DVD-R is the most compatible of the formats. This format will play in about 90% of DVD Players, DVD-Roms etc. It was the first recordable format out. This format supports up to 4.37GB of data on a disk. You can also get this disc double sided and expand its space to 8.75GB of data. This disc can be written on once and only once. Basically if it screws up, you get a nice, shiny coaster.
This format is the same as DVD-R but can be rewritten several times. This format is compatible with about 80% of DVD Players, drives, etc.
DVD+R is very similar to DVD-R but supports a few more features, thus sacrificing compatibility. It supports lossless linking and both CAV and CLV writing. Newbies don't worry about these features . This format is compatible on about 80% of DVD Players, drives, etc. This disc can be written on once and only once. Basically if it screws up, you get a nice, shiny coaster. Supports the same amount of data DVD-R does. 4.37GB and 8.75 GB Double Sided
DVD+RW is the same as DVD+R but can be written on more several times. It is compatible with about 70% of DVD Players, drives, etc.
DVD+R is the same as DVD+R but supports 7.95GB on one disc. This disc achieves this by having two separate recordable layers. This disc is the most expensive of the formats. This disc is also available in double sided format supporting up to 15.9GB of data. It is compatible in about 75% of DVD Players, drives, etc.
DVD-RAM is the least supported format. Many DVD Burners do not support this. DVD-RAM usually comes in a cartridge and will not fit in most DVD-ROM drive, Player, etc. It is compatible with about 20% of DVD Players. To my knowledge, no DVD-ROM drives support this format.Think of this format as a slow hard drive. This format is not recommended.
Which is Right for Me?
Okay so now you know about all the formats but which is right for you? Well that is up to your DVD-Player. It is best to buy 1 or 2 of each format and try them out. Sometimes a DVD-Player will read DVD+R but not DVD-R. Same goes for other formats. Some DVD-Players will not read any recordable format and that just is no fun now is it.
There are several speeds for discs. 2.4x, 4x, 8x, 16x. What do I get?
Well you should get the same speed as your DVD Burner supports. If you get slower than what it supports do note try to burn with a higher speed.
When CD-Writers came out blank discs were about $5 each. But then cheap $2 blanks came out and people decided to save money and buy those. Big mistake, back then. Those people ended up with alot of coasters and ended up losing money. Now times have changed, you can buy any brand blank CD discs and you will probably get a quality burn. Well that old expensive versus cheap media has started all over again, this time for Recordable DVD media. Do not buy cheap no name DVD Recordable discs. Stick with known brands.
Double Sided: Both sides of the disc have a recordable surface.
Coaster: An object you use to place cups on or beverages on to.
Dual-Layer: A disc with two recordable layers. Almost doubling the discs capacity.
Sizes: The disc size may say 4.7GB on the Label but in fact is 4.37GB.
Original posted @ Neowin.net