DVD is movies on a shiny disc, and much more. It's an optical disc storage technology for video, audio, and computer data. DVD is essentially a bigger, faster CD that can hold high-quality digital video, better-than-CD audio, pictures, and any other sort of digital information. DVD encompasses home entertainment, computers, and business information with a single digital format. It replaced laserdisc, videotape, many video game cartridge formats, and many CD-ROM applications. DVD has widespread support from all major electronics companies, all major computer hardware companies, and all major movie and music studios. With this unprecedented support, DVD became the most successful consumer electronics product of all time in less than three years of its introduction. In 2007, ten years after launch, there were over one billion DVD playback devices worldwide, counting DVD players, DVD PCs, and DVD game consoles.
It's important to understand the difference between the physical formats (such as DVD-ROM and DVD-R) and the application formats (such as DVD-Video and DVD-Audio). DVD-ROM is the base format that holds data. DVD-Video (often simply called DVD) defines how video programs such as movies are stored on disc and played in a DVD-Video player or a DVD computer. The difference is similar to that between CD-ROM and Audio CD. DVD-ROM includes recordable variations: DVD-R/RW, DVD-RAM, and DVD+R/RW. The application formats include DVD-Video, DVD-Video Recording (DVD-VR), DVD+RW Video Recording (DVD+VR), DVD-Audio Recording (DVD-AR), DVD-Audio (DVD-A), and Super Audio CD (SACD). There are also special application formats for game consoles such as Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox.