Multiple recording sessions and compatibility
If you want to partially record a DVD-R(W) disc and use it immediately, but also want to be able to record more data later, border zones are used, which are meant to make this partially recorded disc compatible with standard DVD-ROM players. So every -R(W) recording session has to start with a border-in area (except the first one, which starts with the lead-in) and stop with a border-out area.
However, the size of these border zones is quite amazing : 32 to 96 MB for the first zone, then 6 to 18 MB for the next ones. This means that a disc containing 3 recorded sessions can require up to 132 MB (more than 2% of the complete storage capacity) just for separating these regions. Furthermore, the border-out and border-in areas have to be linked together, using one of the 3 methods (and the possible associated problems) explained previously. Note also that for some unknown reason a border-out is needed before the lead-out, while the first border-in is replaced by the lead-in.
On the other hand, when multiple recording sessions are used on a DVD+R(W) disc, Intro and Closure zones are used (the counterpart of border-in and border-out), but they are always 2 MB large : therefore, with + format, a 3 sessions disc always uses only 4 MB to delimit the regions (the lead-out replaces the last Closure zone). Also a nice feature of multi-sessions implementation on DVD+R(W) is that one can use a session to reserve space, i.e. sectors which are left unrecorded (this blank area is called Reserved Fragment). Thus, additional data can be recorded in next sessions while the first one will only be written later : this can be useful for instance when a precise location on the disc has to contain file system tables, which can only be filled after all the files have been written to the disc.
Compatibility is a very sensitive topic when comparing the two technologies, but independently of media, recorders and players quality, some logical causes of incompatibility can be noted. Indeed, both recordable formats use values in the lead-in structures which were forbidden or reserved in the first DVD-ROM specification (e.g. disc structure, recording density, etc) and which can cause compatibility failures on some old or particularly picky players.
A famous example of such logical incompatibility is the “Book Type” field, which indicates the type of the disc. The first DVD-ROM specification only allowed 0 (i.e. read-only) to be written there, but later each recordable format defined its own value to identify itself ; unfortunately it turned out that some players simply refuse to read a disc with a non-zero value. To handle this problem, the latest DVD+R standard specifically authorizes to write a zero Book Type for compatibility reasons, and nowadays many drive manufacturers have made this bit programmable. But this cannot be done for DVD-R(W), as the Book Type (with several other information in the lead-in) are pre-embossed (i.e. pre-recorded) on blank media. Note however that although it reduces compatibility, this pre-recorded Book Type also improves copy-protection security, as it enables any player to easily identify a DVD-R(W) disc.
An additional compatibility risk exist with DVD-(W) in the user data area and is introduced by the 2K/32K linking methods. Indeed, the linking sectors used with these methods must use a special data type to be differentiated from normal data sectors, and this value was not allowed in the original DVD-ROM specification. There’s no known study about the impact of this field on compatibility, but sector headers are a vital part of the decoding process, and therefore it is always safer to keep them fully compliant with the strictest DVD-ROM standard.
they have different finalization methonds. and an explanation of booktype.