What is a DVD

DVD logo imageDVD’s (abbreviated for Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is a storage device that has perhaps been one of the most breakthrough computer related inventions. The idea of DVDs was first developed in 1993 and by 1995 the hardware required to access these storage devices (DVD ROM or DVD players) were finalized and developed. It was derived from two popular storage formats developed at the time. Back during this period of time, CD’s were thriving. Even floppy disks were still reasonably popular to store a few document files. However, the need for an economical and convenient device such as the CD became apparent. The DVD was born with the most popular format of DVD (DVD-5) having a capacity of 4.7 GB (equal to almost 7 CD’s).

DVDs were available in 9 different formats comprising of different storage capacities. The types were simply named with numbers such as DVD-1, DVD-2, etc. While other formats were used to a certain extent, the DVD-5 format became the standard medium available for purchase and used to store movies. The sizes are based on the write capacity available. A DVD may be single or double sided and single or dual layer. These factors govern the size of the disk. The most popular format is single sided and single layer.

Since its inception over one and a half decades ago, DVD’s still remain popular and are extensively used for an array of purposes. The DVD was initially popularized when it was used as a medium to sell movies. Today DVD’s are sometimes synonymous with movies. Due to their large capacity, it added convenience as games that were too large and were available in the form of multiple CDs could now be burned onto a single DVD.

The advent of DVDs provided a range of possibilities and enabled new avenues of business. For example, movies could now be seamlessly delivered to customers’ homes via standard post as DVDs were compact and light. Apart from movies, games and other digital media, DVDs can also be used to store knowledge bases such as encyclopedia. They can also be instrumental in archiving or backing up large database or information systems. DVDs also have relatively higher read and write speeds making it more efficient to copy files to a DVD as well as read them directly off the DVD.

Blank DVDs may be purchased as DVD-R or DVD+R which allow burning on to the disc only a single time while DVD-RW and DVD+RW allow copying and erasing files multiple times from a DVD. Today most desktops and portable computers are factory fitted with a DVD writer. DVDs are a lot more durable than most other forms of storage media. In fact, DVDs are known to have a shelf life of about 100 years! However, frequent and heavy use of DVDs can inadvertently lead to scratches, dust collection and other damages which can result in the loss of data. Thus, to further improve the durability of your DVD, there are a few tips you can follow.

Be sure to not make any contact with the shiny surface as this is where the data is written. If any contact is made on the surface, use a cleaning agent such as alcohol and gently wipe the surface till it shines. You may also alternatively use water though this may be less effective. Remember to never clean the DVD surface in a circular motion following the multi colored patterns on the disc. Instead clean it at right angles to the surface, moving to and from the center. You may also use a commercial product that effectively removes scratches and dirt. Be sure to choose a brand that is well trusted and has a good reputation or expect it to do more harm than good. As a rule of thumb, always remember to store the DVD in a jewel case or other secure protective cover.

DVDs can be read using an array of hardware devices. Typically, the most common option is a DVD writer or reader on a computer. You may also purchase a DVD player for a very economical price if the sole purpose of reading DVDs is to play video files. DVD videos may be too large for transfer over the internet which has led to the development of DVD rippers. These software tools encode DVDs in other compressed, “internet-friendly” formats. There are dozens of DVD rippers available to choose from ranging from shareware to freeware and differing in terms of encoding speed and formats supported.

If you are looking to write a DVD, you should be looking for a burner. Burning software allows you to seamlessly and efficiently write on to a DVD disk. Most burning software provides various customization options offering a choice to write a data disk, audio disk or video disk. A good application to handle DVD burning is Nero.

The HD-DVD was developed and available for a brief period of time after which it was discontinued following the development of the Blu-ray Disc during the same period in time. The HD-DVD was positioned to be the successor of the DVD capable of holding up to 30 GB of data. With the advent of the Blu-ray Disc, multimedia and other data are slowly shifting to the Blu-ray format as it allows high quality multimedia and a large storage capacity. While the decline of the DVD is inevitable due to this, it is currently still extensively used for a multitude of purposes.