Hey IT Nerd, Which Disks Should I Use For DVD Video? DVD+R Or DVD-R?

This is a question I get a lot. Someone wants to make their own videos and burn them to DVD on their computer. However they don’t know which format to use due to concerns that it won’t play in their DVD player. I’ll answer the question this way. First, you have two main formats that exist for 4.7GB DVD recordable disks. They are DVD+R and DVD-R. When it comes to these two formats, the bottom line is that it likely doesn’t matter. That’s because any recent DVD player will play either DVD+R or DVD-R disks. But if you want some guidelines, here’s some to keep in mind:

  • Generally, DVD players made in 2003 or later play DVD+R disks.
  • Generally, DVD players made before 2003 play DVD-R disks.

I am also aware of some ultra cheap DVD players made back in 2003 and 2004 by Chinese companies that have had problems playing DVD-R disks. So you should be aware of that if you own one of these.

Another note is the existence of DVD+R DL disks. The DL stands for dual layer which hold 8.5GB rather than 4.7GB. Many current DVD players support dual-layer technology, though the blank media remain more expensive. However if your DVD player is older than 2005, you shouldn’t expect it to play DL disks.

There’s one more thing to consider. Hollywood’s effort to stop DVD piracy led to the world being divided into regions. A DVD made for one region will not play in a DVD player bought in a different region. Most consumer level DVD burning software doesn’t do region coding, but if you’re unsure you should consult the manual for the DVD burning software that you use.

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