These microscopic differences allow a one-sided, single-layered DVD to hold
full-length movies (of up to 133 minutes in length), while CDs must settle for a
mere 74 minutes of audio storage capacity. Besides DVD's video-friendliness
(which allows you to screen a film on your PC, provided the computer's rigged
with a DVD drive), the technology's speed makes it ideal for the latest in
today's multimedia software products. When DVDs first appeared, they stood for
"Digital Video Disc," but their recent adaptation to computing uses means the
acronym now refers to "Digital Versatile Disc."
You don't need to know what DVD stands for, however, to know it's a
technology that won't be superceded for the next while. DVD-drive purchases keep
rising, and the constant production of new videos in DVD format means that
people are making the switch from conventional VHS to DVD. At least this latest
leap in technology kills two birds with one piece of hardware: now you can watch
a video and prepare a report on the same machine, using the same equipment, and
(if you're very clever) at the same time.