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The DVD Video Format

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DVD is an optical disc storage technology. DVD was introduced in 1997 as a replacement for several formats including CDs, VHS and laserdisc. The letters DVD are often said to stand for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc, but the official standard does not specify any particular meaning for the letters.

DVD gained acceptance more slowly than initially predicted for reasons ranging from licensing issues to consumer wariness (the VHS vs Betamax war was still fresh in everyone's minds). However it's advantages were significant and it became the dominant format for distributing pre-recorded content as well as computer data storage.

DVD comes in a variety of flavours which can be confusing. The different physical formats determine how data is stored (e.g. DVD-ROM); application formats determine how program content is stored and played (e.g. DVD-Video).

Recordable DVD formats:

Application DVD formats:

Note: There are also proprietary DVD formats for game consoles such as Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox.

A single-sided DVD can hold 4.7 GB of data, enough for two to three hours of standard-definition video.


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