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Home > Essays > Optical Storage

Monday, July 14, 2003
DVD Media Format Compatibility Tests

7. Test Results - Conlusion

Test Results

The reader can browse an on-line version of the database we developed of all the test results. In fact, a new whole section of our site has been devoted entirely on tests of this type. which are based on our review in this article.

Please go to:, if not already done so, and choose a particular reader from the drop-down list to see a complete list of the tests concerning the particular player you chose.

Overall compatibility ratings with respect to each media format is offered in the following table:

Format Type Rating (percent of the max possible)
-R 96.74%
-RW 87.68%
-R/RW combined 92.21%
+R/RW combined 87.14%

The above numbers are based on the interpretation of the results as we defined it in the previous section. We use 0 for no compatibility of a disc and a 1 for full compatibility. We then sum-up the numbers for each and every test and we divide them by the total number of tests (discs). This offers again numbers in the scale of 0 to 1. We get the percentage results listed above by multiplying these numbers by 100.

The summation above was carried out in each case automatically by our developed software. A different number of cases was included for the estimation of each of the above numbers.


We think this is one of the very few cases were can simply say that each one is performing according to what it was designed to cooperate with. The dash format (-) seems to be on all cases more compatible than the plus (+) format. The results concerning the rewritable media is virtually identical. This is due to the fact that both formats are designed to run on only newer generation recorders.

We think that the critical factor in any assessment is not the underlying specifications, how stringent or relaxed they are, but rather the particular hardware offered during their implementation. In our case the manufacturers of -R/RW DVD drives are certainly more capable when it comes to overall quality. Drives and media are certainly better designed to cooperate with each other, offering much better compatibility, especially with older drives and players. This not something unexpected. The larger component manufacturers are members of the Forum and they seem to like to justify their participation in it.

Certainly, the Philips claims for wider +R/RW compatibility are found baseless. And we think that this conclusion would be more substantiated had we taken into account the market share of each particular player/DVD-ROM. In Japan, for example, where, Panasonic owns a dominant role, there is no place to talk about even recording a single "plus" disc. This would be incompatible with most players owned by your friends. In Europe, where the Toshiba's are being sold through the large food chains in the tens of thousands, sharing your videos in a "plus" disc, while most first and second generation players form the majority of units that have been sold, would be a rather unpleasant endeavor.

We can not tell more at this moment about the US market. We will do it according to user feedback and we intend to revise this part of our review accordingly.

Please send us your comments (using a valid e-mail address) and please tell us how we can improve this new section of our site to best suit you own needs/thoughts.

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