Learn about DVD
Burner hardware, DVD discs, and the DVD formats including DVD-R,
DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD-RAM. Read on for more
By: Gabriel Nijmeh
The DVD format has been called Digital Video Disc in the past, but
is now more commonly referred to as Digital Versatile Disc. The DVD
format is one of the fastest growing consumer electronic products in
history. With that are a number of competing formats looking to
become the de-facto standard, the way that CD-R/W has become in the
In the coming weeks and months ahead, inexpensive DVD burners will become as common as CD burners and along with that will be the
availability of affordable DVD software and DVD blank media (DVD
The method of using your DVD burner on your computer will be no
different than what you are currently used to with your CD-R/W
burners and CD burner software. It's just a matter of patience and
time before the industry sorts things out because DVD burners are
set to take off the same way CD burners did a few years ago. Let's
now take a look at the various DVD formats available today.
DVD Audio provides higher-quality audio than available from current
CDs. DVD Audio offers higher quality audio including Dolby Digital
AC-3 and surround sound, and a wide range of options for coding
audio at high fidelity, with 24 bits per sample and 96 KHz sampling
frequency and beyond.
In addition, look for features such as still pictures, text
information, menus and navigation, and even video sequences. The
format provides for longer playing times; a dual layer DVD Audio
disc will hold at least 2 hours of full surround sound audio. For
the recording industry, DVD Audio includes copy protection and
anti-piracy measures. Consumer response has been slow and DVD Audio
shouldn't displace CD audio as the standard any time soon.
This is the format used by Hollywood and by consumers for viewing
movies and other visual entertainment. The total capacity is 17
gigabytes if two layers on both sides of the disk are used.
Its basic technology is the same as DVD Video, but it also includes
computer friendly file formats which be used to store data. This
product should replace conventional CD-ROMs over time.
Think of a DVD-RAM as a virtual hard disk, with a random read-write
access. Originally a 2.6GB drive, its capacity has increased to
4.7GB per side. Double sided DVD-RAM media is now available with a
9.4GB capacity and can be re-written more than 100,000 times and
does not need to be reformatted when you want to re-write. You can
drag and drop files to a DVD-RAM drive as if it were a regular hard
drive. However, DVD-RAM disks can not be played in existing DVD
players and DVD-ROM drives. You will require a DVD-RAM drive to
Developed by Pioneer, DVD-R, with a capacity of 4.7GB per side is
similar to a DVD-ROM but allows users to write only once. Originally
designed for professional authoring DVD-R(A), a version for general
consumer use is now available DVD-R(G). The major difference between
professional and general authoring is that professional supports
Mastering and Copy Protection. DVD-R disks can be played in most DVD
players and DVD-ROM drives
DVD-RW is an extension of the DVD-R format with a read-write
capacity of 4.7GB per side. It can be re-written up to about 1,000
times. Like DVD-R, DVD-RW disks can be played back in most DVD
players and DVD-ROM drives
Developed in co-operation by Hewlett-Packard, Mitsubishi Chemical,
Philips, Ricoh, Sony, Dell, Compaq and Yamaha, DVD+RW is the only
re-writable format that provides full compatibility with existing
DVD-Video players and DVD-ROM drives. Does not read or write DVD-RAM
discs but will continue to write CD-Rs and CD-RWs.
This technology is based on the CD-R/RW format and has a read-write
capacity of 4.7GB per side which can be re-written up to 1,000
times. A single write version of this technology called DVD+R is
expected in 2002.
Confused? Don't worry about it because even the most seasoned
professional is trying to get their heads around this. In due time,
a DVD format standard will evolve and it will be easier to
understand and use the technology. If you are interested in learning
more, visit the DVD+R/W Alliance or DVD Forum to stay informed about
the latest industry news right from the source.
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