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What is HP's Lightscribe Ink?

If you've already read about Lightscribe, HP's new technology for laser-burning CD/DVD disc labels, then you already know that part of the point of Lightscribe is that there is no ink to cause seepage damage and no labels to throw the disc off-balance in high-speed drives. Then what's all this about "Lightscribe ink?" After all, Hewlett-Packard (HP) has been pretty clear about the fact that no ink is involved in their new process.

As far as I can tell, this can all be traced to a single Lightscribe press release by Verbatim that has been widely quoted and reproduced across the web. Sure enough, right in the title of the press release, it says MKM/Verbatim Announces Innovative CDs/DVDs and Ink for LightScribe-equipped Drives. Worse, inside the press release, it claims that MKM will market LightScribe discs, stampers, and ink.

At this point, I think it's safe to assume that this is simply a press release that got botched, perhaps in translation from Japanese to English. It is extremely clear from the official HP LightScribe website that there just ain't no ink involved in the HP Lightscribe process. You have to buy special discs that are coated with a dye on the non-data side that can be burned by your drive's label. The HP LightScribe consumer information pages are quite explicit about this, when they say: There's no ink to smear, no paper to curl, no adhesive to loosen. There simply would be nothing interesting about LightScribe if it required "stampers and ink"!

Summary: ignore the press release and postings that refer to LightScribe ink. It may require special discs and special drives, but ink, at least, is one thing it does not require.

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