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Optical disc drive

The meaning of «optical disc drive»

In computing, an optical disc drive (ODD) is a disc drive that uses laser light or electromagnetic waves within or near the visible light spectrum as part of the process of reading or writing data to or from optical discs. Some drives can only read from certain discs, but recent drives can both read and record, also called burners or writers (since they physically burn the organic dye on write-once CD-R, DVD-R and BD-R LTH discs). Compact discs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs are common types of optical media which can be read and recorded by such drives.

As of 2020[update], most of the optical disc drives on the market are DVD-ROM drives and BD-ROM drives which read and record from those formats, along with having backward compatibility with CD, CD-R and CD-ROM discs; compact disc drives are no longer manufactured outside of audio devices. Read-only DVD and Blu-ray drives are also manufactured, but are less commonly found in the consumer market and mainly limited to media devices such as game consoles and disc media players. Over the last ten years, laptop computers no longer come with optical disc drives in order to reduce costs and make devices lighter, requiring consumers to purchase external optical drives.

Optical disc drives are an integral part of standalone appliances such as CD players, DVD players, Blu-ray Disc players, DVD recorders, certain desktop video game consoles, such as Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U, Sony PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and also in older consoles, such as the Sony PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and certain portable video game consoles, such as Sony PlayStation Portable (using proprietary now discontinued UMDs). They are also very commonly used in computers to read software and media distributed on disc and to record discs for archival and data exchange purposes. Floppy disk drives, with capacity of 1.44 MB, have been made obsolete: optical media are cheap and have vastly higher capacity to handle the large files used since the days of floppy discs, and the vast majority of computers and much consumer entertainment hardware have optical writers. USB flash drives, high-capacity, small, and inexpensive, are suitable where read/write capability is required.

Disc recording is restricted to storing files playable on consumer appliances (films, music, etc.), relatively small volumes of data (e.g. a standard DVD holds 4.7 gigabytes, however, higher-capacity formats such as multi-layer Blu-ray Discs exist) for local use, and data for distribution, but only on a small scale; mass-producing large numbers of identical discs by pressing (replication) is cheaper and faster than individual recording (duplication).

Optical discs are used to back up relatively small volumes of data, but backing up of entire hard drives, which as of 2015[update] typically contain many hundreds of gigabytes or even multiple terabytes, is less practical. Large backups are often instead made on external hard drives, as their price has dropped to a level making this viable; in professional environments magnetic tape drives are also used.

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