Letting Light Take Over Ink & Labels
Essentially, the working principle behind LightScribe is crudely similar to how data is transferred onto CD-R and DVD±R media. In both instances, a write laser is concentrated onto the reactive layer (dye) that is highly receptive to the intensity of the laser energy and in doing so, creates a chemical change in the original state of the dye coating. Where distinct difference has to be pointed out, LightScribe creates visible patterns on the label side of a LightScribe media while conventional CD-R/DVD±R writing changes the reflectivity signature of the dye on the data side to mimic the pits of pressed CD/DVDs. Compared to Yamaha's DiscT@2 technique, there's absolutely no compromise in storage for labeling and all designs and text are all reflected on the label side as it should have been in the first place.
Basically, a LightScribe solution involves three components, a LightScribe-enabled drive, a LightScribe-enabled media and authoring software that supports LightScribe for label design. It is exactly this need for a special LightScribe-enabled media that leads us right back to why LightScribe has had a sluggish start upon its introduction. Given that HP's laser labeling technique is completely incompatible with the label surface of traditional CD-R/DVD±R discs, a whole new stash of LightScribe-enabled media would have to be purchased should you decide to adopt HP's mode of etching permanent designs onto your media. But that's not the end of it as there's the big question of media compatibility and brand allegiance, which for some users has taken numerous trial and error attempts to eventually settle on a handful of brands that have been tested to be compatible with every optical disc drive product within their home. In this aspect, LightScribe certainly has some way to go to prove itself and win over this group of users.
There's absolutely no denying that laser etching is in a league of its own when it comes to attaining that professional look for burnt media over its ink and adhesive counterpart. However, color presentation is one area that LightScribe is unable to sink its teeth into, or at least it will remain so for the foreseeable future. Intimate discussions held with BenQ revealed support for color LightScribe-ing will most likely make its appearance in the future. Although no timeframe was mentioned, we reckon that color support for LightScribe would be a push fueled by the response of consumers over the next few quarters or so.