There are many disc types, utilized by a variety of applications; however, most people only need to worry about a handful of blank media options. Additionally, not all disc types are commonly available.
In popular stores such as WalMart, Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples and Office Max there are readily available several common disc types. Generally speaking, there are CDs and DVDs, some can be written to once and some many times.
When purchasing DVDs, watch for speeds. Often on the packaging it will read 8X or 16X. Whatever it is, make sure it is compatible with the computer's burner speed. Generally, burners are backward compatible, so one that will burn 16X discs will also burn 8X.
DVD+R is a single layer disc, compatible with most DVD players and DVD ROM drives. These are good for video, stores up to 4.7 GB (about 120 minutes) and can be written to once. This is a good option for most home movies.
These discs are the same capacity as the DVD+R.
DVD+RW holds up to 4.7 GB of storage and can be re-written to up to 1000 times. These can be formatted as sequential data streams (video) or random-access (similar to DVD-RAM technology).
DVD-RW have the same capacity as the DVD+RW; however, they lack random-access capability. This disc works fine for most people's needs and is less expensive than the DVD+RW.
DVD+R DL (DVD-9)
This double layer disc can store up to 8.5 GB (up to four hours) and can be written to once. Sometimes movies or highly animated (computer animation) films require this larger memory capacity.
If these explanations still leave you confused, just remember CD-Rs are good for making music discs, DVD+/-Rs can handle video and DVD+R DLs are fine for long movies. If you need to use a disc repeatedly, look for "RW." To find a good external burner, please see External DVD Burner Review or if you already have one, check out our Multi Media Reviews.