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DVD -R +RW = Confusion
by rob
So, you want to buy a DVD recorder? You might be asking yourself, "What is all the hubbub about DVD formats? Why are there so many versions of DVD?" I'm here to help you sort this all out.

There are two competing, incompatible standards for DVD formats, DVD-R and DVD+R. Both formats burn data and video DVDs that can be read by many (but not all) DVD-ROM drives in computers and DVD players that are hooked up to TVs. DVD-R and DVD+R have corresponding re-writable variants, DVD-RW and DVD+RW. To simplify matters, the re-writable drive you buy will burn the write-once version of the same format. So if you buy a DVD-RW drive, it will burn DVD-RW and DVD-R discs.

Write Once (DVD-R vs. DVD+R)
Between the two options, DVD-R and DVD+R are both very compatible with existing DVD players and DVD-ROM drives. Some older DVD players might have better luck with DVD-R than DVD+R, simply because DVD-R has been around longer.

Re-Writable (DVD-RW vs. DVD+RW)

DVD-RW and DVD+RW play in most DVD-ROM drives and DVD players. The only real difference in the two is formatting time. DVD+RW drives format while you write. DVD-RW requires the disc to be formatted before you write, which may take as long as an hour. Newer software packages support formatting DVD-RW media on the fly

DVD-RAM
"What about DVD-RAM?" DVD-RAM is a re-writable format and is good for mass storage but DVD-RAM discs can only be accessed in a DVD-RAM drive. So if you're going to burn movies or share data, you should stay away from DVD-RAM

The Path is Clearer
"I've seen drives that are labeled DVD±RW. Is that another format?" Those drives are DVD re-writable drives that play and burn both -R and +R formats. Dual format drives are becoming increasingly popular. These are the best burners for compatibility until there is only one DVD writing format available.

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