About DVD Physical Formats
Non-Recordable commercial DVD's come in 4 physical formats:
Single-Sided, Single-Layered. Also known as DVD-5. The 5 indicates that nearly 5 Gigabytes (GB) of data can be stored on it, 4.7GB to be exact. This allows for up to two hours of video playback.
Single-Sided, Dual-Layered. Also known as DVD-9. These can store up to 8.5GB of data. It is important to note that these do not need to be flipped to get at the second layer. The laser in your DVD player actually refocuses itself on the second deeper layer when needed. This allows for up to four hours of uninterrupted video playback.
Dual-Sided, Single-Layered. Also known as DVD-10. These can store up to 9.4GB of data. This type of disc does require manual flipping. These discs are commonly used to store a widescreen version of a movie on one side and a standard full frame version on the other.
Dual-Sided, Dual-Layered. Also known as DVD-18. These can store up to 17GB of data! That means these discs can store about 8 hours of DVD-Video, four hours per side, and it does require manual flipping. This type of disc is currently not common due to production costs.
Recordable DVD's come in 5 physical formats:
DVD-R. A write-once format. This is the format we use for both our DVD Slideshow service and VHS to DVD conversion service. It is compatible with more than 92% of all DVD players on the market. This is the most compatible format.
DVD-RW. A rewritable format compatible with about 75% of all DVD players.
DVD+R. A write-once format compatible with about 86% of all DVD players.
DVD+RW. A rewriteable format comatible with about 75% of all DVD players.
DVD-RAM. A rewriteable format compatible with about 19% of all DVD players. This is the least compatible format because you need a DVD-RAM drive to play these discs. Panasonic is the main manufacturer of DVD-RAM players.