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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | CD-ROM Drives | Compact Disk Formats ]

CD Format Compatibility Reference

The table below is a basic compatibility reference chart for the various CD formats. Each column in the chart is a CD format, and each row in the chart is for a specific type of CD drive. The table should be read by looking at the left-most column for a type of drive, and then looking across the row to see which formats the drive will usually support. This table is a guideline only, since any specific drive can have differing capabilities depending on what the manufacturer decides to allow it to support.

Notes:

  • CD-R and CD-RW are included in the table, although they technically aren't "formats" of course--they write disks using the other formats listed. CD-R disks are supported by most drives as long as the CD-R created is in a format that the drive would read if it were a pressed CD. Some drives can be finicky about some types of CD-R disks, however. Each drive is rated as either "Single" or "Multi", with the former meaning only single-session disks are supported and the latter meaning multi-session disks are supported (which of course implies single-session is also supported).
  • For CD-DA, each drive is specified as to whether it can play CD-DA or extract it in digital form.
  • "Some" means that some of these drives support the format, and some don't.

Type of Drive

CD-DA

CD-
ROM

CD-
ROM XA

Bridge CD

CD-I

Video CD

Photo CD

CD-R

CD-RW

Audio CD Player

Play

No

No

No

No

No

No

Single

No

Standard (Older) CD-ROM Drive

Play, some extract

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

Single

No

(Newer) CD-ROM XA Drive

Play, some extract

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Some

Some

Single

No

Multi-
session CD-ROM XA Drive

Play, Extract

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Multi

Some

CD-I Player

Play

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Single?

No

CD-R Drive

Play, Extract

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Multi

Some

CD-RW Drive

Play, Extract

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Multi

Yes

Next: Recordable CD (CD-R)


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