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A DVD Forum (the industry body that controls the development of DVD formats) approved recordable DVD format. Format allows single-layer data to be stored on each side of the disc -- in other words, one side of the disc can hold upto 4.38 gigabytes of information (NOT 4.7GB what the disc labels claim -- 4.7GB is achieved by tweaking the numbers and using 1,000 in calculations between megabyte and gigabyte, when the correct number to be used should be 1,024). This poses a problem when backing up pressed DVD-Video discs that can hold dual-layer worth of data per side, 8.5GB. Those discs need to be split to two DVD-R discs if all the information has to be preserved from the original disc.
Dual-layer DVD recordables entered the markets in Q2/2004.
DVD-R is technically slightly less advanced than its competitor, DVD+R. But the year 2002's projections of blank media sales show that sales of DVD-R media will exceed 90,000,000 discs during 2002 while sales of DVD+R media will be only 13,000,000.
Both, DVD-R and DVD+R, formats are write-once formats. DVD-R's "sister format" is called DVD-RW which is essentially a re-writable version of DVD-R. DVD+R's sister format is called DVD+RW.
DVD-R discs can be read with virtually any PC DVD-ROM drive and with most of the regular, stand-alone DVD players.