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Data Storage Media Hardware

Choosing Between DVD+R and DVD-R? 108

Pieroxy asks: "Most people like to make the analogy between DVD+/-R and the old VHS/Betamax/V2000 battle. This analogy is not applicable here, because whether you choose DVD+ or DVD-, you burn DVDs that are readable in most existing DVD players. Even if you buy today, the burner based on the technology that will die tomorrow, all your DVD*R will be readable in most DVD players. That said, what other argument than technical superiority can drive your choice? We know the DVD-R compatibility on existing players is better than DVD+R, we know that DVD+R as well as DVD-R have dual layers plans. What else can help me choose between either format? Are prices that different? Reliability? Speed?"
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Choosing Between DVD+R and DVD-R?

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  • ... DAT tapes or lots of CDs. Wait a while until one standard becomes most prevelant.

    DVD as a consumer writable storage medium isn't viable as yet in terms of interoperability and long term retainment.
    • Can I stuff a DAT in my set-top DVD player to watch my movies?

      Read the story please, it doesn't only talk about backing up data (for which DVD is really not a convenient answer, but that is another story.)
  • Blue laser (Score:2, Funny)

    by Mod Me God ( 686647 )
    Sony are developing it for retail use, it will be ready in 2 years, mark my words!

  • ...according to this excelent review []
  • As someone with a DVD player in the "other" category, I cannot use DVD+ media for video. However 8x write speed on DVD+R is pretty impressive! ( I currently have a 1x burner that burns 'A' discs ) In my case, I was going to buy a Pioneer A06 but will wait for the Plextor to appear. Bottom line: Buy a burner that can use either type, and use different discs depeding on application (i.e. DVD+ for data or for players that can use it, DVD- for video / max compatibility)
  • Are there differences between the expected longevity of media for the different technologies?
  • Either Or Really... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Vaevictis666 ( 680137 ) on Thursday October 16, 2003 @03:07PM (#7232113)
    I got a dual format drive a while back for burning, and it seems that (up here in Canada at least) DVD-R discs are cheaper by the spindle. Or they were when I bought my last spindle...

    Current pricing for a 25-disc spindle on Future Shop (from the same manufacturer) is $55CDN for DVD+R, and $60CDN for DVD-R. Another manufacturer has -R for $70CDN, so maybe +R is the better deal.

    In any event, both should play in modern DVD players so if you can get a Dual Format burner you can just go with the cheaper discs at the time.

    • How much of that price is the media tax that you have to pay in Canada?
      • If I recall correctly, as of October, 2002, blank DVDs are subject to a $0.65 CDN levy per disc. Therefore, at the price that I quoted earlier (4x DVD-Rs @ $1.60 CDN each), the CPCC levy accounts for about 40% of the per-unit price of a blank DVD.

        However, the CPCC is seeking $2.27 (!) per disc starting sometime next year. Obviously, this is just a big cash grab... not to mention a massive pile of flaming horseshit.

        There are a few groups that are fighting the levy. One of the major players is the CC
        • Yeah, but I can sure put a lot of downloaded music on a DVD, so as long as that $2.27 gives me some sort of indemnity from piracy charges, its all good.
          • I think that you've misunderstood what the levy is for. It's meant to recoup losses that result from piracy. It doesn't give you indemnity. Just because you've paid the $2.27 per disc levy does not mean that you are now immune to being charged with piracy, or somehow now have the right to download music or movies that you didn't previously own.

            As I said before, the levy is just a cash grab by the CPCC. They don't seem to have taken into account that many (most?) people use DVD blanks to either make th
    • In Vancouver, B.C., the price of bulk 4x DVD-Rs has been fluctuating around the $1.60 CDN range (= ~$1.20 US). I bought 50 from ATIC [] recently, burned a couple dozen at 4x with my Sony DW-U14A, and haven't had any coasters (...yet).

    • I've always found that the prices of both are identical for the same brand, but I don't usually buy spindles...

      They list the same prices you gave at their website [], though they look like a fairly cheap brand. Does anyone know if there is any significant difference in quality between manufacturers?

  • Microsoft backs DVD+R [] take it as you will.
  • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Thursday October 16, 2003 @03:26PM (#7232441) Homepage
    ...what about including DVD-RAM in the comparisons? ;)

    The original "standard". Major backers are Apple, NEC, Panasonic, Pioneer, Toshiba. Some incompatibilities exist with the emerging Mount Ranier standard, but there is a *huge* user base.

    Followed shortly after DVD-RW. Major backers are Dell, HP, Philips, Sony, Yamaha. Supposedly less error prone than DVD-RW and also more efficient, so faster drives are a more likely prospect and most pundits I've seen tend to favour this over DVD-RW. Used by Philips in their DVD set-top recorders.

