Difference Between DVD-R and DVD-RW

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between DVD-R and DVD-RW

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These two terms might be standard, but what do they mean? How are they different? Which one should you pick? This article will help you understand the differences between DVD-R and DVD-RW and which one to choose in your case. But first, let's take a look at the details of both!


If you're trying to decide between DVD-R and DVD-RW format, it's essential to know the difference between them. DVD-R is a recordable disc that can only be recorded once. DVD-RW is a rewritable disc that can be registered multiple times. So, which one is better for you? It depends on your needs. If you need a disc that can be recorded multiple times, then DVD-RW is the way to go. However, if you only need to register something once, DVD-R is probably the better option. They are cheaper than DVD-RW discs so they may be more economical in the long run. And since they are not rewritable, they will play with all players (i.e., even older ones). Remember to close out any open programs before opening up your video editing software and burning your video project to the disc when recording onto a DVD-R or a DVD-RW disc. Doing this will ensure that there are no interruptions during the process. Achieving an interruption-free burn is especially important when dealing with a DVD-R disc, as these discs can only be burned once.

Difference Between DVD-R and DVD-RW in Tabular Form

Parameters of


Full Form The full form of DVD-R is Digital Versatile Disc Recordable. The full form of DVD-RW is Digital Versatile Disc Re-Writable.
Readable Readable only DVD  Readable, Writable DVD
Usage It is better for long time storage.        It is better for transferring files.
Time period It is slower than DVD-WR. It is faster.
Written It can be written only once. It can be written multiple times.

What is DVD-R?

DVD-R is a popular format for optical discs. It was released in 1997 and has since become one of the most common formats for storing data. DVD-R can store up to 4.7GB of data, which is more than enough for most people's needs. The format is also compatible with most DVD players and computers. What should you use?: It all depends on your needs. If you want a cheap way to back up or store files, go with DVD-R. If you need something that will allow you to change your mind without consequences, choose DVD-RW.

What is the Storage of DVD-R?

DVD-R can store up to 4.7GB of data and has a single layer. DVD-RW can store up to 8.5GB of data and has a dual layer. What are the benefits of DVD-R?: The most significant benefit to using this type of disk is that it will work with all existing equipment, so you don't have to worry about upgrading your equipment when the technology changes. What are the benefits of DVD-RW?: One significant advantage over DVD-R is that it can be rewritable, which means you don't have to worry about erasing data if you make a mistake or change your mind later in the process.

Features of DVD-R

  • A DVD-R can hold 4.7GB of data, and about two hours of video.
  • It can also hold up to 16 hours of audio.
  • A DVD-R can be written only once, so you can't accidentally erase your data.
  • Once you've written data to a DVD-R, it's permanent and can't be changed.
  • This makes DVD-Rs ideal for storing precious data like family photos and videos or essential business documents.
  • They're also more rugged than other types of DVDs, so they're less likely to be damaged if dropped or mishandled.

Usage of DVD-R

DVD-R discs are great for storing data that you want to keep for a long time, as they have a very long lifespan. They are also compatible with many devices, so you can access your data even if you don't have the same type of player as when you first recorded it. However, DVD-Rs cannot be erased and rewritten like DVD-RW discs, so you need to be sure that you won't need to change the data on your disc before using this format. The downside of DVD-R discs is that they're more expensive than their counterpart. If you only need a medium for recording video (rather than storage), try our VHS tapes or video cassettes instead!

Speed of DVD-R

DVD-R discs can only be written once but can be read at high speeds. This makes them ideal for storing data you want to access quickly, such as video or audio files. On the other hand, DVD-RW discs can be written to and erased multiple times. This makes them more versatile but also means that they have a lower writing speed. For example, writing a DVD-R disc may take up to 20 minutes, while it may take an hour for a DVD-RW disc.

A significant disadvantage of DVD-R discs is that when you are writing data onto them (or burning the content), it takes up to 20 minutes before your burning process will finish, and your disc will be usable. If there are any problems with the burning process (such as an interruption in power), your work will not be saved.

What is DVD-RW?

DVD-RW, or Digital Versatile Disc Rewritable, is a type of DVD that can be written to and erased multiple times. This makes it an excellent choice for those who need to store large amounts of data or who want to be able to reuse their discs. However, DVD-RW discs are more expensive than their DVD-R counterparts and can be less compatible with some devices. DVD-R discs can also become worn out over time due to constant writing and erasing, while DVD-RW disks have no limit on how many times they can be reused.

What is the Storage of DVD-RW?

Regarding storage, DVD-RW can hold up to 4.7GB of data—the same as a DVD-R. But here's where things get a little more complicated. A DVD-RW can be formatted in VR mode and Video mode. VR mode is best for storing data that you want to keep private or secure, while Video mode is best for storing video files that you want to share with others. And if you're wondering what the difference between video and VR mode is: If a disc has been recorded using VR mode, then the data will only playback on the computer on which it was created; if a disc has been recorded using Video mode, then the data will play back on any computer.

