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Recordable DVDs represent an attractive backup medium for some situations. If you think of recordable DVDs as being like recordable CDs, only able to hold about seven times more data per disc, then you have a roughly accurate picture of their advantages and disadvantages. Include the fact that DVDs have not had as many years as CDs yet to work on quality and compatibility issues, and you have an even more accurate picture.
Unlike CDs, there are three competing standards in the world of recordable DVDs. If you're not already familiar with those, do not skip the page devoted to competing standards in the outline below; later pages will regularly discuss differences in the standards.
As with CDs, Windows support for DVD burners is quite slow in coming, and that's a factor to include when considering setting up a backup strategy that uses DVDs.
Finally, even though it has little to do with backing up Windows data, some flavors of DVDs can be used to record movies that can be played back on video DVD players, the kind you probably have hooked up to your TV right now. Business users may not care about this, but for home users, the desire to be able to create DVD movies may greatly influence what DVD drive and media is used for backing up Windows data.
All of the above is discussed in greater detail in the pages outlined below.Contents:
DVDs look roughly like CD-ROMs, but have much more capacity. For example, a DVD-R (a type of recordable DVD) theoretically holds about 4.7GB, which is more than seven times as much as the current generation of recordable CDs contain. In fact, it's not too innaccurate to just view DVDs as higher-capacity CDs, as they share many of the same advantages and disadvantages when used as backup media.
Types of Recordable DVD
In the early days, there was DVD-RAM, which started out as a 2.58GB device whose discs could generally not be played in video DVD players. Of course, that was not the goal of DVD-RAM anyway -- it was aimed computer storage, and was more focused on managing defects and providing faster random access. The format eventually expanded to 4.7GB, but there are also some smaller types (e.g., 2.92GB) aimed at in-camera recording, and even a 9.4GB type.
The drive to be able to create movies from a PC that could play back on standard video DVD players led to a couple of competing standards. On the one hand, you have the "dash" standards: DVD-R and DVD-RW (the latter is rewritable, the former write-once). On the other hand, you have the "plus" standards: DVD+R and DVD+RW (the latter is rewritable, the former write-once). Although arguments on the subject are never-ending (and results can depend on the exact brand of media chosen), the format most likely to actually play successfully on the most home video DVD players is DVD-R. Initially, DVD+R and DVD+RW has had more penetration in the home video recorder market (e.g., you push a button and your video player/recorder can record the TV show you're watching to a DVD+R or DVD+RW disc).
The battle between these competing standards has become less important with the advent of affordable computer burners that support both standards, and home video players that support them all as well.
It would be nice to say that DVD-RAM is the type of recordable DVD optimized for computer-style random access, and therefore the preferred type for doing backups. The problem with ignoring the other DVD standards aimed more at movie recording and playback is price. DVD-RAM is simply not selling as many units as the other types and understandably. Do I want to sell computers that can just record "data" on DVDs, or do I want to sell computers that can create movies on DVDs?
With their growing popularity, the movie-oriented DVD devices and media have seen their prices driven down, down, down. Without shopping too hard, you can right now get a name-brand burner that supports DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, and DVD+RW for about $145. A DVD-RAM burner is not much different in price, but consider the media.
As of November, 2003, you can buy DVD-R discs from Apple (obviously not a bargain-basement price) for $3/disc in quantities of just 5. In contrast,
Why undelete utilities may fail just when you need them most!
DVD StandardsBackup Media
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