Types of Optical Disc! In Depth Knowledge about Optical Disk in 2020

The optical disk was one of the revolutionary inventions of the computer technologies for storing data. Though it is not that popular nowadays, it has been an essential part of computer technology for a long period. Most of the people nowadays either download the audio and video or stream it through online. However, they are still required and used by a lot of people because of their unique properties for specific tasks.

There are many variants of optical discs. In our today’s write-up, we will let you know about different types of the optical disk. However, let’s know about the optical disk a bit more.

types of optical disc

What Is Optical Disk? How do They work?

Optical Disc (OD) is a circular and flat device that encodes binary data on one of the flat surfaces. They are usually made of different types of unique material, including aluminum. The data in the optical disc is stored with a stamping machine or a laser, and the data can be accessed when a laser diode illuminates the data path. The laser or stamping machine writes the disk by producing small pits on the surface.

The commercial-grade optical discs are created mostly by a physical stamping machine. They can be both one-sided and two-sided and comes at a reflective silver color. Besides, the writable disks are created by using relatively high power laser, and they can arrive in different colors, including metallic silver, gold, or dark blue or yellow-green. You cannot identify the quality of the disk by its visual appearance.

Different Types of Optical Disk

Though most of the disc arrives at the same color, there are lots of different in types of disc. There are differences in compatibility, construction material, standard, dyes, archival stability, and so many other things. Check out the detailed information on different types of the optical disk from below.

# Writable Discs

The writable disc production is significantly lowered nowadays though billions of people still use them. One of the exciting things about the writable CD is they are incredibly cost-effective. Even you can purchase bulk amounts from the premium brands at $0.10 for each. They are a perfect choice when it comes to copying media or taking back up of your relevant data. They can be easily written using CD writers and different types of DVD writers.

There can be two types of writable CDs, including CD R and CD RW discs. They are discussed below.

CD-R Discs

The CD-R discs can be written only one time. That means when the data can be recorded only once, it cannot be deleted or overwritten. They can arrive at different writing speeds, but most of them vary around 48XC to 52X, and you can use them on all types of optical writers. More so, any kind of CD and DVD writer can be used to write these discs. However, you may not use them in some models of old automobile and home audio CD players.

There can be different types of CD-R discs in quality and capacity. A CD-R drive can store around 650 MB of data or 74 minutes of audio. However, the recording time can vary approximately 80 minutes and 700 MB of data. Some manufacturers tried to extend the capacity of the disc because of their popularity. However, they failed as such drives show frequent read errors.

The build quality of the disc plays a vital role in its archival stability. Well-built and well-engineered discs can offer you a significant performance when the economy grade may show error and other issues.

CD RW Discs

The CD-RW discs are the one that can be written as many times as the user want. You can make room for new data by overwriting or deleting the existing data in the disc. As per different sources, you can rewrite the data around 1000 times in the CD-RW discs. One thing about the CD-RW drive is different writers burn them at different speeds.  Currently, there are four types of CD-RW discs available, which are:

  1. Ultra-Speed+ CD-RW Disc: They arrive with a burning speed rate of 32X and usable in CD-RW writers, which include Ultra Speed CD-RW and High-Speed CD-RW logo.
  2. Ultra-Speed CD-RW Disc: They arrive with different speed variation ratings, including 12X, 16X, 24X. They are usable in the CD-RW writers, which include Ultra Speed CD-RW and High-Speed CD-RW logo.
  3. High-Speed CD-RW Disc: This variation arrives with a rating around 4X to 12X. You can use the CD-RW writers that come with Ultra Speed CD-RW and High-Speed CD-RW logo.

The CD-RW disc doesn’t get that much exposure as like as the CD-R discs. Though most of the writer can be used for the disc, they often show issues and problems while writing. They will be pretty hard to find anywhere currently.

# Writable DVD Discs

Though most types of CDs are not available currently, writable DVDs are often found easily. There are also huge variations of the DVD disk. We will let you know about some standards, rewritable and write-once DVD discs.  


