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Recordable Media Buying Guide

A comprehensive guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy recordable media.
Getting Started
A blank sheet of paper can represent a template for limitless possibilities. Artwork, short stories, poems, and even sketches have all graced what was once a clean, blank sheet of paper. They all have something in common; they have sprung from someone's imagination. While a blank sheet of paper has been the most common way to bring ideas to life, the advancements in technology now allow anyone to create, store, and present their work anywhere technology is used.

Through these advances, blank recordable media has become more affordable, easier to use, and larger in capacity. The most popular forms of recordable media are the blank CD, DVD, and now the Blu-ray Disc.

What Does It Mean To Burn A Disc?
If you are not familiar with the process, the art of "burning a disc" represents the transfer of information from a computer to a blank media disc. This could be any form of media from audio to video to documents; it all depends on what you want on the disc.
The CD (Compact Disc) was the first recordable media to come out since the floppy drive. There are two types of CDs available: the CD-R and the CD-RW.

Lets start with the most basic form of recordable media, which is the CD-R (Compact Disc - Recordable). With CD-R's you are only able to record data once and cannot write over that data, however you will be able to use the cd, once burned, in multiple devices, such as in your car, in a boombox, or any other CD player.

The next form of CD is the CD-RW (Compact Disc - ReWritable). The "RW" indicates that the CD can be erased and re-used if you want to change data. The only downside is that while the regular one-time use CDs can be used on any CD player, the re-writeable discs are not always compatible with different equipment.

CD Capacities

CD-R Capacity
The capacity of a CD-R is 650 MB (Megabytes) of data, or a little over 70 minutes of audio.

CD-RW Capacity
The capacity of a CD-RW is 700 MB (Megabytes) of data, or approximately 80 minutes of audio. As mentioned above, these disc's can are Re-Writable, which means you can add new data and remove old, if necessary.
Moving on to the next form of recordable media to hit the market, The DVD (Digital Versatile Disc). There are currently four types of DVDs available: the DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW.

The DVD-R's (Digital Versatile Disc - Recordable) and DVD+R's (Digital Versatile Disc Plus Recordable) are similar to the CD-R in the way that they too can not be burned more than once. The "minus" was the original format. DVD-Rs can be played on virtually any DVD player. The "plus" is the newer format, which is available for play on only newer DVD players. DVD+Rs are less susceptible to error while burning, which is a big advancement when it comes to recordable media.

Similar to CD's, DVD's also come in a RW format. The difference is that instead of just one version, there are two: DVD-RW (Digital Versatile Disc - ReWritable) and DVD+RW (Digital Versatile Disc Plus ReWritable). The "RW" refers again to the re-writeable format and the "plus" and "minus" represent the format that the DVDs come in. The "minus" was the original format, which means it can play on virtually any DVD player. The "plus" is the newer format, which is available for play on only the newer DVD players and is less susceptible to error while burning.

DVD Capacities
The capacity of a DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW is six time larger than that of a CD, holding 4.7 Gigabytes of space. Each of these types of DVDs come in a dual-layer format, making the DVDs 8.56 GB.
Blu-ray Discs
Blu-ray is the next format of media to become available, with it came Blu-ray recorders, which can be used for personal computers as well as home theater systems. Recorders are still gradually entering the marketplace, which has created a demand for the recordable Blu-ray Disc (BD). Currently, there are two types of BD formats available the BD-R and BD-ER

The first format of recordable Blu-ray disc to come out, like CD's, is the BD-R (Blu-ray Disc - Recordable). BD-Rs offer high quality audio and video output; however they can only be used once. This means that once you burn the disc you will not be able to erase or record over the data.

The other available format of the BD, is the BD-RE (Blu-ray Disc Recordable Erasable). BD-REs offer the ability to be, like a CD-RW, ReWritable. This means that once data is burned to the BD-RE, it can then be burned over to remove old data, as well as burn new data.

Blu-ray Disc Capacities

BD-R Capacity
The BD-R comes with 25 GB of free space. In addition, there are also BD-R Dual-Layer which and can hold 50GB of data.

BD-RE Capacity
Currently there are 4 different versions of BD-RE: Version 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0. 1.0 is a non-computer version and should be avoided at all cost. Version 2.0 is similar to standard BD-Rs with 25GB's of free space. Version 3.0, which is an updated version of version 2.0 and also offers a 25 GB capacity. Lastly, Version 4.0, includes multi-layer writing, similar to Dual-Layer. Version 4.0 offers a 100 GB capacity.
Technical Specifications
Write Speed
The write speed explains how quickly data can be written to a disc. Generally, the best advice for choosing write speed is that the higher the number, the faster it writes.

CDs write speed ranges from 1x to 48x, and as you can guess, 48x is the fastest.

DVDs however, have a write speed that ranges from 1x to 24x. DVD write speeds are slower than CDs however the rule for choosing the best write speed is the same: higher the number, faster the speed.