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DVD-R vs. CD-R: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 7, 2023
DVD-R and CD-R are both writable disk formats, but DVD-R generally holds 4.7GB of data or video, while CD-R holds about 700MB of data or 80 minutes of audio.

Key Differences

DVD-R and CD-R are both forms of optical storage media, used widely for different data storage and media playback purposes. DVD-R provides a larger storage capacity when compared to CD-R, enabling users to store a substantial amount of data, video, and audio files. Typically, a standard DVD-R can hold up to 4.7GB of data, which is notably ample when contrasted with the data capacity of a CD-R.
CD-R, on the other hand, is a compact disc format with a storage capacity of up to 700MB or approximately 80 minutes of audio playback. Though CD-Rs have a lesser storage capability than DVD-Rs, they were quite popular for music and minor data storage before the widespread adoption of DVDs and, later, other digital storage solutions. Both CD-R and DVD-R share the characteristic of being writable once and readable many times, meaning data can be added once and not erased.
In terms of application, DVD-R tends to be the preferred choice for larger files and video data due to its higher storage capacity. The broader data storage allows for the recording of films and larger data files, which could be far too large to be accommodated on a CD-R. Therefore, DVD-R often finds its usage in environments or applications where data sizes are significant, such as video recording and extensive data archiving.
CD-R, with its smaller storage space, tends to be utilized for audio recordings and smaller data file storage. For many years, CD-R was a favored choice for artists and individuals to share music and smaller data sets. However, with the advent of DVD-R, and subsequently, more advanced forms of data storage, the utilization of CD-R has seen a decline, especially in the data storage domain.

Comparison Chart

Storage Capacity

Can store up to 4.7GB of data.
Limited to storing 700MB of data.


Commonly used for video and larger data files.
Often used for audio and smaller files.

Physical Size

Typically has the same physical size as CD-R.
Similar physical size as DVD-R but thinner.

Laser Wavelength

Utilizes a shorter wavelength laser.
Uses a longer wavelength laser.

Technology Age

Newer technology compared to CD-R.
Older technology compared to DVD-R.

DVD-R and CD-R Definitions


A storage medium often used for video file storage and playback.
I purchased a new DVD-R to store my video project.


An older technology that utilizes a longer wavelength laser compared to DVD formats.
The CD-R technology was groundbreaking when it first became available.


An optical disc that is often used for larger file storage and sharing.
For the software installation, you'll need a DVD-R to store all necessary files.


A type of writable optical disc that allows users to store up to 700MB of data.
The musician distributed his music on a CD-R to share with his friends.


A disc that uses a shorter wavelength laser to read and write data.
The DVD-R allows for more data storage due to its laser technology.


A compact disc format, commonly used for storing and playing audio files.
I burned a mixtape on a CD-R to play in my car's stereo.


A writable disc format, enabling users to record data once.
Ensure to finalize the DVD-R after burning to make it playable on all devices.


A writable disc that can be used for creating custom audio CDs.
For her birthday, I created a playlist and burned it onto a CD-R.


A digital optical disc storage format with 4.7GB space.
I will burn the movie onto a DVD-R since it's too large for a CD-R.


A disc that is typically used for smaller data files due to its limited storage capacity.
The document fits easily onto a CD-R due to its small file size.


A recordable compact disk; a compact disc on which you can write only once and thereafter is read-only.


A compact disc on which you can write only once and thereafter is read-only memory


Can data on a DVD-R be erased and rewritten?

No, DVD-R allows data to be written once and read many times but not to be erased or rewritten.

What does DVD-R stand for?

DVD-R stands for Digital Versatile Disc Recordable.

What is the physical size of a DVD-R?

A standard DVD-R disc is 12cm in diameter.

What does CD-R stand for?

CD-R stands for Compact Disc Recordable.

Can CD-R and DVD-R be recycled?

Yes, CD-Rs and DVD-Rs can be recycled, though specific recycling facilities need to be used.

What is the physical size of a CD-R?

A standard CD-R disc is 12cm in diameter.

Is a DVD-R physically thicker than a CD-R?

While both have similar diameters, a DVD-R can be slightly thicker than a CD-R.

Can a DVD-R hold audio files?

Yes, a DVD-R can hold audio files, though it's often used for video due to its larger capacity.

Can CD-R data be erased and rewritten?

No, data written on a CD-R cannot be erased or rewritten.

Can a DVD-R play on all DVD players?

Most commercial DVD players can play DVD-Rs, but compatibility should be checked.

How long does a CD-R last?

CD-Rs can last for decades if stored properly, though actual lifespan can depend on various factors.

Can a CD-R be used to make a music CD for a car stereo?

Yes, CD-Rs are often used to create music CDs for playback in car stereos.

What is the data capacity of a DVD-R?

A standard DVD-R typically holds 4.7GB of data.

Can a CD-R be used in a DVD player?

Generally, yes. Many DVD players can also play CDs, including CD-Rs.

What kind of laser is used to read a DVD-R?

A red laser, which has a shorter wavelength than the infrared laser used for CD-Rs, is used to read DVD-Rs.

What is the data capacity of a CD-R?

A CD-R typically holds 700MB of data or 80 minutes of audio.

Can CD-Rs and DVD-Rs be used in computers?

Yes, if the computer is equipped with a compatible optical disc drive.

Which is more suitable for storing high-definition videos, DVD-R or CD-R?

DVD-R is more suitable due to its higher storage capacity.

Can a CD-R store video files?

Yes, a CD-R can store video files, but its limited capacity makes it suitable for smaller files.

Can a DVD-R store software installation files?

Yes, DVD-Rs are often used to distribute software due to their higher storage capacity.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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