Sunday, May 22, 2005

DVD Formats

I purchased the Memorex Dual Format/Double Layer DVD Recorder yesterday for $59.99 after rebate from Fry's Electronics. Of course, I bought a Sony DVD-ROM drive like 3 months ago for roughly the same price from Best Buy :(. Live and learn.

The box says I can record a full DVD disc in approximately 7 minutes. I remember when it took approximately an hour to burn a full CD disc (back in 1998). A full single layer DVD disc is 4.7 GB -- where as a CD-R disc is 700 megs. I can burn 6.7 times the data nine times as fast.

The confusing part about purchasing a DVD burner is that there are all of these different capabilities (Memorex burn speeds are in paranthesis):

1. DVD+R (16x)
2. DVD-R (16x)
3. DVD+RW (8x)
4. DVD-RW (6x)
5. DVD+R9 (4x) <- this is the double layer So, great, looks like my drive supports just about every DVD format I've ever heard of (imagine how confusing this will be if the next generation DVD formats, e.g. blu-ray, don't get standardized). However, while I'm at Fry's I then wanted to know, which Disc format should I actually buy to work in the most DVD players (I eventually had to call a friend before buying a 50 disc package of DVD-Rs). Here's the skinny:

I was really only interested in DVD-R vs. DVD+R, the link above says,

The DVD-R (Recordable) format is designed to fill much the same role with DVDs as CD-R does with CDs. It can be used to burn large data disks, and it is currently the most reliable media for burning DVD video to discs that can play back in set-top DVD players.

The DVD+R (Recordable) write-once format was defined more recently. DVD+R media and products are expected in Spring 2002. It appears that current DVD+RW drives unfortunately will not be able to write the new DVD+R media.

If you want to author DVDs, and need to be as compatible as possible with any DVD players that you might want to play them on, then go ahead with DVD-R. It works, and it will continue to work in the future. With the existing momentum, prices should remain stable and the format will not be obsolete tomorrow.

And luckily I purchased a 50 pack of DVD-Rs. However, I should note that the Memorex DVD Burner itself shipped with one DVD+R. So it looks like this is the format they are pushing.

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