3DO Interactive Multiplayer - Wikipedia The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, often called simply the 3DO, is a home video game console platform developed by The 3DO Company. Conceived by entrepreneur and ...
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Get movie: Further Ahead Video VHS NTSC A Business English Video
The DVD FAQ - DVD Demystified The official FAQ of the Internet DVD newsgroups. Its primary emphasis is on video, but there is a section on data DVDs that describes each format.
DVD FAQ DVD FAQ This is the June 27 2013 revision of the official Internet DVD FAQ for the rec Further Ahead Video VHS NTSC A Business English Video video dvd Usenet newsgroups See below for whats new Send corrections additions and new questions to Jim Taylor jtfrogusa net This FAQ is usually updated at least once a month If you are looking at a version more than a few months old its probably an outofdate copy The most current version is at DVD Demystified Contents 0 Where can I get the DVD FAQ 0 1 Has the DVD FAQ been translated into other languages 0 2 This FAQ is too long and technical Is there a simpler version 0 3 Is this FAQ any good Who wrote it How do I know its accurate 0 4 How big is this thing 1 General DVD 1 1 What is DVD 1 2 What are the features of DVDVideo 1 3 Whats the quality of DVDVideo 1 4 What are the disadvantages of DVD 1 5 What DVD players and drives are available 1 5 1 Which player should I buy 1 6 What DVD titles are available 1 6 1 Where can I read reviews of DVDs 1 6 2 How do I find out when a movie or TV show will be available on DVD 1 6 3 Why isnt my favorite movie on DVD 1 6 4 How can I find DVDs with specific features or characteristics 1 6 5 Why do some rental stores and retailers not carry widescreen DVDs 1 7 How much do players and drives cost 1 8 How much do discs cost 1 9 How is DVD doing Where can I get statistics 1 10 What are regional codes country codes or zone locks 1 11 What are the copy protection issues 1 12 What about DVDAudio or Music DVD 1 12 1 Whats the difference between DVDAudio discs and DVDMusic discs 1 13 Which studios support DVD 1 14 Can DVD record from TVVCRetc 1 15 What happens if I scratch the disc Arent discs too fragile to be rented 1 16 VHS is good enough why should I care about DVD 1 17 Is the packaging different from CD 1 18 Whats a duallayer disc Will it work in all players 1 19 Is DVDVideo a worldwide standard Does it work with NTSC PAL and SECAM 1 20 What about animation on DVD Doesnt it compress poorly 1 21 Why do some discs require side flipping Cant DVDs hold four hours per side 1 22 Why is the picture squished making things look too skinny 1 23 Do all videos use Dolby Digital AC3 Do they all have 5 1 channels 1 24 Can DVDs have laser rot 1 25 Which titles are pan & scan only Why 1 26 How do I make the subtitles on my Pioneer player go away 1 27 Why does playback sometimes freeze for a second 1 28 The disc says Dolby Digital Why do I get 2channel surround audio 1 29 Why doesnt the repeat AB feature work on some discs 1 30 Whats the difference between first second and third generation DVD 1 31 Whats a hybrid DVD 1 32 Whats the deal with DTS and DVD 1 33 Why is the picture black and white or tinted one color 1 34 Why are both sides fullscreen when one side is supposed to be widescreen 1 35 Why are the audio and video out of sync 1 36 Why does the picture alternate between light and dark 1 37 How do I find Easter eggs and other hidden features 1 38 How do I get rid of the black bars at the top and bottom 1 39 How should I clean and care for DVDs 1 40 Whats a progressive DVD player 1 41 Why doesnt disc X work in player Y 1 42 How do the parental control and multiratings features work 1 43 Which discs include multiple camera angles 1 44 Is it ok to put labels or magnetic strips on DVDs 1 45 Whats the difference between Closed Captions and subtitles 1 46 What do the D codes on region 2 DVDs mean 1 47 Whats firmware and why would I need to upgrade it 1 48 Are there discs to help me test optimize or show off my audiovideo system 1 49 What do Sensormatic and Checkpoint mean 1 50 What are Superbit Infinifilm and other variations of DVD 1 51 I dont know the parental control password for my player What do I do 1 52 Can my DVD player get a virus 1 53 Will xrays hurt DVDs 1 54 Why does a little camera sometimes pop up on the screen 2 DVDs Relationship to Other Products and Technologies 2 1 Will DVD replace VCRs 2 2 Will DVD replace CD 2 3 How does DVD compare with Bluray Disc BD 2 3 1 Is BD compatible with DVD 2 3 2 What about the new HD formats 2 3 3 1 Which will win Bluray or HD DVD 2 4 Is CD compatible with DVD 2 4 1 Is CD audio CDDA compatible with DVD 2 4 2 Is CDROM compatible with DVDROM 2 4 3 Is CDR compatible with DVD 2 4 4 Is CDRW compatible with DVD 2 4 5 Is Video CD compatible with DVD 2 4 6 Is Super Video CD compatible with DVD 2 4 7 Is Picture CD or Photo CD compatible with DVD 2 4 8 Is CDi compatible with DVD 2 4 9 Is Enhanced CD compatible with DVD 2 4 10 Is CDG compatible with DVD 2 4 11 Is CDV compatible with DVD 2 4 12 Is MP3 compatible with DVD 2 4 13 Is HDCD compatible with DVD 2 5 Is laserdisc compatible with DVD 2 6 Will DVD replace laserdisc 2 7 How does DVD compare to laserdisc 2 8 Can I modify or upgrade my laserdisc player to play DVD 2 9 Does DVD support HDTV DTV Will HDTV make DVD obsolete 2 10 What is Divx 2 11 How can I record from DVD to videotape 2 12 Will highdefinition DVD or 720p DVD make current players and discs obsolete 2 13 What effect will FMD have on DVD 2 14 How does MPEG4 affect DVD 2 15 Whats WebDVD 2 16 Whats a Nuon player 2 17 What effect will DVHS have on DVD 2 18 Will DVD players stop working in the U S in 2009 3 DVD Technical Details 3 1 What are the outputs of a DVD player 3 2 How do I hook up a DVD player 3 2 1 Will I