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Digital versatile disk: a disk format similar to a compact disk (see CD-ROM) but containing much more data. It was introduced in 1996. DVD disks are the same 120 mm diameter as CDs with potential capacities of up to 4.7 gigabytes for a single-sided single-layer disk. The technology involved in DVD storage is similar to that in compact disks, but more precise. The extra capacity is achieved in a number of ways. The tracks on a DVD are closer together and the pits are smaller, allowing more pits per unit area. The key to this is the use of a shorter wavelength laser (typically 635 or 650 nm in the red region for DVDs as opposed to 780 nm in the infrared for CDs). Moreover, a DVD can have two layers on the same side of the disk. The top layer is translucent and the bottom layer opaque. Data can be read from either layer by refocusing the laser. In addition DVDs may be double-sided. DVD formats also have a more efficient error-correction system. The potential capacity of a double-sided double-layer DVD is up to 17 gigabytes. DVDs have been increasingly used in computing as a higher-capacity version of compact disks. As with compact disks, there are various types. DVD-ROM (DVD read-only memory) is similar to CD-ROM. DVD-R (DVD-recordable) is similar to CD-R. There are also different rewritable formats: DVD-RAM, DVD+RW, and DVD-RW.

Subjects: Physics.

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