    The most recent standard. Major backers are Panasonic and, um... but Panasonic does use them in their set-top recorders and the format dominates this market in Japan. Much better support for random access recording (doesn't use a spiral track IIRC) so better for timeshifting, etc. Longest (hypothetical) lifespan of 100 years vs 70, and most supported rewritings (again hypothetical) of 100,000 vs 10,000 times. Most of the gains are due to the fact that a cartridge is often required, although this is starting to be phased out.

    Ultimately though, if you want to use these disks in your DVD players, all the features don't matter a damn if your disks won't play, so check compatability first! I've also heard that different brands of media can cause issues with some players too. I'm waiting for now, but I think a DVD+RW/RAM drive would be the way to go at the moment. Finally LG [] does a drive compatible with all the standards, I'm not aware of any other drives that can do this as yet.

    • DVD-RAM
      The most recent standard.

      Actually, DVD-RAM was apparently the first.

    • So in other words, you just dicard compatibility altogether. Isn't it important?

      I mean, how will I look when I'll stuff my DVD+R in my friend's DVD player and get an error screen? How good is my vacation movie if I can't show it to my parents?
    • DVD-RAM has been available for a long time, since before DVD-RW or DVD+RW. It was more or less a stopgap measure to get high-capacity optical storage out of a DVD-based medium. Other than the DVD name, though, it's really not that similar.

      I am not aware of any DVD-RAM drives that don't require the disc storage cartridge, and all of the (admittedly old) cartridges I have seen were sealed. DVD-RAM was basically an advanced "PD-ROM" drive that happened to be able to read CDs and DVDs as well.

      It's a dead f
    • didn't DVD-RAM come first
  • vs (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) on Thursday October 16, 2003 @03:36PM (#7232579)
    DVD+ apparently supports VBR (Variable Bit Rate) encoding when recording as video (obviously, computer media files with VBR in them will save just fine when using this as a data medium). DVD- apparently does not. This may be outdated information.

    DVD+ is now faster. Plextor has their (I think 708A) drive out, which supports 8X recording on DVD+R _ON 4X MEDIA_. Nobody else is doing this, certainly not on -R.

    DVD+ seems to be getting faster, faster than DVD- is.

    The media price seems to be at parity, though I've not done extensive checking, just take a peek every now and then at a Best Buy or CompUSA.

    If I was going to buy a drive now, I'd go for the Plextor 708A, and stick with the + media (it's compatible with both + & - media, both reading & writing).

    DVD-RAM isn't dead, it just smells that way. :) Okay, admit it, it's dead. Don't touch it. (and put that stick down, Billy!)

    You may want to hold off until the whole burning dual-layer thing comes to fruition - I'm not sure how soon that'll happen, though I think someone just recently demonstrated it (Philips?).

    I'd definitely go for the Plextor drive right now, though - it's even cheaper than the very nice Sony dual format drive, in addition to the 8X burning thing, which the Sony doesn't do.
    • Some Comments on DVD media
      • Don't get cheap DVDs. Especially rewriteables. DVDs are more sensitive to flaws in the media than CD-R/RWs are. If you buy a spindle of 25 DVDs but 75% of them are coasters after 1 write or 5 re-writes then you really haven't saved any money.
      • Unless you start getting into details that only an engineer would care about (e.g. how many nm are between pits, where the sparing areas are on the disk.) , there is little physical difference between +RW and -RW.
      • +RW's can be quick form
    • Well, speed is a double sided feature. Have you noticed that your CD-RW last less when burned at 16X of higher? And same remark for CD-R?

      OTOH, burning a DVD at 8X require you to have a damn fast PC, that's a lot of bandwidth!
      • 8x is only 74.5 megs a sec, it's not that much compaired to what video editors deal with.
        • 1xDVD is 1385 KB/s so technically, 8x is more like 11080 KB/s (10.8MB/s). If you look at the latest hard drives (ATA 100), you'll see a max throughput of around 30MB/s. That does mean that burning at 8X will basically drain your system out of its resources... It would be like burning a CD at 72X (not 72X MAX). Don't try to start photoshop!
          • I burned a dvd at 8x and prodvd spat out that number. It's possable that it would be wrong, but that's what it is saying it did. And if your machine is only burning a dvd and maybe web surfing a little or aim or something, 30 megs a sec would be fine.
      • I'd be curious to know where you got the conclusion that 16X+ discs somehow last shorter periods of time than non-16X+ discs. Got an article or tech source to back that up?
        • My own experience. I live in california where it gets really hot in the summer. If I leave a CD in my car (Let's say all the time) which is in the sun all day long, my 16xCD is just gone in about a year. 1X burned CDs lasts usually around 2-3 years.