have problems connecting my VCR between my TV and my DVD player 3 2 2 Why is the audio or video bad 3 3 What are the sizes and capacities of DVD 3 3 1 When did doublesided duallayer discs DVD18 become available 3 3 2 Whats a MiniDVD 3 4 What are the video details 3 4 1 What does lines of resolution mean 3 4 2 What are jacket pictures 3 5 Whats widescreen How do the aspect ratios work 3 6 What are the audio details 3 6 1 Details of DVDAudio and SACD 3 6 2 Audio details of DVDVideo 3 6 3 Can you explain this Dolby Digital Dolby Surround Dolby Pro Logic DTS stuff in plain English 3 6 4 Why is the audio level from my DVD player so low 3 6 5 Why is the dialog hard to hear 3 7 How do the interactive features work 3 8 What is the difference between interlaced and progressive video 3 9 What is edge enhancement 3 10 Does DVD work with barcodes 3 11 What is BCA or NBCA 3 12 How long do DVDs last 3 13 How does the player know where I stopped or ejected the disc 4 DVD and Computers 4 1 Can I play DVD movies on my computer 4 1 1 Can I play DVDAudio discs on my computer 4 2 What are the features and speeds of DVD drives 4 2 1 What is the audio output connector on a DVD drive for 4 3 What about recordable DVD DVDR DVDRAM DVDRW DVDRW and DVDR 4 3 1 Is it true there are compatibility problems with recordable DVD formats 4 3 2 DVDR 4 3 3 DVDRW 4 3 4 DVDRAM 4 3 4 1 What are the DVDRAM cartridge types 4 3 4 2 How do I remove a DVDRAM type 2 disc from the cartridge 4 3 5 DVDRW and DVDR 4 3 6 Which recordable DVD format should I buy 4 3 7 Other recordable optical formats 4 3 8 How long does DVD recording take 4 3 9 Which color of recordable DVD is best 4 3 10 When will duallayer rewritable DVDs be available 4 3 11 What does 2x 4x 16x and so on mean on recordable discs and which one should I use 4 3 12 Whats an unfinalized disc and why wont it play in my player 4 4 Why cant I take a screenshot of DVD video Why do I get a pink or black square 4 5 Why cant I play movies copied to my hard drive 4 6 Why do I have problems playing DVDs on my computer 4 7 Can I stream DVD over a network or the Internet 4 8 What is DeCSS 4 9 How do I play DVD video in HTML PowerPoint Director VB etc 4 10 What are IFO VOB AOB and VRO files How can I play them 4 11 How do I get the Microsoft Windows DVD player application to run 4 12 I upgraded to Windows XP why did my DVD software stop working 4 13 How can I rip audio from a DVD to play as MP3 or burn to a CD 5 DVD creation 5 1 How much does it cost to produce a DVD How does it compare to videotape or CD 5 2 What DVDROM formatting tools are available 5 3 What DVD production tools are available 5 3 1 Video encoding tools 5 3 2 Audio encoding tools 5 3 3 Other production tools 5 3 4 Other production services 5 4 What DVD authoring systems are available 5 5 Who can produce a DVD for me 5 6 What testingverification services and tools are available 5 7 Can I put DVDVideo content on a CDR or CDRW 5 8 How do I copy my home videosmoviesslides to DVD 5 8 1 How do I put other data files on a DVD I make 5 9 How can I copy or rip a DVD 5 9 1 Whats with those Copy any DVD emails 5 10 How do I get a job making DVDs 5 11 Where can I get DVD training 5 12 How can I sell DVDs that I made 5 13 How do I put a PowerPoint presentation on DVD 6 Miscellaneous 6 1 Who invented DVD and who owns it Whom to contact for specifications and licensing 6 2 Who is making or supporting DVD products 6 2 1 Consumer electronics 6 2 2 Studios video publishers and distributors 6 2 3 Hardware and computer components 6 2 4 Computer software titles on DVDROM 6 3 Where can I buy or rent DVDs and players 6 3 1 Where can I buy blank recordable DVDs 6 4 Where can I get more information about DVD 6 4 1 A few of the top DVD info sites 6 4 2 DVD utilities and regionfree information 6 4 3 Information and discussion groups for DVD authors 6 4 4 DVD info for specific regions 6 4 5 DVD info in languages other than English 6 4 6 Books about DVD 6 5 Whats new with DVD technology 7 Leftovers 7 1 Unanswered questions 7 2 Notation and units 7 3 Acknowledgments 20120802 Clarification of codes for replicatorsduplicatorsauthoring houses 5 5 20111014 Fixed or removed broken links 20110507 Fixed or removed many broken links 20100406 New section 2 3 How does DVD compare with Bluray Disc Includes old 3 13 20091115 Updated longevity section including links to MARCDiamondisc and more studies 3 12 20091028 New link to French translation 0 1 20091024 New questions3 14 How does the player know where I stopped or ejected the disc4 3 12 Whats an unfinalized disc and why wont it play in my player 20090713 Fixed links to NIST disc care guides 1 31 20090713 Updated royalties section New MPEG LA pricing 6 1 20090713 New question 3 4 2 What are jacket pictures 20090702 Updated links to moved pages 3 5 Thanks Mark and Mike 20090630 More links to info sources 6 4 20090630 Cleanup and clarification to royalties section 6 1 20090420 Minor rename and major update to copy section Explained differences between rip shrink etc 5 9 20090320 Finally got around to updating the What is DVD section 1 1 20090320 Explained that Sensormatic and Checkpoint tags dont affect playback Also mentioned RF activation 1 49 20090320 Added DisneyDVD to section on marketing names 1 50 20090319 Minor updates to laser rot and longevity sections including fixes for broken links 1 24 3 12 20080921 More on matching disc speed rating to burn speed 4 3 11 20080731 New link for Korean translation 0 1 20080730 Updated HD sections 2 12 3 13 3 13 1 20080730 Info on CSS Managed Recording 6 5 20080510 Switched from FrontPage to Expression Web to for site editing Hopefully nothing major broke For the absurdly curious heres the list of changes stretching back into the mists of time The most current version is on the Web at dvddemystified comdvdfaq html