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A Guide to the Different DVD Formats.

 
General information.
On the DVD writing side, there are two main competing standards.
The standard known as DVD-R/RW (this is a combination of DVD-R and DVD-RW-note the minus in the name.)
The other competing standard is DVD+R/RW (note the "plus" in place of the dash).

The situation is similar to that of the competing VHS and Beta video standards decades ago. But unlike the video tapes of old, the two main competing DVD standards are designed to create discs that may be read by most consumer DVD movie players. And both standards can read commercial Hollywood DVD movies, as well as work as CD readers and burners.

Both DVD-R and DVD+R let you write a single time to a DVD (similar to CD-R technology). Once you use a DVD-R or DVD+R disc, you can't write data to that disc again.

On the other hand, DVD-RW and DVD+RW technologies let you write continually write to a DVD, just as you can to a CD-RW disc or a floppy.

More recently there has been a trend for DVD Recorder manufacturers, to by-pass the whole "plus" and "minus" issue by producing machines that work equally happily with both formats.
 
DVD+R , DVD+RW
DVD+R and DVD+RW formats are supported by Philips, Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Ricoh, Yamaha and others.

DVD+R is a recordable DVD format similar to CD-R. A DVD+R can only record data once and then the data becomes permanent on the disc. The disc can not be recorded onto a second time.

DVD+RW is a re-recordable format similar to CD-RW. The data on a DVD+RW disc can be erased and recorded over numerous times without damaging the medium.

DVDs created by a +R/+RW device can be read by most commercial DVD-ROM players.
 
DVD-R, DVD-RW
These formats are supported by Panasonic, Toshiba, Apple Computer, Hitachi, NEC, Pioneer, Samsung and Sharp. These formats are also supported by the DVD Forum.

DVD-R is a recordable DVD format similar to CD-R and DVD+R. A DVD-R can only record data once and then the data becomes permanent on the disc. The disc can not be recorded onto a second time. 

DVD-RW is a re-recordable format similar to CD-RW or DVD+RW. The data on a DVD-RW disc can be erased and recorded over numerous times without damaging the medium.

DVDs created by a -R/-RW device can be read by most commercial DVD-ROM players.
 
8cm DVD-R (or mini DVD-R)
For DVD Camcorders such as the new Hitachi & Sony and Panasonic Mini DVD Camcorders.
These record directly onto 8cm DVDs for easy playback in a compatible DVD device such as a DVD player.
 
DVD-RAM
DVD-RAM discs can be recorded and erased repeatedly but are only compatible with devices manufactured by the companies that support the DVD-RAM format. DVD-RAM discs were typically housed in cartridges.
 
DVD-ROM
DVD-ROM was the first DVD standard to hit the market and is a read-only format. The video or game content is burned onto the DVD once and the DVD will run on any DVD-ROM-equipped device.
 
 
( There also are two additional standards for DVD-R disks: DVD-RG for general use, and DVD-RA for authoring, which is used for mastering DVD video or data and are not typically available to the general public.
 
Notes
At present, the recordable DVD media formats are mostly NOT interchangeable (for recording purposes) with the various DVD video recorders.

If you are in any doubt as to the format required for your recorder please consult your owners manual before placing an order.
 
Also, please be aware that recordable DVD media may not be playback compatible with some older and/or entry level DVD movie players.  Most of the newer stand-alone DVD players are capable of playing DVD-Recordable media, but not all.  Approximately 75% - 80% of the stand-alone DVD players on the market today are capable of playing DVD-Recordable media.

 


Author B. Dickenson.
Design & Layout Copyright 2004 [cds2u]. All rights reserved.
Revised: June 20, 2005.