MFDigital CD DVD Information Library
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Encountering the third generation of DVD format
Author: Dana Scripca

It won't last too long until the third generation of DVD format
to be unveiled. Your DVD player will play a well-performing disc
with high-storage capacity. The upcoming Media-Tech Expo, Las
Vegas, USA, will surely clarify this topical issue.

The upcoming Media-Tech Expo May 10–12, 2005 in Las Vegas, USA
will be a crucial moment in deciding what DVD format will be the
succesor of the actual DVDs. It will be HD-DVD? Or the Blu-ray
Disk? Before the end of 2005, more likely in 2006, the standard
format will be decided for good. The competition between the
HD-DVD and Blu-ray is in full swing now.

The overwhelming increase of portable DVD players led to a even
higher rise of DVDs industry. In 2003, almost 4 billion
prerecorded DVDs were produced. This number is calculated to
increase to 7 billion in 2006. The same for recordable DVDs
market: DVD±R, DVD±RW. While in 2003 just 908 million disks were
produced, it is estimated a double growth rate in 2004 (and
about 4 billion estimated in 2006).

This year edition, from Frankfurt, manufacturing technology for
the third generation of optical storage media has been debated.
More than 1,400 people joined 2004 edition. At upcoming 2005
edition, concepts for replication lines and single components
for the manufacturing of HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc will be
introduced. Media-Tech Expo is the leading annual tradeshow for
the media manufacturing industry.

As for these two vying formats, both use a blue laser (contrary
to red laser for DVDs). The blue laser has a shorter wavelength
leading to finer signal markings on the optical media. Moreover,
a shorter wavelength, associated with advanced compression
process, prompts a higher storage capacity. Whereas HD-DVD holds
30 gigabytes, Blu-ray holds 50 gigabytes on a double-layer disc.

Professional video industry is one of the most prosperous. Not
surprisingly, engineers and manufacturing professionals,
producers, video and audio professionals, web developers,
broadcasters, directors, DVD authors, editors, graphic artists,
gather on annual worldwide electronics and digital video
exhibitions to learn the newly techniques, technologies,
capabilities, advantages related to their industry. There are
seven major exhibitions: DV-Expo, Mediacast, DVD Europe, DVD
Replication Exhibition, DVD Summit - Midle East Asia,
Media-Tech, Production-Show.

About the author:
Dana Scripca writes for http://www.allportabledvdplayers.com
where you can find more information about portable DVD players.
Please feel free to use this article in your Newsletter or on
your website. If you use this article, please include the
resource box and send a brief message to let me know where it
appeared: mailto: danascri@gmail.com

Monday, March 07, 2005
DVD Backup Made Easy
Title: DVD Backup Made Easy

Author: Emil Malmberg

If you are running backups on a regular basis, you have probably
come across the problem that CDRs or CDRWs are simply to small
for some backups. While you could split your backups to multiple
CDs, this is not a very good solution if you have to backup
10GBs of data. The solution to this problem is to use DVDRs or
DVDRWs instead. Since a DVD can easily store as much as 7 CDs,
you could backup 5 to 10 GBs to a single DVD with a little
compression. Using DVDs instead of CDs will speed up large
backups considerably and will also greatly simplify storage.

Compression In order to use the DVD media more efficiently you
will probably want to compress your backup before writing it to
the DVD. Compression can often reduce the size of a backup by
50% or more, doubling the capacity of your DVDs. A DVDR can
usually store 4.7GBs of data and with compression you should be
able to store about 10GBs on a single DVD. If you have ever
tried to compress a 10GB file you probably know that this will
take a lot of time. If you have a 20GB harddrive you might also
have a problem storing the temporary uncompressed backup file.
Since WinBackup compresses files on-the-fly backup operations
are performed considerably faster. The built-in compression also
reduces the need for a large temporary storage location and
makes it much easier to run large backups to DVD-R or DVD-RW.

Encryption When storing backups on CDs or DVDs, security can
easily become a problem. Since DVDs can easily get lost or even
stolen, you need to protect your backups from unauthorized
access by using some kind of password protection or even
encryption. A backup often contains emails, important documents
and other sensitive information. In fact, if you backup your
entire harddrive, your backup could even contain passwords to
computers and websites. WinBackup allows you to password protect
and encrypt your backups with up to 256 bit encryption, making
it virtually impossible for anyone without the correct password
to access your files. Since encryption can be performed
automatically on all backups you do not need to worry about
security every time to save a backup to DVD.

Integrated DVD Writing Even though many pc owners have a DVD
writer installed in their computer, surprisingly few use it to
backup important data. One reason for this could be that many
users feel that writing to DVDs is a little complicated. With
WinBackup this is no longer true. WinBackups integrated CD/DVD
writing features makes it easier than ever before to write
backups directly to CDs or DVDs without knowing anything about
DVD Writing. Storing your backup on a DVD is as simple as
inserting an empty DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, DVD+R or DVD+RW into
your DVD Writer and clicking on "Run Backup". You can even leave
a DVDRW in the DVD writer and schedule WinBackup to
automatically update the contents daily. WinBackup also makes it
easy to backup emails, documents or internet favorites with
built-in shortcuts to important user data.

