Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blu Ray Media: Verbatim LTH Review

Blu Ray blank media guide : Best Blu Ray media brands
Best Blu Ray Media Brands Part 15: Verbatim LTH Discs Review

 Verbatim, a Mitsubishi brand, has an outstanding reputation in the US for quality optical media. It is widely distributed, and provides a very broad inventory of products. Mitsubishi media are reputed for their high quality, and it was with great surprise that DVD aficionados saw the appearance early last year of some CMC MIDs under the Verbatim brand. It appears that, in the DVD arena, AZO branded or logoed products are still Mitsubishi-manufactured, as are the DataLifePlus products which constitute the high end of the Verbatim optical products. Surprisingly, we found the same customer satisfaction rating for AZO and non-AZO branded products in the DVD market.

Verbatim came out swinging as a manufacturer of Blu Ray media from the moment the standard was published. Last month we found, in quantity, more than 20 different Verbatim Blu ray media products on the US market, almost all of which review very well. In particular, Verbatim is one of two companies (the other one is Taiyo Yuden/ JVC) which invested in cost-effective LTH technology (we discussed it here). We found 4 different products widely distributed on the market with Verbatim LTH technology, all in BD-R or BD-R DL formats. We were able to aggregate 129 reviews with a low uncorrected customer satisfaction rating of 78%.

We were eager to see how well LTH would do, so we were disappointed by the result. We looked further at the negative user reviews. Out of 29 negative reviews, 27 were complaining about their Blu Ray burner's incompatibility to play or record LTH. It is no secret that many audio and video players cannot play LTH discs, and that, even in the data storage arena, there is not 100% compatibility with LTH. Clearly, LTH is not as broadly adopted as we would like it to be.  However, LTH is clearly specified on LTH discs, and it is fairly easy to figure out if a player is LTH compatible - so we do not believe that LTH discs should get bad reviews because players that are not LTH-compatible cannot play them... If we remove the negative 27 reviews that focus on LTH incompatibility, then the uncorrected satisfaction rating for Verbatim LTH becomes an outstanding 98%.

We corrected the Verbatim LTH reviews by removing negative reviews for LTH compatibility. We were left with 99 reviews, and a 98% corrected customer satisfaction rating. To create our predictive quality rating for Verbatim LTH Blu Ray media, following our standard process,we compounded the satisfaction rating with the brand's DVD rating of 87% (using AZO-branded Verbatim DVD reviews, since Verbatim LTH uses the same AZO dies). There was no statistical sample size correction, and the final predictive quality rating for Verbatim LTH was a remarkable 97%.We are all the more comfortable with this rating because LTH technology involves the same dye and process as traditional DVD media.

We believe that Verbatim LTH technology is archival quality, and have no hesitation endorsing it for any data storage use, as long as the user has ascertained that players and burners are LTH compatible. On the other hand, LTH does not appear to be a good candidate for audio or video recording. Many audio/video players are not LTH compatible (such as Oppo players for instance), and it might not be a good idea to use a media that is incompatible with large numbers of players to store music or video.

  • Verbatim Blu Ray LTH media predictive quality rating is 97%, the highest score in the category. 
  • LTH media is not compatible with all players and burners, and it is essential that potential purchasers carefully check their players and burners' compatibility to LTH.
  • We consider Verbatim Blu Ray LTH media to be of archival quality.
  • At this time we recommend Verbatim Blu Ray LTH media for any data storage use, including data archival. As many audio/video players are not compatible with LTH, we believe that LTH is not a good vehicle for audio/ video recording at this time.
Next we review Verbatim blank Blu Ray non-LTH, non-DLP media... So come back soon!

To understand Blu Ray lingo, check our lexicon of Blu Ray vocabulary. Our Blu Ray brand predictive quality rating process is explained here. Our statistical analysis practices are described here, which is also where we discuss's predictive quality rating.

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Josh said...

On Newegg, for the 97090 model, I see two worrisome reviews that appear to have been submitted after you gathered your data:

RobotMan on 2/22/2011 10:22:57 PM
hdtv00 on 2/14/2011 1:18:59 AM

Both mention a high amount of archival failure after 6-9 months.

George Gear said...

Josh - wow, thanks for the great tip, you are right, we just found the reviews - this is a big red flag. We will go through all our user review sources, and update the review above.

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