Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blu Ray Media: Verbatim Non Premium Review

Blu Ray blank media guide : Best Blu Ray media brands
Best Blu Ray Media Brands Part 16: Verbatim Non-Premium Discs Review

Verbatim carries three different product lines in the Blu Ray market. Verbatim LTH technology scores high and benefits from Verbatim's DVD manufacturing experience, but does not have as much compatibility with all players and burners - we already discussed it here. Verbatim DataLifePlus product line, focused on professional use, is priced higher, and, at least in the DVD space, offers higher quality according to our DVD stats. This review focuses on Verbatim's standard offering. While Verbatim, a Mitsubishi brand, has had an outstanding reputation in the US for quality optical media in the past 10 years, this reputation took a hit in 2010 when regular Verbatim DVD discs appeared with the dreaded CMC MID. CMC Magnetics is a low cost, typically low quality manufacturer, widely considered inferior for optical storage. As a result, optical media storage experts started recommending using AZO-branded Verbatim products only (AZO is the high quality dye used by Verbatim itself in its own DVD manufacturing operations).

As a consequence of this radical shift in Verbatim's quality practices in 2010, we were not sure of what to expect when we started researching Verbatim non-premium Blu Ray lines. We found a dozen non-premium products from Verbatim, well distributed across the US, with an high average rating of 92%, and a large overall number of reviews, for a total of 153. Getting that many user reviews for a single product line was excellent, as it allowed us to get very good statistical information. The uncorrected rating itself was also excellent. We were however dismayed to find, in the lot, 3 reviews (2%) mentioning archival failure and data loss. Archival failure is the worst possible failure mode, since it cannot be seen at burn time, and results in possible data loss, which is potentially much more costly than the cost of the discs themselves. We found early archival failure in only three brands: Memorex, Ritek, and Verbatim. Both Memorex and Ritek's archival failures were linked to the Ritek media fiasco of late 2009-2010. Verbatim's data losses are unexpected, because of the company;'s high reputation, and rightfully worrisome, even in small amounts. When potential data loss is at stake, it does not really matter if the likelihood is 2%, 5% or 10%, as the downside is too great: what if it hits you?

To create our predictive quality rating for Verbatim non-premium Blu Ray media, following our standard process,we compounded the satisfaction rating with the brand's DVD rating of 87% (a worst case, since non-AZO branded DVD media from Verbatim actually scores 89%). We subtracted 4x the incidence of archival failures. There was a -1% statistical sample size correction, to ensure that the final number would be within 5% of the lowest limit of the statistical margin of error. The final predictive quality rating for Verbatim non-premium Blu Ray media was 83%. While not outstanding, it is nonetheless respectable. Unfortunately, it includes a small percentage of archival failures. At this time, and until the percentage of archival failures becomes so small that it is practically impossible to see it happen to you, we cannot recommend Verbatim non-premium Blu Ray media for archival quality. This is truly unfortunate, as Verbatim non-premium line is also reasonably priced, and would have been our recommendation for cost effective non-LTH storage. 

  • Verbatim non-premium Blu Ray media predictive quality rating is 83%, good, but a bit disappointing for Verbatim. 
  • There are some isolated reports of archival failure on Verbatim Blu Ray non-premium media, for 2% incidence of data loss. While the likelihood is small, the downside is enormous, and we cannot recommend Verbatim non-premium Blu Ray media for archival quality uses.
  • We consider Verbatim non-premium Blu Ray media adequate for non-archival quality uses, as long as data loss is not an issue.
Next we review Verbatim blank Blu Ray DataLifePlus premium 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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