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Type of optical disc. The DVD represents the second generation of compact-disc (CD) technology. Like a CD drive, a DVD drive uses a low-power laser to read digitized (binary) data that have been encoded onto the disc in the form of tiny pits. Because it uses a digital format, a DVD can store any kind of data, including movies, music, text, and graphical images. DVDs are available in single- and double-sided versions, with one or two layers of information per side. Single-sided DVDs have become standard media for recorded motion pictures, largely replacing videotape in the home market. A double-sided, dual-layer version can store about 30 times as much information as a standard CD. DVDs are made in a ROM (read-only memory) format as well as in erasable (DVD-E) and recordable (DVD-R) formats. Though DVD players can usually read CDs, CD players cannot read DVDs. It is expected that DVDs will eventually replace CDs, especially for multimediaworkstations.
Variants of DVD
DVD in full digital video disc or digital versatile disc
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on DVD, visit Britannica.com.