It may seem old school to purchase DVD’s these days, but it appears consumers still find them valuable when sharing information with friends and family. Whether it be photo files or home movies, when purchasing DVD’s it can be a very confusing world. Here’s the low down on the differences, and what’s the best purchase to fit your needs.

First of all, DVD stands for Digital Versatile/Video Disc. DVD’s are purchased intending to store media such as home movies, photos, and software, just to name a few.

Developed by Pioneer in 1997, DVD-R was the first type of recordable DVD. In 2002 a new format was developed called DVD+R, or “plus” R.  When it comes to DVD players,  DVD-R is more likely to work in both current and pre-2004 DVD players. Since some older DVD players might not play DVD+R disks, it is often best to but DVD-R for media that contains video, and DVD+R for archiving or storing data, such as pictures and software.

Just remember it this way: Minus for movies. Plus for photos. (This is just a suggestion as both formats can be used for either situation.)

Standard DVD’s can typically hold around 4.7 GB of storage.

Before you buy any blank DVDs, check which is compatible with the dvd player you use. Your player’s manual  should say which type of DVD disks you can put in your DVD player.

So what is DVD RW?

DVD-RW and DVD+RW are rewriteable formats and are compatible with about 79-80% of all DVD Players and most DVD-ROMs. This means you can burn information on your disk, and then re-write it and burn new information at a later time. (The 20% that does not work is typically older DVD players.) DVD RW also typically hold 4.7 GB of storage.

DVD-RAM (Random Access Memory) is another type of  re-writable DVD. It has the best recording features but it is not compatible with all DVD-ROM drives and DVD-Video players. Think more of it as a removable hard disk with higher quality, and a slightly higher price tag.

Another DVD formant, though rare to most consumers, is DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL. The DL stands for Dual Layer, and these disks can be burned with almost double the capacity of a single layered disc. With these disks you can typically store up to 8.5GB of storage.

That’s it my old school friends. Next time you go to pick up that pack of DVD’s (or even CD’s for that matter) now you know what type to buy. If the situation comes and you need cassette tapes, don’t come crawling to me. I am so not going there. 🙂


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.



About the author

Natalie Wright

Natalie Wright is a contributing writer at Organized Mom and Tech4Moms. You can also find her DIY blog online at natalme.com.

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