This page documents the compatibility of various optical disks with various writing and reading drives. It is based on trials at the Buchanan-Haralson Public Library. (BHPL) Extensive (over 9,000 standardized reports) additional information is available at: http://www.videohelp.com/dvdmedia

The following abbreviations for optical DRIVES/PLAYERS are defined. The units indicated in red are in active use at BHPL as of December 2004.

The following abbreviations for optical MEDIA are defined.

Two broad types of data recording on optical media are possible. One is PC-like data (e.g. ISO 9660 and UDF file systems); the other are special TV-based player formats (e.g. VCD, SVCD, DVD), although some players can read SOME data disks too. For a given recorder to write on a given medium, and be read by a given playback drive, not only must there be PHYSICAL compatibility, but LOGICAL ability of the playback device, specifically in the case of a player playback device. So failure of a player to read a disk may derive either from physical incompatibility or logical incompatibility. the latter of which can derive from poorly-defined or poorly-executed standards.

Below find the results of various experiments. Perhaps the future will allow us to organize them in better order.