DVD replication is a physical production process that involves actually pressing the discs during manufacture from a glass master. Replicated discs are also referred to as DVD ROM discs, with the ‘ROM’ standing for ‘Read-Only Memory’ (as opposed to DVD-R or DVD+R where the ‘R’ stands for ‘Recordable’).
The glass master is made of glass that has been coated by a chemical, which is burned off with a laser. The glass master is a ‘negative’ of the DVD and it is then coated with a molten nickel compound and turned into a ‘stamper’. The stamper punches tiny pits in the production DVDs that use molten aluminium as the reflective surface and polycarbonate for the remainder of the disc.
DVD replication is a very quick and cost-effective production method for larger quantities of discs (1000 or more). Due to the high setup costs this type of production is not suitable for smaller production runs. Replicated DVDs are then printed using a five colour silk screen or offset lithographic process, resulting in a very high quality disc.
The other main type of CD or DVD production is referred to as CD duplication or DVD duplication and is suitable for smaller production runs with quicker turnaround times. CD and DVD duplication involves burning blank CD and DVD media with a laser to add the file contents onto the discs.