A text version was once posted periodically as rec video dvd Frequently Asked Questions FAQ to rec video dvd tech rec video dvd misc rec answers news answers and other relevant newsgroups You can also get a text version of the FAQ by using the Save As feature of your browser Official mirror copy locations U S Digital Bits www thedigitalbits comofficialfaq html U S Home Theater Forum www hometheaterforum combbsfaqfaq html U S DVD Review www dvdreview comfaqdvdfaq shtml UK DVD Reviewer www dvd reviewer co ukinforecfaq asp UK DVDAnswers www dvdanswers comindex phpr=0&s=31 Germany Area DVD www areadvd dedvdfaq html Out of date Netherlands DVDInfo Point www dvdfaq nldvdfaqfaquk html Out of date Norway DVDnett no www dvdnett nodvdfaq Out of date DVD City www dvdcity comofficialfaq html optimized by Adero for faster access in Australia France Germany Hong Kong Japan Netherlands Singapore Spain Out of date Australia aus dvd members ozemail com au~brierleydvdFAQ html A text archive of the version last posted to newsgroups is at www faqs orgfaqsrecvideodvdfaq and other FAQ mirrors 0 1 Has the DVD FAQ been translated into other languages The following translations of the DVD FAQ are available Translations to a few other languages are in progress Chinese dvdfaq 126 com Duōxi� 多谢 to Wu Lingchao German www dvdfaq de vu Tausend Dank to Carsten Stupka French franck ernould perso sfr frdvdfaqvf html Merci beaucoup to Franck Ernould An old French translation by Zahir Abela is still available Hungarian www dvdcenter hudvdfaq html K�sz�n�m sz�pen to Ferenc Fellner Italian digilander iol itpierugo1traduzionefaqdvd html Molti ringraziamenti to Pierugo Mazzaccheri Japanese discaid co jpdvddvdfaqj html Otsukaresama to Yoshida Toshinori Korean dvdprime connect krdvdfaqkor html Gamsahamnida to Jin Hong Park Norwegian www dvdnett nodvdfaqnorsk Tusen takk to Paul H Brekke and Lasse Hatletvedt Russian www rusdvd comdvdfaq Spasibo bolshoye to Alexander Lokshin Spanish club idecnet com~modegarvideodvdfaq html Muchisimas gracias to Modesto Garrido Turkish portions only www film gen trdvddvdfaqtr cfm Cok tesekkurler to Bilgehan Mara� If youd like to translate the DVD FAQ into another language Klingon anyone please contact Jim Also see 6 4 5 for DVD info in other languages 0 2 This FAQ is too long and technical Is there a simpler version Take a gander at Earls Famous DVD Technology Exposition Web Page Extravaganza Supreme Deluxe Or you might prefer The Simpsons DVD Q&A Although Lisa erroneously claims DVD stands for digital versatile disc who you gonna believe me or an 8year old genius 0 3 Is this FAQ any good Who wrote it How do I know its accurate Here are a few user comments on the DVD FAQ If you type DVD into Google this Web site is often the 1 result Its the most accurate source of DVD information in this galaxy If you find something you think is in error please let Jim know Theres plenty of other good information about DVD on the Internet Pointers to other DVD sites are scattered throughout the FAQ and in section 6 4 The DVD FAQ is written by Jim Taylor the author of DVD Demystified Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About DVD and Bluray Disc Demystified Jim has been in the DVD business since before there was a DVD business In 1995 he found out about the upcoming DVD format and began writing articles to let others know about this amazing new technology Jim received the 2000 DVD Pro Discus Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Industry was named one of the 21 most influential DVD executives by DVD Report was an inaugural inductee into the 2002 Digital Media Hall of Fame and was named one of the Pioneers of DVD in the October 2003 issue of One to One magazine Jim has worked with interactive media for over 25 years developing educational software laserdiscs CDROMs Web sites and DVDs along with teaching workshops seminars and university courses He writes articles and columns about DVD for publications such as Widescreen Review and serves as Chairman of the IDMADVD Association Jim was formerly DVD Evangelist at Microsoft and is currently Chief Technologist at Sonic Solutions the leading developer of DVD and BD creation software 0 4 How big is this thing Since you asked here are the stats as of March 2009 Size 598 KBNumber of words 69767Number of external links 1978 If youre wondering why its all in one big piece instead of broken into smaller pieces that would load faster the main reason is so you can use the find feature of your browser to easily search the entire FAQ I realize this causes problems with WebTV browsers Sorry I might break it up some day 1 1 What is DVD DVD is movies on a shiny disc and much more Its an optical disc storage technology for video audio and computer data DVD is essentially a bigger faster CD that can hold highquality digital video betterthanCD audio pictures and any other sort of digital information DVD encompasses home entertainment computers and business information with a single digital format It replaced laserdisc videotape many video game cartridge formats and many CDROM applications DVD has widespread support from all major electronics companies all major computer hardware companies and all major movie and music studios With this unprecedented support DVD became the most successful consumer electronics product of all time in less than three years of its introduction In 2007 ten years after launch there were over one billion DVD playback devices worldwide counting DVD players DVD PCs and DVD game consoles Its important to understand the difference between the physical formats such as DVDROM and DVDR and the application formats such as DVDVideo and DVDAudio DVDROM is the base format that holds data DVDVideo often simply called DVD defines how video programs such as movies are stored on disc and played in