What is the difference between DVD-R and DVD+R discs?

I usually buy DVD+R just because it's a plus. Does it make difference for archivists? The price is almost the same for both formats.

4 Answers 4


In prior readings, and analysis that I've read, DVD-R has a GREATER compatibility than DVD+R - for example, on older DVD Players (for example, 2004 and earlier), DVD-R would work in 90% of systems whereas DVD+R would work in 80%. (These are numbers from memory and could be off, but I'm 99% certain that -R was MORE compatible than +R.)

In addition, -R has 6.625 MiB more usable space. See: http://www.videohelp.com/dvd

  • This information is really interesting and useful. Thanks! Oct 20, 2009 at 19:41

From About.com:

Standards Differences

1) The DVD-R (pronounced "DVD dash R") and -RW media formats are officially approved by the standards group DVD Forum. The DVD Forum was founded by Mitsubishi, Sony, Hitachi, and Time Warner, so it has tremendous industry support for its technical standards.

2) DVD+R ("DVD plus” R) and +RW formats are not approved by the DVD Forum standards group, but are instead supported by the DVD+RW Alliance. The DVD+RW Alliance is supported by Sony, Yamaha, Philips, Dell, and JP, so it also has tremendous industry support for its technical standards. Note that Sony supports both organizations.

Technical Differences

The main functional differences between DVD-R and DVD+R are:

1) the DVD recorder's built-in defects management

2) the way the recorders format and rewrite DVDs

3) the price.


My understanding is that DVD+ is the better system, especially now that virtually all drives will handle both media.


  • 1
    An old but very informative article. Thanks! Oct 20, 2009 at 19:30
  • That article is highly relevant, but please avoid link-only answers. Jan 8, 2015 at 17:23
  • Read the dates.
    – Xavierjazz
    Jan 8, 2015 at 17:51

Um... just because there's a "+" in the name doesn't make it better. Read Wikipedia (link) for a simple explanation:

Recordable format compatibility

DVD drives from 2004 should be able to read either of the competing recordable formats, older drives may favour DVD-R discs. Modern drives (certainly at time of writing in 2007) typically allow writing to both DVD-R[W] and DVD+R[W] discs making the difference largely irrelevant to the average consumer.

DVD-R for Authoring: a special-purpose DVD-R used to record DVD masters, which can then be duplicated to pressed DVDs by a duplication plant. They require a special DVD-R recorder, and are not often used nowadays since many duplicators can now accept ordinary DVD-R masters.

DVD-R (strictly DVD-R for General): can record up to 4.7 GB in a similar fashion to a CD-R disc. Once recorded and finalized it can be played by most DVD-ROM players.

DVD+R: can record up to 4.7 GB single-layered/single-sided DVD+R disc, at up to 16x speed. Like DVD-R you can record only once.

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