DVD-R/DVD+R and Dual Layer Writing

Anybody have an idea when the Dual Layer writing DVD+R/-R writers or going to be coming out? And what format they’re supporting (-R or +R) - I’d like to upgrade from my poor little 2x DVD-R but don’t want to do anything until dual layer writing is available.


We’ll probably see the first dual layer drives in the May timeframe.

Any truth to the rumor that current 8x drives can be upgraded to dual-layer via firmware?


At least, not according to one of the major vendors I spoke with. The pickup head is different, as are the power needs of the head.

Hmm, that’s not what Maximum PC was saying. Ah crap. Which vendor? (I bought the first 8X Plextor about a month ago).

— Alan

I know people are going ga-ga over the idea of “high speed” and “dual layer” writers, but I’m not sure whether most people realise they will have to pick and choose which one they want.

Sure, there’s going to be high-speed (8x+) writers that do dual layer, but hasn’t anyone else read that 2.4x is the ‘speed limit’ for writing to dual layers? I’m not sure where the DVD+R spec group came up with that number- they’ve said it was technical- but I do wonder whether or not the MPAA and Big Media companies are behind it as well? “Sure, they can have dual layer writers, but let’s make it inconvenient (time wise) for them to make those almost pure 1:1 copies.”

As such, I haven’t really read anything as to why you couldn’t write to the 1st layer at “high speed” and step back to 2.4x or whatever for the 2nd layer. More technical stuff? (perhaps) Or is it politics?

At any rate, Philips put out some PR earlier this month stating that their “8x, dual layer” writers would ship in April, and that an even faster (16x) high speed, dual layer writer would follow closely in July.

edit to add a link: http://www.press.ce.philips.com/press/documents596.html

I’m not sure that 2.4x would really be all that “inconvenient”.

As it stands, my copy of XCopy Xpress can read all the video data on one of my DVDs that I want to back up, compress it and burn a 2 hour movie plus however many hours of extras onto a single layer DVD in just under an hour, and that’s with a 4x drive.

I can’t say now (under NDA). But that doesn’t mean another company won’t be able to pull it off.

The Plextor drive may be an example – it uses a much higher power pickup head than the other 8x drives, so if it can be properly focused, it might work. But you can never be sure. There were early DVD+RW drives that never could burn DVD+R media, despite promises of firmware updates.

Thanks Lloyd - I’m assuming they’re all going to be of the DVD+R variety instead of DVD-R?

Initially, but that “other” standards group is also working on dual layer. One vendor suggested that they might be able to support -R dual layer with a firmware update to their dual layer +R drive, but there were no guarantees.

The writing of dual layer media will be 2.4x. It really is a technical issue, particularly when you do the second layer. The laser is being refocused, power goes up so it can punch through the first layer (but it’s not burning it, due to the change in focus), then burn the second layer. Manufacturing the media itself is apparently pretty tricky. We may see faster dual layer drives – but by then, we may also have Blu-Ray.

I’ve heard before that manufacturing dual-layer, dual-side DVDs for movies and the like is rather difficult – which is why you don’t see too many movies using this specific format, even when it seems like they could reduce a 2 DVD package to 1 DVD.

Myself, I hate dual-sided DVDs. I can never tell which side is supposed to go up.

Yes, most are single sided. But manufacturing writable dual layer media, even single sided, is apparently quite the exercise in materials science.

Thanks for the info again Case - I’ll hold off on getting a new drive for a couple months then :)