I've read the DVD+R format is MUCH more robust and error-tolerant than DVD-R. Is this true?

Hardly at all these days. Our previous experience was that DVD+R had been more compatible across the widest range of players when compared to DVD-R . This was especially true when authoring video to be played on a home DVD player.

In the past, when the DVD format was very new, many drives had a hard time playing back both -R and +R discs. Most burners that you could buy would only burn one format. But times change and pretty much any drive or player manufactured in more recent years should have no trouble accepting either media. It's really just the older DVD players that you have to account for, and in that case +R is usually more compatible.

This is mainly in regards to burning and playing video. Burning data can be different as many of the first computers with DVD burners would only read and write DVD-R. So keep that in mind when burning data discs to be read on older computers.

Also, burning your media at a lower speed (1x-2x) can greatly improve reliability issues when playing back in older players.

Will double layer discs ever be affordable?

Yes, as technology advances and capacities increase, gradually everything new becomes old and therefore decreases in price. We've already seen dramatic price decreases for many of the brands that offer these discs!

What does "hub printable" mean?

The area around the center hole of a disc is called the hub (on most discs it is a clear plastic ring). If a disc is "hub printable" it means that the printable surface stretches all the way to the center hole, and the image can fully cover the top of the disc from outside edge to the center hole.

What is the difference between 16x and 8x?

16 and 8 are the write times for each particular disc. Theoretically, a 16x disc will write at twice the speed as the 8x disc. Discs are backwards compatible, as long as you are using a burner that can support the higher write speeds.

What's the difference between DVD+RW and DVD-RW?

Once upon a time, different players and burners accepted different formats, but ultimately DVD+RW won out as most popular, so there are very few DVD-RW discs available on the market today. Check your device's manual for compatibility. If it's a newer device, it should work with both DVD+RW and DVD-RW, but older units might only be compatible with one or the other.

I saw some DVD+Rs stamped DVD+R 4.7GB 8x, but they are also printed with an "RW" logo, which I assumed meant rewritable. When you load one in a drive, it says they are not rewritable. Does the "RW" logo mean something else?

This is an excellent question. The "RW" logo does in-fact mean something else. This is the logo for the DVD+RW Alliance made up of big companies like HP and Sony that produce media and drives that correspond to the DVD+R specification. The logo is very misleading because any DVD+R media can have the "RW" logo even if that media is only "write once." So definitely pay close attention to the actual specs of the disc. DVD+RW is rewriteable, DVD+R is write once regardless of the "RW" logo printed on the label.

What's the significance of disc color? Does one color make one brand better than another? Are gold discs the most reliable?

Discs manufactured with Metal Azo recording dye are generally regarded to be the most reliable. By itself the metal AZO recording(data) layer is blue, but when paired with a gold or silver reflective layer the metal azo can look green, blue or purple. When selecting a disc for it's data longevity and accuracy you want to pay attention to the data layer, not the reflective layer. While gold reflective layers are noncorrosive and longer lasting, the data layer will degrade long before the silver or gold reflective layer. For more information consult Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs: A Guide for Librarians and Archivists by the Council on Library and Information Resources.

What type of blank DVD discs should I use to burn video downloaded from the web? Do I need DVD-R or DVD-R DL?

If you're looking to burn video from the web I would suggest one of our standard DVD-R discs. All standard DVD-R discs have a capacity of 4.7GB which will translate to roughly 2 hours of DVD video per disc. These are the type of discs that will provide you with the most consistent and compatible experience between DVD burners and DVD players.

If you need more space or time you can go with the DVD-R DL discs like you mentioned which have a capacity of 8.5GB of data or roughly 3.5 hours of DVD video. With the DL discs you have to make sure you have both a burner and a player that will accept DL discs. Not all drives come standard with DL compatibility. The DL discs can be less compatible with some players.

What's the difference between all the DVD specs? (DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-R DL, etc., etc.)

DVD-ROM refers to the drive used to read DVD discs.

DVD-R and DVD+R are both recordable, write-once discs. Today, there is no difference between DVD+R and DVD-R. Drives used to be manufactured to only read one of these two formats, but today all DVD-ROM drives will read either format without issue.

DVD-RW and DVD+RW are both recordable discs that you can write over many times. Check your drive compatibility with these. Not all drives will burn and read DVD+RW and DVD-RW.

DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL are recordable, write-once discs with twice the capacity of regular DVD+R and DVD-R discs. Not all DVD-ROM drives will read these formats, so once again, check your drive specs.

DVD-RAM discs are another form of DVD-RW discs. DVD-RAM can be recorded to and rewritten many times over. In fact, DVD-RAM is highly fail-proof compared to DVD-RW. DVD-RAM offers data integrity checks as well as the ability to rewrite to the disc 100,000 times. DVD-RW does not have this integrity check with a rewrite limit of 1,000 burns. You will need a specific drive to use DVD-RAM discs.

What is CPRM compatible DVD media?

CPRM stand for Content Protection for Recordable Media. This is a form of Digital Rights Management (DRM).

In practical terms, when a DVD disc is recorded with the CPRM method, that data becomes encrypted, making it more difficult to make copies of that disc.

CPRM compatible devices will allow the recording and playback of CPRM encrypted data. According to Maxell and TDK, all DVD disc media is CPRM compatible. Your DVD player/recorder and your software must be able to play/record CPRM media.

What is a double layer DVD?

A double layer DVD, also known as "dual layer" DVD, "DL" DVD, or "DVD9", are actually DVDs with 2 data layers, which almost doubles the standard capacity (4.7GB) to 8.5GB. Not all DVD equipment is compatible with double layer discs, so please consult your manufacturer's instructions to verify that your player/recorder does accept double layer media. To compare double layer DVD pricing, see our selection here.