What Is a DVD Multi Recorder?

By Joshua Bailey

Since the 1990s, the popularity of the DVD format has grown. Similar to the format wars of both the 1980s when we had the technological battle between VHS and Betamax), we now have a similar struggle between Blu-Ray and HD DVD. The development of the DVD Multi Recorder is just another phase in the evolution of the DVD and its components.

History of the DVD

The Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc (DVD) was first created in 1993, but it was not until 1997 that it was released officially to consumers in the United States. Japan got a head start with the DVD format when it was released to consumers there in 1996. Originally called a Digital Versatile Disc because no video applications were being used with it, DVD adopted the consumer translation as a Digital Video Disc. Many people do not realize there are two different formats of DVDs available to the consumer.

Different DVD Formats

When you burn a blank DVD, you may or may not notice whether it has a (-) or (+) DVD format. Those two formats are much like the format war between Blu-Ray and HD DVD, with Blu-Ray winning. The -/+ war is still ongoing and will probably never be over with DVDs as the format will head to its own obsolescence within the next 5 to 10 years.

Many Choices

Along with those two formats, each format has a few different disc choices. DVD-R/DVD+R, DVD-RW/DVD+RW and DVD-R DL/DVD+R DL are all different types of optical formats available to consumers. The problem is that not all devices are able to read/write to every format. Some devices are built especially for DVD-R and some are built for DVD+R specifically. Consumers complained long and loud because of the vague differences between the two formats; something had to be done.

The Multi DVD Recorder Introduced

In 2001, the DVD Forum, the organization behind the development of all things DVD, created the DVD multi specification which allowed companies to enable drives to be able to read/write all the different formats of DVD available (see link in References). Even as recently as a few years ago, DVD Multi Drive Recorders were rare. With the emergence of Blu-Ray and HD DVD, DVD had to keep itself in the game and began including "Super Multi Drives" in nearly all personal computers being built.

The Super Multi Drive

The Super Multi Drive is capable of reading/writing any format of DVD with great speed, thus allowing the consumer the ability to buy and use any format he likes. The added bonus to using the Super Multi Drive is that the consumer now has the ability to use the higher capacity DVD-/+R DL, which has two layers on the disc. This is especially useful for data files larger than the 4.38GB available on single layer discs.