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Understanding Dual Layer DVD Recording

An informational white paper by Robert DeMoulin

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The Recordable DVD Format Debate and Dual Layer

Both the DVD Plus (“+”) and Dash (“-“) formats are still very much alive and well and appear to be with us for the foreseeable future. Presently, the DVD+RW Alliance is the first of the two organizations to present a Dual Layer recordable standard. The formal name of the format is Double Layer. Initially available only in a write once format called DVD+R DL, this technology should debut by the middle of 2004 with drives and media from several major manufacturers, including Sony. Recording speeds for DVD+R DL are initially 2.4X, however, they are expected to increase in the future. Drives supporting DVD+R DL will also be able to record single layer discs at up to 8X or faster (using write once media) and support high-speed CD-R/RW burning as well.

What of the DVD Forum and the its dash format? While not available at the time of this writing, it's expected that the DVD forum will offer up a recordable dual layer disc specification in the near future and probably within 2004.
Certainly, dual format DVD burners are overtaking the commercial market and Sony was the Pioneer of Dual Format burners. Sony is a member of, and is committed to continuing to support the DVD+RW Alliance and the DVD Forum for dual layer DVD recordable/rewritable technology.

Sony DRX-700UL Dual Layer DVD BurnerApplications For Double Layer Recordable Technology

Consumer Applications

With up to four hours of high quality MPEG-2 video on a single-sided disc, consumers can really take their home movies to the next level with dual layer DVD recording. One benefit of the additional space is the ability to increase the bit rate of the video when authoring to get higher quality on the finished disc. Typical DVD authoring software applications use variable bit rate encoding to maximize utilization of the DVD disc space. By forcing the application to always encode at the highest bit rate supported, more space will be used on the disc, however, the quality difference is noticeable and worth it.

Dual layer DVD recording makes it possible for a consumer to create longer home movies and even consolidated many home movie projects onto a single disc. Let’s not forget that up to 8.5GB of uncompressed DVD disc space is also a great place to store data and keep your PC’s valuable data, applications, and settings backed up for when disaster strikes. You can pack up to 12 CDs or 5,902 floppy disks’ worth of information onto a single dual layer DVD disc.

With the additional capacity of a dual layer DVD recordable disc, a consumer can store approximately 2,000 songs in MP3 format or up to 17,000 high quality JPEG images. Talk about a cool place to store all that stuff cluttering up your hard drive!

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