a DVDVideo player or a DVD computer see 4 1 The difference is similar to that between CDROM and Audio CD DVDROM includes recordable variations DVDRRW DVDRAM and DVDRRW see 4 3 The application formats include DVDVideo DVDVideo Recording DVDVR DVDRW Video Recording DVDVR DVDAudio Recording DVDAR DVDAudio DVDA and Super Audio CD SACD There are also special application formats for game consoles such as Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox 1 1 1 What do the letters DVD stand for All of the following have been proposed as the words behind the letters DVD Delayed very delayed referring to the many late releases of DVD formats Diversified very diversified referring to the proliferation of recordable formats and other spinoffs Digital venereal disease referring to piracy and copying of DVDs Dead very dead from naysayers who predicted DVD would never take off Digital video disc the original meaning proposed by some of DVDs creators Digital versatile disc a meaning later proposed by some of DVDs creators Nothing And the official answer is nothing The original initialism came from digital video disc Some members of the DVD Forum see 6 1 tried to express how DVD goes far beyond video by retrofitting the painfully contorted phrase digital versatile disc but this has never been officially accepted by the DVD Forum as a whole A report from DVD Forum Steering Committee in 1999 decreed that DVD as an international standard is simply three letters Nevertheless Toshiba the maintainer of the DVD Forum Web site still confusingly prefers digital video disc And after all how many people ask what VHS stands for Guess what No one agrees on that one either 1 2 What are the features of DVDVideo Over 2 hours of highquality digital video a doublesided duallayer disc can hold about 8 hours of highquality video or 30 hours of VHS quality video Support for widescreen movies on standard or widescreen TVs 43 and 169 aspect ratios Up to 8 tracks of digital audio for multiple languages commentaries etc each with as many as 8 channels Up to 32 subtitlekaraoke tracks Automatic seamless branching of video for multiple story lines or ratings on one disc Up to 9 camera angles different viewpoints can be selected during playback Onscreen menus and simple interactive features for games quizzes etc Multilingual identifying text for title name album name song name cast crew etc Instant rewind and fast forward no be kind rewind stickers and threats on rental discs Instant search to title chapter music track and timecode Durable no wear from playing only from physical damage Not susceptible to magnetic fields Resistant to heat Compact size easy to handle store and ship players can be portable replication is cheaper than tapes or laserdiscs Noncomedogenic Note Most discs do not contain all features multiple audiosubtitle tracks seamless branching parental control etc as each feature must be specially authored Some discs may not allow searching or skipping Most players support a standard set of features Language choice for automatic selection of video scenes audio tracks subtitle tracks and menus Special effects playback freeze step slow fast and scan Parental lock for denying playback of discs or scenes with objectionable material Programmability playback of selected sections in a desired sequence Random play and repeat play Digital audio output PCM stereo and Dolby Digital Recognition and output of DTS Digital Surround audio tracks Playback of audio CDs Must be supported by additional content on the disc Some players include additional features Component video output YUV or RGB for higher quality picture Progressivescan component output YUV or RGB for highest quality analog picture Digital video output SDI 1394 or DVIHDMI for perfect digital picture Sixchannel analog output from internal audio decoder Dolby Digital DTS or MLP Playback of Video CDs or Super Video CDs Playback of MP3 CDs Playback of MP3 DVDs Playback of video files in other formats such as DivX and MPEG4 Playback of Picture CDs and Photo CDs Playback of laserdiscs and CDVs Reverse single frame stepping Reverse play normal speed RF output for TVs with no direct video input Multilingual onscreen display Multiple disc capacity Digital zoom 2x or 4x enlargement of a section of the picture This is a player feature not a DVD disc feature 1 3 Whats the quality of DVDVideo DVD has the capability to produce nearstudioquality video and betterthanCDquality audio DVD is vastly superior to consumer videotape and generally better than laserdisc see 2 7 However quality depends on many production factors As compression experience and technology improves we see increasing quality but as production costs decrease and DVD authoring software becomes widely available we also see more shoddily produced discs A few lowbudget DVDs even use MPEG1 encoding which is no better than VHS instead of higherquality MPEG2 DVD video is usually encoded from digital studio master tapes to MPEG2 format The encoding process uses lossy compression that removes redundant information such as areas of the picture that dont change and information thats not readily perceptible by the human eye The resulting video especially when it is complex or changing quickly may sometimes contain visual flaws depending on the processing quality and amount of compression At average video data rates of 3 5 to 6 Mbps million bitssecond compression artifacts may be occasionally noticeable Higher data rates can result in higher quality with almost no perceptible difference from the master at rates above 6 Mbps As MPEG compression technology improves better quality is being achieved at lower rates Video from DVD sometimes contains visible artifacts such as color banding blurriness blockiness fuzzy dots shimmering missing detail and even effects such as a face that