DVD-R Authoring vs General Discs

 

This only applies to DVD-R !!  The DVD Forum devised the two disc formats called "General" and "Authoring".  Pioneer was the forerunner and have sold more DVD-R drives than any other company - by far.

 

History

 

The original DVD-R disc was developed in the late 90's.  It was expensive, and was used by corporations to create just a few discs for kiosks, seminar presentations, etc.  It used a 635 nm laser beam and the capacity was 3.95 GB.

 

Later it was decided that a new format was needed for the public, using a 650 nm laser with 4.7 GB capacity.  They kept both formats - renaming the original to "DVD-R Authoring" and the new format was called "DVD-R General".  In addition, the Authoring format capacity was increased to match that of the General format, at 4.7 GB.  They each had certain advantages:

 

 

Authoring vs General

 

DVD-R Authoring 4.7 GB discs  -  these are capable of storing CMF (Cutting Master Format), which allows the disc to replace DLT master tapes, saving a lot of time and insuring that the original DLT tapes can be stored in a safe place.  The disc's lead-in area is used to store the DDP (Disc Description Protocol) - required by DLT master tapes.  DVD-R General discs cannot do this.

 

DVD-R General 4.7 GB discs - contains CSS encryption, making it impossible to burn bit-for-bit copies.  Of course, CSS was hacked almost immediately by a 16-year-old.

 

DVD burners may be specific to one format or the other, as shown below  (this table is a bit old - replace DVR-A03 with DVR-A05):

 

NOTE:  you don't really see the 3.95 authoring DVD's around anymore !!

 

 

Which format to Buy

 

For PC users who burn our own DVD-R's - always purchase "General" DVD's".  If the DVD-R does not indicate what version it is - then it will be a "General DVD-R".  Authoring DVD-R's are a very small, niche market.

 

 

Compatibility

 

Playback compatibility for both formats is universal.  Recording compatibility is not.  The rule of thumb:

 

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all DVD players can playback both Authoring and General DVD-R discs

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Authoring DVD-R burners cannot burn General DVD-R discs

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General DVD-R burners cannot burn Authoring DVD-R discs