In spite of the fact that the DVD format is now 20 years old, there are still some confusion about it.  The video quality is standard definition, and not HD. This is the most common misconception.  The video standard is the same one used for almost 60 years of TV broadcasting.  Another misconception is that files can easily be copied from a standard DVD to a computer.  It is possible to extract video from a DVD disc, but this requires special software.  A high capacity DVD can contain a little over two hours of video without sacrificing video quality.


For years there were a number of video file types used by computers and cameras.  MP4 has emerged as the most common video file type in use today.  Technically,  there is more than one type of MP4 file, but for the sake of simplicity, we will consider it as a single format.  Virtually all computers and portable devices produced today support most MP4 files.  Most new disc players and televisions have a USB slot, and will play back MP4 videos from a thumb drive.  The MP4 files can be placed online, uploaded to Youtube or Facebook, copied to a flash drive, etc.  The MP4 format supports full HD quality video.


This is essentially the replacement for the DVD.  Two distinct advantages.  Full HD support at broadcast quality.  Due to their large capacity, they can also store hours of video at DVD quality.  Or, dozens of hours at a modest resolution.  These discs must be played on a device bearing the Blu-Ray logo.  As of 2015 a name brand player can be purchased for around $50.

Our recommendation

By far, the most flexible solution is the MP4 file, and this is what we recommend as the most “future proof”.  A HD video delivered in MP4 can easily be burned to a data disc, a Blu-Ray, or downgraded to DVD.

If you are old enough to remember “Betamax” tapes and 8-Tracks, you will understand.  Discs formats require additional work, and this of course adds cost, but it  should be clear that Blu-Ray is the logical choice, if you must have an optical disc.  We will eventually be dropping support for DVD discs as they approach obsolete status.  The majority of laptop computers no longer contain an optical disc drive.