DVD – digital versatile disc

Short for digital versatile disc or digital video disc, a type of optical disk technology similar to the CD-ROM. A DVD holds a minimum of 4.7GBof data, enough for a full-length movie. DVDs are commonly used as a medium for digital representation of movies and other multimedia presentations that combine sound with graphics.

The DVD specification supports disks with capacities of from 4.7GB to 17GB and access rates of 600KBps to 1.3 MBps. One of the best features of DVD drives is that they are backward-compatible with CD-ROMs, meaning they can play old CD-ROMs, CD-I disks, and video CDs, as well as new DVD-ROMs. Newer DVD players can also read CD-R disks.

DVD uses MPEG-2 to compress videodata.

For comparison and contrast, see DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD-RAM.

Also see DVD Formats Explained in the Did You Know . . . ? section of Webopedia.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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