How DVDs Are Made

Unlike the analog VHS tapes, DVDs can hold a lot of information in a smaller space. A DVD is the same size as a CD, but stores much more data.

Prerecorded DVDs are mass-produced using molding machines. The bottom layer is a transparent polycarbonate plastic that has been imprinted with a long spiral track.


The DVD is a new type of data storage medium that holds movies, television programs and computer applications (hence the name, digital versatile disc). It’s the same size as a VHS tape, but contains much more information. It’s an improved form of compact disc (CD) technology and eventually will replace both VCRs and CD players.

A DVD starts with a layer of transparent polycarbonate. The surface of this layer is then imprinted with a long spiral track that holds the data. Each section of this spiral is made up of pits, viewed from above, and bumps, viewed from below.

A reflective metal layer on top of this is then pressed onto the polycarbonate surface, using a process similar to pressing a vinyl record. This layer allows the laser to read the data by reflected light. It also protects the underlying material from damage by heat and dust. The final step is to coat the whole disc in a protective varnish.


The DVD is the successor to the videotape and it can contain much more information than a VHS. It works by storing coded data in a dot pattern on the surface of the disc. A laser burns these dots, which are actually pits on the polycarbonate plastic disc, and this is how the DVD holds its roomy storage capacity.

It’s important to understand how DVDs are made so that you can be a smarter consumer. Often times, you’ll see recommendations for packaging your DVDs in ziplock bags or even jiffy bags! These types of packaging can be vulnerable to stabbing or scratching which pierces the discs and damages the contents.

A better choice is a custom-printed DVD case, like those we offer here at Mixonic. Our DVD jackets are lightweight, durable and look great. They can hold either DVD-R or DVD-RW discs and can be printed in full color. The jackets are also a good choice for presenting your discs at an event because they look professional and have a high-end, high value appearance.


DVD (Digital Video Disc) has replaced VHS and CDs as the storage device for video and audio. DVDs contain about the same amount of data as a CD but with the added feature of video and sound and the ability to record. They are also more durable, have better picture quality and are rewritable.

The DVDs you purchase at a movie theater or video store are mass-produced using a stamping process similar to the way vinyl records are made. A master disc with grooves is created and that master is used to create a DVD in a mirror image, called a stamper. The stamped DVD contains “pits” and “bumps” on the unreadable side that a laser can read to store data.

These discs contain polycarbonate plastic and aluminum. There is a huge amount of energy that goes into the acquisition, manufacturing and disposal of these materials. Recycling can save substantial amounts of energy and prevent air and water pollution.


While storing information on vinyl records used grooves, DVDs use pits and bumps that are physically created (the “pits” are on the unreadable side and the “bumps” are on the readable side). The information is stored in these pits and bumps. DVDs are able to store more than 75 minutes of video or audio.

After the format war between VHS and Betamax, DVDs took the world by storm. It was the era of home movie watching, computer gaming and music storage on DVD.

But, when you are done with those CDs and DVDs, don’t throw them away! These items are made of non-biodegradable plastics that can litter landfills and pollute our environment. They can also wash into our rivers, lakes and oceans and harm the aquatic life there. So, find a specialised recycler that will take your old DVD and CDs! They will often charge a fee but, it is worth the one-time cost to prevent these discs from ending up in landfill.

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