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Printable DVDs versus LightScribe -- pros and cons?

All right, already: Enough of those felt-tip pens! I'm in the market for printer models that are capable of printing directly to "printable" CDs and DVDs; I'm also interested in the external LightScribe burners made by HP and others.

The factors I'm considering are appearance, ease of use and ongoing expenses, more or less in that order. Printing directly to the disk certainly allows for a wildly colorful label, as opposed to the monochrome shades of gray generated by a LightScribe burner.

On one hand, direct printing requires a printer that is equipped with a disk tray or similar device. So far I've been able to find one Epson model, the R380, which fits the bill, along with a single HP unit, the PhotoSmart D5160. (Unless I've missed something, the current Canon line apparently lacks a direct-print model.) In my long-held belief system, which may well be completely outdated, HP and Canon are the best, followed by Epson, and trailed by the rest. I'm willing to spend up to about $250 for the printer.

On the other hand, what little I know of the LightScribe technology impresses me with the "cool" look of its labels, though again these are black and white, at least for now. Burners I've seen are in the range of roughly $100-200, depending on the media variations accommodated and maximum recording speed. (Way too soon to jump into Blu-ray or HD-DVD, obviously.)

So if I go with direct printing, my ongoing expenses would include compatible disks and replacement ink cartridges. With LightScribe, I would be locked into LightScribe blank media (if I want a label on a particular disk) though with no further costs for ink.

A penny for your thoughts?

Thanks much!

Paul :^)

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