The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide To DVD

DVD disc inserting to player


The DVD used to be the preferred method for distributing movies during the 2000s.


While streaming websites like Netflix and Spotify are popular—DVDs still have their uses. And it pays to know the basic thing about DVDs and how to store them.


What you need to know about Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)


What is a Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)?


DVD stands for either Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc. DVD is an optical disc used for storing electronic information. Optical discs such as CDs refer to a data storage medium that uses a laser to read and write information.


Like the compact disc or CD, the DVD has several plastic layers and is about 1.2 millimeters thick.


A single-side DVD has a storage capacity of 4.7 gigabytes. This memory is enough to store a movie that runs for 133 minutes. The storage capacity of a DVD can become even bigger by adding layers and sides.


Aside from movies, you can also use DVDs for saving software and computer files. You can read information from a DVD using a DVD player or the DVD-ROM on your computer.


Brief History of Digital Versatile Disc


The first feature film released on DVD for home use was the disaster film Twister in 1996. However, it took years of research and the participation of several companies to come up with the DVD storage.


During the early 90s, optical disc companies were working on two types of optical storage mediums.


Sony and Philips backed the MultiMedia Compact Disc. Meanwhile, Toshiba promoted the Super Density (SD) Disc. Hitachi, JVC, Matsushita Electric, Time-Warner, Mitsubishi Electric, Pioneer, and Thomson also supported the Super Density Disc.


With pressure from Apple, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Microsoft to release a single format, the warring companies agreed on a compromise.


Sony and Philips adapted the SD format. But the two companies included proprietary technology and other modifications to make the discs more resilient.


Originally called Digital Video Disc, the companies later agreed to change the name to simply DVD. Hence, there is no official name for the acronym. However, the DVD Forum, an international organization of production, media, hardware, software, and software companies, defines DVD as Digital Versatile Disc. This name change denotes the flexibility of the new format to other multimedia applications, not just video.


Why do you need to use Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)?


DVDs have a wide range of applications. Some software companies use DVDs for distributing software programs. Although direct downloads are viable options, some users prefer installing programs using a DVD.


Media companies also offer DVD releases for films and music videos. Although streaming movies and music is getting popular, audio and video quality for DVD releases remain superior.


Aside from these functions, DVDs can serve as an offsite data backup for files and personal data.


Things you need to consider when buying Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)?


If you’re interested in using DVDs for personal use, here are some things to think about before you shop.




What do you need to store? A DVD with single-layer disc storage can store up to 4.7 GB. You can save about 2,000 photos on one DVD, for instance. Think about your data storage needs to assess if DVDs would be practical for the purpose you have in mind. 




The life span of optical discs, in general, depends on environmental factors and how often you use the disc. Some DVDs last for decades, while others stop working in just a year or two. Proper storage helps DVDs last longer.


While reliability also depends on environmental factors, it’s better to stick to using DVDs manufactured by major brands.


Choose DVDs from brands like Verbatim, Sony, Philips, Maxell, and HP. These brands have a proven track record for producing reliable optical discs.





There are different types of DVDs – DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-R DL, DVD+R DL, DVD-RW/+RW, DVD-RAM. When buying a DVD, choose the format type which is compatible with your DVD writer or recorder.


Among these formats, DVD-R has the widest compatibility. DVD-RAM is the least compatible and is rarely used today.


We’ll talk more about DVD format types in another section.


When buying a DVD, check your recording device to see which type of DVD you need. If you have no idea, refer to your user manual. Be sure to check if the manufacturer recommends certain DVD brands or cautions against using particular brands.


Aside from the format type, make sure that the blank DVD is for Video and Data Use. A Data Use Only DVD will only work on a computer.


How does the Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) work?


boy chooses one of two dvd in special store, ready contents


To store information on a DVD you need to burn the writeable layer with a laser. The burning process creates bumps on the surface of the laser-side of the disc. But on the aluminum part, these marks appear as pits. Pits and bumps refer to the same thing but on different sides of the disc.


Each bump which represents binary 0 while the unburnt and flat areas known as lands represents binary 1.  These bumps have a microscopic dimension –  320 by 400 by 120 nanometers – so small you can’t see or feel them. A DVD with a single music file could have millions of bumps and lands representing by 1s and 0s.


Computers and DVD players can only read binary (the 1s and 0s) information. So, DVDs have to store information in this same format.


DVD readers shine a laser beam on the surface of the disc to decode the pattern of bumps and lands. Through this process, your player turns the binary pattern into a video and/or audio signal.


