2020 Update – What’s DVD5, DVD9 and the Difference between Them

DVD-5 vs DVD-9

When you are going to burn a DVD disc or clone a DVD, you must find a workable DVD disc at home or buy a new blank DVD disc from the retailers, and you must have noticed there are many words can be used to describe a DVD disc, such as DVD-5, DVD-9, 4.7GB DVD, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RAM, DVD+R DL, some of which can be confusing for a newbie. By reading this post, you will untangle the relationship and learn the difference between DVD-5 and DVD-9.

First of all, the name DVD-5 and DVD-9 are to describe the DVD’s capacity. You can have a basic understanding of them from this table.

Capacity Disc Type

What Does DVD-5 Mean?

A DVD-5 (or D5, DVD5) is a single-sided, single-layered DVD disc that can hold 4.7GB of data. 4.7GB is close to 5GB, which is also the origin of the name DVD-5. A DVD-5 disc can be used to store playable DVD movies or computer files.

Just to be clear: DVD-5 is not a specific type of disc, but a collective name for those DVD discs with a capacity of 4.7GB, which means DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, etc. R means recordable, and RW means is not only recordable but also rewritable.

The most frequently asked question related to DVD-5 is why only 4.38GB on a 4.7GB DVD disc? Some people are going to burn files to a DVD-5 but find the max burn capacity is of 4.38GB. This is actually because they are calculated differently. The calculation method of the manufacturer is every 1000MB equals to 1GB, and the calculation method of Windows OS is every 1024MB equals to 1GB.

That is:

  • 1GB equals to 1,000,000,000B;
  • 4.7GB equals to 4,700,000,000B;
  • 4,700,000,000B / 1,024 / 1,024 / 1,024 is approximately equal to 4.38GiB.

Therefore, the “1GB” displayed on Windows actually means “1GiB”, which often causes misunderstanding. Mac computers do not have this problem. A blank DVD-5 disc will display 4.7GB on a Mac.

Different DVD-5 discs have slightly different capacities. For instance, a blank DVD+R is of 4.377GiB but a blank DVD-R is of 4.383GiB. Both are very close to 4.38GiB.

What is DVD-9 Format?

After reading the previous part, it will be much easier to understand what a DVD-9 is. A DVD-9 is a single-sided, double-layer DVD disc with a capacity of 8.55GB (or 7.96GB on a Windows computer). 8.55 is near 9 so you can see that’s where the name comes from.

DVD-9 is a collective name for those DVD discs with a capacity of 8.55GB, which means DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL. R means recordable, and DL means dual layer. Rewritable DVD-9 is too niche, so no manufacturer has released it. It can be regarded as non-existent.

What is DVD-10, DVD-14, and DVD-18?

There are DVD-10, DVD-14, and DVD-18 besides DVD-5 and DVD-9, but they are all very niche discs (and expensive). We hardly use it in our daily life.

DVD-10: Double-sided, single-layer DVD disc with a capacity of 9.4GB. Just picture two DVD-5 glue against each other.

DVD-14: The one side of the disc is DVD-5 and the other side of the disc is DVD-9. DVD-14 is an oddball format that doesn’t really exist anymore.

DVD-18: Double-sided, double-layer disc that holds DVD-9 on both sides.

DVD-5 vs. DVD-9 – What is the Difference between DVD-5 and DVD-9

They May Have Different Color

A DVD-5 looks silvery white. Because of the unique reflective layer structure, a DVD-9 disc will look golden and a little dark red. This allows you to distinguish them by appearance.

The Way the Laser Reads the Disc is Different

If two DVD disc substrates are spoon together with glue, it is a single-sided, double-layer DVD-9. The first layer is easy to be read (just like the DVD-5 disc), but the second layer is a bit harder – some older DVD players might not be able to read DVD-9. The laser needs to see the content of the second layer through the first-layer substrates. The utilization rate of the second layer will be lower than that of the first layer, which is why the capacity of one DVD-9 disc (8.55GB) is less than that of two DVD-5 combined (9.4GB).

A DVD-9 Stores More Content and Probably has Better Quality

Compared to a commercial DVD-5, a commercial DVD-9 will store longer movies, more footage, Easter eggs, and fun facts. Some DVD-9 discs will optimize the color, image details and have better sound quality.

Need to be More Careful When Using DVD-9

A DVD-5 and a DVD-9 is almost the same diameter (12 cm, 4.7 inches) and thickness (1.2 mm). However, DVD-5 is glued to a blank substrate, and DVD-9 holds content on both layers, so it needs more protection.

DVD-5 or DVD-9 – Which One Should I Choose?

DVD-5 and DVD-9 are popular formats of DVD. Nowadays, almost all the DVD authoring software, DVD copy software, and DVD players can handle both DVD-5 and DVD-9 disc, so compatibility is not an issue to worry about. Which one to choose depends mainly on your personal needs.

Let’s say you are going to copy a DVD-9 movie, then you’d better use a blank DVD-9 to get original results with no compression. If you want to burn more computer files to DVDs, two DVD-5 discs can store more and are usually cheaper than one DVD-9.

As far as the price, here are some highly-rated products for reference (Verbatim and Sony are the best brands in blank DVDs):

I hope this article answers your question. If something has not been explained well enough, we sincerely welcome you to point out, via email or directly leave a comment below.

2020 Update – What’s DVD5, DVD9 and the Difference between Them
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