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Moving forward… going backwards

Optical drives (CDROM / DVD players, recorders) have changed so much, and so quickly, I get asked what is compatible with what?. Well the best way to answer this is to let you know they have progressed from the read-only days of the CD-ROM, through the burner days with CD-R, the rewritable days of CD-RW and then the DVD came along. From there you had read-only DVD-ROMs, CD-RW/DVD-ROM, DVD-RW. DVD+RW, DVD±RW, DVD±RW DL, blue-ray, but most are backwards compatible. So if you get a DVD±RW DL it can pretty much read and write to the formats before it (for example, a DVD±RW DL can read a CD-ROM disc, burn to a CD-RW disc, etc.). So the optical drive you bought today, or yesterday will still function for you, even if it has to go backwards.