LaCie External LightScribe DVD Burner Review

Flip the DVD

"Do not use paper labels on your DVD," we say in our magazine, at our seminars, at our Expos and just about anywhere else we can say it. Yet we continue to see these 5-inch, home-burned optical discs with paper glued to the top of them. Ink printing technology has really come a long way in the last couple of years, but that involves expensive ink cartridges. One can get by using a permanent marker for personal use or sharing with family and friends, but if you need to look remotely professional (weddings, demo reels, etc.,) the Sharpie is not going to cut it. Luckily, Hewlett-Packard invented LightScribe technology, a professional looking alternative to all of the above.

LaCie licensed the technology from HP and developed the affordable d2 DVDRW 16x Double Layer FireWire drive. The recorder burns CD-R/CD-RW, DVD-5 (single layer)RW and DVD-9 (double layer)R media.

The slightly larger-than-a-bread-toaster red and sliver box contained the silvery-gray burner, a 6-pin to 6-pin FireWire cable, a USB 2.0 cable, power supply, some blank LightScribe media and a DVD-ROM containing the drivers, user's manual, a Quick Install Guide as well as supporting software.

We plugged the burner into the wall, attached the FireWire cable from an average powered PC to the d2 drive and inserted the single DVD-ROM containing both the Mac and PC burning software and "label" creation programs.

Ready to Go

Installation was quick and easy, and within fifteen minutes, we made our way through the SureThing CD & DVD Labeler SE software. Without looking at the included PDF user's manual, we were able to design a "label" using one of our own photos from a point-and-shoot camera on our hard drive. We then composited some curved text, which ran parallel with the curve of the disc, over the image. Happy with our graphic creation we clicked "print," a window prompted us to insert the special LightScribe media upside down in the burner's tray and away it burned.

LightScribe burners require specific LightScribe media. These CDs and DVDs have a reactive dye coating that changes color when infrared laser light hits it. The same laser that burns data to CDs also etches the image and text onto the label side.

Twice the process surprised us. First by how long it took to etch: close to thirty minutes. We're not sure if it had anything to do with the very detailed photo we used, but it seemed like a long time (Note, however, that if you keep your label within the inner radius of the disc, your discs will be labeled much quicker). The second surprise was with how slick and professional it looked. Though it's a monochromatic image on the gold surface of the disc, we were really impressed with the sharp detail.

We've heard the discs will only keep their image if kept from direct light most of the time, and that the discs will fade after 9 months of exposure to continual indoor light, so keep them in the drawer or protective case.


Though LightScribe burn time is not short, the LaCie d2 LightScribe dual layer burner is an easy-to-use, inkless alternative that will give you professional results.


Platform: PC and Mac

Operating System: Win 98SE/Me/2000/XP; Mac OS 9/X 10.1.2 or later

Min. Processor: 500MHz

Min. RAM: 256MB

Write Formats: CD-R/RW, DVDR/RW single-layer, DVDR dual-layer

LightScribe: Yes

Maximum Speeds (manufacturer reported) Read: CD 48X; DVD 16X

Maximum Speeds (manufacturer reported) Write: CD-R 48X; CD-RW 32X; DVD-R/+R 16X; DVD+RW 8X; DVD-RW 6X; DVD+R DL 8X; DVD-R DL 4X

Interface: USB 2.0, FireWire

Buffer Size: 2MB

Included Software (Mac): Roxio Toast Lite 6.0, LaCie; LightScribe Labeler

Included Software (Win): Roxio Easy Media Creator 7; Roxio DVDMax Player; SureThing CD & DVD Labeler

Extras: FireWire and USB 2.0 cables, 1 blank LightScribe CD-R, 1 blank LightScribe DVD+R


  • Easy installation
  • Windows and Mac support
  • Great-looking LightScribe labels


  • LightScribe label burning can be slow


Throw away your paper labels and messy ink cartridges–the most elegant way to burn and label a disc has arrived.

Morgan Paar is Videomaker's technical editor.


22985 NW Evergreen Pkwy.

Hillsboro, OR 97124

(503) 844-4500


The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.

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