There are a lot of DVD burners (also called DVD writers) out on the market. If you are looking for one, most likely you are having a hard time deciding which one is for you. You have to learn all about DVD+R and DVD-R… DVD+RW and DVD-RW. You also have to learn about 8x, 16x, and 24x. Guess what? I have one more thing for you to learn. I know, I know - you've just about had it. Don't worry because you have come to the right place. I'll make this simple. Your new vocabulary is "dual layer burner." The dual layer burner is the future of the DVD burner. All those others terms are not nearly as important to understand as the concept of the dual layer DVD burner and their partners – the dual layer DVD disc. But what is it about a dual layer burner that makes it so important?

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Image by Gregory Szarkiewicz

Image: Gregory Szarkiewicz /

Standard DVDs are basically single layer DVDs. They have the capacity of 4.7 GB (gigabytes). A dual layer DVD, which is also known as a double layer DVD, has the capacity of 8.5 GB (gigabytes). That's almost two times the standard capacity of the single layer disc. Blu-ray discs have upwards to 50 GB capacity and even as much as 100 GB capacity. But Blu-ray is not yet a cost effective media format for a majority of the population and it may not be for a long time. So do not make the mistake of buying a DVD burner that does not support dual layer DVD or you will be missing out - big time.

Dual layer discs come with such format names as DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL and sometimes DVD+R9. To get very granular in detail here, DVD+R DL is sometimes the disc that is referred to as "double layer" DVD whereas DVD-R DL is referred to as "dual layer" DVD. Both phrases are often interchanged in everyday language and are used to describe both format types so do not be confused if you see the other phrase. They are both built from two layers of discs, which is how they fit almost twice the data as the single layer DVDs. However, not all DVD burners can record to these dual layer discs. Therefore it is imperative to make sure that you are buying a dual layer burner. Right now these burners definitely burn to a double layer disc more slowly than the standard burner burns to a single layer disc. However, that will all change as dual layer continues to grow in popularity over the years. As I mentioned, the new format has almost twice the amount of data as single layer DVD so it is easily forgiven for its current burning speed.

Another great thing about dual layer DVD discs is that they can be shown on almost any DVD player because for years Hollywood has been using a similar disc format, DVD9, to distribute its feature-length movies. Since the dual layer DVD players already work with DVD9, the dual layer discs should also work. There is only a small margin of discs players that won't play them whereas single layer DVD±R has a higher chance of incompatibility with your home DVD player.

To sum up, double layer technology is truly the future of DVD. Single layer technology will probably not advance much further than it already is now. Why? Every DVD burner manufacturer in the marketplace is focusing their efforts on the dual layer burner and its compatible media and the advancement of that technology. So, if it is time for you to invest in a DVD burner for the transfer of your home movies and video – or for any of your DVD burning needs for that matter - a dual layer burner is the device for which you are searching.

Good luck in all of your work to build yourself a digital family library in which you can be proud. As you go through the steps of conducting your VHS to DVD transfer you will surely learn more and concepts like these will no longer be frightening. Take it one thing at a time and, before you know it, you will achieve your goals.


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