Which DVD burner should I buy?

Question

How do I know which DVD burner to buy, DVD-R or DVD+R?

-Sheila

Answer

This question was answered on February 10, 2005. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

DVD (Digital Video Disk or Digital Versatile Disk) formats continue to be one of the most confusing devices for the average consumer.

The lack of a clear standard causes many to purchase a burner, go through the learning curve, just to find out that the newly burned disk will not play on their home DVD player.

If all of your DVD players are fairly new, you likely wont have as much of a problem as those that are trying to interface with older players and changers

Here is a quick review of the current formats:

DVD-ROM (Read Only Memory) drives are those that can only play back a DVD

DVD-RAM (Random Access Memory) drives are essentially designed as data devices for computers If you intend to make movies to play on a TV, this is not the format for you.

DVD-R (the first recordable format to be compatible with home DVD players) is a single burn (per disk) recordable format that claims to be compatible with 90 % o DVD playback devices.

DVD-RW is a re-writeable format and claims compatibility with about 80% o DVD playback devices.

The DVD-R and DVD-RW formats are supported by companies like Panasonic, Toshiba, Apple Computer, Hitachi, NEC, Pioneer, Samsung and Sharp (a.k.a the DVD Forum).

DVD R is a single burn (per disk) format and claims to be compatible with about 90% o DVD playback devices

DVD RW is a re-writable format and claims compatibility with about 80% o DVD playback devices.

DVD R and DVD RW are supported by Philips, Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Ricoh, Yamaha and Thomson (a.k.a the DVD RW Alliance).

The latest entry, known as DVD R DL or DVD R9 incorporates a dual layer writeable DVD R With dual layered discs (called DVD-9), up to 7.95 GB of storage can be obtained and dual layered double sided discs (called DVD-18) can store a whopping 15.9 GB of data!

So now that you are totally confused about all the technical mumbo jumbo, which direction should you take?

You can try to match up your burner with the brands of stand alone DVD players that you want to make discs for or take the safer approach and get a drive that supports both sets of standards (DVD-R/RW & DVD R/RW).

Multi-format drives continue to be the safest way to go so that you can burn DVDs for virtually any type of DVD player or purpose (data, audio or video)

Many companies, such as Sony, Plextor, LG and Lite-on offer several multi-format drives with some including the ability to use the newer double-layered (DL) media.

The burn speed (expressed as 4X, 8X, etc.) is an important element as well The higher the burn rate the faster you can burn a DVD, but this can actually work against you if you are making a disc for older players Slowing down the burn rate can often times make a disc more compatible, so keep this in mind if you run into problems with your burned DVDs.

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on February 10, 2005