Why can't they make DVDs as big as flash drives?

I’m working on freeing up space on my computer, once again, and I was stuck wondering why are DVDs so small? Apparently you can get writeable ones that are as large as 9 gigs, but you can get flash drives larger than that for 30 bucks!

Why are DVDs so limited? What’s a better way to back things up, aside from buying another hard drive?

Probably has to do with the fact that the DVD standard is fixed - the bits are encoded at a particular agreed-upon size since you need every player to be able to read every DVD and the two aren’t going to be manufactured by the same company. The laser uses a particular frequency, the disc is rotated at a particular speed, etc. and the DVD has to be encoded so that it matches what the player is expecting.

There’s no technical limitation, obviously (Blu Ray being a simple example) - you can make optical media of that size with much larger capacity, you just need a different player to read them back (shorter wavelength light and so on).

OTOH, flash drives just have to meet certain standards for how they communicate over USB; as storage density goes up you can cram more in there and as long as it “talks” USB then the OS will recognize it no problem.

Well, what’s wrong with using an external hard drive as backup (Or even a flash drive)? You can get 1TB for pretty cheap nowadays. DVD’s are far more likely to get damaged anyway.

The only other alternative I can think of is backing up online. It’s the first link in google but I mean something like this. Someone else might know of a better online option.

IMHO, online backup services (like Backblaze, Mozy or JungleDisk) or external hard drives are the way to go these days. Preferably a combination of both. Don’t waste time with DVDs, CDs, tape drives, etc. If you don’t have a ridiculous amount of data, the online services can probably fill your needs (I have well over 1TB of data, and am generating more at a rapid pace, so the speed of uploading becomes an issue).

Even if the online services work perfectly for you, my personal preference would still be to keep a local independent backup as well. For one thing, if you set things up right, your external backup drive can be bootable, so even if your internal hard drive fails completely, you can just boot from the backup or clone the backup to a new drive and be on your way very quickly. Try that with a stack of DVDs or a bunch of files in the cloud. Also, I’m paranoid about the online backup companies going under, going rogue or just being stupid and causing loss of my data (the service discussed there is slightly different, but the same issue could theoretically apply to any of them).

I was going to say that Blu-ray burners weren’t commercially available yet, but apparently I’m three years out of date.

In terms of dollars per gig and physical space you can’t beat standard spindle hard drives. You can pick up a TB drive now a days for a s little as $50 (on sale). the only problem is that you can’t rely on them to just lay around and keep data safe. They have to be live and redundant. I was considering Blu-Ray’s and flash drives as alternative places to put all my stuff, but they are terribly expensive still. A combination of live hard discs in raid 1 and online storage is probably the best way to go.

Hard Drive - 5 cents per gig/takes up space, it’s not easily stored, delicate.
Blu-Ray - 36 cents per gig/takes up less space, easily stored, not as delicate
flash drives - $2-$4 per gig

Did you spring into existence less than a decade ago?

DVDs are older technology, restricted by the standards set when they were first developed. Flash drives are not only newer technology, and therefore have higher capacity and utilise a different form of connectivity, but they are deliberately designed to be rewriteable/reuseable. DVDs would have been if it was possible, but at the time, it was not. Now it is.

This is called “progress”.

Well excuuuse me Princess. Forgive me for being set in my ways. :rolleyes:

My parallel-port Zip drive still suits me just fine, consarn it.

Sorry. I guess I was too sarcastic. But it did sort of sound like the equivalent of “Why weren’t cars built with carbon fibre bodies back in the 1920s?”

Well I recall when my computer was little more than a shoe box in the middle of the road and we backed up our data on 10 mg floppy disks and at the end of the day our bosses will kill us and dance around our graves singing hallelulah. And we liked it! Try telling that to the kids these days.

I have my ebooks, images and music/audio books burned to DVD, and they are actually stored on my external hard drive, and duplicated on thumb drives or micro sd cards as needed. I have my communcations programs and internet programs duplicated on my laptop and desktop. In an emergency all I really would need to do is grab my laptop and the external hdd, and the case with my dvds and other storage media and leave.

All the carbon fibre was used in making some kind of stylish death ray.

Why does my 8GB micro sd card only say it will hold about 48 minutes of video on my digital camera? It saves it in QT .mov file. Is that file format uncompressed or something?

It’s not the format, it’s the camera.

Quality compression takes a huge amount of computing power - even on monster 8-core machines it usually can’t be done in realtime. So, your camera stores either and uncompressed or very lightly compressed version. Also, compression looses information - most videographers want a high-quality master that they can edit.

It also may be the file size limitation of the filesystem. You are usually restricted to a 4G file, so that may represent the 48 minutes of video.


I remember taking home game ROMs on a pile of floppies. You could fit two or three on a disk.

It’s annoying that I have to choose between either a hard drive or a thumb drive to back up. Back ups are not supposed to be rewriteable! … also my external hard drive is full. This is what happens when you’re at college and an art major.

You had a box? All we had was a hole in the lake, but it were home to us.

Try telling that to the kids today and they don’t believe a word.

Do you really want to pay 30 bucks a disk?

You can get a 50-pack of DVD+R DL for about $30. That’s 340GB of storage.

Ahh, that takes me back to the days when I’d have to install MS Access off a stack of 21 floppy disks…

Yeah, DVD-R is a cheap way to back up data but if you’ve got a lot of stuff to back up, and especially for the home user, having it all stored on one little widget is a major plus, as opposed to having a stack of DVDs to sort through.