DVD-R vs DVD+R and DVD-RW vs DVD+RW: Difference and Comparison

When you prepare to buy your first blank DVD or a DVD recorder, you may search it on Google and you'll be surprised to find that there are diversity DVD formats. You may distinguish DVD and Blu-ray disc, but DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW and DVD+RW will make you very confused. You may wonder: what exactly do they mean? What are the differences between DVD-R and DVD+R, DVD-RW and DVD+RW? Which format is right for me? And which one is compatible with my DVD player? Read on and you will get all the answers about these questions.


Difference between R and RW Formats

First up, we should know the acronym "R" and "RW" after the hyphen. It can tell us what we can do with that type of disc.

R: Recordable. You can write once and read arbitrarily many times. Thus, "R" format discs are suited to applications such as non-volatile data storage, audio, or video.

RW: Rewritable. You can write to these discs, erase them, and write to them again. According to Pioneer, DVD-RW discs may be written to about 1,000 times before needing replacement. RW discs are commonly used to store data in a volatile format, such as when creating backups or collections of files. They are also used for home DVD video recorders.

Difference and Comparison between DVD-R and DVD+R

Ostensibly, DVD+R disc looks no difference with the DVD-R disc. They're all 120mm in diameter and 1.2mm in thickness, comprising two 0.6mm polycarbonate substrates. However, a DVD+R has "DVD+R" written on the disc, while a DVD-R disc has its respective wording. The main difference and comparison between DVD+R and DVD-R mainly focus on the standard, compatibility, quality, speed and price.

1. DVD+R VS DVD-R - Standard Differences

The DVD-R format was developed by Pioneer in 1997. It is supported by most normal DVD players and is approved by the DVD Forum.

The DVD+R format was developed by Philips and Sony with their DVD+RW Alliance and was introduced in 2002.

Companies that support DVD-R include Pioneer, Toshiba, Hitachi, and Panasonic, while companies that support DVD+R include Sony, Philips, Hewlett-Packard, Ricoh, and Yamaha.

2. DVD-R VS DVD+R – Functional Differences

The main functional difference between DVD-R and DVD+R is the way they determine the location of the laser beam on the disc.

DVD-R use tiny marks along the grooves in the discs, called "land prepits", to determine the laser position. DVD+R do not have land prepits, but instead measure the "wobble frequency" as the laser moves toward the outside of the disc.

3. DVD-R VS DVD+R – Quality/Speed/Price Comparison

With the different technology applied, DVD+R has better performance than DVD-R in many ways. For example, DVD+R is ahead of DVD-R for both the recording quality and the speed. Therefore, DVD-R discs are usually cheaper than the DVD+R format.

Difference and Comparison between DVD-RW and DVD+RW

A DVD±RW like a DVD±R, but can be erased and rewritten. DVD-RW is supported by the DVD Forum but DVD+R is supported by the DVD+RW Alliance. They are both compatible with most DVD-ROM drives and DVD-Video players. DVD-RW format requires shorter time to burn the lead in/out, and therefore has slightly more compatibility with DVD players. On the other hand, the DVD+RW format has some special features, such as lossless linking, and both CAV and CLV writing.

Note: Apart from these main DVD formats, you probably see DVD 5 and DVD 9. They are media storages and don't confuse them. DVD-5 is earlier version of DVD-9, single layered, has a capacity of 4.37 GB, can stores up to 120 minutes of standard video, can be rewritten, low priced and is most popular in the list of DVD's. Whereas, DVD-9 is advanced version, double layered, has a capacity of 7.95 GB, can store up to 120 minutes of HD movie, cannot be re-written and is expensive. You can shrink DVD9 to DVD5 to get more advantages.

Top-rated DVD Creator that Supports DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD+RW

After learning about the difference and comparison, here we would like to recommend you the best DVD creator software in case you need to create DVD disc. With VideoByte DVD Creator, you can create local videos from computer or download and makes online movies to various DVD types, like DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-5, DVD-9, etc. and play them on any DVD player. Besides, it can create personalized DVD menu with various menu templates.


What's more, you are allowed to add audio tracks, subtitles and chapters to DVDs. Please note that DVD-/+R are write-once formats and DVD-/+RW are rewritable. But VideoByte DVD Creator cannot erase DVD-/+RW discs, only support to replace with writing new content.

How to create playable DVD with VideoByte DVD Creator

Step 1. Insert a blank DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-5 or DVD-9 disc into your DVD drive and open VideoByte DVD Creator on your computer.

DVD Creator Main

Step 2. Click on the "Add Files" button and select video file you want to write on the DVD.

Add Media Files

Step 3. After the media file loaded, click on the "Edit" button to adjust the video effect by increasing or decreasing the brightness, saturation, contrast or hue settings. You can also trim, crop or add watermark into the video. Then click "OK" button to save the changes.

Crop Video

Step 4. Click "Audio Track" or "ABC Subtitle" button to choose or add audio track for your video. You are able to modify parameters like volume, latency, encoder, bitrate, channels, etc. After that, you can click on "Subtitle" tab to add subtitles to your DVD.

Add Edit Subtitle

Step 5. Go to "Menu" section and click on the "Edit Menu" button to open menu template window. Then you can choose your favorite template and customized it as you wish.

Menu Template

Step 6. Now you can go to "Preferences" tab to select output format and change output parameters like resolution, aspect ratio, video bitrate, etc. Then go back to the main interface and select the output folder and DVD type.

DVD Copy Preferences

Step 7. Finally, if you are ready, click on the "Burn" button to start writing the files to disc.

Wait for a while and you can enjoy the high quality DVDs.


In this post, we introduced the main DVD types easy to confuse: DVD+R and DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD+RW, DVD9 and DVD5. Before you upgrade DVD machine or discs, you'd better learn the difference and comparison between them. No matter you want to create a DVD-R, a DVD+R, a DVD-RW or a DVD+RW, you will need an appropriate program, such as VideoByte DVD Creator. We have shared the tutorial about creating playable DVD with this DVD Creator. You can learn what you need and just give it a try now.