floats behind the rest of the moving picture Its important to understand that the term artifact refers to anything that is not supposed to be in the picture Artifacts are sometimes caused by poor MPEG encoding but artifacts are more often caused by a poorly adjusted TV bad cables electrical interference sloppy digital noise reduction improper picture enhancement poor filmtovideo transfer film grain player faults disc read errors and so on Most DVDs exhibit few visible MPEG compression artifacts on a properly configured system If you think otherwise you are misinterpreting what you see Some early DVD demos were not very good but this is simply an indication of how bad DVD can be if not properly processed and correctly reproduced Instore demos should be viewed with a grain of salt since most salespeople are incapable of properly adjusting a television set Most TVs have the sharpness set too high for the clarity of DVD This exaggerates highfrequency video and causes distortion just as the treble control set too high on a stereo causes the audio to sound harsh For best quality the sharpness control should be set very low Brightness should also not be set too high Some DVD players output video with a blacklevel setup of 0 IRE Japanese standard rather than 7 5 IRE US standard On TVs that are not properly adjusted this can cause some blotchiness in dark scenes There may be an option in the player menu to use standard black level DVD video has exceptional color fidelity so muddy or washedout colors are almost always a problem in the display or the original source not in the DVD player or disc DVD audio quality is superb DVD includes the option of PCM pulse code modulation digital audio with sampling sizes and rates higher than audio CD Alternatively audio for most movies is stored as discrete multichannel surround sound using Dolby Digital or DTS audio compression similar to the digital surround sound formats used in theaters As with video audio quality depends on how well the processing and encoding was done In spite of compression Dolby Digital and DTS can be close to or better than CD quality 1 4 What are the disadvantages of DVD Vagueness of the DVD specification and inadequate testing of players and discs has resulted in incompatibilities Some movie discs dont function fully or dont play at all on some players See 1 41 DVD recorders are more expensive than VCRs See 1 14 and 4 3 DVD has builtin copy protection and regional lockout See 1 11 and 1 10 DVD uses digital compression Poorly compressed audio or video may be blocky fuzzy harsh or vague See 1 3 The audio downmix process for stereoDolby Surround may reduce dynamic range See 3 6 DVD doesnt fully support HDTV See 2 9 Some DVD players and drives cant read CDRs See 2 4 3 Some DVD players and drives cant read recordable DVDs See 4 3 1 Most DVD players and drives cant read DVDRAM discs See 4 3 4 Very few players can play in reverse at normal speed Variations and options such as DVDAudio DVDVR and DTS audio tracks are not supported by all players 1 5 What DVD players and drives are available Some manufacturers originally announced that DVD players would be available as early as the middle of 1996 These predictions were woefully optimistic Delivery was initially held up for political reasons of copy protection demanded by movie studios but was later delayed by lack of titles The first players appeared in Japan in November 1996 followed by U S players in March 1997 with distribution limited to only 7 major cities for the first 6 months Players slowly trickled in to other regions around the world Prices for the first players in 1997 were 1000 and up By the end of 2000 players were available for under 100 at discount retailers In 2003 players became available for under 50 Six years after the initial launch close to one thousand models of DVD players were available from over a hundred consumer electronics manufacturers see 6 2 Fujitsu supposedly released the first DVDROMequipped computer on Nov 6 in Japan Toshiba released a DVDROMequipped computer and a DVDROM drive in Japan in early 1997 moved back from December which was moved back from November DVDROM drives from Toshiba Pioneer Panasonic Hitachi and Sony began appearing in sample quantities as early as January 1997 but none were available before May The first PC upgrade kits a combination of DVDROM drive and hardware decoder card became available from Creative Labs HiVal and Diamond Multimedia in April and May of 1997 Today every major PC manufacturer has models that include DVDROM drives The price difference from the same system with a CDROM drive ranges from 30 to 200 laptops have more expensive drives Upgrade kits for older computers have been available over the years for 100 to 700 from companies such as Creative Labs DynaTek E4 Elecede HiVal Leadtek Margi Systems for laptops Media Forte Pacific Digital Sigma Designs Sony Toshiba Utobia and others For more information about DVDs on computers including writable DVD drives see section 4 Note If you buy a player or drive from outside your country e g a Japanese player for use in the US you may not be able to play regionlocked discs on it See 1 10 The first DVDAudio players were released in Japan by Pioneer in late 1999 but they did not play copyprotected discs Matsushita under the Panasonic and Technics labels first released fullfledged players in July 2000 for 700 to 1200 DVDAudio players are now also made by Aiwa Denon JVC Kenwood Madrigal Marantz Nakamichi Onkyo Toshiba Yamaha and others Sony released the first SACD players in May 1999 for 5000 Pioneers first DVDAudio players released in late 1999 also played SACD SACD players are now also made by Accuphase Aiwa Denon Kenwood Marantz Philips Sharp and others See 1 12 for more information on DVDAudio and SACD More information on players