Recordable DVD Formats explained
Picking your way through the ton of information available on recordable DVD
formats can be a nightmare. To help you out, we’ve done our best to distill it
into this summary.
There are five recordable versions of DVD; DVD-R for General, DVD-R for
Authoring, DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW. None of the formats is fully compatible
with the other although there are drives which will read, and in some cases
write to more than one format.
DVD-R for General and DVD-R for Authoring are essentially DVD versions of CD-R.
And DVD-RW is a DVD version of CD-RW. All three formats can be read in standard
DVD-ROM drives and in most DVD video players. The difference between DVD-R for
General and DVD-R for Authoring is that DVD-R for General is a format intended
for widespread consumer use and doeasn’t support ‘professional’ features such as
piracy protection or duplication in mass duplicators. The Pioneer DVD-RW drive
which is the most popular PC device for writing to DVD uses the DVD for General
format. And as as the case with CD, DVD-RW is essentially the same as DVD-R
except that it can be erased and written to again and again.
DVD-RAM is slightly different as it is a sector based disc which mounts on the
desktop of a PC when inserted into a drive. Files can then be copied to it in
the same way as any other mounted media. Some single-sided DVD-RAM discs can be
removed from their caddy and inserted in a DVD-ROM drive which will then be able
to read the content of the disc.
There are DVD video recorders which use the DVD-RAM format. This enables themn
to pull off clever tricks like timeshifting – where you can watch the beginning
of a programme you have recorded while you are still recording the end on the
DVD+RW is the newest format and not supported by the DVD Forum, the body which
sets the standards for DVD. However, it is supported by some of the biggest
electronics and computer manufacturers, and is therefore likely to stick around.
It is also the format used by Philips in its DVD video recorders. Despite not
being authorised by the DVD Forum, DVD+RW is claimed by its supporterd to be
compatible with more DVD video players than DVD-R and DVD+RW writers are found
in PCs from quite a few manufacturers.
Author: Kenny Hemphill