What Is a DVD Drive?

By David Hose

A DVD drive is a component of a computer or other electronic device designed specifically to utilize digital versatile discs, or DVDs. They are installed on everything from desktop computers, laptops, DVD players, cars, televisions and many other devices and areas. They have grown from their first inception in 1997 to the Blu-Ray discs today. This media will most likely change as the industry demands more and more performance.


A DVD will hold much more information than its predecessor, the compact disc (CD), and therefore can be used for a wide variety of media and storage. DVDs are the media of choice for video and multimedia larger than a standard audio CD. DVD drives read the discs and implement the information received.


DVD drives come in many different forms. Some are designed to allow faster readability in order for the device reading them to process the information more quickly. Others are designed for smoother playback, mostly for DVD players that are designated for video playback.


DVD drives are typically only slightly wider than the DVD disc itself, however, they vary greatly in thickness. In DVD players they are normally built into the unit itself. In laptops they are a removable device that is only about the thickness of five or six discs.


The changes in DVD drives mainly focus on the speed which the laser is able to read the disc, which in turn increases the speed the disc will spin. This increases the feedback and load times, decreasing lag and improving overall performance.


DVD drives can be very fragile and can lose their balance easily. They should be kept at a constant temperature and kept from severe shock. They also can jam on occasion. However, there is typically a small hole located just below the drawer that allows a small rod, such as a straightened paper clip, to be inserted to open the drawer manually.