Recordable DVD Buying Guide

Recordable DVDs are used in conjunction with DVD burners. They are the ideal media storage item for the storage of document files as well as audio/ visual media such as photographs, music, or video. Once recorded, these discs can be played back on a DVD player or computer DVD drive.These discs have much larger amounts of storage than floppy discs, and they can be viewed an unlimited number of times.

Types of Recordable DVDs

The first major type of recordable DVDs are DVD-R. These DVDs can be written to one time only. Once burned, they can be viewed many times, and they are great for storage of any media. DVD-R burners can write DVD-R discs. This type of disc is most appropriate for long-term data storage, photos, or movies.

DVD-RW and DVD+RW are similar in that they are both re-writable. This means that the disc can be burned and then re-burned with different data. They can be re-burned many times before the quality is lost. The DVD-RW does not have as good a capability as the DVD+RW to work as a random access device. The +RW is an alliance of companies who propose standards for recordable and rewritable DVDs. These discs are most appropriate for short term storage of data that you may later decide to write over. These discs are typically more expensive than the DVD-/+R discs.

The DVD+R is a disc that can only be recorded to once, and then the data becomes permanent. It is very similar to the DVD-R. The +R stands for plus recordable, and this type of disc is supported by a select group of brands such as Sony, Phillips, Yamaha, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and more.

DVD+R Dual Layer/ Double Layer media is similar to a standard DVD+R disc, but it has more storage space. In fact, it has 8.5 GB of storage while the standard DVD+R typically only has 4.7 GB of storage. This 8.5 GBs is enough storage space for four hours of DVD quality video, 16 hours of VHS quality video or 120 hours of MP3 audio storage. The DVD+R DL is perfect for any home or business applications.

DVD RAM media is a rewritable disc endorsed by Toshiba, Hitachi, and Panasonic. DVD Random Access Memory technology are fragile, bare discs for data recording and playback. Because of the fragility of the bare discs, the data integrity is not guaranteed. Currently these discs are double sided with a storage capacity of 9.4 GB. They can only be read by DVD RAM drives.

Pay Attention to

Before purchasing a recordable DVD, you will want to find out the firmware version of your burner. Firmware is the programming instructions for your DVD burner. These tell the DVD burner how to respond to the software from the computer. Some firmware is upgradable by software you can download on your computer while other firmware needs a new chip to upgrade it. If you have problems with DVD compatibility with your burner, most times it can be solved by upgrading your firmware.

You need to note the type of surface the DVDs you purchase have. Some have the brand name of the disc on the top while others are printable. All of them can be labeled with a soft marker such as a permanent marker, but you should never use a ballpoint pen. Of the printable ones, there are still various types. First of all, they come in a variety of colors from silver and gold to colors and white. Some can be printed right in your computer's drive using special software while others need a thermal printer. Still others need an inkjet printer that is specially made for discs or at least one with a special disc tray. Some discs are even coated with a glossy coat to make them water resistant and also resistant to fingerprints.

Take note of the speed at which the DVD can be burned. This is typically measured by an X-Rating. Typical DVD-Rs may have a speed rating of 1X, 2X, 4X, 8X, or 16X. The speed of the disc, however, is limited by the speed of the burner. For example, if the disc is rated 8X, and the DVD burner is only rated 4X, then the fastest speed it will record at is 4X. In other words, you should not waste your money on a faster disc if your computer's DVD burner will not support it.

You will want to consider how much the you purchased DVD can store. While a DVD-R can store between 3.5 GB to 4.7 GB, a double DVD RAM will hold 5.2 GB and a DVD+R DL can store 8.5 GBs. If you know what you plan to store on the disc, it will help you know which type of DVD to purchase. Keep in mind that the more storge, the more the discs will cost, so you want to make sure that you do not waste space on any DVD.

Top Brands and Product Lines

Mitsubishi Verbatim DVD discs are good quality for a moderate price. Stay away from the "Value Series" of discs, however.

JVC Taiyo Yuden discs are good quality recordable DVDs for a moderate price.

Sony sells a variety of different discs at the lower to middle price ragnes.

Phillips offers a variety of recordable DVDs at various price points.

Memorex has recordable DVDs from the value priced to moderate range.

HP recordable discs are moderately priced.