Recordable DVDs are a big trend in home video production.
But ... know what you're looking for. Here's an excerpt from an LA Times article that gives the story.
...recordable DVDs are bursting onto the mass market so fast that drive manufacturers haven't had time to settle their format battles. So consumers see an alphabet soup of choices between DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM and DVD+RW.
The formats are incompatible with each other and, depending on the brand and model, may not be compatible with existing non-recordable DVD players.
"There's a lot of confusion out there, and there's clearly a risk that people will try to record with the wrong media and get frustrated with the incompatibility," said Wolfgang Schlichting, research manager for the removal storage industry for IDC.
There are two competing camps, each hoping to reap financial rewards from controlling the recordable DVD market.
On one side is the Recordable DVD Council, formed in April 2000 to push the older DVD-RAM and newer DVD-R and DVD-RW formats. The group has more than 70 members led by an executive board that includes big name electronics-makers Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, JVC and Hitachi.
In the other camp is the DVD+RW Alliance, chaired by HP's Spofford. This alliance, which is pushing the DVD+RW format, is backed by heavyweights such as Dell, Philips Electronics, Ricoh Co., Thomson Multimedia and Yamaha Corp.
Some companies are on both sides of the fence: Sony Corp., for example, is part of the DVD+RW Alliance, yet is selling computers with an installed DVD-RW drive.
Not Much Difference
The DVD+RWs and DVD-RWs each literally have their pluses and minuses, Schlichting said. "The differences are really quite small on a technical level, " he said.
Both can record and rerecord up to 1,000 times. The older DVD-RAM format can record and rerecord more than 100,000 times, but is not compatible with most DVD players. The DVD-R, like the CD-R, can record only once.
The DVD-R and DVD-RW have an edge for video recording, where the DVD+RW has the advantage for data storage and is better at preventing errors while recording, he said.
DVD-R might have the best chance to become the leading format because it is compatible with the most players, Schlichting said. A similar competing record- once format, DVD+R, pushed by Philips, is being introduced too late to knock off DVD-R, he said.