A Basic Guide to DVD Burners
To start with, what are they? Well, DVD burners re-write the reflective inner-layer of a disc that is patterned to represent data, from one DVD onto another, using micro-lasers to detect the marks. In other words, they are copiers of DVDs. In some circumstances using DVD burners can be illegal – so always carefully read the terms and conditions.
To put this into perspective, DVD players can play discs and they do this by reading the encoded information on the disc. A DVD burner, which connects to your computer, can play but also create DVDs, by copying – or burning – the information on the DVD from your computer loading tray onto your computer’s hard-drive. The information can then be transmitted back from your hard-drive to a blank DVD at a later date using the same method of ‘writing’; a laser.
You might now be wondering what all those confusing letters and different jargons are labelled on the blank DVDs. Some of the labels may have names such as: CD-ROMs, CD-R, DVD+RW, or DVD-RAM. There are many types of disc (due to a schism in the industry when the technology was first developed) and each burner can usually only burn and play a few types.
The most general and simple DVD burners can accept and copy CD-ROMs, which includes store bought music, DVD-videos and most computer games. DVD burners can also copy onto CD-R and DVD-R discs (the ‘R’ stands for recordable, and are the modern age equivalent to blank videos). They may not accept rewritable discs and you will only be permitted to record a singular time on these types of discs.
All rewritable discs can be burnt and re-wrote and burnt again up to approximately one thousand times. Rewritable discs are signified by their -RW ending, hence – you might have guessed it; a rewritable CD is referred to as a CD-RW. A rewritable DVD can come in a few formats, however, DVD+RW, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM.
The next industry jargon you may need to get your head around is the spec guide – roughly meaning speed measurement. DVD spec measurements are presented as y/x/z – for example, 4X/2X/12X (the ‘X’ means ‘times’, the 1X is a 700KB transfer rate). The first figure is the speed the burner can write at the second figure is its rewrite speed and the third figure is its read speed. These figures will help you analyze how well the DVD burner works and also be an indicator to how much the product is really worth.
Hopefully, this information will assist you when you go purchase your DVD burner or help you work the burner that is already installed on your computer. Most burners will come with a set of instructions that will additionally aid you in knowing which type of blank discs to buy and how to operate the burner.