and drives CNET DVD players and DVDROM drives The uk media dvd FAQ aus dvd AustraliaNew Zealandregion 4 player info Computer Shopper DVD players and DVDROM drives 1 5 1 Which player should I buy There are many good players available Video and audio performance in all modern DVD players is excellent Personal preferences your budget and your existing home theater setup all play a large role in determining which player is best for you Unless you have a highend home theater setup a player that costs under 250 should be completely adequate Make a list of things that are important to you such as ability to play CDRs ability to play Video CDs 96 kHz24bit audio decoding DTS Digital Out internal 6channel Dolby Digital decoder to help you come up with a set of players Then try out a few of the players in your price range focusing on ease of use remote control design user interface frontpanel controls Since there is not a big variation in picture quality and sound quality within a given price range convenience features play a big part The remote control which youll use all the time can drive you crazy if it doesnt suit your style Some players especially cheaper models dont properly play all discs Before buying a player you may want to test it with a few complex discs such as The Matrix The Abyss Independence Day and DVD Demystified See 1 41 for more information In certain cases you might want to buy a DVD PC instead of a standard DVD player especially if you want progressive video See 1 40 and 4 1 Here are a few questions to ask yourself Do I want selectable sound tracks and subtitles multiangle viewing aspect ratio control parentalmultirating features fast and slow playback great digital video multichannel digital audio compatibility with Dolby Pro Logic receivers onscreen menus duallayer playback and ability to play audio CDs This is a trick question since all DVD players have all of these features Do I want DTS audio If so look for a player with the DTS Digital Out logo See 3 6 2 Do I want to play Video CDs If so check the specs for Video CD compatibility See 2 4 5 Do I want to play recordable DVDs If so check the specs or compatibility reports for ability to read R RW R and RW formats See 4 3 1 Do I need a headphone jack Do I want player setup menus in languages other than English If so look for a multilanguage setup feature Note all players support ondisc multilanguage menus Do I want to play homemade CDR audio discs If so look for the dual laser feature See 2 4 3 Do I want to replace my CD player If so you might want a changer that can hold 3 5 or even hundreds of discs Do I want to play discs from other countries If so beware of regions see 1 10 and TV formats see 1 19 Do I want to control all my entertainment devices with one remote control If so look for a player with a programmable universal remote or make sure your existing universal remote is compatible with the DVD player Do I want to zoom in to check details of the picture or get rid of the black letterbox bars If so look for players with picture zoom Do I have a DTV or progressivescan display If so get a progressivescan player See 1 40 Do I want to play HDCDs If so check for the HDCD logo See 2 4 13 Does my receiver have only optical or only coax digital audio inputs If so make sure the player has outputs to match See 3 2 Do I care about blacklevel adjustment Do I value special deals If so look for free DVD coupons and free DVD rentals that are available with many players For more information read hardware reviews at Web sites such as DVDFile or in magazines such as Widescreen Review You may also want to read about user experiences at Audio Review and in online forums at Home Theater Forum and DVDFile Theres more advice at DVDBuyingGuide and at eCoustics com which also has a list of links to reviews on other sites See sections 3 1 and 3 2 for specific information on what audiovideo connections are needed to fit into your existing setup 1 6 What DVD titles are available In the video distribution industry a title refers to a movie or other production release like Snow White or Star Wars or a boxed edition of a TV series like Babylon 5 First Season Titles are collectively referred to as software not to be confused with computer software DVD started off slowly Rosy predictions of hundreds of movie titles for Christmas of 1996 failed to materialize Only a handful of DVD titles mostly music videos were available in Japan for the November 1996 launch of DVD The first feature films on DVD appeared in Japan on December 20 The Assassin Blade Runner Eraser and The Fugitive from Warner Home Video By April 1997 there were over 150 titles in Japan The first titles released in the U S on March 19 1997 by Lumivision authored by AIX Entertainment were IMAX adaptations Africa The Serengeti Antarctica An Adventure of a Different Nature Tropical Rainforest and Animation Greats Other movies such as Batman and Space Jam had been demonstrated earlier but were not full versions available for sale The Warner Bros U S launch followed on March 24 but was limited to seven cities Almost 19000 discs were purchased in the first two weeks of the US launch more than expected InfoTech predicted over 600 titles by the end of 1997 and more than 8000 titles by 2000 By December 1997 over 1 million individual DVD discs were shipped representing about 530 titles By the end of 1999 over 100 million discs had shipped representing about 5000 titles By the end of 2000 there were over 10000 titles available in the US and over 15000 worldwide By the end of 2001 there were about 14000 titles available in the U S By the end of 2002 there were about 23000 titles available in the U S By March 2003 six years after launch over 1 5 billion copies of DVD titles had been shipped Compared to other launches CD LD etc these are a huge numbers