In information technology, a burner is an optical drive with which CDs , DVDs or Blu-ray discs can be read and written ("burned") with burning programs . In contrast to duplication in a press shop , data from a burner is duplicated, not replicated .
Initially, end users could only play or read audio CDs and CD-ROMs, but could not write them themselves. In 1992 (at the Photokina) CD burners came onto the market, although these were unaffordable for many users (22,000 DM). With the market launch of the DVD, CD burners became considerably cheaper and therefore suitable for the mass market. Today, DVD burners are standard equipment on new computers. In recent years, DVD burners have also been built into consumer electronics such as video recorders and hi-fi systems .
In the beginning, the increase in the read and write speeds of the drives was promoted; In the meantime, the aim is to support as many different CD and DVD formats as possible and to increase the burn quality.
Since burners can be used to reproduce copyrighted material, manufacturers and importers of burners have had to pay a flat fee to collecting societies since the early 1990s .
Basic burner variants
The three basic burner variants in their historical order (CD, DVD and BD) are shown below.
A CD burner is a device for writing to CD-R or CD-RW blanks, which can then be read with a normal CD player or CD-ROM drive . The first generation CD burners can only write to blank CD-Rs. All CD burners on the market today can write both CD-R and CD-RW blanks.
The CD burner works with a laser with which the material of the CD-R or CD-RW is locally heated, so that the reflection properties change. With CD-Rs this process is irreversible , while CD-RWs can be erased again.
The speed of the writing process, also known as the burning process, is specified in multiples of 176.4 KB / s (raw or music data; corresponds to 150 KB / s user data), which corresponds to the reading speed of a normal audio CD. A four-fold burner needs 18.5 minutes to burn a 74-min CD (650 MB). Burning speeds of up to 56 times are common. At speeds of over 48x there is a risk of damage to the blanks by the centrifugal forces that occur , which is why most commercially available torches only work with up to 48 or 52 times.
Devices that burn and read CDs but can only read DVDs - in other words, CD burners with an integrated DVD drive - are known as combo drives ; Due to the drop in prices for DVD burners, these have now practically disappeared from the market.
CD burners can usually write outside the specified ranges, for example for audio CDs beyond 74 minutes, especially in the range between the 80th and 82nd minutes. This ability is known as Overburn . There is a risk that some CD players can no longer read this area.
CD burners that are designed exclusively for recording or duplicating audio CDs are known as CD recorders .
A DVD burner , the further development of the CD burner, is a device for writing to blank DVDs . All modern DVD burners can read CDs and DVDs described, almost all can also blank CDs describe.
The burning technology is similar to that of the CD burner, only the device works with a higher resolution.
The speed of the burn process is specified in multiples of 1.385 MiB / s. "Simple" means about one hour per 4.7 GB blank (corresponding to 4.38 GiB or 4489 MiB), "twice" corresponds to half an hour per blank, "four times" corresponds to a quarter of an hour, etc.
The higher speeds (from about six times) are no longer effective on the entire blank. The burners increase the speed from the inside out in two different processes: continuously in CAV mode or in stages in ZCLV mode. Thus, the effective burning speed increases only slightly at higher nominal speeds. However, since material fluctuations have an effect especially in the outer edge areas of the DVD blanks, the error rate increases with increasing burning speed - which only comes into play in the outer area.
Most of the blank DVDs written by DVD burners can be played in DVD-ROM PC drives as well as in today's DVD players . Blank DVD-R discs are often easier to read than blank DVD + R discs, as only they are standardized. However, if the bit setting option is used, blank DVD + R discs are accepted by some drives that otherwise reject writable DVDs.
Newer burners can also write DL media ( double layer or dual layer ) with a volume of 8.5 GB (corresponding to 7.96 GiB or 8152 MiB).
The following terms are used for DVD burners:
- Multi = DVD-R / -RW and DVD + R / + RW
- Great = also DVD-RAM
- Plus = additional double layer
- Superdrive = a burner in Apple computers that can write and read DVDs and CDs.
A SuperMultiPlus DVD burner, for example, is compatible with DVD ± R / RW and DVD-RAM and can also write double-layer media (if available).
A Blu-ray burner is the successor to the CD and DVD burner and, in addition to Blu-ray discs (BD, BD-R and BD-RE), can usually read and write all previous formats (including DVD-RAM) . Many BD burners can also read HD DVDs .
SuperDrive is an Apple- specific drive that was introduced in 1998-99 for the 3.5 ″ format and has been the name of a CD / DVD burner since 2001. The SuperDrive is designed as a slot load drive and is therefore not able to process the Mini-CD format.
Theoretical burning time in comparison
The following tables compare the burning times of the typical blanks (discs) commonly found on the market.
(in KiB / s)
|Burning time (in min)|
Digital Versatile Disc
(in KiB / s)
|Burning time (in min)|
(in MByte / s )
|Burning time (in min)|
|BDXL (3 layer)
|BDXL (4 layers)
The burning time corresponds to the time until a blank has been completely written with data. These values result from the data rate and the data capacity of the blank. In practice, the burning time is usually longer, since the blanks are not written to with the set burning speed from the start at high burning speeds. The data is saved on the blank i. d. Usually written from the inside out, the burning speed is slower inside. Furthermore, z. B. for the lead-in or lead-out changed the burning speed. A data interruption ( buffer underrun ) also contributes to a longer burning time.
Burn marking techniques
Since 2004 there have been various methods of labeling the blank directly with the burner and a suitable program . There are currently two different technologies, namely LightScribe and Labelflash . The predecessor of Labelflash is DiscT @ 2 .
Recorder Identification Code
In response to pressure from the music industry (represented by IFPI and RIAA ), Philips has included a so-called Recorder Identification Code (RID) in the Rainbow Books as a measure to uniquely assign each burned CD to its burner . The RID code is the counterpart to the Source Identification Code (SID) , the eight-character manufacturer code for blank CDs.
The RID code is made up of the manufacturer code (for example "PHI" for Philips), the model number and the unique serial number of the burner.
In 2006 Philips received the negative Big Brother Award for this .
In connection with burning CDs in particular, incompatibilities occur again and again, which can often be traced back to an incorrect writing strategy in the devices concerned.
- Some CD burners cannot process certain blanks.
- Older CD-ROM drives and audio CD players in particular cannot read burned CDs or can only read CDs burned on certain blanks. Alternatively, the burned CD is recognized, but reading errors occur.
- Older CD-ROM drives and audio CD players cannot read burned CD-RWs.
- CD-RWs that were burned at more than four times the speed cannot be read by older devices.
In this context it is also discussed whether the burning speed of CD-Rs has an influence on their readability in other devices.
If the burned CD is recognized, but reading errors occur, this may also be due to dust in the laser unit of the devices concerned.
- Information from Philips on the Recorder Identification Code (PDF, English)
- A higher burning speed also means a higher error rate
- How CD Burners Work from howstuffworks
- ↑ a b Specification for BDXL available: 128 GByte on a plastic disk at heise.de, June 26, 2010
- ↑ First 12x burner: Pioneer: First 12x Blu-ray burner on www.chip.de
- ↑ 16x Blu-ray Disc burner with SATA connection. Retrieved February 28, 2019 .