Release Date: 05/10/2007
The Move to Automated DVD / CD Media Creation Systems
for the Church, House of Worship Market
By: Chuck Alcon Jr, XLNT Idea, Inc
For the past 25+ years, Churches and Houses of Worship have traditionally distributed their messages and content on 8mm audio cassette tape media. Sermons, seasonal shows, and other events would be captured on tape media in real time, and copied on high speed tape duplication systems at 2X or 4X speeds. These tapes could then be sold or distributed to anyone wishing to have and keep the content.
In the mid 90’s a transformation began to take place in the Church and House of Worship arena from tape to 120 mm optical media ( CD and DVD ). Tower duplication systems became more affordable, and the price of CD and DVD recordable media became acceptable for organizations with tight production budgets. Within a fairly short timeframe many churches and houses of worship began to slowly replace their tape production systems with CD based solutions ( DVD was not yet a viable technology for most institutions ). The typical process for most churches was the following; farm out the printing of the blank recordable CD’s to an outside Service Bureau that would print a customized image on the disc with the pertinent information the church requested, including logos, dates, name of sermon, location, etc. Then after the sermon or message /event is captured in real time to a master CD, burn multiple duplicates from the master to blank discs using a multi drive tower system or systems. The process still seemed tedious, time consuming and expensive. The cost of bringing in disc autoloader - robotic solutions with direct to disc thermal printing capability was far too high for most churches, and even most companies and corporations.
The DVD / CD creation landscape has changed. A small number of system manufacturers in the DVD / CD creation industry realized the need for affordable solutions that would burn and print discs in a “ lights out “ environment, including XLNT Idea, Inc.
( www.xlntidea.com ). These solutions also required very user friendly software, since typical users have novice computer skills, and a small desktop footprint with portability. In addition, these automated platforms needed to be highly reliable with maximum duty cycles, since they would run unattended or with little human intervention. Now there exists multiple vendors in the marketplace that offer a variety of both pick and place and gravity fed disc burn and print systems, with price points that are affordable for churches, and small institutions, organizations and companies.
However , there remained one issue with these solutions that concerned users of these systems. In order to save costs, these systems integrate direct to disc ink – jet printing technology using print engines from Lexmark, HP, Canon, or Epson, ( Rather than thermal printing ). Discs printed with these print engines had a propensity for the images to smear or fade, which was unacceptable in many cases. Now the printable media landscape has also changed recently.
High profile media manufacturers including Imation, Taiyo Yuden and Moshe Baer have released “ waterproof and smearproof “ media types. Aquaguard, Watershield, and Aquashield have truly revolutionized the Direct to Disc Inkjet Printing Industry. Cost of these media products remains higher than most standard media products, however it is projected to fall dramatically with increasing production and supply, economies of scale.
Print images created by systems including XLNT’s Nexis Systems and XI 440 Printer are brilliant with silk screen like quality, and are in fact waterproof and smearproof. In addition, they are typically dry to the touch immediately upon being picked from the printer.
Now churches, houses of worship and even other institutional organizations, SMB / SOHO’s and mid size companies and corporations are integrating these automated robotic disc publishing solutions into their environments. The feature sets of the systems and benefits of having these solutions in house are compelling for most doing any kind of consistant disc creation for content distribution, including DVD.
The most important item to keep in mind when purchasing an automated disc publishing system, in my opinion, is cost of ownership. Sure the MSRP or Street Price is important, but users need to consider the cost of using the device over time. Items such as cost of consumables, proprietary or non proprietary ink carts, ease of use, warranty support, customer serviceand technical support, are all critical factors in a buying decision. Buyers should consider both tangible and intangible factors when procuring a new disc publishing solution.
At the end of the day, multiple solutions now exist in the marketplace to address the
in - house requirements of automated CD and DVD burn and print disc creation. Rather than being a tedious and expensive proposition, disc creation now is an easy and in most cases profitable endeavour for users of in house automated solutions.