Short for Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc, a DVD or DVD-ROM is a disc capable of storing large amounts of data on one disc the size of a standard Compact Disc. CD/DVD drives were first sold in 1997. Today they are widely used for storing and viewing movies and other data. To play DVDs on a computer, you must have a DVD drive and a software DVD player. The picture to the right is an example of what a DVD movie may look like, which in this example is a picture of the Matrix DVD movie.
How much data can a DVD hold?
There are several capacities a single DVD disc is capable of holding. Below is a listing of the different types of DVD's and each of their total capacity.
- One of the most common DVD's is the single-sided, single-layer disc, capable of holding 4.7 GB.
- The single-sided, double-layer disc is capable of holding between 8.5-8.7 GB.
- The double-sided, single-layer disc is capable of holding 9.4 GB.
- Although rare, the double-sided, double-layer disc is capable of holding up to 17.08 GB.
What is the difference between a DVD and a CD?
Physically, a DVD and CD look the same. Both discs are the same size and typically have one side with a label and the other side that the laser reads, unless it is a double-sided DVD. However, the technology that makes up a DVD allows for the same size disc to hold a lot more data than a CD.
What types of information can be stored in a DVD?
A DVD is capable of holding any data and are most often used to store movie data, games, and install data for programs.
What DVD player should I get to play DVD movies?
We recommend VLC, it's free and an open-source media player that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. However, you can also use Windows Media Player on Windows computers to play most DVDs.
Can DVD drives read CDs?
Yes, all DVD drives are capable of reading both CDs and DVDs. If you have a DVD burner, it will be capable of reading CDs and DVDs, as well as writing CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and writable DVDs.
The history of DVD
In 1993, there were two video disc formats being developed: the Multimedia Compact Disc (MMCD) and the Super Density (SD) disc. To avoid a video format war, Philips and Sony, the backers of the MMCD, decided to combine forces with the backers of the SD disc (Hitachi, JVC, Mitsubishi, Pioneer, Toshiba, and several others) and develop a single video disc format. Together, the two groups developed the DVD format.
What was the first DVD?
The movie Twister became the first feature film put on DVD on March 25, 1996.
The future of DVD
DVD's are still very popular and widely used. However, due to more recent technologies like Blu-ray discs and streaming services like Netflix and other cloud services, DVD sales and usage have been on a steep decline.