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back to article It's official! DVD plus/minus war ends in a draw

The battle of the recordable DVD formats - DVD+R/RW versus DVD-R/RW - is finally and officially over more than five-odd years after it began, and several years after the fight became largely symbolic. Late last week, DVD6C, the consortium of DVD intellectual property holders, said that it had added DVD+R and DVD+RW to its list …

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Gold badge

Meet up in future

These DVD formats (as well as HD formats) all need to meet up and agree standards.

The take up rate and potential profits are maximised if one format is launched and consumers can adopt the new format quickly.

Taking sides and promoting very similar products helps nobody.

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Silver badge

I hope that means defeat for -R in real terms

I've had a few problems with -R discs developing errors over time but never with +R. And -RW must have been developed by a madman, whereas +RW is convenient and fast (no padding required, no preformatting). I hope +R/RW will not be affected by the "draw". Technologically that was always the winning format.

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Silver badge
Linux

Thought it was simple

Ho hum. I always thought it was:

Plus: for use in inexpensive TV-recorders.

Plus, dual layer: would be ideal for pirating movies at full resolution including the deleted scenes and the talk-through -- if not for the fact that the blanks cost more than the original.

Minus: for backing up unimportant data, or data so sensitive that it must never again be seen by anybody, ever. (AKA Write Once, Read Never.)

DVD-RAM: My brother-in-law swears he has a cousin who knows someone who used to have a DVD-RAM drive once, I think.

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Tom

Notice the minus

Good to hear :-)

Owning a laptop that will only write DVD+R discs, I have noticed that they seem to be harder to find in shops than DVD-R discs. I'm convinced it's because the people in charge of ordering stock see the minus as a dash (like in CD-R) and don't think there could be an alternative.

Ah well. One format war over, several hundred left to go.

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for me anyway

dvd- won this a long time ago simply due to higher manufacturing standards. I knew that a pack of 25 dvd- disks gave me 25 successful burns, whereas dvd+ could be anywhere between 0 and 25

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World+Dog

"In the intervening years, groups behind each format have tried to persuade World+Dog that their respective technologies are better, faster, more capacious, more suitable to video, more suitable for data and more popular the rival one."

Shouldn't that be World+Dog or World-Dog?

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Dead Vulture

Yes, yes: right-once formats

Oh god, I hate format wars. Blu(e)-Ray and HD-DVD at the moment. Who cares? I skipped right over it and have never owned a DVD player. We have a portable hard drive media player (Rapsody's RSH-100 with its own s-video/RGB/RCA outputs and a 500GB drive) and a Topfield digibox with 160GB onboard. DVD was a pointless stop-gap technology with a pointless battle between formats, and now it's redundant already.

Oh, and it's "write-once" formats, unless of course CD rot kicks in while they're on the shelf (that happened to one of my very old CDs; the foil on top just peeled off leaving a transparent disc that a laser couldn't possibly bounce off). Anyway. Farewell, DVDs.

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DVDs not pointless

Yeah, anyone who has had a HDD crap out on them will tell you that DVDs are NOT useless. The thought of only having my movie collection stored on a hard drive sends shivers down my spine! Hard drives are NOT reliable storage areas - they are good for temporary storage, but useless for long-term storage. That's why your network admin backs up onto tape, not disk. CDs and DVDs are like fossil records compared with a hard drive.

Of course, if you're happy letting some company control your access to an on-line library, then fine. But I don't want to wait 2 hours for a movie I've 'bought' to download or find that the streaming movie cuts out because my ISP has secretly introduced 'fair rights caps' onto their service.

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Anonymous Coward

Jeez

I never much cared for the DVD "standards" anyway. My experiences with UDF, CSS, + vs -, incompatibilities with write speeds, the inability to erase DVD RW discs on UNIX systems, the fact that DVDs are 5 times more prone to scratches than CDs, fading dye layers, peeling lacquer layers, etc... have led me to believe that the engineers that developed this technology were either drunk, stoned or both. Even the cases are poorly designed, why put a 5" disc in a 10" case? Its about time they did something useful.

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Bronze badge

Don't need no skinking W

A spindle of 100 blank DVD+/-R (no W) disks and a garbage can is a big improvement on *.*W anything.

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Go

Go for whichever's cheapest

Unless you intend to watch that movie you've just burned in a DVD Player, then minus seems to be better supported.

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Stop

Due to parity, DVD+R is supposedly the best format...

"Error correction is the most important part of media, because if it does

not work, then you've lost your data, even if there is nothing seriously

wrong with the disc...