About the author:
Software developer for LIUtilities ( www.liutilities.com )

Thursday, March 03, 2005
ABC's Of DVD Drive Abbreviations

ABC's Of DVD Drive Abbreviations
By Jason Kohrs

The number of different formats available in DVD drives can be confusing to anyone in the market for one. The list is much longer, but to address a few of the common formats, we have DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM ,DVD+R DL and DVD±RW. Wow! This list of common formats is long enough, no wonder it’s confusing!

What's with all the Formats?!

The reason for various recordable DVD formats is that no one group owns the technology and different groups have chosen to support one technology over another. There is no industrial standard for manufacturers to reference, so for the time being consumers will have a few choices.

The first thing to address is DVD itself, which stands for Digital Versatile Disc. Some may argue that the V stands for Video, but with the capability to store video, audio, and data files, Versatile is definitely the keyword.

Start with the Basics

A DVD-ROM drive is the only one we will address that does not record. ROM stands for Read Only Memory, and refers to the typical drive that can merely read DVDs, as well as CDs (all DVD drives can read CDs). The Lite-On LTD-163-DO-R has attributes representative of your typical DVD-ROM drive, and features a maximum DVD read speed of 16x and a maximum CD read speed of 48x.

Before getting into the different recordable formats, let’s address the basics of what the R and RW stand for, regardless of whether there is a + or – in the middle. R stands for Recordable, which indicates that the disk may be recorded to only once. RW stands for ReWritable, which indicates that the disc may be recorded to more than once, and are generally rated for 1000 rewrites under good conditions.

The DVD-R/-RW format was developed by Pioneer, and was the first format compatible with stand alone DVD players. The group that promotes the technology calls itself the DVD Forum, which is “an international association of hardware manufacturers, software firms, content providers, and other users” with notable members such as Hitachi, Samsung, and Toshiba. The DVD-R/-RW format is based on CD-RW technology and uses a similar approach to burning discs.

The DVD+R/+RW format is a newer format, also based on CD-RW technology, and compatible with a large percentage of stand alone DVD players. The +R/+RW technology is not supported by the DVD Forum, and its main backing comes from a group called the DVD+RW Alliance. The Alliance “is a voluntary group of industry-leading personal computing manufacturers, optical storage and electronics manufacturers” with members such as Dell, Hewlett Packard, Sony, and Phillips Electronics.

The DVD-RAM format is based on PD-RW (Phase-Differential) drives, and actually uses a cartridge to hold the media (just like its PD-RW predecessor). Some DVD-RAM cartridges are double sided, making them ideal for companies to use as system backup, hence DVD-RAM is usually found only in commercial applications, and most end-users won’t ever need to use or see this type of drive. The DVD-RAM standard is also supported by the DVD Forum just like the DVD-R/RW format. However, because of its use of a cartridge (limiting it’s compatibility), and the scarcity and price of the media used, DVD-RAM is a distant third when compared to the DVD+R/+RW and DVD-R/–RW technology.

The +R/+RW and –R/-RW formats are similar, and the main difference DVD+R technology has is the ability to record to multiple layers (with its new DVD+R DL format), where DVD-R can only record to one layer (not all +R drives are capable of dual layer burning, but no -R drives are). The Plextor PX-504U is an example of an external DVD+R/+RW drive capable of recording single layer discs in the +R/+RW format, but also able to read discs recorded by a DVD-R drive.

What is DVD±RW?

DVD±RW is not actually a separate format, but the designation given to drives capable of both –R/–RW and +R/+RW operation. This type of drive is typically called a “Dual Drive” (not to be confused with a “Double Layer” drive) since it can write to both the +R/+RW and –R/–RW formats. The Samsung TS-H552 is a DVD±RW drive capable of reading and writing every format discussed so far, and then some. It takes advantage of DVD+R DL (Double Layer) technology available with the +R format, allowing the appropriate media to store virtually double the 4.37 GB capacity of a typical single layer disc.

The other main thing to consider with DVD burners is selecting the correct media. Media for DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R and DVD+RW media may all look the same, but they are slightly different in order to match the specific recording formats. The price of media for either format is generally the same, with RW media costing a good deal more than R media of either format. Double Layer media is even more expensive, and is the only way for an owner of DVD+R DL drive to take advantage of the tremendous capacity increase. As the amount of Double Layer drives increase in the market, the price of the DVD+R DL media is expected to fall with increased production of the media. DVD Burners (as these drive are often referred to) can be picky about the media supported, so be sure to choose your media wisely.

