Jun 27, 2010

The DVD-R/W and DVD+R/W formats

What is the difference between DVD-R/W and DVD+R/W?

Today, there are only two DVD formats worth considering:

* DVD-R and DVD-RW
* DVD+R and DVD+RW

The DVD Forum
DVD-R/W is a format developed by a voluntary group of 220 media related companies called the DVD Forum (http://www.dvdforum.com).

The DVD Forum approves the formats DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD Video, DVD Audio, DVD-ROM and DVD-RAM. Note that the DVD Forum neither developed nor approves the DVD+RW format.

Formed in April 1997, companies in this group includes:

Apple, Denon, Fostex, Fujitsu, Harman Intl, IBM, Imation, Intel, Iomega, JVC, Kenwood, LG Electronics, LiteOn, Matsushita, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Motorola, NEC, Pioneer, Ricoh, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK, TEAC and THX.

The purpose of the DVD Forum is to:

* Establish a single format for the benefit of consumers and users and
* To promote worldwide acceptance of DVD products in the entertainment, consumer electronics and IT industries & public.

What’s the implication of all this?

* The DVD-R/W format has proven itself over time (since 1997) and will likely to be around for quite some time.
* Many DVD players and DVD-ROM drives can be expected to support this format.
* DVDs you and I burn using this format should be easily playable by consumers.
* The format could be a little dated as new developments would have taken place since 1997 (even though the DVD Forum is continuously developing the format)

The DVD+RW Alliance
The other big DVD group is the DVD+RW Alliance (http://www.dvdrw.com) formed by Dell, HP, Mitsubishi, Verbatim, Philips, Ricoh, Sony, Thomson, Yamaha.

Note that some companies are in BOTH camps. Obviously for business reasons. However, Pioneer is not a member of the DVD+R/W Alliance.

Here are some of the claimed benefits of the DVD+RW format:

* Compatibility with DVD Players and DVD-ROM drives
* Flexibility when adding, deleting, dividing and editing titles while maintaining compatibility
* Allows instant use and eject
* No need to format or finalize
* For PC users, it offers direct editing on disc, background formatting, built-in defect management, multi-session writing, and other recording features. You can share recordings between your home electronics and computer equipment, add new recordings or even edit directly on the same disc.

From what I see, it looks like the DVD+RW Alliance has taken a close look at the DVD-R/W format, and have tried to address all the shortcomings of the latter. Most of the features are targeted at making the DVD format more universal and flexible among different types of DVD players and recorders.

For the technical user, it offers more power and flexibility when authoring titles and content.

So, which is better?

Personally, the DVD+R/W promises a lot more power and flexibility than the older DVD-R/W format. However, due to its age, there are many DVD players out there that can already support the DVD-RW format.

Other DVD sites on the internet claim that DVDs made from both play on about 90% of DVD players in the market. I believe that this is the case.

So, to play it safe, we would suggest that you consider a burner that handles BOTH formats! Burners like these are just emerging in the market and should be commonplace very shortly.

You can’t lose doing this!

And that’s what we will be buying... an internal DVD burner for our PC that handles both formats AND a standalone dedicated DVD burner that can do that too!


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