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Posted by Donna Peng - Nov. 5 Contact Author

DVD Formats: DVD R/RW, DVD NTSC/PAL, DVD5/9

DVD, which stands for digital versatile disc or digital video disc, has long been used to save games, data, and especially high-quality digital video. Do you know that DVDs come in different formats? There are ready-only, recordable, rewritable DVDs, and NTSC/PAL discs, as well as single- and double-sided DVDs, etc. Different DVD types vary in DVD video resolutions and DVD file formats etc. that each manufacturer adheres to. If you're not clear about the differences, this post will offer you the full info.

DVD formats & types
Convert DVD Video Formats for Easier Playback Everywhere

No matter what DVD formats or types are, they can be read and played by device that equips a DVD drive only. You can convert DVD into other formats like MP4, AVI, WMV, HEVC, H.264, etc. for more convenient use. Try the DVD video format converter WinX DVD Ripper Platinum - it will convert (protected/homemade) DVDs to 320+ formats for iPhone, Android, Plex, TV, any device in 5 minutes!

Formats of DVDs - What are DVD R/RW/RAM/ROM?

DVD+R

DVD+R is a write-once recordable DVD format that is supported by Sony, Microsoft, Philips, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Ricoh, Yamaha, and others. DVD+R disc stores about 4.7GB and can't be recorded onto for a second time. Once the data is recorded onto DVD-R discs, the data becomes permanent on the disc. This DVD file format can be played on most (about 85%) DVD players and DVD-ROM drives. Compared to DVD-R, DVD+R has better error detection and correction.  

DVD+RW

DVD+RW is a re-writable version of DVD+R. DVD+RW disc stores about 4.7GB and can record 1,000 times. This DVD type can be played by most (about 70% to 80%) DVD players and nearly all recent DVD-ROM drives. But you should note that some older DVD players and models from Panasonic, Toshiba, and Hitachi won't play DVD+RW/DVD+R discs. Compared to DVD-RW, DVD+RW has better performance and reliability.

DVD+R DL

DVD+R DL, also known as DVD+R9, is the dual layer writeable version of DVD+R. It doubles the storage capacity of DVD+R from 4.7GB to 8.5GB. It can be played on many recent DVD players and DVD-ROM drives. You'd better check our player if you need to play DVD+R DL discs.

DVD-R

DVD-R was the first write-once DVD format that is supported by Apple, Pioneer, Toshiba, Hitachi, Panasonic, Time Warner, and others. Similar to DVD+R, DVD-R holds 4.7GB and can't be recorded onto for a second time. Once a DVD-R disc has been burned or written to, it can't be written again. The non-rewriteable DVD video format can be played by many (about 93%) existing DVD players, recorders, and DVD-ROM drives. DVD-R discs are usually cheaper than DVD+R DVDs.

DVD-RW

DVD-RW is a rewriteable version of DVD-R. DVD-RW disc stores about 4.7GB and can record 1,000 times. DVD-RW discs are more expensive than DVD-R discs while less compatible than DVD-R, and they can be played on most (about 80%) DVD players and DVD-ROM drives. If you want to burn DVD for archival purpose, you may use DVD-R as it won't change, and use DVD-RW for more fluid data (the same goes with DVD+R and DVD+RW).

DVD-R DL

DVD-R DL, also known as DVD-R9, is the dual layer writeable version of DVD-R and holds 8.5GB. These discs are compatible with most DVD video players and DVD-ROM drives. Same as DVD+R DL, DVD-R DL has high disc cost and limited compatibility with older devices. 

DVD-RAM

DVD-RAM is a recordable and rewritable DVD type developed by Panasonic, Toshiba, and a few other manufacturers. It comes in cartridge and non-cartridge forms, single- or double-sided with 4.7GB storage per side. DVD-RAM discs is very useful for backups like a hard drive as it can be rewritten for up to 100,000 times, 100 times more than either DVD-RW or DVD+RW. However, DVD-RAM is not as common as DVD R/RW discs and can be played only on DVD-RAM drives, some camcorders and video recorders. It's not supported by most DVD-ROM drives and DVD-Video players.

