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DVD Plus or Minus


Michele from Ankeny, Iowa writes “I just watched a video by Worldstart instructing the use of Windows DVD Maker. What type of DVD should be used to burn the movie on to? Should it be -R or +R? I’ve heard that -R was recommended by a sales person but I have a stack of blank +R’s at home. Thank you.”

Hi, Michele.  Thanks for the great question!

This is a question that has confused and fuddled customers probably since recordable DVD’s came out.  When I worked in electronics sales, this was a question that I was presented with a lot.  The short answer is that, with most modern DVD players it makes absolutely no difference.  Here’s the long answer:

DVD – R came first, in 1997.  The primary funding for this was through the Pioneer corporation.  Because it is an older format, it works better in many older DVD players (although older DVD players labeled SUPER-MULTI can play both equally well).  DVD + R came about in 2002, with primary advocacy by Sony.  DVD + R is considered the superior format by most of the industry for the same reason that a Tesla is considered a superior car over a Model T:  because it came later, and so was able to take advantage of more advanced technology. 

One quick side-note, though… one format that I do NOT recommend for anything that you’d like to keep is DVD-RW (re-writable).  The reasons are that DVD-RW will not play in most table-top DVD players, and, in my experience, tend to erase themselves over time.

I hope that this helps!

Randal Schaffer

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3 Responses to “DVD Plus or Minus”

  1. Roland says:

    You do not explain why DVD-RW discs will not play in most table-top players nor why they tend to erase themselves over time.

  2. Randal says:

    Hi, Roland. Sorry for the omissions.

    The reason that DVD-RW discs won’t work in most players is because, in order to play a DVD on pretty much any player, it has to go through a process called “Finalization”. Even then, there are no guarantees. I recorded a movie off of TV once and finalized the disc, then loaned it to a friend of mine, but his DVD player simply would not play it. We tried it on several of the players at work, and it worked on all of them, but he never got to watch it.

    As far as why they can erase themselves over time, that’s a mystery that i never solved. All that i know is that i lost a LOT of saved music in the discovery of the problem. This was in the dark ages of pre-Ipod. If anyone out there knows, i’d love to hear it.


  3. CONNIE says:

    WOW!! There are so many. What about the CD-R discs?

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