CD vs. DVD vs. USB
USB, CD or DVD – Which Do I Need?
This is a very common question from many of our first time clients. They call with a vision in their mind of what they would like, but don’t often have a rationale behind it. USB flash drives are popular, portable, and pocket-sized, but are not always the best option for a particular need. Here we weigh in on the pros and cons of these different media types.
Sigh. We love compact discs. Those of us that grew up with this revolutionary medium will always have a soft spot for them. After the evolution from 8 track to cassette, CDs were fabulous! Sure they got scratched, but they certainly didn’t get eaten by your tape deck! The CD was here to stay. Or so we thought. While the CD has declined in popularity, it still has a myriad of uses. As D2D recently reported, CD album sales are still alive and well in the US, remaining the format of choice for many listeners and independent artists.
Digital versatile discs. Awesome. The DVD had much of the same appeal as the CD, replacing VHS tapes that got worn or broken with a more durable and higher quality medium. Studios replicated movies and repackaged them for sale. DVD players replaced VHS players and we were off and running! Movies could be watched either on traditional television sets or on computer. Corporations got into the game with the realization that their training and promotional videos were better served (and more easily shipped) on DVD than VHS. After all, not everyone has a TV with a video player in their office, but they probably have a computer with one.
Universal Serial Bus. In this busy world of taking work home and transferring data from one location to another, the USB drive rules. Email won’t send that 10MB file that you need to work on at home? Transfer it to a USB drive and you’re good to go! Have digital photos that you want to send to grandma and grandpa? Put them on a USB flash drive and hand it over! It’s lightweight. It’s portable. It has the potential to hold a lot of information.
So which one do I choose?
There is no question that USB flash drives are the sexier option at this point. Brand them with your corporate logo, put your marketing brochures and animation on them and distribute them at will. So why go with anything else?
-The biggest concern most clients have with USBs today is their price. While the price for a 1 or 2GB stick has declined steadily over the last couple of years, they still out-price CDs and DVDs by far.
-USB flash drives break. If you’ve ever looked inside one, you can see that the little parts and pieces are pretty delicate, so you must treat them with care. Especially if you use them as your primary backup source (which we do not recommend). Data recovery is possible on some drives, but probably not if they’re in pieces.
-DVDs are still an excellent alternative to flash drives. They hold up to 4.7GB of data, which means you get more space than a 4GB USB at a fraction of the cost.
-DVD video discs can usually be viewed on either your TV/DVD player or on your computer (depending on your system’s functionality). The same can’t be said for a USB.
-As we mentioned before, CDs are still popular with local musicians and artists. After all, what’s a better handout at a gig than your promo disc? Better yet, capitalize on the energy of your show and sell CDs once you get off stage.
-CDs are also a viable alternative to both the USB and DVD for corporate material. If you have 5 PDF files that need to be distributed to 25,000 employees, don’t you want to go with the most cost effective option? Data CDs hold up to 700MB of information. They are cheap, lightweight, easy to mail and can’t be overwritten.
So which is best?
It depends on your project needs, budget and audience. For distribution at trade shows, conferences or events, I would recommend USB drives. At roughly $5 per drive, it is a relatively low cost investment. With some manufacturers moving away from producing laptops with optical drives, it needs to be usable by your recipients while on the road. For corporations sending out mass videos or training materials, a disc is still the more affordable option. If you want users to be able to watch your video on their DVD player at home, DVDs are the best bet. However, if it’s a relatively small data file, go with a CD and save some money.
Ready to make the switch from physical media altogether? Ask Disc, Inc. about our digital delivery system, soon to be launched with options for custom branding and email distribution. You’ll be glad you did.