What are DVD Drives?

How do they work?
DVD drives read information stored on a DVD or CD. These drives (along with CD drives) belong to the optical disc storage media family. They are backward compatible with CD media which means that they can play audio CDs and CD-ROMs. CD players are unable to play DVDs and DVD-ROMs. DVD drives can record to CD and DVD media.

What is a DVD? - Some History
A DVD was originally called a Digital Video Disc and was later called a Digital Versatile Disc. Today, the letters DVD do not stand for anything... DVD is now an international standard with just three letters - DVD.
DVD is an optical storage medium which is used for multimedia, games, video and audio applications. After its development, the DVD became one of the most successful products on the consumer electronics market. It has the support of all the major computer hardware companies, the electronic companies and the major music and movie studios. DVDs have now become the No. 1 computer storage media. They cover computers, home entertainment and business data. Although the DVD's capacity is much more than a CD, it looks like a CD and its physical dimensions are the same. But, in contrast to the CD, the DVD must have a file system. This system is called the Universal Disc Format (UDF) which enables the storage of data, audio, video or all three within a single physical file structure. Because DVDs have more storage space than CDs, they are a very popular choice for computer users. They have 4.7 GB (single-sided), 8.5 GB (dual-layer single-sided) and 9.4 GB (double-sided) which can hold more than thirteen times the amount of information on a CD. The DVD is able to double its data storage capacity by being able to use both sides of the disc and also by using dual-layer which is achieved by superimposing one layer on top of another layer on the same side of the disc. The quality of a DVD movie is far superior to a VHS movie; thus, the DVD is now making the need for videotaping obsolete. Eventually, they will replace CD-ROMs and audio CDs.

If you are playing a DVD which includes MPEG-2 video or DVD movie. DVD Writers: DVD Writers (DVD-R/RW) will allow computer users to backup their old VHS movies or to create backup copies of CDs and DVDs.7 GB of information. Computer DVD drives are able to read data stored on CD-ROMS and DVDs and can play both video and audio DVDs.7 GB single-sided DVD disc. With additional layers and doublesided discs. They are Read Only memory which stores computer data that is read by computer DVD drives. You should. This disc requires a dual-layer DVD writer to write information to it. They are the DVD-R (Recordable) DVD-RAM (Random Access Memory). an MPEG-2 decoder is required for viewing the video. Unlike the CD-ROM (which can hold approximately 680 megabytes (MB) of data) DVD-ROMs can store up to 4. you don't need an extra CD-ROM drive.5 GB on a single sided disc. Recording enthusiasts can now use the MPEG-2 (Moving Picture Experts Group) compression technology to store a full length movie on a 4. Playing DVD movies requires DVD decoding software or a video capture card with hardware decoding. DVD-ROM drives can read CD-ROM discs. DVD-RW and the DVD+RW (Rewritable) DVD-ROMs: DVD-ROMs (like CD-ROMs) are for computer use.Regional codes: DVD-Video discs have regional codes signifying where in the world the DVD should be distributed and played. . There are recordable varieties associated with the DVD-ROM. CD-ROM drives cannot read DVDs.There is now a new type of DVD disc called Dual-Layer which holds approximately 8. therefore. so if you have a DVD-ROM drive. Computer DVD Drives Computer DVD drives can be used to watch DVD video. buy DVDs for your regional code. DVDs . DVD drives are now being installed in new computers instead of CD drives. DVD-Audio and DVD-ROMs. DVD-ROMs are now set to replace CD-ROMs. larger storage capacities are possible. There are a number of DVD formats available which include DVD-Video. DVD-Video is sometimes referred to as DVD. play audio CDs and store information on DVDs and CDs.

HD DVD The new rave is about High Definition TV (HDTV) and this started the format "war" between Blu-ray and HD DVD. With the advent of extended DVD movies. Both these formats provide full high definition TV (1080P). Blu-ray vs.7 GB DVD disc. If you have two or more of these SATA drives in your PC. The hardware decoder also enhances video by providing smooth 'jerkless' playback. Speed: DVD drives have a faster data transfer rate than CD drives. such as the outdated IDE and P(ATA). simply connect them using SATA data and power cables and they will automatically be configured as individual drives. It is simpler to set up since this drive does not need to have a jumper installed to designate whether it is master or slave.Using an MPEG-2 hardware decoder instead of a MPEG-2 software decoder is recommended since the hardware decoder frees up the CPU to perform its other functions. provided by Toshiba. This has a capacity of 8. DVD Technology Update Optical drives. Similarly. A CD drive can only read CDs. These media are ideal for DVD titles with extras that exceeded two hours. the dual-layer DVD disc was introduced.5GB. Storage: Dual-layer DVDs will give up to 4 hours of the very best quality video on a single side of the disc.5GB. This SATA interface allows faster data access speeds. HD DVD.4GB capacity. Easy to use: DVD discs do not need re-winding after watching. Some of the advantages of installing computer DVD drives are: o o o o o Durability: DVD discs are not affected by magnetic fields and will not deteriorate over time. was the first to launch a high definition DVD disc followed by Sony (Blu-ray) . are now being replaced by SATA (Serial ATA) drives. There is also a double-sided DVD disc with a 9.one superimposed on the other giving a total of 8. Versatility: These drives can read both CDs and DVDs. The dual-layer DVD disc consist of two recordable layers . Most double-sided DVDs presented movie titles on one side in full screen (4:3) and the other side in wide screen (16:9). using the MP3 compression technology. hundreds of songs can also be recorded to a single-sided 4.

