Need for Dual Layer? I need a primer in dual layer capability and equipment needs

Stupid newbie question.

I have been writing DVD’s with my Plextor 708A without problem for many months and have a basic understanding of how to rip DVD’s and either do some simple authoring or just copy them using DVD Shrink, DVDecrypter, Movie Factory.

I am not clear what Dual Layer technology would add to what I am presently doing, so here are some stupid questions:

My assumption is that Dual Layer is what is the difference between a disk that holds 4.8 and one that holds 9+ GB and there must be special media for the dual layer.

Can dual layer media be played in standalone DVD players like the ones that most everyone has now or would I need to purchase a special set top DVD player?

Assuming one has a DL writer, does one have to select between using the dual layer technology or DL capability in order to write a DVD that is 4.36GB or smaller?

Is this an evolving technology or is it ready for prime time?

Thanks for helping me get started…

Ken K

Basically, Dual layer DVDs behave, as far as the reading devices are concerned, exactly as a DVD with more capacity.
Specifically, desk DVD/DivX readers have to understand them, because some movies that are especially long or are shipped with lots of extras or have high resolution or… you get the point… sometimes are distrubuted on dual layer discs.

Is this an evolving technology or is it ready for prime time?

It’s been ready for a while, but nobody cares. This is because dual layer empty DVDs still cost ridiculous amounts of money. You can get, oh, 6 or more standard DVDs for the price of one DL one. If you don’t absolutely need to have more than 4.whatever gigs on one disc you’re much better off buying standard DVD+/-R. I think the situation isn’t likely to change: the mainstream market will jump straight from single-layer DVD to BluRay/HDDVD, ignoring DL DVD completely.

Thanks. I will save my money.

Ken

To add to what fallingwater said, there only seem to be ONE good kind of dual-layer blank… Verbatim +R/DL. And many programs have trouble writing the layer break properly. Thus it works for data, but is dicey for video. And honestly, how often do you HAVE to put more than 4 gigs on ONE disc if it’s data? Never. So the fact that it’s $10 for a 3-pack is pretty much a deal-killer.

Why is the layer break problematic for video but not for data? If anything, I’d guess the opposite was true… a broken bit or three in a video file might cause some corruption, while they can make, say, a compressed file totally broken.