Shane's DVD Recording Help Center 

DVD Technology
(An overview)

Backing Up Movies
(Custom 1:1 copies of DVD Videos)

Convert VCD/SVCD
(to DVD Video)

Advanced Authoring
(Roll your own DVDs)

Our Disclaimer
(You must read and comply)

Media Recommendations
(What I've Tried and Results)


DVD Technology Overview

Boy, can this be confusing! So many different types of DVD writers, so many different kinds of media - plus dozens of programs promising you the world if you'll only buy them. If that wasn't enough, there are terms and jargon you'll need to understand before you can make a logical choice in many situations. Our goal on this page is to help you understand these things. We've put it in FAQ format to aid you in finding what you're looking for. We will send you to our sister site for some explanations.

What is the difference between DVD-R(W), DVD+R(W), and DVD-RAM? Which technology should I buy into?

First off, the W stands for REWRITABLE; which means you can erase the DVD and record on it again (number of times you can do this varies by media quality). You will find these are more expensive, and LESS compatible than their write-once counterparts. RW media is only about 73% compatible with DVD players.

So, what is -R (minus R) and +R (plus R)? These are two different DVD formats that are NOT compatible between them. If you have a DVD-R writer, you cannot write to DVD+R blanks and vice-versa. SOME more expensive drives (like the new Sony ones) can write to BOTH formats.

DVD-ROM drives, however, can READ both -R and +R formatted discs.

The difference between the formats are compatibility amongst DVD players (your DVD player, your Xbox, PS2, etc). Some DVD players will play one, but not the other. DVD-R has the greatest OVERALL compatibility - upwards of 90% of DVD players out there will play these. DVD+R is only about 85% compatible. If you're worried about compatibility with your existing player, check to see how your player stacks up.

The word on the street is that if you are backing up video games instead of movies, that DVD-R is more often more compatible.

The DVD-RAM basically only plays back on DVD-ROM drives on the PC.

The summary: Go with DVD-R if you're doing movies. Consider DVD+R if you are doing other formats. If you can afford it, you can cover both bases. DVD-R discs are also cheaper than DVD+R discs.

What is the difference between DVD-5 and DVD-9?|

DVD-5 is a single-layered disc holding 4.7GB of data. DVD-9 (MOST movies out there today) is the dual layered disc, holding 9.4GB of data. The problem here is; consumer DVD writers cannot write a dual layered disc.

Why can't I copy a DVD-9? What is DUAL LAYERED vice SINGLE LAYERED?

DVD-9 is a DUAL LAYERED disc (two layers of information on the bottom of the disc instead of one). Consumer DVD writers cannot write a dual layered disc - they are limited to single layer, 4.7GB DVDs. Dual layered discs can hold 9.4GB of information (most movies clock in at about 7GB) - and you can tell a DVD that is dual layered because the underside of the disc is gold, not silver.

So you cannot duplicate a DVD-9 DVD directly to a blank, 4.7GB single layered DVD-r. To get a DVD-9 to fit on a DVD-5, you must use software to 'resample' the movie down in size to fit.

What are the most important aspects of blank DVDs?

Quality first, then speed. Most DVD writers can write a max of 2x. The new ones, 4x. The faster you can burn and the better quality of the disc, the more you will pay for them. Don't buy 4x if you cannot write that fast. Likewise, it would be in your best interest to sample the different brands of media and see what works best and most reliable in your environment. See our Media Recommendations for our experiences.

I don't understand the differences between DVD video and aspect ratios?

Go here ...


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