          Note that "the faster the worse" is not true, because CDs burned at 4X with my old Yamaha 4x2x6 are the worst ones. But still 16X CDs are gone faster than 1X CDs with my new burner. The numbers might not be accurate because I didn't do a "test" really, I just ha
    • by log0 ( 714969 )
      DVD+ apparently supports VBR (Variable Bit Rate) encoding when recording as video (obviously, computer media files with VBR in them will save just fine when using this as a data medium). DVD- apparently does not. This may be outdated information.

      That seams strange. Are you referring to the set top DVD recorders (that encode and burn at the same time)? I've only ever burnt DVD-R[W] and only ever encoded in VBR. I've used two different authoring apps and neither of them gave any compliance warnings. I've tri

      • >>DVD+ apparently supports VBR (Variable Bit Rate) encoding when recording as
        >>video (obviously, computer media files with VBR in them will save just fine
        >>when using this as a data medium). DVD- apparently does not. This may be
        >>outdated information.

        >That seams strange. Are you referring to the set top DVD recorders (that
        >encode and burn at the same time)?

        Yes, that's what I'm talking about. As I said, it doesn't have any bearing on computer DVD drives, and may be outdated in
  • by delus10n0 ( 524126 ) <> on Thursday October 16, 2003 @04:05PM (#7232964) Homepage
    A combo DVD+/-R(W) drive will only set you back like $120 nowadays, and the price is getting lower all the time. Might as well just go with the combo drive, and you'll bet set to deal with either format.
    • The question is, what is the point in being able to burn both formats ?
      • The ability to buy whichever media is cheaper at any given point in time...
      • 1) We don't know which format will "prevail".
        2) Sometimes one format doesn't work in a DVD/etc. player, but the other will.
        3) Sometimes one of the formats has cheaper media.
        4) Why NOT be able to burn both?

        Etc., etc... did you really need to ask this?
        • 5) If it turns out that your (OS, software, drive, firmware, media brand) n-tuple works with DVD-RW media but not with DVD+RW media, you're going to be glad you bought a combo drive instead of a DVD+RW-only drive. It's a hell of a lot easier to get a combo drive, get one of every piece of DVD writing software that you can find for your OS, and then try all possible combinations than it is to try to decide which web site's or mailing lists's detail-lacking anecdotes are most likely to be useful or true.

        • Dude, you either need to buy a brain, or just learn how to read the story!!!

          1) We don't know which format will "prevail".
          The point of the story is to point out that we don't care which format will prevail. Say I'm buying DVD- and in a few years DVD+ prevail. What have I lost? In a few years I'll buy another burner anyways, so my old DVD- burner is dead anyways. All the DVDs I burned will still play.

          Why should I care which format will prevail?

          2) Sometimes one format doesn't work in a DVD/etc. player, b
          • Ok, you ask a question on Slashdot, and get an answer ("Just get a combo drive and you're set.") yet you don't like it. What exactly is the problem? Combo drives are pretty much the norm nowadays, and cost cheaper than their "single format" counter-parts. What is wrong with buying a combo drive so you can use either format?

            Why should I care which format will prevail?

            Then _why_ are you asking this question to the Slashdot crowd? If you have a combo drive, it won't matter what format prevails because you'
            • Dude, there is drawbacks in being able to burn both formats! Let's say I buy this combo burner and buy the cheapest DVD*R out there every time I need some. Then I end up burning both DVD+R and DVD-R, which limit me to buy all my DVD players with the constraint that they MUST support both formats. So I probably don't want to do that. Then your argument that you can select the cheapest media at any time is flawed! That adds a new constraint on all further DVD players I will ever buy!

              Burning both is not the a
              • Ok, so using your logic, why get any DVD burner at all? Just wait for the next "standard" that is in a single format, and go with that.

                And DVD+/-R(W)'s aren't just for video, ya know. I use my DVD burner to backup my MP3's and my divxs, as well as my documents and graphics work (Photoshop loves making 500 megabyte+ PSD's when things get crazy.) -- This is when the "cheapest media" arguement works. I buy the cheaper format at the time, and use it to make backups like I just described. Sure it might not be s
                • The point is taken for the backup part. It's just that I've heard so many people saying that DVD (+ and -) is just not reliable that I'm still a little reluctant to burn that for a backup purpose.

