All of the following have been proposed as the words behind the letters DVD.

  • Delayed, very delayed (referring to the many late releases of DVD formats)
  • Diversified, very diversified (referring to the proliferation of recordable formats and other spinoffs)
  • Digital venereal disease (referring to piracy and copying of DVDs)
  • Dead, very dead (from naysayers who predicted DVD would never take off)
  • Digital video disc (the original meaning proposed by some of DVD's creators)
  • Digital versatile disc (a meaning later proposed by some of DVD's creators)
  • Nothing

And the official answer is... "nothing." The original initialism came from "digital video disc." Some members of the DVD Forum (see 6.1) tried to express how DVD goes far beyond video by retrofitting the painfully contorted phrase "digital versatile disc," but this has never been officially accepted by the DVD Forum as a whole. A report from DVD Forum Steering Committee in 1999 decreed that DVD, as an international standard, is simply three letters. Nevertheless, Toshiba —the maintainer of the DVD Forum Web site— still confusingly prefers "digital video disc." And after all, how many people ask what VHS stands for? (Guess what? No one agrees on that one either.)

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  • The quality of DVD-Video
  • What is DVD?
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