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What is a DVD Duplicator?

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  • Written By: Jason C. Chavis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 July 2014
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A DVD duplicator uses lasers to retrieve and place data and information onto optical discs made of dyed metallic alloys covered in plastic. The technology is principally the same as those used in CD and Blue-Ray® duplication devices, although differences exist in the wavelength of the light projected onto the disc itself. Also known as DVD burners or recorders, the devices are most commonly found attached to a personal computer or set up in a system known as a DVD duplication tower.

Optical disc drives have been implemented as a standard component of a consumer-ready personal computer during the early part of the 21st century. They are used mostly in the reading and production of media and data discs. This can include video, audio or other interactive media as well as general data related to software and programs found on a computer.

Older forms of information backup have been relegated to the back burner as the DVD duplicator found success throughout the industry.Floppy drives and the older magnetic tape drives were replaced in the late 1990s as CD and DVD technology became more prevalent. In addition to its practical applications, the fact that much of the consumer electronics market use DVD technology, make this system a preferred method of media duplication.

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A DVD duplicator is comprised of basic laser technology that functions at a wavelength of 650 nm. This means that the optical discs respond to the red spectrum of light. A lens guides a laser made from a semiconductor onto the surface of a disc. As light is reflected from the shiny surface, a collection of photodiodes reads the information and respond with the corresponding actions. This process is conducted during both the reading and duplication periods.

Two servomechanisms are responsible for the rest of the device's functions. One servo controls the distance between the disc itself and the lens to maintain a correct light response, while the other servo causes the lens to flow along a spiral pathway over the radius of the disc. As the laser impacts the disc, data is encoded on the reflective dye placed on the metallic interior. Due to the changes in reflectivity, information can later be read by the photodiodes.

A number of different models of DVD duplicators are manufactured by a variety of companies. The most common example of this is 5.25 inch version that is placed in the towers of personal computers. These are known as internal drives and connect to a computer motherboard via a ATA or SATA port. Another type of DVD duplicator is available in the form of external hardware that connects to a computer with USB or FireWire. Full DVD duplicator towers are also available and are commonly used by DVD duplication services. These feature a number of individual drives that can read one disc and simultaneously create multiple copies.

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