of titles released in a very short time Note that these numbers dont include adult titles which account for an additional 15 or so Just over 10000 new DVD titles were released in 2003 and almost 11000 came out in 2004 for a total of 42500 titles with about 40300 still available It would cost you about 800000 to buy one copy of each A number of DVD launches in Europe were announced with little followthrough but DVD began to become established in Europe around the end of 1998 Availability of DVDs in Europe was initially about 18 months to a year behind the U S but has shortened over the years to a delay of only a few weeks to a few months See 6 3 for a list of Web sites where you can buy or rent DVDs There are many databases on the Internet to search for DVD titles Here are a few of the best Internet Movie Database DVD Browser all regions Doug MacLeans Home Theater Info list region 1 downloadable list DVD Entertainment Group region 1 searchable and downloadable database Widescreen Review widescreenspecific DVD titles Most Internet DVD stores also have searchable lists see 6 3 DVDAudio started even slower than DVDVideo The first commercially available DVDAudio title Big Phat Band was released in October 2000 on the Silverline label of 5 1 Entertainment Major music labels BMG Entertainment EMI Music Universal Music and Warner Music have committed to DVDAudio titles although in fall 2001 Universal announced that it would release SACD titles first As of the end of 2001 just under 200 DVDAudio titles were available The first SACD titles were released in Japan in May 1999 DVDROM computer software is slowly appearing Many initial DVDROM titles were only available as part of a hardware or software bundle IDC predicted that over 13 percent of all software would be available in DVDROM format by the end of 1998 but reality didnt meet expectations In one sense DVDROMs are simply larger faster CDROMs and contain the same material In many cases CDROMs are big enough that theres no need to move to DVDROMs But DVDROMs can also take advantage of the highquality video and multichannel audio capabilities being added to many DVDROMequipped computers 1 6 1 Where can I read reviews of DVDs The following sites have reviews of at least 800 discs Also see the list of DVD review sites at Yahoo The Big Picture BinaryFlix menu pictures included with every review The Cinema Laser DigitalAudioVideo com The Digital Bits DVD Authority DVD File DVD Review DVD Talk DVD Verdict The Laser Examiner Widescreen Review Magazine widescreen movies only 1 6 2 How do I find out when a movie or TV show will be available on DVD First check one of the lists and databases mentioned in 1 6 to make sure its not already available Then check the upcoming release lists at DVD Review Laser Scans and VideoETA where you can also sign up to be notified when a movie is released Theres also the release list at Image Entertainment A good source of info about unannounced titles is The Digital Bits Rumor Mill 1 6 3 Why isnt my favorite movie on DVD There are many factors that determine when a title is released on DVD Sometimes the director or producer has control over DVDvideo release Other times its up to the studio marketing group Often there are issues with rights For example a DVD might be available in one country or region but not available in another because different studios have distribution rights in different countries Studios do listen to customers so let them know what titles youd like to see see 6 2 2 1 6 4 How can I find DVDs with specific features or characteristics Use one of the searchable databases in 1 6 Select the features youre looking for anamorphic widescreen French audio track Flemish subtitles and so on If a database doesnt include the characteristic youre looking for try a different database 1 6 5 Why do some rental stores and retailers not carry widescreen DVDs Some rental chains such as Blockbuster and retailers such as WalMart originally carried only fullscreen pan and scan versions of movies when both widescreen and fullscreen versions were available This infuriated many DVD fans who could never countenance watching a nonwidescreen version of a movie on DVD There was much complaining including an online petition with over 25000 signatures In early 2003 Blockbuster reversed their policy with the following statement “We made a decision to purchase the majority of titles we bring in on DVD in the widescreen format We try to follow our customer preferences As DVD becomes increasingly popular they become more familiar with the features and with the benefits of letterboxing Theyve learned its a superior format to fullframe WalMart similarly switched to widescreen versions apparently after realizing that they sold better See 3 5 for more about widescreen See 1 38 for pros and cons of letterboxing 1 7 How much do players and drives cost Massmarket DVD movie players list for 40 to 3000 See 1 5 for more information DVDROM drives and upgrade kits for computers sell for around 30 to 400 OEM drive prices are around 40 1 8 How much do discs cost It varies but most DVD movies list for 20 to 30 with street prices between 15 and 25 even those with supplemental material Lowpriced movies can be found for under 10 DVDs have not followed the initial highrentalprice model of VHS DVDROMs are usually slightly more expensive than CDROMs since there is more on them they cost a bit more to replicate and the market is smaller But as the installed base of drives grow DVDROMs will eventually cost about the same as CDROMs do today The following sites help you find the lowest prices and discount coupons BargainFlix DVD Price Search 1 9 How is DVD doing Where can I get statistics DVD did not take off quite as fast as some early predictions but it has sold faster than videotape CD and laserdisc In fact