Making Sense of Burning Formats

Let me introduce you to the family… First we have my oldest brother, I’ll call the Apple Fanboy.  We often spar about what is the better format.  While I am obviously a PC, he is most definitely a Mac.  Then my sister, we are going to call her the clueless.  I love her, and she is a genius about health and feeding  your kids healthy, she’s just a bit clueless when it comes to technology, which is one reason I started this blog to help out other Mommies like her.  Last there is my other brother who I’ll just call the customizer.  He who is not happy with things the way they are.  He’s gotta tweak, hack, and change any device he owns to suit his standards.  So I have a feeling I will be able to gather many posts from my interactions with the Clueless.  🙂  Here is one such post…

My Sister and her husband are making a music CD for his Dad for Christmas.  She Instant Messages me one day asking if I had any CD+R’s for her to have so she can burn the CD.  I told her that sure I had a ton, which we usually do.  What she said next is what caught my attention… “I have CD-R’s, just no CD+R’s so I have to use yours.”  I got very confused, and I realized her mistake.  Back when she was burning a DVD of some sort I had to explain to her that she needed to buy DVD+R’s or it would not work.  She thought this carried over into CD burning as well.  I informed her that CD+R’s didn’t exist and that her CD-R’s would work just fine.  So here is the breakdown for everyone…

Almost any CD burner will burn any type of writable CD’s.  You can typically write with a ton of different burning utilities.  I typically use either iTunes (yes I know I’m a PC, but iTunes is pretty great I must admit), or Roxio

DVD’s are where it gets tricky.  While there are many DVD burners that can burn BOTH formats, I’d say a majority of the ones that come standard in a PC you buy will be one format or the other, DVD+R and DVD-R.  Most +R’s have an icon on the burner that has the letters RW in a fancy font.  The -R’s say very clearly DVD-R. 

Now that you understand more about the recording formats… go old school and make yourself a Mix Tape or uhh… CD.  🙂

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About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website

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  • I enjoyed your post, thanks, and can easily understand how that can be confusing! I’ll admit.. I’ve had to self-teach a bunch as far as technology goes and appreciate all the knowledge I can acquire!! Related to your topic, I found this very helpful in explaining the CD burning process thoroughly: I ended up downloading RealPlayer. It was easy to install, love the finished product, and it was free!