What is the difference between DVD- and DVD+?
FAQ - What is?

One of the more common causes of DVD's not playing is incompatibility.  So how do you decide which format of disk to buy, hopefully this article can help 

The following information gives a brief explanation of the different formats.

DVD+ or DVD-

These where developed by two camps in the industry, in a similar way to VHS and Betamax.  Older drives will only play or record one type so check compatibility before purchase (have a look in the instruction booklet for your machine or on the internet for clarification).  Remember if you are burning disks for family members to check the compatibility with their machines.

In 2003 Sony brought out a multi standard drive to accommodate both, most other manufacturers quickly followed.  Therefore if your machine is newer than 2003 you should be OK but check to make sure.


R or RW


R denotes a writeable disk.  These are write only once disks, once full they cannot be re-used, they are relatively cheap and ideal for archiving data.  The files on the disk can be neither edited or deleted


RW denotes a rewriteable disk.  These disks can be erased and rewritten up to 1000 times and are usually about 50% more expensive than R’s and are ideal for daily backups of data files.




RAM denotes a “Random Access Memory “ Disk.  These are now difficult to get hold of and are not very well supported, although they were useful as they could be read and written in the same way as a hard drive making them very flexible.  Most RW disks are capable of this now with the aid of special software.


DL denotes Dual Layer disks.  These can store more data but are not double as is often thought.  The data capacities are 7.95GB instead of 4.7GB of an ordinary DVD and are therefore ideal for larger backups.


ROM denotes the standard pre-written disks used for software, films, etc.


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