because of the versatility of DVD drives. Blu-ray disc drives for computers are now available. HD DVD succumbed to Blu-ray because the majority of movie makers gravitated to the Blu-ray technology hence there was an overwhelming majority of Blu-ray titles vs.$600.500 each. Blu-ray discs . At the introduction of HD DVD and Blu-ray. What are CD Drives? How do they work? Knowing about CD drives (the types and their uses) is important before selecting a drive. you will only require a DVD writer to read/write to CDs and DVDs. However. If you find yourself with a lot of extra cash. you should install a dedicated DVD-ROM drive. This will enable all your viewing of high definition to regular DVD movie titles. you can purchase a Blu-ray DVD writer and HD DVD player combo drive. Some are capable of writing to Blu-ray discs and reading HD DVD discs.Single-layer holds approximately 15GB and dual-layer 30GB. if you intend to watch a lot of DVD movies and listen to audio CDs. After a bitter rivalry. Final Thoughts Overall. HD DVD titles.000 . Some of the major factors that influenced the decision are:     HD DVD discs . . HD DVD discs are more susceptible to damage. These drives sell for approximately $400 . With time. these prices have fallen dramatically especially HD DVD players which now may be purchased at approximately $300 each. Prices of Blu-ray players have also fallen although they are above HD DVD players. These combo drives (as they are called) are backward compatible with standard DVDs and CDs meaning that they can write and read DVDs and CDs. This will preserve your DVD writer for burning or saving data.$200.$1. Blu-ray disc players for computers are available for approximately $150 . Blu-ray discs are almost indestructible because they are built with a protective layer. these players were extremely expensive at about $1.Single-layer holds approximately 25GB and dual-layer 50GB.HD DVD clearly had the lead with movie titles but was eventually overtaken by Sony (Blu-ray).

Data is written on a CD by burning pits into the disc to produce non-reflective areas. The higher the speed the faster the drive will read or write data. It is an optical disc which is used to store digital data. 4X . It was originally invented for storing digital audio. If you would like to be able to store large amounts of data.2X. But. CD+. etc. The newer multi-speed drives enhance the performance of your system but are usually more expensive.Some History CD is the acronym for Compact Disc. CD-DA. High Sierra..What are CD Drives? They are disc drives which read Compact Discs (CDs). Compact discs are now being used as a storage media for data. due to ever-increasing technology advancements. 3X. PhotoCD and CD-ROM-XA. The type of CD drive that you buy should depend on what you will be using it to do (read or read and write) and also. a writable CD format was 'born'. CDs are the way to go. music. . The CD was initially introduced to replace LP records and are excellent media for the storage of music. CD drives are at various speeds . Originally.. the CD-ROM standard was made as a 'read-only' medium.... They are both 'Read Only' which means that the recorded data can only be read or played. 52X and so on. the interface required for connecting to the computer and the formats it is capable of reading or writing. the types of CD media that it will support. What is a Compact Disc (CD)? . CD drives are called optical drives (optical technology/laser technology).7 inches in diameter and can hold approximately 700 megabytes (MB) of data. When purchasing a CD-ROM drive. Data is also written to a CD-R by changing the reflectivity of the coating on the surface of the disc. video. A CD is a simple piece of thin round plastic which measures approximately 4. eventually. Some of the formats used by CD-ROM drives are ISO 960. you should consider the drive specifications. They are versatile and transportable and can be used to perform various tasks such as reading data from the computer and listening to audio.. The most common types of digital media storage are (a) CD-ROMs which are used to store computer data and (b) CDs which are used by the music industry to store digital recordings.

