floppy disk. As a result, it is somewhat worth documenting optical discs in various incarnations while I can.

Optical discs were popularized by home recording, which is how many people came into contact with them. Blank discs themselves proved rather interesting, as earlier discs often came individually packaged in retail packaging which often advertised their features in various ways. Earlier discs also varied more often in dye types, and had higher quality than later mass-market discs. Towards the end of the era, printable blank-top discs became most popular as did bulk-spindle packaging, killing off all of the character that blank discs had.

In recognition of their waning popularity, a while back, I tried to start a few postings to collect the various retail optical discs and packages I still had in my collection, but miserably failed to follow through and finish the effort. In the meantime, I had spent a lot of time rummaging through thrift shops and the likes to collect and expand my retail recordable optical disc collection. While this posting comes somewhat late as I had disposed of a vast majority of my optical disc collection, it is still somewhat sizeable involving over 400 images and a lot of cropping and straightening to make it presentable. Other optical discs in my collection were too badly marked to make them presentable, which was a shame.


The artwork and images that are used on blank optical discs are copyright of the respective manufacturers. The logos and brand names are trademark of the respective manufacturers.

While I intend no copyright infringement or damage to the companies involved, it’s rather difficult to reminisce about and discuss blank optical discs and their packaging without the artwork itself as it is part of the experience. Based on what I can see, most of the packaging is already obsoleted, and its reproduction on my personal blog shouldn’t be a major issue. If a company should have problems with this, I will be happy to remove it from the site if contacted directly via e-mail.

However, because of this, I cannot give permission for the images to be reused or reproduced elsewhere as I do not own the rights to the images, merely my work in scanning it. If you should wish to re-use the images in your own way, please seek your own legal advice.

The Optical Disc Corner

This corner is dedicated to pages showing retail-package blank discs and non-printable top blank discs, collected by brand. This is an effort similar to that of the VHS Corner, to catalog the various artworks, media-codes and physical disc types on offer in a near-mint condition. While it is not so relevant nowadays, it’s good to have something to look back upon in the future. There will also be pages collecting some of the other optical disc articles on the site. As usual, click for large images. Some discs will only have partial imagery because I only have the packaging but not the disc or vice versa. Most of the time, I’ve tried to collect still-blank discs with entirely clean artwork, however, some discs have been written to and some artwork has faded slightly due to exposure to ambient lighting.

Optical Disc Brands

This section may still grow over time. Donations are also welcome – especially vintage optical discs in the early 63-minute and 74-minute CD-R era, gold CD-Rs, retail mini-CD-Rs, retail tinted substrate discs, DVD-Rs from the “for Authoring” side, DVD+Rs prior to the standardization of 4.7Gb capacity and odd-ball DVD-Rs such as the BeAll 4.85Gb discs. Other optical formats not yet detailed, e.g. LaserDisc also welcome.

Feel free to get into contact if you’ve got something to contribute – otherwise sit back and enjoy!