Traditional DVDs are a storage media for computers and media players that can store 4.7 GB of data. The DVDs that you buy are written once, and can then be read many times. But the data on a DVD is burned permanently to the disk and can’t be overwritten. The disk is also finalized, which means that no additional information can be written to it.
A recordable DVD allows you burn your own disk from a computer or a DVD writer. If you’ve gone into an electronics store to buy a recordable disk, you might be overwhelmed by the options. What is the difference between a DVD-R and a DVD+R?
The DVD-R format was developed by Pioneer in 1997, and is supported by most DVD players. The disks are composed of two polycarbonate disks glued to each other. A 650 nm laser burns tiny pits onto the disk, which a computer can then read as a series of zeros and ones; data that can be turned into pictures and videos.
A coalition of corporations known as the DVD+RW alliance came together and developed the DVD+R format in 2002. Just like DVD-R, disks contain 4.7 GB, and can only be written once (unlike DVD+RW disks which can be rewritten many times).
Since DVD+R disks have diverged from the DVD-R format, most DVD players you can buy are hybrid drives that can play both formats. There are technical differences between how the two formats are recorded to disk, but most home users would never notice.
The industry still hasn’t settled down on one format or the other. In fact, most DVD burners can burn in both formats, and readers can read in both formats, so a final format may never be decided on.