Computer DVD buying tips

Updated: 06/27/2017 by Computer Hope

Buying a DVD drive can sometimes be a confusing task. Below we have listed important considerations to look at when considering purchasing a DVD drive.


Before considering purchasing a DVD drive it is also good consider the other available options.

CD-R - CD-R, or CD Recordable, drives allow you to do everything that a standard CD-ROM is capable of doing, but at the same time allows you to create CDs for backup. An excellent solution for anyone that is in need of a CD-ROM and backup solution. Tips on buying these drives can be found on our CD-R and CD-RW buying tips page.

CD-RW - Like a CD-R drive, a CD-RW (CD Read/Write) drive allows you to read and write to a CD-RW disc thousands of times instead of once like a CD-R drive. While a little more expensive, this is another great solution for backups. Tips on buying these drives can be found on our CD-R and CD-RW buying tips page.

DVD - DVD, or Digital Versatile (video) Disc, allows a computer to not only do everything that a standard CD-ROM drive is capable of doing, but at the same time is capable of reading DVD Discs and DVD movies. For users who plan on playing games or watching movies on their computers, this is an excellent addition. Tips on buying these drives can be found on this page.

Why DVD?

DVD drives, like other technology, can be a confusing and sometimes be thought of as a non-important consideration. Below is some insight to why a DVD drive may be important as well as different considerations to look at when purchasing a DVD drive.

Why DVD? DVD by many is thought as just a solution for users to watch movies on their personal computers. While for many individuals this may be enough, it is important to also look at the factor that DVD is now being used in games or data DVDs, such as an encyclopedia. DVD prevents the user from having to switch between different CDs and instead places all the data on one DVD.


Software vs. Hardware: For the purposes of watching DVD movies on the computer, you must consider the two below possibilities for decoding the DVD movie.

  • Hardware - Hardware decoding requires an additional card, called an MPEG card, be installed into the computer. This card allows for the movie to be mainly decoded with that card and not software or the CPU. This means other things can be done as you are watching the movie. However, this is the more expensive solution verses software, and requires additional system resources (IRQ/DMA).
    In addition, MPEG cards also give users the capability of connecting external video to the computer, allowing the computer to function as a DVD player for your home entertainment system.
  • Software - Software decoding requires a software program and the CPU to be used to handle the decoding of the DVD movie. This solution is a cheaper solution but requires complete access to the computer, and in some cases users with processors lower than 200 MHz on an IBM computer to notice poor quality video.

Other Considerations

Some other important considerations to look at when purchasing a computer DVD drive include:

Extras - Some manufactures of DVD drives will include extras such as a DVD movie or movies, cables, online streaming trials, and deals with DVD rental stores.

Warranty How long is the warranty and what does it cover.

Support Is the technical support number a free number; is it open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Price range

When looking at purchasing a computer with a DVD drive or a stand alone DVD drive, it is important to take into consideration that a DVD drive will be more expensive than a standard stand alone drive. The price of a DVD may vary depending upon its speed, included software and hardware, or its interface.

DVD: $100 - $300

Ready to buy

Once you have reviewed the appropriate information and believe that you are ready to make a purchase of a computer DVD drive, ensure that the source that you plan on purchasing the DVD from is a reputable source and you have reviewed our section on what to look out for when purchasing over the Internet.

Computer Hope is ready to setup and help you with issues you may encounter during the purchase and installation of your DVD drive, regardless if you purchase through us or another vendor.

To help support Computer Hope you can purchase directly through our well-known associate, Amazon. Click the below browse button to begin browsing through the DVD section.