Digital Versatile Disc

What Does Digital Versatile Disc Mean?

A digital versatile disc (DVD) is an optical disc storage medium similar
to a compact disc, but with enhanced data storage capacities as well as with higher quality of video and audio formats. Codeveloped by Sony, Panasonic, Philips and Toshiba in 1995, the DVD is widely used for video formats, audio formats as well software and computer files.


Digital versatile discs are also known as digital video discs.

Techopedia Explains Digital Versatile Disc

A digital versatile disc has a large capacity, starting at 4.7 GB. They are written at a speed of 18-20x and have a video compression ratio of 40:1 with the help of MPEG-2 compression. The materials and manufacturing techniques used in the case of a digital versatile disc are same as that of CDs. The layers in the DVD are made by polycarbonate plastic. Digital versatile discs can be categorized in different ways based on their applications. If they are used for reading only and cannot be written, then they are classified as DVD-ROM. If the DVDs can be used to record any type of data, then they are called DVD-R. If the disc can be read, written and then erased and rewritten, it is called DVD-RW.

There are many advantages associated with the DVD format. Compared to a CD, the audio quality is superior thanks to DTS or Dolby Digital technology. The picture quality is also superior to CD and the DVD player is capable of taking one to a specific moment in the video or audio, unlike a CD player. Based on the user needs, the formats of the digital versatile disc can be altered. Again, digital versatile discs are capable of storing more data compared to CD. This is due to smaller size of the pits and bumps and high density of the tracks in the DVDs. A large amount of space is wasted in codes, to avoid errors in information in the case of CDs. Digital versatile discs are backward compatible as well.

One disadvantage of DVDs is the higher access time, which is mainly because of the higher amount of data and greater density.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.