DVD : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary

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dvd DVD
DVD (Digital Video Disc). This is the technology that will has CD-ROM (Compact Disc — Read Only Memory) s except for playing audio is stereos. DVD packs much more information onto a disc. DVDs (Digital Video Discs) allow games with large amounts of high quality graphics, music and video. They also allow entire movies to be put on a single disc. There are six different types battling it out. You can find players that can handle all six. We are still in the Betamax vs VHS (Video Home System) stage. Make sure you buy a multiregion DVD. Otherwise you may find you can only play DVDs from one part of the world. This is most likely to hit you if you buy a DVD on a trip to the orient.
Logo Scheme Capacity Rotation Speed
relative to an audio CD (Compact Disk)
Notes Cost
blu-ray Blu-Ray 25 GB/54 GB 1

high capacity. Used for High Definition movies. Uses a blue laser to read them. The dual layer disks hold 54 GB. That is equivalent to 20 hours of standard video. Heavily encrypted to prevent copying. This is the format Microsoft, Sony, Lion’s Gate, MGM, Columbia, Fox, Disney and Wal-Mart are backing. Blu-Ray DVDs allow interactivity controlled by Java programs, though I have not heard the details of how this is supposed to work. The scheme is called BD-J (Blu-ray Disc Java). They come in R and RW versions. You can buy pre-recorded Blu Ray DVDs with movies on them. Players can take ridiculously long time to load. For example the Pioneer BDP-Lx71 takes almost 2 minutes.

Super multi just refers to the drive’s ability to read and write all the usual formats.

$11.00 CAD each. Last revised/verified: 2009-03-20
hd dvd HD DVD 15 GB/30 GB 1 Paramount supports only this format. Heavily encrypted to prevent copying. Developed by Toshiba and NEC (Nippon Electric Corporation). You buy them pre-recorded with movies in encrypted format. You don’t usually record your own material on them. Only proprietary hardware that prevents copying can read them. Provides sufficient resolution for full HDTV (High Definition Television). Like Blu-ray, it uses a short wavelength blue laser. Players cost half as much as Blu-ray, and is more reliable, yet oddly it lost the format wars. On 2008-02-18 Toshiba threw in the towel and discontinued manufacturing players and discs. I think the Blu-Ray people won by repeatedly telling a small lie, that you needed Blu-Ray to get high definition. Naive users thought Blu-Ray was the only choice for HD. I think also Blu-Ray was a more distinctive name. HDDVD did not sound like a distinct product.
DVD-video DVD-Video, DVD5/DVD9 4.7 GB/9.2 GB ? Time-Warner, Disney, MGM/UA etc. backing. read only. Created by mass duplication. The dual layer disks hold 9.2 GB. Blanks are not generally available since is illegal to duplicate movies.
DVD-R DVD-R 4.7 GB 8-48 write once $.55 CAD each. Last revised/verified: 2009-03-20
DVD-RW DVD-RW 4.7 GB 2.4 write many times $1.24 CAD each. Last revised/verified: 2009-03-20
DVD+R DVD+R was 3.0 GB/side, now 4.7 per side. With double layer 8.5. 18 compatible with DVD-RAM. writableonce. DVD+r has a slightly more robust tracking system than DVD-R. My 16× drive writes 11.4 megabytes a second, considerably faster than CDW (Compact Disc — Writeable) drive. $.55 CAD each. Last revised/verified: 2009-03-20
DVD+RW DVD+RW was 3.0 GB/side, now 4.7 per side. With double layer 8.5. 8 compatible with DVD-RAM. rewritable. $2.00 CAD each. Last revised/verified: 2009-03-20
DivX DivX n/a ? scheme to allow game or video rental Not available to the public.
DVD-RAM DVD-RAM 2.6 GB/side ? used in Hitachi camcorders $6.00 USD each. Last revised/verified: 2009-03-20

Archival DVDs

Normal DVDs are only intended to last about a decade. There are many manufacturers who create archival quality blanks. Some will work in any DVD writer; some require one with the M-DISC feature.

If you plan to use archival disks, check before you buy writer or blanks that the two are compatible.

M-DISC is an option to make DVDs and Blu-Ray disks last 1000 years. It uses special blanks containing metals rather than the usual organic dyes.

Labelling DVDs

For casual use, buy a red Sharpie fine tip permanent marker to write the password/serial number/key on the top side of the DVD where you can’t lose it. Don’t apply any sort of sticky label since it may come off inside the drive, or unbalance the rotation, unless it is specially designed for DVD s. Don’t use any other sort of pen or you will crack the surface.

The LightScribe system is no longer, though you can still buy blanks if you have LightScribe drive. You can buy blank DVDs with a paper coating on one side. They can be inserted into an inkjet printer fitted with a DVD holder to make multi-colour professional looking labels. Not all inkjet drives come with a DVD holder or can be fitted with one.

DVD Formats

A modern computer DVD will most likely handle DVD-R, DVD +R, DVD-RW and DVD +RW.

The rotation speed is not really the statistic you want. You want the transfer rate in megabytes per second. However, those numbers were not readily available. The main thing you can learn from these numbers in that RW disks are much slower than R disks to record. Further, you need an extra erase pass.