You will not be able to write to this drive. CDs are so easy and cheap to make that if you own a computer and a CD-R drive. you will be able to make your own CDs with any data that you want! CD-ROM Drives A CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read Only Memory) drive is a computer hardware device that can read (Read Only) data from a CD-ROM disc. the data transfer rate and the access rate should be considered. The speed that you will need will depend on what you will be using the drive for. Today.Pronounced 'SKUH-zee' and sometimes called "scuzzy".5 floppy disks to store. CD-Rs which can be written to once and then 'read only'. If the CD-ROM drive will only be used for tasks such as installing new software. Allows personal computers to communicate with peripherals such as a CD-ROM drive. Speed is one of the most notable features of the CD-ROM. neither can you copy or save files to them. SCSI . Less expensive than SCSI but it is slower.Integrated Device Electronics -It has an interface for hard disk drives and CDROM drives. a lower drive speed will be sufficient but. When purchasing a CDROM drive. EIDE or SCSI. CD-ROMS can be either internal and fit in a drive bay or. These formats include:    CD-ROMS which are 'read only'. external in which case it will normally connect to the computer's SCSI interface or parallel port. CDs are stronger than floppy disks and are not as vulnerable to get damaged from magnets. They cannot be erased or recorded upon. These are very popular to the computer user for making music CDs and backing up data.Newer version of IDE. Parallel port CDROM drives are easier to install but they are not cheap. CD-RW discs can only be played back on CD drives that are playback-compatible.From the computer standpoint. CD-RWs which can be written to numerous times. IDE . EIDE . The average CD can hold data that would require approximately 400 plus 3. a compact disc is a type of optical disc storage media which comes in various formats. The data transfer rate describes the amount of data that the drive will be able to read from the CD and transfer to the computer in kilobytes per second. most software is shipped on CD-ROMs because they hold much more data than a floppy disk and they are cheaper to make. you will definitely need the fastest drive speed possible. CD-ROM drives are either IDE. The transfer rates will vary depending on the speed of the drive. . if you will be using it for games and multimedia (that consists of audio and video).

but. o CD-R Drives: CD-R Drives come in slower speeds than the standard CD-ROM drives and will read standard audio and data CDs. o CD-RW Drives: This is called a CD-rewritable or CD-RW drive. This drive is also known as WORM . Nowadays. Note: Writing files to a DVD or CD is known as burning since the 'burning' is done by a laser. CD-RW means Compact Disc Rewritable. Low cost. This type of drive can write to CD-R media but is unable to re-write to CD-RW media. Both the CD-RW and the CD-R drives are backward compatible which means that they can read standard data and audio CDs. CD-RW is extremely popular with the computer user and is used to make music CDs and for backing up data. CD-RW: (Compact Disc ReWritable) drives allows you to write. They cost a little more than the CD-R but has the advantage of repeatably being able to write data to a disc over and over again! It works just like a floppy disc except that it holds a lot more data. CD Drives . If you want to get a drive with the best performance. These drives are now standard equipment in new computers. to be able to do this. There are benefits when using CDs to store your information:     Stores a lot of data. Have a longer shelf life than other media. you should consider a higher speed data transfer rate with a shorter access time. erase and re-write hundreds of times. CD-R means Compact Disc Recordable and can only be written to once and then it becomes 'Read Only'.Write once/read many.CD-R and CD-RW CD-R: (Compact Disc Recordable) drives enable you to make your own CDs (including audio). the user will require a CD recording software package. CD Burners: These are cd drives which are used to produce discs that are readable in other CD-ROM drives and audio CD players. CD drives allow users to be able to create CD-ROMs and audio CDs. . Easier to carry. CD-R Drives/CD Burners: These CD drives are called CD-recordable or CD-R drives.The access rate is measured by the amount of time between when the drive receives the read command and when the data is read. It records onto a recordable CD-R disc.

The customary CD format is known as single-session since everything that is to be put on that disc is placed all at once. Facts: ‡ CD-ROM drives can only read CDs. ‡ CD writers (burners) can read and write CDs. some newer CD formats that use more than one session and these are referred to as multi-session drives.all in one! DVD means Digital Versatile Disc. The DVD writable drives available are DVD-R. For permanent data back-up. have the capability of having a rewritable CD drive . This allows the continuous adding of data to a CD-ROM over time. get a dedicated DVD-ROM drive. CD-R only drives are now obsolete. Get CD re-writable media for backing up or transferring data from one system to another. full-screen using your computer. Multi-Sessions: Many CD-RW drives have a very nice feature known as multisession recording. An MPEG-2 decoder usually comes with a DVD and this allows you to be able to play full-length DVD movies. ‡ DVD-ROM drives can read both CDs and DVDs. DVD+RW and DVD-RW. ‡ DVD writers can perform all of the above . at the same time. DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive: The great advantage of this type of drive is being able to play your DVDs and. This means that data can be written to the beginning of the disc and more can be added to the unused space later. This will be very important to a user who wants to use this drive to create backups of CD-ROMs.Summary and Recommendations:     If you will be playing a lot of DVDs. the only difference is that the CD-RW drive holds much more data.Single Session vs.Read. get CD-R media. however. This will extend the life of your CD burner. There are. write CDs and DVDs. Spend a few extra dollars and get a DVDROM/CD-RW combo drive. It has a huge storage capacity but has the same physical dimensions as the CD-ROM and also has a faster data transfer rate. They cannot read or write DVDs. . These drives work like floppy disks. CD-Drives . DVD-RAM.