What is the Difference Between a Video DVD and a Data DVD?

Posted by Tyson Banks on December 7, 2012

What is the Difference Between a Video DVD and a Data DVD?People are often confused about what type of DVD to use when burning files. There are two primary ways to burn a DVD:

  • Creating a data DVD that is usually only readable by a computer
  • Creating a video DVD that can play in a DVD player

In the first instance, the process is similar to using a thumb drive. Files are simply added from the computer to the inserted DVD. After choosing the type of software that will be used to create the DVD, they can be burned to the disk. This DVD can be inserted into another computer to copy the files to the hard drive. Unlike a thumb drive, however, burning a DVD permanently writes the files to the disk, (unless one is using a re-writable DVD).

The second instance, a video DVD, is similar to a vinyl record. Information is written to a DVD in the form of video and audio “streams” that are decoded by a DVD player's laser (think a high-tech record player needle). A video DVD has to be decoded for the video to play. If inserted into a computer and viewed at the file level, one would notice a strange collection of files that, if clicked, will not play the video you know is on the DVD. Unlike a data DVD, which can contain any kind of file, video, photo or document, a video DVD can only have video written on it.

How does one decide which format to use?

A data DVD is great for copying files that are on one computer and moving them to a new computer. This DVD could also be used to archive files as a storage or back-up solution.

A video is DVD is generally used for exhibition. These can be played in a living room DVD player, or at a conference or convention. In regard to video, a data DVD is only limited by file size. Any format or resolution of video can be burned onto a DVD. A video DVD however, is limited to standard-definition resolutions.

When do you use data DVDs or video DVDs? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet your reply using the hashtag #mcgblog.


Topics: Mitchell Team