You would think DVDs would play from the outside in, like vinyl LPs (Long Play recordings) but they start at the centre and work out. This seems odd given the outer tracks are longer than the inner. The advantage of this is it often leaves the outer tracks unused which are often smeared with fingerprints by people failing to pick up the DVDs properly.

Be extremely careful never to insert a second DVD without removing the first one. Doing so will destroy the drive. Be especially careful with black DVDs and tiny DVDs which you might fail to notice in the tray. Mentally keep track of whether there is a DVD in place so you will know to extract it if the drawer opens without it.
Be careful discarding DVD s. They may contain passwords, bank accounts, credit card info, identity theft info… A heavy duty shredder will destroy them.

multidirectional DVD Label If you are labelling a set of DVDs, label them so you can read the disc number no matter how the DVD is oriented, like the DVD on the left.

Buying a DVD Drive

DVD drives compete on cost, so the quality has dropped over the years. You are lucky if they survive a year. They drive you crazy popping open when you don’t want them to and closing unexpectedly when you want them to stay open, and refusing to open when you press the button. You give them a command, and like a reluctant child, they procrastinate far longer than reasonable reacting to it. I don’t know if the fault lies with W7-32/W7-64/W8-32/W8-64 the device driver or the disk hardware. There is no brand I can recommend. Paying a lot of money does not seem to help. Repairing them is usually almost as expensive as the cost of a new drive. They are full of mechanical parts, belts and Rube Goldberg contraptionry. Perhaps some day someone will invent a drive that does not spin the disc, just optically scans it.

Typically a drive will be rated 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM which means it spins 18 times faster than a CD in your stereo player when reading a DVD and 48 times faster when reading a CD The speeds for burning a DVD/ CD will be slower, typically 6X. To get reliable burns, you often have to slow the drive down. LiteOn makes a drive that claims in can burn at 24X, but since the blanks are rated at a max of 16X, you will never go above 16X.

If you do a lot of CD or DVD copying, you might want to get one read-only DVD drive and one DVD burner drive. For extra cost, you can also burn Blu-Ray discs.

Rant on Data DVD Drives

If you insert a blank disc, it seems to take about 10 seconds before the computer notices. This gives the psychological effect than the drive is lazy and resentful. It does not want to work, so it procrastinates.

If you accidentally insert two discs at once, it will make a horrible noise, but the drive will soldier on. It should eject both discs, and give the computer a code to let it know what happened.

If you are reading a disc, and you press eject, it take an inordinately long time to eject the disc. There is nothing it has to before it ejects. It is not as if it has unwritten write buffers. It should pop open immediately.

Rant on Entertainment DVDs

I wish the makers of DVD videos would put a sound check right at the beginning of the DVD. Sometimes no sound starts until a minute or two later. You can’t tell if everything is configured correctly and the volume is correct. You typically cannot adjust the volume with the remote. You have to get back up adjust it on the amp console.

DVD players take an excessively long time to start playing after you insert the DVD or to pop the DVD out after you press EJECT.

DVD players like to wrestle with you, ejecting the DVD when you are trying to insert it or vice versa. If you are trying to center the DVD, it tries to insert the anyway before you are ready. It should defer to you.

There is no volume control on the DVD remote. There should be. Multiple controls should work together, so that in you spin the volume up on any volume control, (on the remote, the DVD, the amp…) the volume increases. You should not have to fiddle with more than one knob to get the volume you want.

You can make your DVD always be stable as R: by changing the drive letter assignment in Windows.

electronic product image recommend electronic⇒LITE ON SATA Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM DVD-ROM Driveto electronic home
asin B008LA60U0
Model IHDS118-04. No LightScribe support. This drive does not let etch titles and images on the backs of your CDs and DVDs. This one is decent speed, good for backup and copying CDs and DVDs. Replaced by the newer iHASxxx series.
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Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock
electronic product image recommend electronic⇒LG Internal UH12NS30 BD-ROM Blu-ray Optical Driveto electronic home
asin B00DVTBM2W
You pay a fair bit extra for the ability to read and write blue-ray. Data Transfer DVD 16x, CD 48x. 4 MB buffer. specs.
Chinese flag amazon.cn amazon.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de bestbuy.ca Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es canadacomputers.com Canadian flag
French flag amazon.fr newegg.ca Canadian flag
Italian flag amazon.it tigerdirect.ca Canadian flag
UK flag amazon.co.uk amazon.com American flag
India flag junglee.com newegg.com American flag
UN flag other stores tigerdirect.com American flag
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock
BD-J: Java ME API (Application Programming Interface) for extended Blu-Ray
CD ripping
CD/DVD burning
Digital TV
donut maker
DVD burning
DVD case
DVD cleaning
DVD ripping
In The Dark stereo interconnections
Newegg.ca: online Canadian retailer
Newegg.com: online US retailer
recycling and shredding DVDs
Sharpie fine tip permanent marker
TigerDirect: online Canadian DVD drive vendor
TigerDirect: online US DVD drive vendor
Wikipedia on UDF: Universal Disk Format

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