Have you ever wanted to transfer your old Hi-8 or Super 8 videos onto DVDs, but when you got topick one out were confused by the vast array of DVD formats available? Since not all DVDs are created equal, knowing even a tiny bit about writable DVD discs can mean the difference between a good digital video transfer and a great one.

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What is a DVD?

There are a myriad of DVD formats available on the market. Generally, DVD stands for Digital Versatile/Video Disc, DVDR stands for DVD Recordable, and DVDRW for DVD ReWriteable. If you’re familiar with regular audio/music CDs or regular DVD-Video discs, then you’ll know what a recordable DVD looks like.

A recordable DVD can store up to 2 or more hours of very good quality DVD-Video, including several audio tracks in formats like stereo, Dolby Digital or DTS. It can also hold advanced menu systems, subtitles and still pictures that can be played by many standalone DVD Players and most computer DVD-ROMs. But DVD formats aren’t the only info you need to be armed with when buying a blank DVD. The size of a writable DVD and the speed at which it can be written to and read are also important.

DVD Sizes

A DVD’s size can be a bit confusing, but basically, there are 4 different DVD Sizes.

DVD-5 holds approximately 4,700,000,000 bytes which is 4.37GBs, where 1 kbyte is 1024 bytes*. DVD+R/DVD+RW and DVD-R/DVD-RW supports this format. It’s also called Single Sided Single Layered and is the most common DVD Media. You may see it commonly referred to as 4.7 GB Media.

DVD-10 holds approximately 9,400,000,000 bytes which is 8.75 GBs. DVD+R/DVD+RW and DVD-R/DVD-RW supports this format. It may also be called Double Sided Single Layered.

DVD-9 holds around 8,540,000,000 bytes which is 7.95 GBs. DVD+R supports this format. It may also be called Single Sided Dual Layered. This media is called DVD-R9, DVD-R DL, DVD+R9, DVD+R DL or 8.5 GB Media.

DVD-18 holds around 17,080,000,000 bytes which is 15.9 GBs. DVD+R supports this format. It may also be referred to as called Double Sided Dual Layered.

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DVD Write/Read Speeds

Several factors may influence the speed your DVD writer performs. Memory is one major influencer, but so is the speed of your DVD writer itself. The write/ read times listed may vary based on your own PCs specs, but are approximate nonetheless.

Single Layer(4.7GB) write speeds

1x (CLV) = about 58 minutes

2x (CLV) = about 29 minutes

2.4x (CLV) = about 24 minutes

4x (CLV) = about 14.5 minutes

6x (CLV/ZCLV) = about 10-12 minutes

8x (PCAV/ZCLV) = about 8-10 minutes

12x (PCAV/ZCLV) = about 6.5-7.5 minutes

16x (CAV/ZCLV) = about 6-7 minutes

Dual/Double Layer(8.5GB) write speeds

1x CLV = about 105 minutes

2.4x CLV = about 44 minutes

4x CLV = about 27 minutes

Single Layer (4.7GB) read speeds

1x read speed is 1.321MB/s = ~56 minutes

6x CAV (avg. ~4x) read speed is max 7.93MB/s = ~14 minutes

8x CAV (avg. ~6x) read speed is max 10.57MB/s = ~10 minutes

12x CAV (avg. ~8x) read speed is max 15.85MB/s = ~7 minutes

16x CAV (avg. ~12x) read speed is max 21.13MB/s = ~5 minutes

* write speed time and read speed time are not the same because writing requires some extra steps. 4x DVD speed = 36x CD speed.

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