DVD+R Double Layer discs, by Verbatim
Posted: 28-Jan-2005

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Verbatim Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: HARDWARE
Overview
The Verbatim DVD+R Double Layer (DL) media is a single-sided disc that supports up to 8.5 GB of storage capacity, the largest back-up and data archiving format for DVD media. There are two AZO recording layers on a single-sided disc. The DVD+R DL records up to 4 hours of DVD quality video, or 16 hours of VHS quality video. The discs can be used for backing up DVD video titles and transferring video tapes to optical media that won't degrade over time. It is ideal for archiving home movies. Verbatim DVD+R DL discs are available in 3-packs, or you can get the "Solution Kit" which comes with one DVD+R DL disc, plus one DVD+RW disc and eight DVD+R discs.

Price
Backed by a lifetime warranty, Verbatim DVD+R DL discs have a street price of about $25 per 3-pack. The price is a bit on the hefty side, considering that a single layer DVD+R disk runs for about $6 or less for a 3-pack. That's 4 times the price for less than double the space.

Setup
The DVD+R DL discs come in easy to use jewel cases. Simply take the disc out of the case and insert into your DVD-RW optical drive to begin burning. You do not have to turn the disc over when using the double layer, as both layers are on the same side of the disc.

In Use
The main selling point of the DVD+R DL disc is the fact that it not only sports the largest data storage capacity for a DVD, but it uses the dual layer technology. This means that you can store up to 8.5 GB of video or data on this disc without having to remove the disc from the optical drive. Your optical drive automatically switches from layer one to layer two during the burning process.

The caveat is that you have to have hardware and software that supports the double layer disc format in order to utilize the entire 8.5 GB. The Superdrive that comes with current Mac systems does not support DL discs, but you can easily replace your optical drive with a DVR-108 that does support DL discs (or you can purchase an external drive that supports DL).

Currently, under Panther, DVD burning software components that are native to OS X, such as the Finder and iDVD, do not support double layer discs. That means that if you are using native OS X only, you can only burn DVDs up 4.7 GB. Your optical reader will still work with the DVD+R DL discs, but it doesn't make sense to spend more for the DVD+R DL disc if you are not able to utilize it's second layer.

The good news is that third party software, such as Toast Titanium and DragonBurn, both support the Double Layer DVD format. I tested the DVD+R DL with Toast Titanium 6.0.7. I was able to copy a double layer DVD that I own without any problems. Toast burned the DVD, switching layers as needed, without requiring any intervention on my part. I tested the DVD results in my home DVD player, and the movie played perfectly, including switching layers at the same point that the original does (this is that slight pause you see about halfway through DVD movies).

The writing speed for DVD+R DL discs is only at 2.4x. It did feel a little slow, but it didn't bother me much (I'm used to iDVD taking hours upon hours to render and burn a 90-minute video). The quality of the disc appears to be very good, right in line with what you might expect from Verbatim. They have been in the business for quite some time, and they back the disc with a lifetime warranty.

Summary
Verbatim's DVD+R DL discs are the latest writeable DVD discs that support up to 8.5 GB of storage on a single side. Utilizing AZO recording technology, these discs have two layers on one side of the disc, and DVD writers will utilize the first layer, than automatically switch to the second layer for extended storage. Native OS X software, such as the Finder and iDVD, do not currently support the double layer format and can therefore only burn on the first layer of the disc. However, third party software, such as the latest Toast Titanium and DragonBurn 4, do support the DL format, so if you have either one of these products (plus the hardware that supports DL discs), you can utilize the full 8.5 GB of storage. The DVD+R DL are still pretty new to the market, hence, they come with a hefty price tag (nearly 4 times as high as their single layer counterparts). The discs seem to be quite reliable, and are backed by a lifetime warranty. If you have a need to create double layered DVDs or want to expand your DVD storage capacity to 8.5 GB, and you have the required hardware and software to burn double layered DVDs, these discs will work great for you.

Pros

  • State of the art DVD-R technology
  • AZO recording technology supports two layers on one side of disc
  • Reliable
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Requires DVD writeable drive that supports DL format
  • Requires third party software that supports DL format
  • Hefty price tag


Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice