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DVD Formats Explained

Welcome to our page explaining the various DVD formats available. Below you will find a description of the common DVD formats used in DVD players and DVD recorders. If you aren't technically inclined, then just take a look at the latest DVDs instead!


DVD-R is a recordable DVD format. A DVD-R can only be recorded to once. DVD-R is compatible with most DVD players. This format has been used for many years in professional DVD authoring systems.

DVD-RW is a re-recordable DVD format. A DVD-RW disc can be recorded over again and again. Older DVD players tend not to support DVD-RW.

DVD- Formats Supported By: Panasonic, Toshiba, Apple Computer, Hitachi, NEC, Pioneer, Samsung and Sharp.

DVDs created by a -R/-RW device can be read by most commercial DVD-ROM players as found in computers.


DVD+R is a recordable DVD format. A DVD+R disc can only be recorded to once.

DVD+RW is a re-recordable DVD format. A DVD+RW disc can be recorded over again and again. DVD+RW is highly compatible with existing DVD players.

DVDs created by a +R/+RW device can be read by most DVD-ROM players as found in computers.

DVD+ Formats Supported By: Philips, Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Ricoh and Yamaha.


DVD-RAM is a rewritable format, i.e. DVD-RAM discs can be recorded over again and again. This format is the most closely related to hard drive technology. The DVD-RAM format is significantly different from other DVD formats, and is probably the least widely supported because of this.

DVD-RAM discs where originally housed in cartridges, but it is now increasingly common to see cartridge-less versions of DVD-RAM disks.

DVD-RAM Format Support By: Hitachi, Toshiba, Maxell, LG Electronics, Panasonic / Matsushita, Samsung and Teac


DVD-ROM is a read-only format, so you can't make a recording onto a DVD-ROM. DVD-ROM was the original DVD standard, and a DVD-ROM drive is now found on most new computers.

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