Where To Buy Affordable Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)


It’s easy to find a cheap DVD. Most blank DVDs cost from $0.2 to $0.5 per piece depending on the brand. You can buy one disc, several discs, a box or even a spindle containing 10 discs or more.


When you buy blank DVDs, always go with reputable brands. It’s never a brilliant idea to buy a cheap DVD from an unknown brand if your greatest concern is reliability.


If you need to buy a blank DVD to transfer information, check consumer electronics and computer stores in your area.


You can also buy DVDs online. Check out websites like Storables for your DVD needs. If you’re struggling with keeping all your DVDs organized, this website is just the right place. They also feature different storage options to keep those DVDs organized without damaging the disc and its contents.


What are the types of Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) storage?


Types of Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)


DVDs come with five recordable DVD formats. This is why you should always check what type of DVD you need for your recorder.


You should see the DVD format on the DVD’s packaging.


The DVD±RW is a rewritable format that can record information about 1,000 times. This DVD format is less compatible with DVD players compared to  DVD±R. Like other single-layer DVDs, this format can store up to 4.7 GB.  DVD-RW, which has a shorter burn time, has wider compatibility compared to DVD+RW. While ±RW DVDs allow you to write new information, the old data will be erased completely.

Among all DVD formats, DVD±R is the most compatible with all DVD players, DVD recorders, and DVD-ROM drives. The DVD±R has a “write-once” format and can hold up to 4.7 GB. The only difference between a DVD+R and DVD-R lies with how each format determines the location of the laser beam on the disc. DVD-R, which is older between the two formats, has greater compatibility with most DVD players.

DVD-R DL is a format similar to DVD-R. The DL stands for dual-layer, which is why its memory capacity is around 8.5 GB —twice as much as the single-layer DVD which can hold up to 4.7 GB. You can only use this DVD format for a one-time recording.
Like DVD-R DL, DVD+R DL can hold up to 8.5 GB. You can only write once with this dual-layer disc. 
This DVD format functions best as a hard drive since it supports 100,000 rewrites. It can also handle data-intensive and high-performance applications. But, DVD-RAM has the least compatibility, and it’s best played on the same recorder used to burn the data. DVD-RAM has a cartridge and a disc variety.


Best Way to Organize Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)


Optical discs like the DVD is susceptible to environmental factors like too much light, humidity, and moisture. So, it’s always best practice to store your discs in a cool, dry place.


Your DVD storage area should have a temperature between 62 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce chemical degradation.


Owning DVD copies of a film beats streaming, especially if you love re-watching movies. But buying DVDs has a major disadvantage —you’ll end up with hundreds of them.


Stacking DVD cases like a book in their original case would be the best way to store your discs. You better start shopping for best buy DVD storage racks if you’re planning to keep the DVD case. A strategically placed shelf or an organizer could also do the trick.


If you don’t have a dedicated home theatre, or you have limited space, keeping DVD cases can be impractical. In this case, consider transferring your DVDs to a binder or wallet.


There are tons of ways to keep your DVDs organized while keeping them in a safe space. Here are some clever dvd storage solutions you’ll regret pass up on.


How to utilize your Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)?


Your DVD is a useful way to store data including video, audio, and data files. However, it’s better to use it as backup storage. After all, optical discs are susceptible to damage due to environmental factors.


How to burn in a Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)?


Burning DVDs is a simple process. But you’ll need a blank DVD and a DVD drive.


Choose your DVD authoring application


Some computers come with a program that allows you to burn DVDs. If you don’t have a DVD authoring software on your computer, you need to install one. Here are some suggestions:


  • Nero
  • Windows Media Player
  • WinX DVD Author (for video discs only)
  • BurnAware
  • Ashampoo Burning Studio


How to burn video files on a DVD


The process may differ from program to program, but burning video DVDs generally includes these steps:


  1. Open the DVD authoring program.
  2. Add video, audio or data files you want to save on your DVD.
  3. If your video file is not in the MPEG-2 format – the required format for playable video DVDs – the program needs to convert the file. Sometimes, it’s better to use another program to convert the file to MPEG-2. The conversion can happen first, but there are DVD authoring programs that do this step during the burning process.
  4. Create a menu for a playable DVD. You can skip this step if you want to.
  5. Insert a blank DVD. For wider compatibility, use DVD-R.
  6. Open the DVD authoring program. Don’t forget to check the settings before you start burning. Your burn speed should be either 2X or 4X to avoid errors. For the output format, choose PAL if you are in Europe and NTSC if you are in the US or Japan.
  7. Start burning the disc. It’s best to avoid doing anything else on your computer while burning. Review everything before you push the start button. Stopping midway may cause errors.
  8. After completing the process, play the DVD to check if it works and if there are no errors.


