It's official: Microsoft goes DVD+RW (which means you will, too)

During last year’s WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference), Microsoft demonstrated integrated rewritable DVD support with DVD+RW on during a preview of the next major release of Windows.

Now, Microsoft has officially stepped off of the fence by announcing that they’re joining the DVD+RW Alliance. It’s clear that DVD+RW will be the rewritable DVD format of choice for Longhorn.

DVD+RW has three important advantages over DVD-RW:

  • It’s faster
  • It supports random writing
  • It supports defect management

In other words, DVD+RW it acts more like a mass storage medium than DVD-RW. But unlike DVD-RAM (which is also most of a mass storage medium than DVD-RW), DVD+RW discs with DVD-Video content can be played in most (and almost all new) DVD Video players.

Realistically, this means that the competitive recordable DVD formats — DVD-RW and DVD-RAM — will fade off into the distance. As Hans Driessen, a spokesperson for Philips and the DVD+RW Alliance, told IDG News Service:

The DVD+RW Alliance claims its format is the better one because DVDs created on a PC can be played back on most DVD players and DVD-ROM drives in PCs. This is not possible with DVD-RAM, which uses a disc in a cartridge. DVD-RW offers compatibility only when discs are created using a special recording mode, limiting edit capabilities, Driessen said.

If you’re in the market for a DVD burner, I highly recommend the Sony multi-format drive I discussed in my DVD burn-off story from a couple of weeks ago.