The DVD+R format was developed by a coalition of corporations — now known as the DVD+RW Alliance — in mid 2002 (though most initial advocacy was from Sony). Since the DVD+R format is a competing format to the DVD-R format, which is developed by the DVD Forum, it had not been approved by the DVD Forum, which claimed that the DVD+R format was not an official DVD format until January 25, 2008.
In October 2003, it was demonstrated that double layer technology could be used with a DVD+R disc to nearly double the capacity to ’8.5 GB’ per disc. Manufacturers have incorporated this technology into commercial devices since mid-2004 (see DVD+R DL).
As of 2007, the recordable DVD market still shows little sign of settling down in favor of either the “dash” or “plus” formats. Since almost all new DVD writers can record to both formats, this is not an issue for most people. However when creating DVDs for distribution (where the playing unit is unknown or older) using DVD-R format would be preferable because most older (up to 2004) standalone DVD video players and DVD ROM drives only support the earlier DVD-R standard.
On 2008-01-25, DVD6C officially accepted DVD+R and DVD+RW by adding them to its list of licensable DVD products.
DVD+R discs have 4.7 GB or 4.377 GB (DVD-R has 4.382 GB) of storage capacity (more precisely, 2295104 sectors of 2048 bytes each. Unlike DVD+RW discs, DVD+R discs can only be written to once. Because of this, DVD+R discs are suited to applications such as nonvolatile data storage, audio, or video. This can cause confusion because the DVD+RW Alliance logo is a stylized “RW”. Thus, a DVD+R disc can have the RW logo, but it is not rewritable.
The DVD+R format is divergent from the DVD-R format. Hybrid drives that can handle both, often labeled “DVD±RW”, are very popular since there is not a single standard for recordable DVDs. There are a number of significant technical differences between the “dash” (it’s not a minus symbol) and the “plus” format, although most users would not notice the difference. One example is the DVD+R style ADIP (ADdress In Pregroove) system of tracking and speed control being less susceptible to interference and error which makes the ADIP system more accurate at higher speeds than the LPP (Land Pre Pit) system used by DVD-R. In addition, DVD+R(W) has a more robust error management system than DVD-R(W), allowing for more accurate burning to media independent of the quality of the media. Additional session linking methods are more accurate with DVD+R(W) versus DVD-R(W), resulting in fewer damaged or unusable discs due to buffer under-run and multi-session disks with fewer PI/PO errors.
Like other “plus” media, it is possible to change the book type to increase the compatibility of DVD+R media. This is also known as bitsetting.