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Old 07-29-2004, 11:19 AM   #1
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I'm shopping for new hardware and I see the terms "DVD-R/RW" and "DVD+R/RW" as choices for my optical drive.

I assume these drives will burn DVDs (which I want). But, what's the difference between the two?
Old 07-29-2004, 02:28 PM   #2
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I have both a DVD+RW and a DVD-RW drive and have had no problems with either. Make sure you buy the same discs as the type of your drive because you can't write DVD+RW discs in a DVD-RW drive and vice versa (although reading is usually possible). Alternatively, just get a DVD+/-RW drive which can support both types, then you will never need to worry about it.

Old 07-30-2004, 11:05 AM   #3
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lhoff -

here's an explanation from a good DVD FAQ:

[4.3.6] Which recordable DVD format should I buy?

As explained in the previous sections, there are two main formats: "dash" (DVD-R/RW) and "plus" (DVD+R/RW). There's not much difference between them. They both record data and video, and they both read back data and play back video. Both formats are available as recordable drives for computers and as home video recorders. In spite of claims that one format is more compatible with players and drives, both formats are similarly compatible (see 4.3.1). There are speed differences, but it's a game of leapfrog. One format will come out with faster write speeds, then the other one will match it or surpass it. In 2003, drives reached 8x speeds. 16x is the theoretical maximum, so both formats will soon hit the limit.

The biggest thing to worry about is that DVD-RW drives only record on -R and -RW discs, and DVD+RW drives only record on +R and +RW discs, so you have to make sure you get the right kind of blank discs. You may worry that one of the formats might "win" and the other format could disappear, leaving you with abandoned hardware. This is not very likely, since both formats are doing well. Luckily there is a simple solution to both concerns: buy a dual-format, or "combo" drive. Many companies make DVD-/+RW drives that write to both kinds of discs. Dual-format drives cost a bit more, but it's cheap insurance.

The DVD+RW format has a few advantages when used in a computer, but if data backup or access speed is important, also consider the DVD-RAM format. DVD-RAM is fast and reliable, and the discs have an optional cartridge to help protect data. Most DVD-RAM drives also write DVD-R/RW discs, and some super combo drives write all three formats.
Old 07-30-2004, 04:23 PM   #4
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Assuming that you might want to watch your newly burned DVD's on your TV, and assuming that you've got a standalone DVD unit connected to your TV, my recommendation would be to buy a DVD+/-RW, and a small quantity of -R blanks as well as a small quantity of +R blanks. Then burn something to each type of disk, and see whether or not they both actually are recognized in your TV's DVD player. At least in my case, the DVD for my TV will only recognize -R disks, so burning anything on +R is unusable except on my computer. Maybe the DVD player connected my TV is just lame. -- J.W.
Old 07-30-2004, 05:33 PM   #5
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Thanks all!

I am, in fact, looking at notebook computers whose specs offer either of the two, but no +/- options. My opinion is that I will opt instead for CD-RW/DVD and leave the question of burning DVDs for the desktop PC that I will get later in the year (or early in the new year!).



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