DVD-ROM

Different to all the recordable DVD formats listed above, DVD-ROM is a read-only DVD video format. DVD-ROM discs hold around 4.38 GB data that is pre-recorded by the manufacturers and can't be changed, rewritten or erased. This kind of DVDs is commonly used for movie rentals and software applications. DVD-ROM discs can be read by a computer with a DVD-ROM/DVD-RAM drive, but not on a DVD drive connected to a home theater system or TV.

Disc

DVD Type

Writeable

Recordable

Playback on computer

Playback on home DVD player

Price (may change over time)

DVD+R

Read & Write

Write Once

Yes

Yes

Yes

$1.29 – $3.48

DVD+RW

Read & Write

Rewritable

No

Yes

Yes

$1.60 – $5.38

DVD+R DL

Read & Write

Write Once

Yes

Yes

Yes

$2.60 – $6.80

DVD-R

Read & Write

Write Once

Yes

Yes

Yes

$0.85 – $3.36

DVD-RW

Read & Write

Rewritable

No

Yes

Yes

$0.98 – $6.18

DVD-R DL

Read & Write

Write Once

Yes

Yes

Yes

$1.70 – $6.70

DVD-RAM

Read & Write

Rewritable

No

Yes

Yes

N/A

DVD-ROM

Read Only

Read Only

No

Yes, software and codec required for DVD movie playback

Yes, DVD/Blu-ray players only

N/A

Sizes of Different DVD Types - Sides and Layers

DVDs are also divided into DVD-5, DVD-9, DVD-10, etc. depending on the sides and layers they have. There are also DVD-15 and DVD-18, which gradually become obsolete with the advent of Blu-ray discs. Normally, DVD-5 is the cheapest disc among other types and DVD-9 is commonly used by commercial and Hollywood movies.

Disc

Capacity

Data storage size

Length  

Sides

Layers

DVD formats supported

DVD-5

4.7GB

Up to 4.38GB

133 minutes

Single

Single

DVD-R/RW &DVD+R/RW

DVD-9

8.5GB

Up to 7.95GB

240 minutes

Single

Dual

DVD-R & DVD+R

DVD-10

9.4GB

Up to 8.95GB total

266 minutes

Double

Single

DVD-R/RW &DVD+R/RW

DVD-15

N/A

Up to 12.33GB total

N/A

Double

One single, one dual

N/A

DVD-18

17.1GB

Up to 15.9GB total

480 minutes

Double

Dual

DVD+R

NTSC vs PAL

DVDs come in different DVD video formats based on where they are distributed - NTSC and PAL. The two DVD file formats vary in DVD video resolution, frame rate, supported DVD player, regions, etc. Can PAL player read DVD format NTSC? What's the DVD format in USA? Things get complicated. Check the differences below (check detailed NTSC vs PAL).

● NTSC, 29.97fps, 60hz, 720x480, is used in the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Central America, parts of South America and some other countries.
● PAL, 25fps, 50hz, 720x576, is used in Australia, China, most of Europe and Africa, the Middle East, India and some other countries (Countries using the SECAM standard use PAL for DVDs ).

* Most NTSC players can't play PAL DVDs, except some newer or specific players. PAL players will play all NTSC DVDs. But this needs the DVDs to be region-free. If the DVD region code is not supported, the DVD player won't play a foreign DVD anyhow.

Need a DVD Author or DVD Burner?

DVD-video format:
● Video_TS 
● ISO disc image 
● DDP file  

Video formats like MP4, MOV, QuickTime won't be played on DVD players (check all formats supported by DVD players). Therefore, you may want to move videos to a DVD-RW or other disc format for successful playback on DVD/Bluray players. This process is called DVD authoring. Try the freeware WinX DVD Author, it will easily burn MP4, MKV, AVI, MOV, ISO, etc. to a DVD with menu, subtitle. It supports all DVD types, no matter DVD R/RW or DVD format NTSC/PAL.

DVD burner - need to clone DVD to DVD for backup, or extract ISO/Video_TS, MPEG2 from DVD? WinX DVD Copy Pro will read any protected titles, burned discs, homemade DVDs and let you make a 1:1 DVD copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Donna Peng

Donna Peng's fascination with multimedia began at an early age - shortly after she licked the physical disc and then she's been obsessed ever since. Her decade-long career at Digiarty after the graduation has seen her unmatched expertise in the field of DVD, digital video, software and anything related to home theatre. She is currently fascinated with photography.

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