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Dated: Aug. 13, 2004

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Computer Beginners Guides

By Najmi

DVD shorts for digital versatile disc or digital video disc, a type of optical disk technology similar to the CD-ROM. DVD is the next generation of optical disc storage technology. DVD is essentially a bigger, faster CD that can hold cinema-like video, better-than-CD audio, and computer data. DVD aims to encompass home entertainment, computers, and business information with a single digital format, eventually replacing audio CD, videotape, laserdisc, CD-ROM, and video game cartridges. DVD has widespread support from all major electronics companies, all major computer hardware companies, and all major movie and music studios. With this unprecedented support, DVD has become the most successful consumer electronics product of all time in less than three years of its introduction.

A DVD holds a minimum of 4.7GB of data, enough for a full-length movie. DVDs are commonly used as a medium for digital representation of movies and other multimedia presentations that combine sound with graphics.

The DVD specification supports disks with capacities of from 4.7GB to 17GB and accesses rates of 600KBps to 1.3 MBps. One of the best features of DVD drives is that they are backward-compatible with CD-ROMs, meaning they can play old CD-ROMs, CD-I disks, and video CDs, as well as new DVD-ROMs Newer DVD players can also read CD-R disks. DVD uses MPEG-2 to compress video data.

When DVD technology first appeared in households, users were simply popping DVD discs into their DVD players to watch movies - an option to the then-conventional VCR. But just as compact disc technology evolved so that users could record and erase and re-record data onto compact discs, the same is now true of DVDs. But with so many different formats -- DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-ROM -- how do users know which DVD format is compatible with their existing systems, and why are there so many different formats for DVDs? The following information sheds some light on DVD's different flavors, the differences between them and the incompatibility issues that the differing technologies have sprouted.

The crucial difference among the standards is based on which manufacturers adhere to which standards. Similar to the old VHS/Beta tape wars when VCRs first hit the markets, different manufacturers support different standards.

DVD formats

DVD+R and DVD+RW

Philips, Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Ricoh, Yamaha and others support DVD+R and DVD+RW formats.

DVD+R is a recordable DVD format similar to CD-R.CD-R Short for Compact Disk-Recordable drive, a type of disk drive that can create CD-ROMs and audio CDs. This allows users to "master" a CD-ROM or audio CD for publishing. Until recently, CD-R drives were quite expensive, but prices have dropped dramatically.

A feature of many CD-R drives, called multisession recording, enables you to keep adding data to a CD-ROM over time. This is extremely important if you want to use the CD-R drive to create backup CD-ROMs.

To create CD-ROMs and audio CDs, you'll need not only a CD-R drive, but also a CD-R software package. Often, it is the software package, not the drive itself that determines how easy or difficult it is to create CD-ROMs. CD-R drives can also read CD-ROMs and play audio CDs.

A DVD+R can only record data once and then the data becomes permanent on the disc. The disc can not be recorded onto a second time.

DVD+RW is a re-recordable format similar to CD-RW.CD-RW shorts for Short for CD-ReWritable disk, a type of CD disk that enables you to write onto it in multiple sessions. One of the problems with CD-R disks is that you can only write to them once. With CD-RW drives and disks, you can treat the optical disk just like a floppy or hard disk writing data onto it multiple times.

The first CD-RW drives became available in mid-1997. They can read CD-ROMs and can write onto today's CD-R disks, but they cannot write on normal CD-ROMs. This means that disks created with a CD-RW drive can only be read by a CD-RW drive. However, a new standard called MultiRead developed jointly by Philips Electronics and Hewlett-Packard will enable CD-ROM players to read disks create by CD-RW drives.

Many experts believe that CD-RW disks will be a popular storage medium until DVD devices become widely available. The data on a DVD+RW disc can be erased and recorded over numerous times without damaging the medium. DVDs created by a +R/+RW device can be read by most commercial DVD-ROM players.

DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM

These formats are supported by Panasonic, Toshiba, Apple Computer, Hitachi, NEC, Pioneer, Samsung and Sharp. The DVD Forum also supports these formats.

DVD-R is a recordable DVD format similar to CD-R and DVD+R. A DVD-R can only record data once and then the data becomes permanent on the disc. The disc can not be recorded onto a second time. There also are two additional standards for DVD-R disks: DVD-RG for general use, and DVD-RA for authoring, which is used for mastering DVD video or data and is not typically available to the general public.

DVD-RW is a re-recordable format similar to CD-RW or DVD+RW. The data on a DVD-RW disc can be erased and recorded over numerous times without damaging the medium.

Most commercial DVD-ROM players can read DVDs created by a -R/-RW device.

DVD-RAM discs can be recorded and erased repeatedly but are only compatible with devices manufactured by the companies that support the DVD-RAM format. DVD-RAM discs are typically housed in cartridges.

DVD-ROM was the first DVD standard to hit the market and is a read-only format. The video or game content is burned onto the DVD once and the DVD will run on any DVD-ROM-equipped device.

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