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How It Works

The first step in understanding CD and DVD recording is to get a handle on the acronyms used to describe the read and write capabilities of the device drives and the media formats they support. These acronyms may at first appear confusing, but the terminology is actually fairly straightforward once you are introduced to it. One caveat is that the DVD world still has a large number of varying and competing standards that add to the confusion. Basically, the two major formats for data storage are Compact Discs (CDs) and Digital Versatile Discs (DVDs). Each of these formats has varying standards for information storage and retrieval, such as read-only disks, recordable (or write-once) disks, and rewritable disks.

Read-only disks are called CD-ROMs or DVD-ROMs (read-only memory). These are the disks that you can buy in the store and which typically contain a music CD or a DVD movie. DVD movies are actually stored in the DVD-video format, which can be read by a stand-alone DVD player or by a computer with a DVD-ROM drive plus suitable MPEG-2 decoding support in terms of hardware and software.


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