5 Reasons to Use Blu-ray for Permanent Backups

Cloud backup, external hard drive, USB drive, tape or optical drive; it’s easy to be confused with so many options for backing up your data and files.

There are pros and cons to every backup solution, but if want to permanently backup your photos, video, music and other data then archiving to recordable Blu-ray is the clear choice. Here are 5 reasons why:

Cost – Blu-ray drive prices have come down significantly over the past few years, but more importantly the media prices are now as low as $.04 per GB.  Not too bad for a permanent data storage.

Longevity – High quality Blu-ray discs have a hard coat, scratch resistant material and can provide up to 50 years or longer archival life.

Security – Archiving to Blu-ray gives you a physical copy of your data that is not vulnerable to online data breach and can easily be stored in a safe or offsite location.

Capacity – Blu-ray discs are available in capacities of 25GB, 50GB, 100GB and 128GB allowing the average user to permanently archive a lifetime of photo’s on just a handful of discs.

Ease of Use – Using REWIND Archiving Software you can easily archive or restore all of your photos, video, music and data in 3 simple steps.

How to: Update and Continue an Archive in REWIND

Adding files to your archived Blu-ray discs is as easy as starting the archive to begin with. Using REWIND to store your files to Blu-ray means you can continue your archive, even if you started your archive on a write once BD-R disc! Yes, you can continue burning to this same disc until it’s full, then REWIND will span multiple discs to keep your files safe no matter how many GB’s you have!

We put together a little video showing how to update and continue an archive you started using REWIND.

How To: Archive your iTunes folder Permanently

As your iTunes collection grows, you may want to keep a permanent local copy of all your created playlists, XML files, library files and apps! Let’s face it, if you lost your iTunes collection, and had to redownload all your GB of apps, plus reorganize your music into the playlists you want, you’d be at it for days.

Here’s a quick <1min video on how to ensure a permanent copy of your iTunes folder by archiving to Blu-ray with REWIND®

3 Steps to a Perfect Personal Archive

Archiving your digital assets, especially your can’t-live-without documents and photos, is more important now than ever before. Everything we create, save, and share is on our PC or Mac computers. Fortunately, archiving your entire digital life has become more affordable, and amazingly easy with the release of DIGISTOR’s consumer friendly archiving application called REWIND™. DIGISTOR has seen an increased interest in Blu-ray burners and 50GB BD-R media for archiving use, especially in the Mac community as of late. REWIND™ allows your PC and Mac to turn into a powerful permanent archiving machine.

You will need:

  • A Blu-ray burner
    • DIGISTOR offers a great slim sized external Blu-ray burners for ease of installation, and portability. One Blu-ray burner can be transferred to all the PC’s and Mac’s in your house!


  • Blu-ray recordable discs


  • Archiving Software
    • This is where REWIND™ comes in. We’ll be going over the 3 easy steps to creating a perfect personal archive with REWIND™. You don’t have to use DIGISTOR brand Blu-ray burners and Blu-ray media with REWIND though. If you already own a Blu-ray burner, we will be offering REWIND™ as retail software next month.

Step 1: Give your Archive a Name

Yes, we said this would be amazingly easy. A full step dedicated to giving your archive a name. REWIND™ can continue to span discs once the Blu-ray is full. You don’t have to limit your archives to just one specific group of photos like “Our Vacation to Hawaii”. You can broaden out your archive and save every byte of your photo albums and start an archive called “World Travels 2012”. Some other examples might be “Entire Music Archive” or “Scanned Documents”.

Step 2: Select Your Files

REWIND™ has a great file browser for maneuvering your computer and selecting files to archive. The thumbnail view makes it a breeze to view a large icon or thumbnail views of photos. Easily select a file or folder by choosing the checkbox next to it. You can click ‘n drag to select multiple items at once. For large archives, the select all button works really well. Visit the Pictures shortcut on the left, hit “Select All” and bam, you have all your photos selected for archiving.

An additional easy to use feature for selecting files and folders is the drag ‘n drop ability to add files and folders to the archive by choosing them from your regular PC or Mac file system and just dragging the files or folders on top of the REWIND™ Select Files window. The files and folders are now automatically selected in REWIND™.


Step 2b: Review your choices in the Preview Files Tab

Not really a full step in itself, REWIND™ gives you a list view to review your choices and make any final decisions to remove a file or folder.


Step 3: Create Your Archive

Yes, step 3 is nearly as simple as Step 1! All the settings are already chosen for you, but we’ll review them here anyway. If you’re using an External DIGISTOR Blu-ray burner, make sure it is plugged in, switched ON, and loaded with your favorite brand of BD-R or BD-RE media. The Choose Archive Burner dropdown only shows Blu-ray drives which means your burner should automatically be selected.

Select your archive speed from the second drop down. REWIND™ also does this for you by automatically selecting the maximum speed the drive and media can burn together.

REWIND™ gives your disc a name, but you have the chance to change that on this step as well. The disc name will have an appended disc number after it has been burned.

REWIND™ can verify the data while writing to the disc. This is checked ON by default, so you can have peace of mind that your data was verified as it was written to the disc. This does lengthen the overall burn time, but for important long term archives it’s worth the wait.

Click Archive it!

That’s it! You’ve archived your favorite documents, pictures, music, or all of the above!

Remember to write the name of your archive and what disc number it is so you can have a pleasant restore process if needed in the future.

Another Look at Backup vs. Archive

Much has been written over the years about the difference between backup and archive but there is often still confusion. With all the buzz surrounding cloud storage and online backup lately, we figured it was time to revisit the discussion.
Backup to HDD or Archive to BD-R

Let’s start with a simple definition of the terms:

Backup: Backup is the process of copying active data (data that changes often) to some type of storage media as a form of short-term protection should your files become corrupted, deleted or destroyed.