The DVD-R specification states that for every 192 bits, 48 of them are not

protected under any scheme, 24 of them are protected by 24 bits of parity,

and the last 56 bits are protected by another 24 bits of parity. This

weird (to put it mildly) scheme allows you to easily scramble or lose 25%

of the data that is required to read your disk! This information is almost

more important than the actual data burned on the disc itself...

The DVD+R specification, however, states that for every 204 bits of

information, it is split into four blocks of 52 bits containing 1 (shared

among all blocks) sync bit to prevent misreading because of phase changes,

31 bits of data, and a 20 bit parity (that protects all 32 bits)."

http://adterrasperaspera.com/blog/2006/10/30/how-to-choose-cddvd-archival-media/

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J

5" disk in 10" case?

"Even the cases are poorly designed, why put a 5" disc in a 10" case?"

That's and interesting question. I think it's marketing (unless there is some historical reason that I'm unaware of, and it continue in that format by inertia and "brand recognition"). "Look, this new product is better, it even comes in a bigger box"... even if the disk looks identical to the eye. Waste of material indeed.

Brand recognition... I always get confused by those special big CD boxes, I think they are DVDs until I read the thing in the back.

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"they will now all attract the same royalty rate too"

So, and let me get this straight, you pay a royalty because one might, might, record something that's copyright.

The same logic would therefore demand that any sheet of blank paper - including toilet paper - should be subject to a royalty rate, because someone might, might use it to make a note of some copyrighted words.

Perhaps I should be put away for GBH because I might, just might, kick one of these twits in the pills.

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Unhappy

At least DVD+R(W) doesn't need finalising...

I personally prefer the plus format because there's no finalising involved and the prices equalised with minus format disks several years ago. BTW, one of the comments claimed dual layer blank discs are expensive - they were a few years ago, but they're now around 40p each!

What I really miss - and what the article fails to mention - is that after all these years, you still can't buy dual layer DVD+RW's (not at the places I buy from, e.g. SVP). I know there were technical issues, but you suspect that Hollywood pressure (just too easy to clone an original DVD and then wipe it when you've watched it) and the emergence of HD-DVD/Blu-Ray (don't want DVD+RW/DL raining on their parade!) basically killed the final "missing format" of the original DVD family.

The somewhat bemusing thing, though, is that optical media is basically on its way out - it's prone to errors (scratches/fingerprints), not particularly high capacity (especially rewritable discs as I said), not particularly fast (basically, DVD reading and writing has now maxed out and physically can't go any faster without destroying the disc) and it's only advantages now are cheap drives/media and the ubiquity of DVD drives out there. SSD and hard drives at ever increasing capacities and lowering prices are clearly going to dominate in future years w.r.t. storage, along with Net downloads replacing shipping physical media.

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Boffin

DVD-RAM

> DVD-RAM: My brother-in-law swears he has a cousin who

> knows someone who used to have a DVD-RAM drive once, I

> think.

I know someone who uses DVD-RAM. He has this outdated Panasonic PVR with built-in DVD-RAM recorder. And I still see Hitachi pushing their DVD-RAM camcorders at electrical appliances stores here (imo, high-speed, moving media in a camcorder=bad idea, though).

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Bronze badge
Boffin

DVD-RAM is the best if you care for data

DVD-RAM is seen as a curiosity in the comments, which is sad, since it is the only one of the formats designed seriously for data storage. It has more error correction bits, and a kind of "hard sectoring" system for robust seeking (just look at the disk and its interesting dot pattern).

I once did some informal longevity tests, hanging DVD-R:s and RVD-RAMs outdoors on a wall for a fwe months. DVD-RAM survived the best, half a year on the wall with no loss, while several brands of DVD-R went totally unreadable.

But as usual, inferior technology is driving out the better one.

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So Pioneer back DVD-R do they?

It's interesting that the only Dual Layer discs that my Pioneer standalone will play are DVD+R, while my PC drive will play either format

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Anonymous Coward

@fluffy

"So, and let me get this straight, you pay a royalty because one might, might, record something that's copyright."

No - you pay a royalty to the specification publishers. This is not the infamous media tax.

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Anonymous Coward

- for video and + for data

since -R is supposed to be more readable on dvd players (which I guess just flicker on bad blocks) and +R is supposed to be error checked surely the best tactic is - for video and + for data? best of both worlds?

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Coat

Oh, doom, gloom!

.... the end of the world is neigh.

Come on, it can't be that bad, but what is going to take over from Blueray?

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Black Helicopters

RE: Jeez

"Even the cases are poorly designed, why put a 5" disc in a 10" case?" ... I always assumed it was so we could put them on the shelf next to our legacy VHS media and everything would still look neat and tidy.

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