A CD-based digital album is a popular choice these days not least because it tends to be much cheaper than a bound digital or traditional album. A majority of couples have access to a computer and printer, and can therefore make as many copies of their album as they wish. Many people also feel that they can make prints of their pictures for the cost of the paper and ink. It is also possible to email pictures to friends, upload them to social media etc. However, in practice any printed results may be less than satisfactory because their computer and printer systems are usually uncalibrated and they may not have the expertise or software to make any necessary adjustments.
CD digital albums consist of a compilation of selected images which tell the story of a wedding. The sequence can be displayed on a computer or television and runs automatically unless the controls are used to pause or stop the slideshow. Sound in the form of commentary, or music, may be added if required.
The principal disadvantage of a digital album is that it is unlikely to impress relatives and friends. It is normally delivered on a CD or DVD in a protective case. Although it may be possible to select individual pictures for printing or inclusion in a small printed album, the quality of the images may be less than that required for larger prints. The quality may also disappoint when an album is viewed on a modern high-definition television.
As far as long-term storage is concerned, the digital album appears to offer many advantages because it is so easily copied. Should one copy be damaged or lost, another is always available. Once again, however, this is dependent upon the couple managing the copying process correctly. CDs and DVDs may have a life of only 10 years or so, particularly when written using the CD/DVD writer on a domestic PC. The information stored on the CDs/DVDs fades with time and the files may become unreadable in a few years. The longevity of the digital album should not be compared with that of music CDs which are written using writers of much greater power. Another factor to consider is the rapid evolution of digital technology. Who can now read the information stored on the 8" floppy disks of 30 years ago - even if such disks were still readable? In 20 or 30 years it is almost certain that today's Blu-ray DVDs will be in museums. It is therefore necessary to transfer digital albums from technology to technology and the years and decades pass.