CD, DVD & Blu-ray Printing


The technology used to print CD, DVD and Blu-ray has changed dramatically over the last decade. Print jobs that once took several days to complete can now be done on the same day with the final print being identical to the proof approved by the client.

Improvements in digital print technology have transformed disc packaging, CD and DVD print design and the ability to rapidly change the design.

There is no doubt that digital printing for small runs of CD, DVD, Blu-ray and paper parts, is the only way to go when full colour images are required. There are several different disc printing options available, including thermal retransfer, desktop inkjet and high speed 6 colour UV curable digital inkjet. Each technology has its pros and cons.

Thermal Retransfer

Thermal retransfer print technology has a reasonably low capital entry level and can be operated by a relatively unskilled workforce, however the colour ribbon and retransfer film is the most expensive per print option and a special adhesion promoting surface needs to be applied to the discs.


Inkjet disc printers are inexpensive and easy to operate. While the resolution is reasonable, it is often washed-out due to the use of special highly matt inkjet receptive surfaces on the optical media. There are inkjet receptive glossy based discs and UV-cured lacquer overcoats, but both options significantly increase the cost per disc and the labour used to produce an acceptable result.


Offset printing has very good resolution, however being a 4 colour process it can only approximate PMS colours, commonly used in corporate logos. The equipment is capitally intensive, the printing plates are expensive, take time to produce, and usually require client signed-off proofs for the print operator to adjust the 4 colour inks and match the colour proof. The cost per print after initial setup is low, stable and fast and no special surfaces are required on the CD, DVD or Blu-ray media.


Similarly, silkscreen-printing equipment is expensive. While it has significantly lower resolution than offset printing, it does provide for PMS and solid colour printing. The cost per print is low, the print is stable and no special surfaces need to be applied to the CD, DVD or Blu-ray media.

UV Cured Digital Printers

Without a doubt for any larger scale CD or DVD replication or duplication facility, UV cured digital printers should be considered. Whilst the capital outlay is significant these printers offer 6 or more colour printing, low initial setup cost (no screens, plates, proofs or wasted discs aligning and balancing the printer), and they can print directly onto uncoated, inexpensive, white-coated discs. There is no contact with the media during the print process, which is important for recordable media and Blu-ray discs.  The cost per piece to print is similar to offset printing without all the set up costs.

Digital print technology takes a digital graphic file and prints the finished art directly to the disc. It is an on-demand process, reducing lead times and excess inventory, overruns, plate and screen costs and reduces the need for high res digital proofs. Print files can be adjusted quickly and another few discs can be printed. What you see is what you get.

One of the benefits of digital CD, DVD and Blu-ray media printing is that it caters for variable data printing. Sequential, incremental serial numbers, barcodes, and personalised discs can be printed directly from a merged database.

As pressure grows to be greener, more cost efficient and to turn things around quickly, digital UV cured printing is a great solution to meet the market’s requirements.

Learn more about FATS Digital’s CD, DVD and Blu Ray printing services, here.