In 1987, Video Compact Disc (VCD) was released. It used analog video optical discs that matched the 120mm standard size of audio CDs. In 1993, VCDs were one of the ways used for distributing encoded films. The same year, two other new optical formats were being developed: The Super Density (SD) disc supported by Pioneer Corporation, Time Warner, Toshiba, JVC, and Mitsubishi Electric, and the Multimedia Compact Disc (MMCD) backed by Sony and Philips. The two disc formats were totally incompatible. The Multimedia Compact Disc (MMCD) nomenclature was dropped in January 1995 when Philips and Sony referred to their product as Digital Video Disc (DVD).
Invented and developed in 1995, DVD (Digital Video/ Versatile Disc) became a game changer. It is a digital optical disc storage format that stores all kinds of digital data. It is still greatly used for storing software, video programs watched using DVD players, and other computer files. DVDs have higher storage capacity than Compact Discs (CDs) despite having the same sizes and dimensions.
Prerecorded DVD discs in the form of DVD-ROM standard resulted at the end of 1995. They are usually produced in masses using molding machines that stamp data physically onto every DVD. In this case, data can only be read but can never be erased or written. Using a DVD recorder, blank recordable DVD discs (DVD+R and DVD-R) can be recorded only once so as to act as DVD-ROMs. Although there are the rewritable DVDs (DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and DVD-RAM) which can be erased and recorded plenty of times.
Basically, DVD comes in 5 different physical formats:
- The DVD-R which offers a read-many and write once format of storage (like the CD-R).
- The DVD-Audio whose storage format is only for audio.
- The DVD-Video which is a medium for storing feature-length motion pictures digitally.
- The DVD-ROM which is a medium for storing data in high capacity
- The DVD-RAM which was the first ever format of DVD that erasable and rewritable in the market. It later got competition from the rival DVD+R and DVD-R formats.
Although DVDs are of the same general sizes as their CD counterparts (Thickness: 1.2mm and Diameter:120mm), DVD discs provide storage capacity of up to 17 GB with transfer rates that are way higher than that of CD-ROMs and come in four versions:
- DVD-9 a double-layered single-sided disc offering 8.5 GB
- DVD-5 is a single-sided single-layered disc boosting capacity seven-fold to 4.7GB
- DVD-10 is a 9.4GB dual-sided single-layered disc
- DVD-18 will increase capacity to a huge 17GB on a dual-sided dual-layered disc
Two industry coalitions are backing different and largely incompatible versions: The Recordable DVD Council follows the recommendations of the DVD Forum (whose members include Hitachi, Pioneer, and Panasonic) to back DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, and DVD-R formats; and the DVD+RW Alliance, whose members include Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Sony support the DVD+RW format.
The DL symbol
The dual/ double layer (DL) technology allows DVD+R/RW and DVD-R discs to store more data of up to 8.5GB per disc compared to the single layer discs that can store about 4.7GB only. Dual-layer DVDs are written using Opposite Track Path (OTP). A dual layered disc employs a second physical layer within the same disc compared to single layered. A dual-layer compatible drive shines the laser through the first semitransparent layer. This hence makes the writing speeds of DVD-DLs to be slightly slower. Even while being played back, there is always a slight pause that lasts for seconds when the player changes layers. Hence studios started listing a standard message that explained the dual-layer pausing effect on all dual-layer disc packaging. Current DVD recorders support the double-layer technology although blank dual-layer discs have remained quite expensive compared to the single-layer counterparts.
DVD RAM (DVD Random Access Memory), though not that popular nowadays, has a more powerful writable capability compared to the DVD-RW and DVD+RW that it competes with. It is a disc specification that was first presented by the DVD Forum in 1996, the Forum that specifies appropriate DVD writers and rewritable DVD RAM.
DVD RAM is compatible with many operating systems that include Linux, Windows XP, and Mac OS 8.6 up. However, earlier Windows versions required a device driver or InCD software. The newer DVD-RAM2 is not backward compatible with DVD drives that do not support DVD-RAM2 disks specifically.
The DVD-RAM has several features:
- Disk defect management architecture protects data
- Can be rewritten more than 100,000 times
- Small files are quickly accessible
- Users cannot manipulate the data
- Data is retained for approximately 30 years
- Some devices can be written to and read at the same time
- Confirmation by software is not needed for post-write hardware
- Device cartridges have write-protect tabs to prevent unintended deletion
The DVD-5 disc is a single-sided, single-layered DVD that can hold around 4,700,000,000 bytes and that is 4.37 GB. This is the most common DVD Media and is often called 4.7 GB Media. DVD5 is supported by DVD+R/DVD+RW and DVD-R/DVD-RW. While DVD 9 disc is a single-sided, dual layered DV that can hold around 8,540,000,000 bytes and that is 7.95 GB. It is also called DVD+R9, DVD+R DL (Dual-layer) or 8.5 GB Media. DVD9 is supported by DVD+R.
- DVD-9 can handle more data and information than DVD-5 because it is dual-layered while DVD-5 only contains one layer.
- DVD-5 is much cheaper than DVD-9 and is welcomed by people who are looking for storage devices.
- DVD-5 can be reused while DVD-9 stored information cannot be edited once burned. So DVD 5 is more efficient and environmental-friendly
Also known as BD, is a new optical disc format jointly developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of the world’s leading consumer electronics, personal computer and media manufacturers (including Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson).
The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as storing large amounts of data. The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc. This extra capacity combined with the use of advanced video and audio codecs will offer consumers an unprecedented HD experience. The burning laser light color is blue, hence the name blue ray disc.
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