We mostly use these drives to import music into iTunes, and ripping DVDs with Handbrake. Although hard drive storage is relatively inexpensive now, it’s still makes sense to record a CD/DVD in some situations. A DVD disk can store 4.7GB for as little as $0.25, when you buy a spindle of 100. If you give files to a friend on an external hard drive, you will probably want to get the drive back, but with cheap DVDs, you wouldn’t have to care.
There are a number of commercial CD/DVD recording solutions for the mac, but they are mostly unnecessary because of an open source app Burn. It’s completely free to use (donations encouraged), and can easily match commercial products with features.
Why it’s great:
As you’d expect, used to make a simple data disk. Useful for archiving your old files, sharing large data files with friends quickly and cheaply.
Note: Burn supports several file systems for data disks, and is set to Mac (HFS+) by default, meaning it is only readable by macs. To make the disk work on Macs, PCs and MP3 CD players, you should select the Mac + PC option from the dropdown menu. I’ve personally wasted many CDs with incompatible file systems, Mac + PC is the safest option.
Also, if you are burning a CD image file like an ISO, or DMG, you should use the Copy feature instead of Data Disk, scroll down to read more.
Burn creates audio CDs with CD text support (80 min), which are compatible with all CD players, and MP3 CDs (700MB). All the necessary format conversions are performed for you.
Supports common video formats, and records them in VCD, SVCD, DivX and DVD-Video formats. If you plan on playing these disks on computers, or modern media players, you can likely get away with just burning your source file onto a Data disk. This way you won’t have to lose quality with format conversions.
This feature allows you burn your ISO images to a physical disk. But more importantly, it lets you to make a copy of a disk you already have. Insert the disk into your mac, drag the disk icon onto Burn, and save an image to your computer. Then, insert a blank disk, and drag your saved image onto burn to record your new copy. Very easy!
CDs, DVDs, and optical media in general are on the decline. This is evident as we see more digital distribution via the Internet, and a growing number of computers without optical drives. Also macs do not have Blu-Ray drives, as I suspect Apple is more likely to drop optical media altogether before supporting Blu-ray, as Apple is increasingly more dependent on the Internet for distribution with their iTunes, App Store, and iBooks stores. Fast broadband connections are not available in all geographic areas, so we are still only in the transition process, and until we get to a completely CD-free world, Burn app on the mac will continue to be very useful.