Archive: Archiving is the long-term storage of your permanent digital assets; data that does not change such as photos, videos, music and business data.

What many people fail to consider when choosing a data storage solution is; what are you really trying to accomplish? Is it the ability to access a copy of recently changed data? Do you want a permanent, secure copy of their most precious files? What about the ability to quickly restore lost data or files? Or, are you simply looking for a way to easily collaborate and share files online? If you are like most of us it is probably all of the above. There is no single solution to satisfy all of these requirements and it is important to understand the difference between a backup and an archive. Here are a few things think about when considering your personal or small business data storage needs.

A backup is a copy of your current state of data, meaning it’s usually retained for a relatively short period of time and superseded with a new backup as the data changes. In most cases this means using a rewritable storage media such an external hard drive, flash drive, rewritable optical disc or an online backup provider. These can all be excellent forms of data storage for backup, but again it is important to distinguish the difference between a backup copy (temporary) and an archive (permanent).

Now let’s talk about archive, which is designed to provide long-term storage and rapid access to your permanent data. That is, data that will not change and that you would never want over-written. Archiving is generally performed less often than backup but this really depends on individual requirements. And, unlike backups, an archive should be copied to a write-once media that cannot be altered or overwritten. Because of the longevity, and reliability of BD-R recordable media, DIGISTOR has long been an advocate of Blu-ray disc for archiving.

So you ask what should I do, backup or archive? The answer is both. To manage continuous backup and protection of changes to your latest novel, project or work assignment, an online storage provider or external hard drive will do the trick. For permanent storage of your photos, videos, music and files you need an archive or permanent data storage solution. Most experts agree that an ideal storage workflow consists of multiple backups in multiple locations as well as a permanent archive.

I realize we are just scratching the surface on a very complex issue and there are several factors to consider when developing a backup and data storage plan. Hopefully, this article provides you with some understanding of the difference between backup and archive and gives you some food for thought when considering your own strategy.

We welcome your comments, feedback or suggestions below or connect with us on FB, Twitter or YouTube.

Not all Blu-ray discs are created equal, but does BD-R quality matter?

You may have noticed some BD-R discs state a clear warning that they are LTH (Low to High type). Why do they need this warning? What are your options when buying a recordable Blu-ray disc, and does the quality of these discs matter?

There are two types of Blu-ray disc material used to create 25GB BD-R discs.

Recording Layer Material Data Signal Polarity Technology
Inorganic alloy or composite High to Low (HTL) Sputtering process
Organic dye-pigment Low to High (LTH) Spin-coating process

Phase-change HTL media uses inorganic alloy or composite material for creating high quality Blu-ray discs. An inorganic recording layer means high resistance to the effects of UV light and aging, as well as high compatibility with multiple Blu-ray burners and Blu-ray players. All together this allows HTL BD-R discs to have a tremendously long shelf life with high compatibility across hardware, key factors in a medium that holds your data. HTL refers to the discs reflectivity during recording, changing the material from high reflectivity to low reflectivity.

Using the phase-change inorganic material also allows manufacturers to take the next step and create multiple layers on a single sided BD-R disc and even create rewritable BD-RE discs. 50GB BD-R and 100GB BDXL discs are possible using advanced methods to create multiple layers on an HTL disc. 50GB discs are double-layered at 25GB per layer, while 100GB BDXL discs are triple-layered and hold 33.3GB per layer. Though the multiple layers on both 50GB and 100GB discs are seamless when using the disc, 100GB BDXL media does require a BDXL capable drive to read and write to BDXL discs.

The process for creating phase-change discs is unique, and rather costly to get started on the manufacturers part. HTL media requires new equipment that uses a sputtering process of coating the disc, which differs from traditional CD, and DVD manufacturing methods. However, the result is a high quality high density disc that you can trust to hold your data for decades.

What is Sputtering?
Sputtering is a process used to coat the surface of a phase change HTL BD-R or BD-RE disc with inorganic material. This technique introduces argon gas in a vacuum chamber, and by applying an electric field, ionizes and becomes plasma. By kinetic energy transfer it ejects atoms of the inorganic material which move toward the Blu-ray disc to form a thin film.
  • Adhesion to the Blu-ray disc is high
  • It is easy to control attributions of a film
  • A clean film formation method

LTH media is an organic dye-pigment disc that found its way into the market to offer a lower cost alternative disc in Blu-ray’s infant years. LTH refers to changing the organic dye from low reflectivity to high reflectivity. Unfortunately, since this was introduced after Blu-ray entered the market, the compatibility of these types of discs are lower, requiring hardware manufacturers to create special firmware to recognize such discs.

The manufacturing process to create LTH discs is the same as older CD’s, and DVD’s manufactured on converted CD-R and DVD-R production lines, using organic dye and a spin-coating process. Initially, this brought a lower cost disc to market. However, over time problems using organic dye-pigment for long term data storage became apparent. The organic dye has a high sensitivity to light, and lower compatibility in the market, resulting in shorter lifespan of your data on the disc, and possible issues burning or reading the data on these discs.

BD-R Blu-ray Disc Light Resistance Test

Prices of recordable Blu-ray discs have continued to drop over time. The price difference in high quality inorganic HTL and lower cost LTH media is far less than it used to be. Some manufacturers can even offer high quality HTL discs at a lower cost than most LTH media in the market [ahem… see DIGISTOR media for such high quality, low cost discs]. Data integrity is of utmost importance when storing 25GB, 50GB, 100GB or more of data. BD-R quality does matter, and when choosing a Blu-ray disc for your projects, use a high quality inorganic HTL disc for long life, data retrieval, and piece of mind.