DVD+R/+RW vs DVD-R/-RW compatibility

In a discussion of DVD-RAM, it says that it ‘is a standard for recording information through a RAM drive in a personal computer rather than a video recorder.’ This is not correct. Of the three major DVD Recorder manufacturers, Panasonic‘s lineup are all DVD-RAM compatible (and not DVD-RW). Indeed, the one real advantage DVD-RAM has over all the other formats is implemented in Panasonic recorders: it can be recorded and read simultaneously, so Panasonic has implemented a ‘Time Shift’ feature. The disadvantage is that only Panasonic DVD players appear to support DVD-RAM playback.

Then it dismisses DVD+RW and DVD+R as ‘more limited in their compatibility with DVD players and DVD-ROM drives’ than DVD-R and DVD-RW. In fact, things aren’t as simple as this. A September 2002 Intellikey Labs survey produced compatibility figures of 90% for DVD+R, 77% for DVD-R, 72% for DVD+RW and 66% for DVD-RW. Yet it seems that in July 2002, Intellikey Labs did another surveywhich gave results of 78% for both DVD+R and DVD-R, 63% for DVD+RW and 58% for DVD-RW. More on the methodologies generating these different results is here. Yet a third study, this time conducted by CDRInfo.com gave it to DVD-R over DVD+R, 97% to 87%.

Not satisfied? HP reports (170kB PDF file) that Intellikey has done more studies, in January and March 2003, with cumulative results of DVD+R 96%, DVD-R 85%, DVD+RW 79% and DVD-RW 76%.

Clearly the whole compatibility issue is unclear. Both types of discs seem to work better in more recent players, and this is likely to get better as further new player models are introduced.

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