Article ID : 00026740 / Last Modified : 05/12/2015

What types of recordable DVD media are available and what are the differences?

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The available DVD recording formats provide various benefits for different situations. In addition, playback device compatibility differs. The table below shows the different types of recordable DVD media and gives a brief description of their use and features.

NOTE: For information regarding the types of DVD discs compatible with your recorder/player, consult your product documentation. Manuals are posted on your model support page.

Recordable DVD Media

Description

DVD-R

DVD-R is a 4.7 gigabyte capacity, write-once recording media format which allows compatibility with both stand-alone DVD players and computer DVD-ROM drives with a finalized disc. After the data has been burned to the disc, the content cannot be erased or deleted. The two main types of DVD-R discs are DVD-R for General Use (designed to prevent backup of encrypted, commercial DVDs), and DVD-R for Authoring. Once written, the disc types should be readable in either drive type.

DVD-RW

DVD-RW is a 4.7 gigabyte capacity, rewriteable recording media format which is capable of more than 1,000 rewrites. Some stand-alone DVD players will play video recorded on DVD-RW discs, although the format is not normally compatible. The format is supported for playback by most computer DVD-ROM drives once the disc has been finalized.

DVD+R

DVD+R is a 4.7 gigabyte capacity, write-once recording media format that allows excellent compatibility with both stand-alone DVD players and DVD-ROM drives. Even though this format does not need to be finalized in order to play back, after the data has been burned to the disc, the content cannot be erased or deleted. Although the first generation DVD+RW recorders did not support the DVD+R media recording, most current DVD+RW recorders today do support the DVD+R recording format.

DVD+RW

DVD+RW is also a 4.7 gigabyte capacity, rewriteable recording media format. The rewrite capability of the DVD+RW is similar to that of the DVD-RW, allowing up to 1,000 rewrites and the format is not normally compatible with stand-alone DVD players. However, the format is supported by many newer computer DVD-ROM drives. And, although the disc does not need to be finalized to playback on some devices, it is recommended that the disc be finalized before playing in a DVD-ROM drive of a computer.

DVD+R DL

DVD+R DL is the dual-layer version of the DVD+R media. The main difference between a DVD+R DL and the DVD+R is that the DVD+R DL can store up to 8.5 gigabytes on one disc side, unlike the DVD+R and DVD-R, which have a 4.7 gigabyte capacity.

DVD-RAM

DVD-RAM is a very robust data storage format, theoretically allowing greater than 100,000 rewrites per disc. Originally designed as a data storage solution, DVD-RAM is now becoming popular as a video format used by some brands of stand-alone (non-PC) DVD recorders. The main drawback of the DVD-RAM format is that it has limited read compatibility by DVD-ROM drives and stand-alone DVD players.