Easy Guide to DVD Formats

Nov 26


JR Lang

JR Lang

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A simple guide to DVD media formats, their uses and the differences between them.


Understanding different DVD formats is key to burning DVD's at home and making sure that the finished product will play on the devices you want them to. While DVD-video is a term often used to define a movie,Easy Guide to DVD Formats Articles such as a rental of the latest blockbuster, in actuality there are several different formats of DVD disks that need to be understood and the drives that burn them in order to get the desired results when burning DVD's at home.

Different DVD Formats:

DVD's look like CD's all though they are quite different as they hold about 7 times more information than CD's that allows an entire movie to be burned onto one DVD.

1. DVD-R and DVD+R. These are video disk recording formats that allow for one recording only, once recorded to they cannot be edited, erased or changed in any way, they are locked for life. This type of disk is compatible with all DVD players, even older ones.

2. DVD+RW, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM. These DVD formats allow rewrites. They can be recorded with information, erased, and recorded again. These type of disks usually only play newer DVD players only and not older players. Make sure check your DVD player specs to see what formats are compatible.

Main Difference Between the Different DVD Formats:

a) DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD-RW are made for recording movies and video.

b) DVD-RAM disks were created for backing up computer data and hard drives and not for burning DVD's. Most DVD players cannot read or play DVD-RAM disks.

Plus and Minuses Attached to the Different DVD formats:

The plus and minus signs mean nothing really. Years ago when DVDs were first being made there was no industry standard and different companies were making different forms of DVDs hoping that their particular DVD type would become the main one used.

DVD-R and DVD-RW disks were made by Pioneer and data was only written to one layer of the DVDs surface. Other companies supported DVD+R and DVD+RW and as opposed to the '-' disks, the '+' disks had data stored on multiple layers of the disk. The plus and minus sign does not matter in which DVD format you use, they are basically the same thing.

Different DVD Format Drives

The DVD drive is a component of a computer that actually records data or movie onto the DVD disc. The different types of DVD drives basically break down into the same formats as the different DVD formats. There are DVD-RAM drives, DVD-R drives etc. It is important to match the different DVD formats with the burning capabilities of the DVD drives.

When choosing a DVD Drive consider what you will use it for. If you are primarily going to back up computer data then it is best to choose a DVD-RAM burner, but if you are burning movies then you will have to choose one of the DVD drives. These days many DVD drives are compatible with several DVD formats and so the more options you get with your drive the more flexible it will be.

In the end everything needs to match. Make sure that your DVD media, DVD drive and your playing device's capabilities are compatible for the best digital video experience.

If you are planning to burn DVD's at home and understand the different DVD formats and have your DVD drive then you will need to have the appropriate DVD burning software, depending on what you want to burn. There are different types of burning software depending on your needs.

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