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DVD-ROM overview title graphic

DVD-ROM Overview

DVD-ROM discs can contain games, multimedia or other computer based applications

DVD technology was developed to provide an optical disc format with a much larger capacity than the CD, for a wide range of applications. Pre-recorded DVD discs provide capacities from 4.7 GB to 17.1 GB and can support a wide range of applications, including DVD-Video and DVD-Audio.

The term DVD-ROM is used to define both the physical and logical format of pre-recorded DVD discs and also refers to the computer multimedia applications of DVD. DVD-ROM discs, as opposed to DVD-Video or DVD-Audio discs, are being used for games, encyclopaedias and other applications where the large size is needed. In addition DVD-Video and DVD-Audio discs often include a DVD-ROM section with data that runs on a PC, giving additional features such as Internet access.

Computer Industry Requirements

The Technical Working Group, representing the computer industry, listed the following requirements for a DVD-ROM specification for multimedia, games and other computer applications.

  • Single format for computer and TV-based applications
  • Backward read compatibility with existing CD-ROMs
  • Forward compatibility with future R/W and WORM discs
  • A single file system for all content and disc media types
  • Low cost drives and discs
  • No mandatory container
  • Reliable data storage and retrieval
  • High on-line capacity
  • High performance for both sequential and non-sequential data types

DVD-ROM drives and PCs with DVD capability are now widespread in  the USA, Europe and Japan. Generally these will also include MPEG-2 decoders either in hardware or, for high end PCs, in software. They will then be capable of playing DVD-Video discs as well as DVD-ROM applications.


In this page:

Computer Industry Requirements

See also:

DVD-ROM (PDF document)


"DVD-ROM drives and PCs with DVD capability are now widespread"


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