What type of DVD burner should I get?
February 4, 2004 10:34 AM   Subscribe

DVD+R? -R? *R? /R? I'm confused on what type of burner to pick up. [more inside]

CD's are getting smaller than I'd like for backing up photos, and I figure that DVD burners are a mature enough technology now to warrant picking up a drive. (Okay I'm a bit behind the curve on this one.) But I get conflicting recommendations from Googling for +R vs -R. Or should I get a drive that does both? My main priorities are forward compatibility, price of media (storage size is important here), burn speed, and price of drive, in that order.

This will be strictly for backing up data (not trying to copy commercial DVD's or CD's), with an occasional movie playback. Also, hypothetically speaking, is region encoding a problem for DVD playback? If it is, which drives have encoding that's easier to circumvent were I interested in doing so, purely for educational purposes? And it would help further my PhD research in this area if someone could describe "how" as well.

Recommendations for specific brand and models (or places for good reviews) appreciated!
posted by DaShiv to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Get a drive that does both - the Pioneer DVR-106 (or A06; the model numbers are just retail vs. OEM versions) does both +R and -R. STAY AWAY from DVD-RAM.
posted by mrbill at 10:40 AM on February 4, 2004

I'm confused about this too. I'm considering a new Dell system but they only offer a DVD+RW drive. What are the practical implications of this? Are there any discs out there I can't use if I have a DVD+RW drive? If not, how likely is it that such discs would come about in the future (and how far into the future)?
posted by edlundart at 11:01 AM on February 4, 2004


On the contrary, DVD-RAM is great for backups, being as it is a mountable, random-access volume like an enormous floppy. The thing it's not good for is burning video DVDs that you can watch in a DVD player, unless of course your DVD player is a Panasonic model, in which case it's great for that too.
posted by kindall at 12:31 PM on February 4, 2004

DVD-R is the format supported by the DVD Forum, is more compatible with your home theatre, and the blank media is usually cheaper.

DVD+R... well... Dell and HP are big fans of this format...

I recently bought a NEC ND-1300A DVD±RW drive that does both formats for $99.
I have yet to try DVD+R media... doubt I ever will, since DVD-R works just fine.
posted by bhayes82 at 2:11 PM on February 4, 2004

Hmm... thanks bhayes82. Maybe I'll go with the cheapest CD drive from Dell and then add a dual format drive myself, like the one you mention. That's pretty cheap. What's the likelihood that Dell will dump their current drives and offer dual format drives instead? I don't understand why they don't.
posted by edlundart at 2:22 PM on February 4, 2004

I bought the Pioneer A06 mentioned above at Fry's for $109 after rebate. It works really well, I burned a DVD movie to +R media and it has played on multiple DVD players, including a Playstation 2.
posted by jonah at 4:47 PM on February 4, 2004

Pioneer DVR-A08 is supposedly around the corner...

But, according to this, at CES, Pioneer supposedly showed off a DVR-A06 that could burn the yet-to-be-released dual-layer DVD-R ... Here's to hoping that I can just download a firmware upgrade to my DVR-A06 so it can burn dual-layer DVD-Rs

So, I can't really recommend DVR-A06, since A08 is coming out real-soon-now... But, I've burned a few hundred data dvds with my DVR-A06 without any problems so far.

I wouldn't recommend the newer DVD±R from Sony though, because, they outsourced that production to Lite-On, if I recall correctly. (Not that there's anything wrong with Lite-On, but...)
posted by yeoz at 7:49 PM on February 4, 2004

I highly recommend checking out dvdrhelp.com they have tons of info on this subject.
posted by soplerfo at 7:49 PM on February 4, 2004

Thanks soplerfo, i'll check that out.
posted by edlundart at 10:37 PM on February 4, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks guys, this looks like a good start for my research.
posted by DaShiv at 4:08 AM on February 5, 2004

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