Features of DVD-RW

DVD-RW discs can be recorded multiple times, which makes them ideal for storing data that needs to be frequently updated, such as video footage from a security camera. DVD-RW discs are also more durable than DVD-R discs and can withstand more wear and tear. The biggest downside of the discs is their slower read and write speeds. A DVD-RW disc can take up to three minutes to record or rewrite, while a DVD-R disc takes only one minute.

Usage of DVD-RW

DVD-RW discs are more versatile than DVD-R discs. They can store data, play movies and music, and backup files. Plus, they can be erased and rewritten multiple times, which makes them perfect for experimentation. However, they are more expensive than DVD-R discs and may not be compatible with all DVD players. The durability of DVD-RW discs varies by manufacturer, so do your research before buying to ensure it will work with your system.

Speed of DVD-RW

DVD-RW discs can be written to and erased multiple times. This makes them ideal for storing data that you might need to access or change frequently, such as video files. The downside is that DVD-RW discs have a lower maximum writing speed than DVD-R discs. This means it will take longer to write data to a DVD-RW disc than to write the same data to a DVD-R disc. It also means that DVD-RW discs are not suitable for long-term storage of your data because they may not last over time due to the number of erase cycles. If you want to store large amounts of information on one disk and make changes infrequently, then a DVD-R disc is more appropriate for your needs.

How Are the Two Different from Each Other?

DVD-R discs are read only once and then finalized, so they can't be rewritten. DVD-RW discs can be read and rewritten multiple times. This difference is crucial because it determines what you can do with the disc after you've recorded something on it. If you want to be able to watch a movie or play a game that you've recorded on a disc, you need to use a DVD-R. If you want to be able to erase what's on the disc and record something new, you need to use a DVD-RW. DVD-Rs are more compatible with standalone DVD players and computer drives than DVD-RWs. They also hold fewer data (4.7 GB) than DVD-RWs (9 GB). DVDs are great if you want to store your data in one place and don't plan on changing it too often. However, if you're looking for something with more functionality and durability, look into Blu-ray discs. Unlike DVDs, Blu-rays allow users to delete files off them repeatedly without losing quality. It's also better at handling high-definition media because it has a larger storage capacity than DVD technology.

Why Do I Need These Two Formats in My Home Video Library?

If you've ever shopped for a blank DVD, you may have noticed that there are two standard formats: DVD-R and DVD-RW. Both are capable of storing video, but they're not created equal. Here's a look at the key differences between these two formats to help you decide which one is right for your home video library. • DVD-R discs are compatible with almost all playback devices, while DVD-RW discs will only work on newer models. In other words, go with a DVD-R disc if you need to share videos with friends or family members who might be using older devices like an old VCR or an outdated computer. On the other hand, choose a DVD-RW disc instead if you want more flexibility in how you watch your movies (e.g., being able to fast forward or pause).

Can I Record on Both Formats Simultaneously?

Recording on both formats simultaneously is possible, but it requires two separate recorders and two discs. The recording quality will be the same on both forms, but you'll have to decide which design is better for your needs. If you need to edit or delete files on the disc, then DVD-RW is the better choice. However, if you want to finalize the disc so it can't be rewritten, DVD-R is the better option. Additionally, some new players cannot play back DVD-RW discs because they were manufactured before the advent of this format. Finally, CD/DVD burning software doesn't always recognize these discs. If you're unsure what kind of player you have, check with the manufacturer's website. If your player doesn't work with either one, check out our guide to different types of CDs and DVDs

Main Differences Between DVD-R and DVD-RW in Points

  • DVD-R discs can only be recorded once, while DVD-RW discs can be recorded multiple times.
  • DVD-R discs have a higher storage capacity than DVD-RW discs.
  • DVD-R discs are more compatible with standalone DVD players than DVD-RW discs.
  • DVD-RW discs are more expensive than DVD-R discs.
  • DVD-R discs are less likely to suffer from wear and tear than DVD-RW discs.
  • Recording quality is generally better with DVD-R discs than with DVD-RW discs.
  • It is easier to finalize a recording on a DVD-R disc than on a DVD
  • Recordable DVDs use different layers depending on if they're DVD-R or a DVD-RW discs, so you can quickly tell which type of disc it is just by looking at it.


If you want to store data long-term, you should choose DVD-R. If you want to be able to erase and rewrite data frequently, DVD-RW is a better option. Keep in mind that DVD-RW discs are more expensive than DVD-R discs. Ultimately, deciding which type of disc to use depends on your needs. If you need to save and keep the information secure, go with DVD-R. If convenience is more important to you, then opt for DVD-RW. As we continue into the digital age, DVDs may not seem as vital as they once were; however, they still offer many advantages regarding data storage

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"Difference Between DVD-R and DVD-RW." Diffzy.com, 2024. Mon. 26 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-dvd-r-and-dvd-rw-860>.

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