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DVD is the name of an optical data storage device, co-created by several companies in 1995. Despite having the same dimensions as CD-ROMs, DVDs offer much more storage space, with over six times the capacity on even a single-layer disc.
DVDs are run using 650 nm wavelength light, which is smaller than the type the CD-ROM uses. This allows for finer grooves to be made into the disc, meaning more information can be stored. Early DVDs had a write speed of slightly over a megabyte per minute, while the most more recent models can be over twenty times quicker.
DVDs were first created as a compromise between several electornics companies, who agreed that a format war would only be expensive in the long run. Soon after its invention in 1995, the DVD became increasingly popular for movies. However, its launch in Japan, North America, Europe, and Australia took until 1999.
The DVD's popularity for movies was due to the relatively low price of DVD movies, which regularly retailed at around $20 by 2000. The DVD had several advantages over older video cassettes, including interactivity, storage space, and durability.
Despite this, it took some time for DVDs to fully replace VHS tapes. As late as October 2004, VHS rentals in the United States outnumbered DVD rentals. This was due to people's unwillingness to purchase new DVD players, despite their soon costing under $200. This was due to a lack of a "trojan horse" form of hardware that could play DVDs as well as other functions. Many expected game consoles to fill this function in 1995, but the Dreamcast's use of GD-ROMs and the GameCube's proprietary discs prevented this from becoming a reality.
By 2006, shortly after it finally became the primary method of video distribution, the DVD was already slowly being replaced. Game systems continued to be unable to play DVDs, choosing to sacrifice multimedia functionality for low price, and the Blue Ray technology was being introduced to the market by early 2006. Nevertheless, as of 2013, the DVD remains the most popular physical video format in the world, and over a billion DVD players have been sold by 2013.
Use in Game Consoles
The first major console to use DVD technology was the Nintendo GameCube, which was released in 2001. However, it used proprietary Nintendo discs, which were only 8 cm wide and held about a third of the data of a standard DVD. Five years later, both seventh generation consoles, the Pluto and the Revolution, used standard DVDs, but could not play video DVDs.
PC Games also used DVDs for several years, and they remain the main physical format for retail software. However, with the popularity of digital distribution, the commonality of the DVD is starting to decrease.