                  In this case, the combo makes sense, but you're still saving pennies ;-)
  • I was waiting to jump in, not wanting to get the DVD equivalent of a Betamax, but found a Memorex dual-format burner for about $130 after rebate at one of the local Big Box Stores. My officemate gave me $25 for the 16x DVD-ROM it replaced, so my net is just over $100. By the holidays, that will probably be street price for these things, at which point I expect the single-format burners will just go away, making this whole argument as moot as SCO's case.
    • Did you read the story ?????? There is no comparison between Betamax and DVD, that's the whole point of this story!!!! Re-read it if you want! You will not get into the situation of the poor Betamax owner even if you choose the doomed format!

      I am dreaming. Could you be more offtopic?
  • Though I don't know why so many of the 'both' posts are getting modded down, I don't see why this isn't a good answer.

    The price on a +/-R type burner isn't that much higher than the just -R or just +R.

    I picked the first sony 500 series that did it when they first came out not because of worries over the vhs/beta type war, but because of the cost of media and availability. Yes, some players are going to like some types more than other. Sure, one of them might be the 'winner' in the long run. But for me,
  • get the Sony DRU-510. It handles all standards and the firmware is upgradeable to support future standards. It is pricey, but is also the best one available currently. If you pay more than 300 for the external usb2/firewire version, you got screwed.
  • This is what I know (Score:2, Informative)

    by doc modulo ( 568776 )
    At the end of october the new DVD+RW drives will get a feature called Mount Rainier. Drives which are fully M.R. compliant will get a brand sticker from Philips called "easy write" or something like that.

    It's a technical story but it comes down to, that you can use Mount Rainier rewritable (DVD+MRW) disks as 4.3 Gigabyte harddisks. In other words, you don't need a special burning program to put stuff on the +MRWs, you just drag and drop it to your drive icon.
    Copying, deleting, everything behaves like with
    • It's a technical story but it comes down to, that you can use Mount Rainier rewritable (DVD+MRW) disks as 4.3 Gigabyte harddisks. In other words, you don't need a special burning program to put stuff on the +MRWs, you just drag and drop it to your drive icon. Copying, deleting, everything behaves like with a floppy disk.

      So? This is nothing new.. there is a standard for this on CD-RW called UDF. Various programs are avaiable to do this.. DirectCD from Adaptec/Roxio (shudder), InCD from Ahead Software,

      • I think UDF is just the filesystem for optical media. Sort of like the FAT 32 or NTFS for DVDs.

        "DirectCD from Adaptec/Roxio (shudder), InCD from Ahead Software, etc.. (no good support on linux)"

        Mount Rainier is a standard for sending commands to a CD/DVD. Which means that no matter what burner you have, it will behave the same way as any other burner who received the same Mount Rainier command from your operating system. Because of MR, you don't have to use seperate programs for writing to CD/DVD (lik
    • Big deal. In linux I can already mount a DVD+RW and write to it like any hard disk. And when I do a eject /dev/cdrom, the final product is readable by windows (Windows has UDF read capability). Mount Raineer has something to do with error flagging - something that could be done at the filesystem level. If someone were to work hard enough at the linux UDF file system drivers, they could add error correction. I've looked at the code, it's not there. In fact, whenever I have a bad DVD+RW, I just format i
  • You will have to buy a new burner to write dual layer media. So either side having dual layer *plans* doesn't matter at all to choosing now.

    Since I'm posting anyway...personally I use DVD-R. It's the most compatible if you ever burn a DVD for a friend, it's cheapest, and the drives are cheaper and have been out longer with more generations (grab an old Pioneer, dirt cheap and reliable). So I couldn't care less about technical matters.
  • Format (+/-) doesn't matter unless you are concerned about read compatibility. If it's just for your own use, then you can get away with anything. Right now, pricing for each type of media seems to have finally gotten to be about equal, so price really should not be a factor any longer. But watch out for older recorders being liquidated at a too good to be true price, these will typically only suport one format, they won't write both. If you are using just for DVD-ROM, data storage, then either should be fi
    • Format (+/-) doesn't matter unless you are concerned about read compatibility.

      Supposedly +R results in more "reliable" encodings, which will mean +R discs will be more likely not to have read errors across +R readers and perhaps less chance of cheapo media coming up with a flawed burn. Haven't used either long enough to form an opinion. If I didn't get a dual (Pioneer A06), I'd probably would have went -R, because (currently) more DVD players read the -R without problems, and the -R media is cheaper.

  • DVD+RW is supported by HP, Dell, Microsoft and IIRC Pioneer.
    DVD-RW was supported by Sony, Apple and Compaq. Sony now does dual format drives. As of 10.3, Apple now has support for +RW in their OS (though still not in some apps), and Compaq got brought by HP and now supports +RW.

    Mount Ranier (a sucessor to the packet writing technologies people use these days) is based on +RW.

    And the compatibility thing may or may not be bullshit depending on who you speak to.

    I think we have a winner. Get +RW or a dual fo

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