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Whatever happened to DVD+RWs ?

Question : Why aren't there any rewriteable double-layer DVDs ? I can find dual-layer discs only in write-once formats that I can't reuse.

Answer : REcordable DVDs can hold 4.7GB of data, and once that must have seemed like an inexhaustible capacity.

But now that one year's worth of digital photos can max out a disc, the 8.5GB allowed by dual-layer discs looks a lot more attractive.

That's not because DVD technology prohibits such a thing.

A few years ago, the DVD Forum, which sets industry standards, approved a set of specifications for dual-layer rewriteable DVD-RW media, and the same work has been done for the competing DVD+RW format.

But other factors hold back these higher-capacity rewriteable discs -- starting with high prices and limited compatibility, said Hugh Bennett, and industry consultant in London, Ontario.

He said that dual-layer rewriteable discs are expensive and inefficient to make and that they don't work in existing DVD players and drives.

Andy Marken, a spokesman for the disc vendor Verbatim, also pointed to the historically poor sales of rewriteable discs, noting that sales of write-once CDs and DVDs have outpaced those of rewriteable discs by a factor of five.

That gives manufacturers little incentive to make dual-layer DVD-RW or DVD+RW formats work.


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Whatever happened to DVD+RWs ?


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