The DVD RAM was first to come into the market during 1998, and they become widely popular. However, they have always been an expensive choice due to the costly media, high drive price, and slow performance. The cost of the DVD RAM is still high, as they need to be enclosed in the cartridge. The properties of the DVD RAM make the appropriate choice for backups and other related functionalities.

Different manufacturers still produce DVD RAM on a small quantity. These discs write at 5X, at a slower speed than the other types of the rewritable discs. However, they can store a good amount of data, around 4.7 GB per side. The double-sided versions can store 9.4 GB. The 4.7 GB can be either available in bare or cartridge when the 9.4 GB version is available only in the cartridge.

The DVD RAM is generally compatible with the DVD-RAM drives only along with some types of personal video recorders and camcorders. A few models of DVD-ROM drives and DVD players may also read the DVD RAMs. The DVD RAM can be rewritten around 100,000 times. They are not that much available when compared with the DVD R/W discs.


The DVD-RW is another variation of the rewritable DVD discs that are promoted by DVD Forum. They arrived in the market just after the DVD RAM and became more popular than the other variations. That becomes possible mainly because of Apple accepted the DVD-RW widely. There are different speed variations of the DVD-RW, including 1X, 2X, 4X. Currently, you will find the 4X variations. They can be rewrites for 1000 times and store data around 4.7 GB. 

The DVD-RW includes arrives with poor error detection and correction technology as well as considered as “poor” for recording data. However, previously the DVD+RW, along with DCD-RW, was an affordable choice for recording movies, television programs, and some other types of uses. However, currently, they are sold at the same price as the DVD+RW discs.

The DVD-RW discs can be read by almost all types of DVD writers except some old DVD-R/RW-only writers.


The DVD+RW arrived at the market after some months of the DVD-RW. The variations invented by a group of companies who were dissatisfied with the DVD-RW standards. The DVD+RW can also store around 4.7 GB of data and rewrite for 1000 times. However, the DVD+RWdrive comes with better reliability and performance when compared with the DVD-RW.

The speeds of the DVD+RWs are also better and released faster versions quicker. More so, they were even better at robust error detection and correction. Almost all types of DVD writers can use the DVD+RW. However, some older varieties may not load them. Also, some variations from the manufacturer like Toshiba, Panasonic, and Hitachi may refuse to load DVD+RW discs due to the design.

# Write-Once DVD Discs

The write-one DVD discs are more popular than the rewritable disc because of their high speed, better archival stability, and reduced media cost. Different popular types of write-once DVD discs are detailed below.


The first-ever introduced write-once DVD disc was the DVD-R. They can keep 4.7 GB of data and can be available at different speeds up to 16X. They are not that good at error detection and correction when compared with the DVD-R discs. Due to the reason, they are not that much used for storing data. The DVD+R can be used in almost all DVD writers along with all current DVD-ROM Drives.


THE DVD+R arrives in the market as an excellent alternative to DVD-R discs. They can store around 4.7 GB data and can write up to 16X speed. As it comes with better error detection and correction, they are considered a better choice for recording data. A lot of brands still produces excellent quality DVD+R drives. The DVD+R can also be used in any DVD writer and DVD-ROM devices.


The DVD+R DL is an enhanced version of the DVD+R. The storage capacity of it can vary from 4.7 GB to 8.5 GB with a secondary layer. They have been available from 2004 but were not that accepted in the market due to the high price. They are 6 to 10 times costly when compared with the DVD+R. They are vastly used for backing up data as arrives with additional size.


The DVD-R DL after a few months of the arrival of the DVD+R DL. However, they were failed to capture the market due to some issues along with the high price. They are also not that robust to error detection and correction. Another concern about the DVD-R DL format is they are not compatible with most of the old DVD players. However, you may use them for video recording if you have no other options.

The Optical disk has been a crucial companion of the computer universe since the beginning. They have served us for a long time for storing relevant data and media before downloads and streaming websites take over the place. Hopefully, after reading the article, you will be able to comprehend the classifications of the optical disc easily. 

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