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What is DVD?
DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc (not Digital Video Disc, as is often termed). The original concept of this format was to supplement or even replace the CD due to its higher capacity and faster transfer speeds.

Because the disc itself doesn't have a dedicated purpose, it can be used for video, audio and even computer data storage. However, the software industry didn't adopt the format due to (at the time) the lack of DVD drives in computers and the higher cost of DVD media. In addition, few programs (even games) require more than 1 or two CDs to store the information.

The music industry introduced some DVD audio discs, but their incompatibility with car stereos and portable CD players caused a lack of customer support (the same thing happened to another audio disc, the SACD - Super Audio Compact Disc, though it is still a supported format). For music, the CD is still the audio king on store shelves. Now, the music industry primarily uses DVD for music video and bonus material discs.

Where DVD really succeeded is in the home video market. In fact, DVD has all but swapped places with VHS on store and rental shelves. Where DVD used to exist only on a few shelves surrounded by volumes of VHS, DVD has spread to the point where you may need directions to find the VHS collection in many stores (if there even is one).

DVDs have some great selling points for video. In the rental market, the lack of a need to rewind them is a great time saver in getting videos back on the shelf. In addition, the lack of moving parts and fragile magnet tape means videos last longer and have better resale value. Storage for tapes has always been a problem since magnet tape tends to allow the video stored on it to degrade relatively quickly. Though some early DVDs experienced delamination and oxidation issues (known as "DVD Rot"), more recent discs have corrected this issue and offer a much greater life span than video tape. DVDs take up less space on shelves, so rental outfits can stock more of them. In addition, jumping to your favorite parts of movies on DVD mean no fast forwarding like with video tape. DVDs offer more channels of audio for a complete surround sound experience. Finally, image quality is much better due to DVDs higher resolution and the ability to scale more easily to widescreen televisions (such DVDs are known as "Anamorphic" - most DVDs now offer this feature).

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