How to store data files on a DVD


For storing data, you can use the DVD like a USB flash drive. Simply drag the information to the disc. When you’re done, click the Burn button.


Some Windows computers allow you to select DVDs like a USB drive, and the files will be saved automatically. Then, eject the DVD. 


Always check the contents of the backup DVD afterward.


How to maximize your Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) storage?


The standard single-layer DVD could store up to 4.7 GB.


Now, what if you need to save a 5GB file?


While it’s easy to find cheap DVDs, it would still be wasteful to use another disc for a 0.3 GB file.


One way to get around this problem is to compress your file. Compression programs like WinZip and WinRAR allow you to create ZIP and RAR files can do the trick. There are also alternatives like Zipware and 7Zip if you’re looking for free options.


Compressed can be 50 to 90% smaller than the original file. Plus, compression will not reduce the quality of your data.


If quality is not an issue and/or compressing files are not enough, you can also reduce the size or quality of the photo or video. When you’re done with adjusting the data size, you can proceed to saving the file on a DVD.


How important is a DVD drive on your laptop?


With more companies offering direct downloads for applications, DVDs are no longer as useful as they were decades ago. Some computers like MacBook removed DVD drives from their laptops.


Having a DVD drive on a laptop is not much of a loss, but it’s always handy to have a way to read DVDs on your computer. So, having a portable CD/DVD drive which can cost around $25 to $70 can solve the problem. 


Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) Frequently Asked Questions


1. How Long Will Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) last?


There are claims that DVDs can last for 100 or even 200 years. But the average shelf life of DVDs is between five to ten years.


Some manufacturers claim that DVDs last from 10 to 25 years. But most conservative estimate is between two to five years.


2. Can you burn a Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) twice?


It depends on the type of DVD you are writing on. With a DVD±R single layer or dual-layer format, you can only write information once. If you have a rewritable DVD, you can burn the disc more than once. But doing so will delete existing information on the DVD.


3. Can DVD RAM drive burn CDs?


A DVD RAM drive would be most compatible with a DVD-RAM disc since this DVD format has the least computability with DVD players. With that said, a DVD RAM drive may not be able to burn a CD, but you can use other types of DVD drives to do this.


Most modern PCs running on both Windows and iOS come with a driver that can burn both CDs and DVDs. All you need is the right DVD burning application to complete the process.


4. What is the best DVD player for your computer with Windows OS?


If Windows Media Player just can’t get the job done, other DVD players to check out include VLC Media Player and MPlayerX. Here’s a more comprehensive list of the best DVD player options available in the market right now. 


5. How do you find the best DVD releases on your mac?


For people who prefer owning a copy of a film or movie they like, it could be helpful to have a way to track the latest DVD releases.


Rather than constantly searching the internet for questions like “When is avengers endgame DVD release date” or “When is the new captain marvel DVD release date”, you can bookmark websites to help you find what you need.


Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes publish a calendar for DVD releases for the month. These websites are also accessible whether you are using a Mac or Windows computer.


6. What is the new DVD player for Windows 10 free?


Our top recommendations above should work with a Windows 10 computer. Plus, all of them are free. If you’re looking for more options, you can also try the following:


  • DVDFab Player 5 – This media player comes with a paid version, but the free version works just fine.
  • GOM Player – If you’re worried about bad frames, this player could be what you need since it can play the DVD and skip corrupt sections on the disc.
  • Blaze DVD – The free version gets the job done, but you need the paid version if you’re looking for more advanced tools.


7. What are the features and benefits of DVD players for Windows 10?


Whether you’re running on Windows 10 or you’re a Mac user, DVD players are still relevant. Cloud storage and streaming may have rendered DVDs obsolete, but there are benefits in having an offsite copy of your files or favorite movies and music.


Even if you are not using the internet, you can still have access to a file you need since it is an offsite copy. For purposes like this, it would be useful to have a Windows 10 compatible DVD player on your computer to read the information from a DVD.


8. How important is DVD on your laptop? 


If you’re a movie buff, it’s mighty important! DVDs provide hours of fun and entertainment on end at a highly affordable price: it’s no wonder, then, why some people stick to them despite the rise of online streaming platforms like Netflix.  Still not convinced? Here’s why you should get a DVD player in 2020.


9. When is avengers endgame dvd release date?

The DVD version of megahit movie Avengers: End Game was released last year, August 13 2019.

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