DVD in a Nutshell

DVD-ROM : Reads DVD discs

DVD+R : Writes to DVD+R media (will also typically write to CD-R and CD-RW media)

DVD+RW : Writes to DVD+RW media (will also typically write to DVD+R, CD-R and CD-RW media)

DVD+R DL : Writes to DVD+R DL (Double Layer) media (will also typically write to DVD+R, DVD+RW, CD-R and CD-RW media; many Double Layer drives are ALSO dual drives – that is, able to write to BOTH +R/RW and –R/RW media)

DVD-RAM : Writes to DVD-RAM cartridges (not in wide use on consumer market – mainly a business format; can also read PD-RW discs. Will not usually be able to write to any other format including CD-R or CD-RW)

DVD-R : Writes to DVD-R media (will also typically write to CD-R and CD-RW media)

DVD-RW : Writes to DVD-RW media (will also typically write to DVD-R, CD-R and CD-RW media)

DVD±RW : Writes to DVD-RW and DVD+RW media (will also typically write to DVD-R, DVD+R, CD-R and CD-RW media; typically called “Dual Drives” since it can burn to two different DVD formats)

Final Words

This article took a look at the more common formats of DVD drives in order to shed some light on all the choices available. The differences between them all may be subtle, but the compatibility issues can be quite frustrating. The simple answer to anyone considering a drive is to forget about + and – by themselves, and shoot for universal compatibility with a good DVD±RW with DVD+R DL support.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

Wednesday, March 02, 2005
DVD Recorders: Getting Started by Bear Cahill
DVD Recorders: Getting Started by Bear Cahill

IMO, these sd work 'like a VCR' as far as recording and playback. There are models w/ harddrives, VHS players, etc. built in, but to me that's overboard.

Bells and Whistles

The VHS option is not bad, but you most likely already have one you can plug into the inputs of the DVD recorder.

I have a DVD recorder for archiving TiVo shows as opposed to accessing my TiVo from my PC. This is nice because it means I can also archive VHS tapes, camcorder tapes, etc. w/no extra work.

I do have a TV card in my PC so I can do this, but using the DVD recorder is easier.

My motto is: buy what you WILL use and not what you CAN use.

I've bought lots of things that CAN do a lot, but in reality I don't use all the extra features. Not in all cases, but in this case, I say pass on the bells and whistles.

Again, there are models w/ all types of features, but if you buy one that is a DVR, DVD recorder, VCR, TV tuner all in one and one part breaks, it's all broke.

Realize Something About Technology

Remember - this is new technology and will only get better and cheaper. If you buy the top of the line today, it's going to be out of date and/or cheap tomorrow. Test the waters w/ a 'good' model and upgrade when the time is right.

Editing Your Recordings

Chances are - you won't. It's a pain for the most part and usually requires DVD-RAM or DVD-RW discs to do it and they're more expensive. If you have a lot of free time for this, you're a rare person.

I was looking for this type of solution in getting ready for having a baby and I knew I wasn't going to be sifting through and editing hours of video.

If you're really interested in editing, look in to PC options. Pinnacle, ArcSoft, Adobe, etc. - they have good solutions for that.


DVD+R and DVD-R are like VHS and Beta: they're both ok right now, but eventually we'll probably land on one or the other. It seems to be leaning towards DVD-R which tend to be less expensive also.

Many recorders and players do both, but cost more. I say save some money, pick one (probably DVD-R) and move on. If you pick the wrong one, chances are in a couple years you'll be buying a new one anyway. Moreover, you'll probably be able to get a cheap one w/ a built in converter or two trays to duplicate one to the other.

DVD-RAM and DVD-RW are the rewritable types. They're more expensive and for my purposes aren't worth worrying about.

My Recommendation

I got the Panasonic DMR-E55K:

It records to DVD-R like a VCR. I don't use it to record live TV so I don't use VCR+, but it has it. Also, it has TimeSlip which lets you watch something while it's recording (start recording "24" at 8pm and start watching it from the begining at 8:20 to speed thru commercials like a TiVo). Again, I don't use this, but it has it.

Plain and simple, it records my TiVo, camcorder, digital camera (RCA cable output), VCR, etc. to DVD - that's what I want it to do and that's what it does. It's easy, creates a good menu w/ thumbnails and my chosen titles, it's a name brand w/ good reviews and was fairly cheap (there was a rebate at the time).

Also, it plays CDs and mp3 CDs w/ a good interface so not only does it replace a CD player, but since you can put so many songs on one CD, it replaces a CD changer.

An interesting trick: If you have a digital camera w/ RCA cable output, you can hook it directly into the dvd recorder and create a quick slide-show dvd. Many cameras even have a slide show function built in! You can use the sound from a music channel, CD, etc.


If you're going gung-ho into all the nitty gritty about DVD recorders, you're either just starting here or haven't bothered to read this far. If you're looking for a good, relatively cheap solution to digitize your tapes, archive TiVo, etc., I recommend the Panasonic DMR-E55K.

About the Author
Bear Cahill runs: The Armchair Geek (www.thearmchairgeek.com), Webpage Hosting Info (www.webpagehostinginfo.com), Go To College Online (www.gotocollegeonline.com) and The Video Exchange Community (www.videoexchange.org)