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DVD+R Double Layer (DL) Overview and FAQ

Double Layer DVD Overview

Imagine being able to record 4 hours instead of 2 hours of the highest quality DVD video on a disc. Or to store 8.5 gigabytes, equaling about 12 fully recorded CD-Rs, instead of 4.7 gigabytes, on a single sided DVD.

All this is possible, here and now, with the advent of DVD+R Double Layer recording technology. Based on the proven double layer technology that has been used in DVD-Video for many years, DVD+R DL almost doubles the recording capacity when compared to traditional DVD recording media. And because the disc is single sided, there’s no need to flip it over halfway through playback or recording.

But the best thing is, you can play a DVD+R DL disc in your current DVD-Video player, DVD games console, or DVD-ROM equipped PC. Double layer playback has been part of the DVD format since the beginning, so most existing DVD playback equipment has no problem playing the new high capacity DVD+R DL discs!

Double Layer DVD9 Chart

The only thing you need to store these huge quantities of data or long video recording times is a DVD+R DL capable DVD rewriter and the new sophisticated DVD+R DL media. Currently, more than a dozen manufacturers already offer DVD+R DL capable drives. And these drives are backward compatible, they let you record DVD+RW and single layer DVD+R media.


Do I need new equipment to play a recorded DVD+R DL disc? DVD+RW Alliance’s Format Logo for DVD+R DL

No. Completely in line with the philosophy of the DVD+RW Alliance, the new DVD+R DL discs can be played on existing equipment. This is because double layer playability has been part of the DVD-Video/DVD-ROM standard since the beginning. DVD+R DL compatibility is about equal to that of current single layer DVD+R.

What products support DVD+R DL?

To record on a DVD+R DL disc, you need a DVD+R DL capable writer. See Sony DRU700 Double Layer DVD Burner

Do I need different media to record a DVD+R DL disc?

Yes. To take advantage of the double layer recording capabilities of the new DVD+R DL writers, you need the highly advanced DVD+R DL media. This media consists of two recordable layers, instead of just one (as with traditional recordable DVD discs). Note that you can still record single layer DVD+R discs and DVD+RW discs on those new DVD+R DL drives. The release of DVD+R DL media has been announced by all major blank media manufacturers, including Philips, Verbatim, Optodisc, Ricoh, CMC Mr. Data, Maxell, Infodisc and Ritek.

DVD+R DL disc

Do I need new software to write a DVD+R DL disc?

To write a DVD+R DL disc, your CD/DVD recording software needs to support DVD+R DL. Almost all software vendors have announced support for DVD+R DL in their upcoming versions, and most of them offer upgrades for their existing products to include DVD+R DL writing support. Among the companies that have already announced DVD+R DL support are Ahead Nero, Sonic, Ulead, InterVideo, Roxio and Gear.

What is the capacity of a DVD+R DL disc?

A DVD+R DL disc hold 8.5 gigabytes of data. This is fully equal to the amount of data on a pre-recorded double layer DVD-Video disc, sometimes referred to as DVD9. A single layer DVD holds 4.7 gigabytes. As the track distance on both layers of any double layer DVD is about 10% wider, the total capacity of both layers equals 8.5 GB.

Sony’s DRU-700A (left) and DRX-700UL (right) Double Layer Dual Format Drives

Sony’s DRU-700A (left) and DRX-700UL (right) Double Layer Dual Format Drives

How much video does a DVD+R DL disc hold?

As with DVD+RW and single layer DVD+R, the amount of video one discs holds depends on the quality setting that was chosen during recording. When recorded in the highest possible DVD-Video quality, a DVD+R DL disc holds about 4 hours of video. When video is recorded at VHS quality level, recording time increases to up to 16 hours per disc.

Do I need to flip the DVD+R DL disc over to get access to its full capacity?

No. Contrary to other recordable DVD proposals, where you need to manually turn the disc over halfway through recording or playback, a DVD+R DL disc nearly doubles the capacity on a single recording side. The entire disc’s contents can be accessed without the need to take the disc out to turn it over. Furhtermore, a single sided disc allows for easy identification on the label side.

Will single layer DVD+R continue to be available?

Yes. Because single layer DVD+R media holds up to 4.7 gigabyes of data (equaling about 6 CD-Rs), this technology still provides very high storage capacities suitable for a wide range of applications. Furthermore, the new DVD+R DL writers will still be able to record to single layer DVD+R as well as DVD+RW media.



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