What is the difference between double sided and dual layered CD/DVD?

Hi Everyone:

          I am wondering what the difference is between double sided and dual layered with respect to CD's and DVD's.  If one is double sided, liked a  special DVD R, will it need to be taken out and turned over when it comes to recording?  Or, will the software (e.g. Nero, Easy CD/DVD Creator, etc.) be able to encode on both sides without it being taken out and turned over?

          Any help on resolving my confusion surrounding these media types will be appreciated.  I look forward to hearing from everyone regarding this post.

          Thank you

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Software has something to do with it, but more than that, HARDWARE has EVERYTHING to do with it.  The laser in most drives is fixed and reads only one side of the disk.  You would need some sort of drive that supports either flipping the disk or more likely, flipping the laser to the other side.  Could one of these drives exist?  Sure... but I've never seen one, especially an affordable one.  In addition, even finding double sided disks can be VERY difficult. Most stores don't carry them.

Now DUAL LAYER is DIFFERENT from DOUBLE SIDED.  A dual layer disk is sort of two recording surfaces on one side of a disk and this can be done (is done) without any user intervention.  There are no dual layer CDs, only dual layer DVDs, at least that I've ever seen.

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  You must have a DVD Burner for your PC that will burn Double Layer and/or Double-Sided DVDs to use these different discs which means there must be two laser guns/writers ( one underneath and one floating above disk).

Storing Data on a DVD -->  http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/dvd2.htm

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Good point - some burners might have TWO lasers, one on top and one on the bottom to record a dual layer disk.
GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone:

       Thanks so much for the quick responses.  While I enjoyed reviewing all of the information presented, I must confess I found leew's initial feedback to be very well thought out.  I greatly appreciate you giving a thorough breakdown of the differences between dual layered and double sided dvd's.  You explained everything in an easy to follow way by providing comparisons which addressed the theory behind recording to dual layered and double sided DVD's.  Also, thank you for correcting my misconception that dual layered and double-sided exist for both CD R's and DVD R's.  It is good to know these formats are available on DVD R though if need ever be.

           Thanks again everyone for a great job on this post.  I learned a great deal from it as always.

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