Different Types of DVD Discs: What is a DVD Burner? DVD-R, DVD-RW and more...

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Also called DVD writers, DVD burners are an internal or external drive that not only records video, but also reads and writes data that is then stored on a blank DVD disc. Because of this capacity to read/write data, a DVD burner is also referred to as a DVD writer. DVD burners and recordable DVD media were developed to meet the demand for data backup and portability. They have since gained in popularity for consumer audio and video recording.

DVD burners are used to encode data onto blank DVD media. Blank DVDs usually come in one of two optical disk formats: DVD-R (DVD recordable) and DVD-RW (DVD rewritable). The DVD-RW format can be recorded and erased multiple times. DVD burners can also be used to burn regular CDs.

DVD Burning: DVD-Rs

Much like CD-Rs, DVD-Rs make use of dyes. Each one is designed with a recording layer, which is in turn coated with an organic dye. The DVD burner uses a high intensity laser to encode patterns into the dye. The encoded data can then be read at a later date. It is the use of dye that gives the data side of the DVD its distinctive color.

DVD Burning : DVD-RWs

Instead of organic dyes, DVD-RWs (rewritable DVDs) use a special metal alloy material for encoding purposes. When the DVD burner encodes data onto the DVD-RW, this alloy material can be switched back and forth from an amorphous state to a crystalline state. It is this feature that makes it possible for a DVD-RW to be re-written many times. Keep in mind, however, that if it is rewritten excessively, the data quality will begin to decline.

To record your audio or video using the DVD burner, you will need to transfer the video to your PC’s hard drive via USB, S-Video or Firewire, and then copy the transferred file from your hard drive to a blank DVD disk.

Types of DVD burners

The most common and widely available DVD burners are internal or external drives. However, other types of burners have been developed as well. A Lightscribe DVD burner, for example, enables you to etch your custom text and images onto the blank disc. An Qflix DVD burner enables you to download licensed movies from the web, and burn them onto a disc. Some models of Blu-ray drives are designed to record content on to Blu-ray discs. Serial ATA DVD Burners (or simply SATA drives) are internal DVD burner drives.

DVD Burning Software

A number of DVD burner software applications are available. Roxio Creator 2009 is one such application. Aside from the capacity to edit and burn DVDs, it offers a wide range of functions, such as the ability edit photos and to synchronize audio files. . Burn4Free is a free DVD burner alternative that can be downloaded from