DVDs are, in one way, the successor to CDs. A DVD is capable of holding so much more information than that of a CD player, about 40 times as much! Just imagine all the music you could save on a DVD. Of course, that then begs the question: can you use blank DVDs as audio CDs?

It’s not as strange of a question as you might initially think. Valid as it might be, let’s explore if you can, why you should and why you shouldn’t.

Can You Use Blank DVDs as Audio CDs?

The first thought that comes to mind when you think of DVDs is probably a movie of some kind. And sure, DVDs have become synonymous with video playback, but that’s not all they’re capable of achieving. Their storage capacity is something to consider, too.

DVDs, like CDs, can be used as an audio CD. In fact, if you’ve got several gigabytes of music that you want off your computer—use a DVD to store them all. DVDs are nothing more than a more advanced form of CDs.

But this opens another can of worms: why not use DVD players for every audio playback device? Well, there’s a reason you don’t stick a DVD into, say, your car stereo.

Similar in Nature, But Ultimately Different

When you compare a DVD to an audio CD, you would think that all the same devices can play back both. But that isn’t the case. It’s largely to do with the technology, the laser, that’s used to read the disc and the design of the disc itself.

By design, reading a DVD or CD is done in the same manner: using light. That laser bounces off the reflective side and then ‘reads’ what the disc contained. The information is stored in what’s known as ‘pits.’ In that way, DVDs and CDs are the same.

However, a laser that reads CDs isn’t capable of reading the pits on a DVD—they’re too small. And they’re small because of the increased storage capacity. The laser used to read a DVD uses a much shorter wavelength compared to lasers in CD players. That shorter wavelength provides the device, a DVD player, to read the information stored in the pits.

Should You Use DVDs for Music?

In the grand scheme of things, using a DVD for music isn’t a problem at all. You certainly aren’t going to jail or something like that. The issue is portability and compatibility.

As mentioned before, DVDs are read with a different kind of laser, one that reads smaller wavelengths. A CD player, for example, doesn’t have the same kind of laser; it’s limited to CDs. With that said, DVD players are capable of playing both CDs and DVDs. That’s an issue of compatibility.

And that leads to the other problem: portability. A CD player is built with a laser to read CDs, not DVDs. That means lugging around a bunch of DVDs to play in a CD player isn’t going to work, unless you’re wielding a portable DVD player. Do people still use those?

Ultimately, it comes down to convenience. Your car stereo isn’t going to play DVDs. But at home where you can take advantage of the large storage space DVDs have? Go for it. In fact, it’s not a bad way to bank loose audio files you have.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, DVDs are indeed superior to CDs. They hold more information and they can play back audio and video. The problem doesn’t rest with better technology, but rather convenience. A car stereo, for example, would need additional parts to play back a DVD, bumping the price up when a manufacturer could simply stick with CD playback—the cheaper choice.

While you’re at home, use your DVDs as audio CDs. But on the road? Stick to CDs.