To burn a DVD you will need a DVD burner, which can either be built into your PC or be an external drive connected by a cable. The burner must match the blank disk format you use. You'll also need a machine that has enough memory and processing power to handle the operation.
Your DVD writer must be compatible with your chosen blank discs. These come in two main families, -R and +R, which also have rewritable versions (-RW and +RW respectively). Generally speaking, a -R drive can also use -RW, while a +R drive can use +RW. Some newer drives can handle both the -R and -R formats. With both formats, you can also get a dual-layer disc, which has double the capacity, though your drive must be able to handle these. Note that when you burn -- or author -- a DVD video disc, the finished product should work fine in most DVD players, regardless of the format. It's usually when burning that format matters.
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If you don't have a DVD burner built in to your computer and you don't want to install one, you can add an external drive. Depending on your computer and drive choice, you can use a USB or FireWire connection. With USB you'll need at least a USB 2.0 connection; standard USB isn't fast enough to guarantee the uninterrupted data transfer you need while burning a disc to avoid a writing failure.
When buying a DVD burner, check for any hardware and software requirements it lists. If you buy a new computer with a DVD burner included, the computer should have adequate hardware. The two main things to watch out for are the processor speed and memory. If either is inadequate, the computer may struggle to cope with processing and transferring the data to the disc. You'll often need to make sure you have enough spare hard-drive space to match the capacity of the DVD -- usually 4.7GB -- so that the computer can make a temporary copy of the files during the burning process.
The software that you use may have specific requirements for your computer. For example, Windows DVD Maker requires a video card supporting Direct X. Nero Burning ROM 12 requires a 2 GHz processor and 1GB of RAM in Windows Vista and later. Roxio Easy CD and DVD Writer requires a 1.6GHz processor and 256MB of RAM. In most cases, the hardware requirements are higher if you want to create and burn DVD video discs than if you simply want to use DVDs to store data.