ARCHIVED: What is a DVD?

This content has been archived, and is no longer maintained by Indiana University. Information here may no longer be accurate, and links may no longer be available or reliable.

DVDs are a form of optical storage media based on the compact disc. Originally called Digital Video Disc, and later Digital Versatile Disc, "DVD" is now used with little sense of the original terms. Essentially, a DVD is a larger, faster CD that can hold video, audio, and/or computer data. Physically similar to a CD, a single-layer, single-sided DVD has a maximum capacity of 4.7GB (about two hours of MPEG-2 video), about seven times the capacity of a CD-ROM (a normal CD holds around 650MB). A double-layer, double-sided DVD-ROM disk has thirty times the capacity of a CD-ROM (over 17GB). The DVD specification supports access rates of 600KBps to 1.3MBps.

DVD-ROM describes DVDs used as computer storage. DVD-R is a once-recordable DVD format, which requires a special drive and media, while such formats as DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, and DVD-R/RW can be written multiple times.

DVD-ROM players are capable of reading CD-ROMs, CD-I disks, and video CDs, as well as new DVD-ROMs. Most DVD players can also read CD-R disks.

For more information about DVDs, see the DVD FAQ.

This is document afsr in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2023-09-22 17:01:36.