DVDs provide huge capacity,
but know your format
By Dave Chalk
DVDs are as reuseable
as videotapes with the
+ RW formats.
Welcome to the latest generation of devices. DVD -RAM discs can store up to 9. 4 as DVD-multi drives and are capable of writ-high-capacity data storage technol- GB of data on one side of a double-sided disc ing and reading in both DVD-R/RW and
ogy: DVDs. In the past couple of and can be rewritten up to 100 times more DVD+R/RW formats. C
years the consumer market has seen often than DVD-RW and DVD+RW discs.
an increasing number of devices that allow Unfortunately, DVD-RAM technology is still Dave Chalk is the host of Dave Chalk
you to write PC data to the same format as the somewhat hard to find. One reason is that the Connected Live, an interactive television show
movies you watch at home. DVD-RAM format is not compatible with exploring technology. Chalk is also the founder
most DVD players manufactured for the home of Chalk Media, which produces technology-
A word on DVDs entertainment market. However, of all the related in-flight programming, online training
What makes DVDs such a great format DVD storage options currently available, and marketing solutions. For more, see Chalk’s
for storing high-resolution images and DVD-RAM discs offer the highest storage Web site at
sound? First, they can hold a minimum of 4. 7 capacity—definitely something to consider,
GB of data, and as much as 17 GB. CDs can especially when what you’re really looking
hold up to 800 MB of data, so you would for is data storage.
need seven CDs to hold the same amount of
data as one DVD. Choosing the right format for you
Second, you can find DVDs that are re- With all of these choices, how do you
writable. That means you can write (record) know what’s best for you? Look for speed
data to the same DVD over and over again. and compatibility.
However, recording data on a DVD disc can In terms of speed, in the past year both
get a little tricky. Although some devices allow formats have produced drives at 8x speeds.
you to write and rewrite PC data to a DVD, not Both formats are equally compatible with
all devices support all DVD formats. And there DVD-ROM drives and players, although
are a lot of different DVD formats out there. some players may experience problems read-
ing -RW and +RW discs due to the reflectiv-
What you need to know ity of the disc surface. Problems can be easily
There are two main DVD formats of correctedbyupgradingtheplayer’sfirmware,
which you should be aware: the DVD-plus the software that has been prerecorded on the
format (DVD+R and DVD+RW) and the player’s computer chip to make it work.
DVD-dash format (DVD-R, DVD-RW and Dash-format DVD discs are also available
DVD-RAM). While DVD players, including in two subformats: DVD-R (G), intended for
the DVD drives on desktop and notebook general use, and DVD-R (A), intended for pro-
computers, will play these formats, not all fessional development. These subformats are
DVD writers will write to all these formats. not compatible. If you are using DVDs for
Typically, DVD-plus writers are able to write home use and must deal with these formats,
only to DVD-plus discs and DVD-dash writ- stick to the DVD-R (G) format.
ers are able to write only to DVD-dash discs.
DVD-RAM is a rerecordable DVD for- DVD writers and players
mat typically used in cartridge-like storage If all this seems confusing, the good news
is that in the past year significant develop-
ments in DVD technology have been aimed
at overcoming the disparity between the two
formats. If you’ve been thinking about get-
ting a new DVD writer or player, look at the
new products hitting the market designed to
bridge the format divide. They are known
streamline work flow
We’ve all seen people who work their
keyboards so fast that everything is
a blur. They have a secret: keyboard
For example, simultaneously pressing the CTRL key and the A key is a quick
way to select everything on your page.
Learn just a few of these shortcuts and
people will be marveling at your speed!
Here is a list of my favorites. You
might even want to cut this list out and
place it near your computer.
Press these keys:
■ CTRL + Z (to undo your last action)
■ CTRL + C (to copy)
■ CTRL + V (to paste)
■ CTRL + P (to print)
■ CTRL + F
(to find a word/phrase on a page)
■ CTRL + Shift + Arrow
(to select a section of text)
THE COSTCO CONNECTION
Costco warehouses and costco.com carry
a variety of DVD products, such as multi-format (-/+) DVD drives and blank DVDs.
■ CTRL + D (in Internet Explorer) to
save a Web site to your Favorites list
■ Tab (to move forward
through text fields)
■ Shift + F1 (to display Help)