CD DVD duplicators are devices that use lasers to read and write data from and onto various optical discs. While the most common version of these devices are used for DVD duplication, CD and Blu-Ray® duplicators are prevalent as well. CD DVD duplicators are commonly referred to as burners or recorders in a personal computer or DVD duplication tower.
As of the early part of the 21st century, optical disc drives were standard parts of consumer computer towers. They can be used to read software and a variety of media including audio, video and video games. CD DVD duplicators are also the principle semi-permanent option for preserving and archiving information and data. They have replaced previous forms of information backups such as magnetic tape drives and floppy disks. The other big advantage of the system is the ubiquitous nature of optical discs between computer technology and consumer electronics.
The laser system is the preeminent feature in a CD DVD duplicator. A semiconductor laser is directed through a guiding lens. As the light reflects from the disc's surface, it is picked up by photodiodes that stabilize and control the reading and duplication process. These devices rely heavily on the wavelength of the laser in order to function properly. When the CD portion is implemented, the wavelength is 780 nm, while the DVD portion is 650 nm.
The rest of the device is maintained by two servomechanisms. One corrects the distance between the lens and the disc. The other moves the lens head along the radius of the disc in a spiral pathway. A reflective dye is placed on the disc, which is changed as the laser encodes data. This is the way the information is stored on the optical discs.
CD DVD duplicators are available in a variety of different types. The most common version is an internal drive for personal computers, workstations and servers. These are 5.25 inch bays that fit into the tower of the computer. External drives are also available that attach to a computer via FireWire or USB. Other options are full towers, usually for DVDs. These allow a single disc to be read and multiple copies to be made at one time.
Optical drives were first developed in the late 1970s and introduced into the computer system during the early 1980s. One of the major challenges with these early options was the size of the discs themselves. Personal computers were not formatted to handle the size of a 5.25 inch bay. This same problem occurred with early models of laptops. By the 1990s, the concept of CD drives was standard and this was followed by duplication technology.