before its third birthday in March 2000 DVD had become the most successful consumer electronics entertainment product ever Here are some predictions InfoTech 1995 Worldwide sales of DVD players in 1997 will be 800000 Worldwide sales of DVDROM drives in 1997 will be 1 2 million with sales of 39 million drives in 2000 Toshiba 1996 100000 to 150000 DVDVideo players will be sold in Japan between Nov 1 and Dec 31 1996 and 7500001 million by Nov 1 1997 Actual count of combined shipments by Matsushita Pioneer and Toshiba was 70000 in OctDec 1996 Total worldwide DVD hardware market expected to reach 120 million units in the year 2000 Worldwide settop DVD player market will be 2 million units in the first year with sales of 20 million in the year 2000 Pioneer 1996 400000 DVDVideo players in 1996 11 million by 2000 100000 DVDAudio players in 1996 4 million by 2000 InfoTech 1996 820000 DVDVideo players in first year 80 million by 2005 CEMA 1997 400000 DVDVideo players in U S in 1997 1 million in 1998 TimeWarner 1996 10 million DVD players in the U S by 2002 Paul Kagan 1997 800000 DVD players in the U S in 1997 10 million in 2000 and 40 million in 2006 43 penetration 5 6 million discs sold in 1997 172 million discs in 2000 and 623 million in 2006 CCube 1996 1 million players and drives in 1997 BASES 3 million DVDVideo players sold in first year 13 million sold in 6th year Dataquest 1997 over 33 million shipments of DVD players and drives by 2000 Philips 1996 25 million DVDROM drives worldwide by 2000 10 of projected 250 million optical drives Pioneer 1996 500000 DVDROM drives sold in 1997 54 million sold in 2000 Toshiba 1996 120 million DVDROM drives in 2000 80 penetration of 100 million PCs Toshiba says they will no longer make CDROM drives in 2000 IDC 1997 10 million DVDROM drives sold in 1997 70 million sold in 2000 surpassing CDROM 118 million sold in 2001 Over 13 of all software available on DVDROM in 1998 DVD recordable drives more than 90 of combined CDDVD recordable market in 2001 AMI 1997 installed base of 7 million DVDROM drives by 2000 Intel 1997 70 million DVDROM drives by 1999 sales will surpass CDROM drives in 1998 SMD 1997 100 million DVDROMRAM drives shipped in 2000 Microsoft Peter Biddle 1997 15 million DVD PCs sold in 1998 50 million DVD PCs sold in 1999 Microsoft Jim Taylor 1998 installed base of 35 million DVD PCs in 1999 Forrester Research 1997 U S base of 53 million DVDequipped PCs by 2002 5 2 of U S households 5 million will have a DVDV player in 2002 2 will have a DVDAudio player Yankee Group Jan 1998 650000 DVDVideo players by 1998 3 6 million by 2001 19 million DVDPCs by 2001 InfoTech Jan 1998 20 million DVDVideo players worldwide in 2002 58 million by 2005 99 million DVDROM drives worldwide in 2005 No more than 500 DVDROM titles available by the end of 1998 About 80000 DVDROM titles available by 2005 Screen Digest Dec 1998 125000 DVDVideo player in European homes in 1998 485000 in 1999 1 million in 2000 IRMA Apr 2000 12 million players will ship worldwide in 2000 Baskerville Apr 2000 Worldwide spending on DVD software will surpass that of VHS by 2003 There will be a worldwide installed based of 625 million DVD players by 2010 55 of TV households Jon Peddie Jun 2000 Almost 20 million DVD players will be sold in the U S in 2004 IDC July 2000 70 million DVD players and drives will be sold by years end Screen Digest June 2000 European installed base of DVDVideo players 1998 0 3m 1999 1 5m 2000 5 4m 2003 47 1m Japanese Electronics and Information Technologies Association December 2000 37 million DVD players worldwide by 2001 DVD Entertainment Group July 2001 Approximately 30 million DVD players sold in the U S by the end of 2001 Understanding & Solutions April 2002 DVD player penetration in the UK could grow to 70 by 2006 CD player penetration reached only 50 in the same time period after launch Heres reality 1997 349000 DVDVideo players shipped in the U S About 200000 sold into homes 900 DVDVideo titles available in the U S Over 5 million copies shipped about 2 million sold Over 500000 DVDVideo players shipped worldwide Around 330000 DVDROM drives shipped worldwide with about 1 million bundled DVDROM titles 60 DVDROM titles mostly bundled 1998 1089000 DVDVideo players shipped in the U S Installed base of 1438000 400 DVDVideo titles in Europe 135 movie and music titles 3000 DVDVideo titles in the U S 2000 movie and music titles 7 2 million DVDVideo discs purchased 1999 4019000 DVDVideo players shipped in the U S Installed base of 5457000 Over 6300 DVDVideo titles in the U S About 26 million DVDROM drives worldwide About 75 DVDROM titles available in the U S 2000 8 5 million DVDVideo players shipped in the U S Installed base of 13922000 About 46 million DVDROM drives worldwide Over 10000 DVDVideo titles available in the U S Belgium 100 thousand installed base France 1 2 million installed base Germany 1 2 million installed base Italy 360 thousand installed base Netherlands 200 thousand installed base Spain 300 thousand installed base Sweden 120 thousand installed base Switzerland 250 thousand installed base UK 1 million installed base 2001 12 7 million DVDVideo players shipped in the U S Installed base of 26629000 Over 45 million DVDROM drives in the U S Over 90 million DVDROM drives worldwide UK 3 million installed base 2002 17 million DVDVideo players shipped in the U S Installed base of 43718000 Over 75 million DVDROM drives in the U S Over 140 million DVDROM drives worldwide 2003 fall 16 million DVDVideo players shipped in the U S Installed base of 73300000 Over 27000 DVDVideo titles available in the U S For comparison there were about 700 million audio CD players and 160 million CDROM drives worldwide in 1997 1 2 billion CDROMs were shipped worldwide in 1997 from a base of about 46000 different titles There were about 80 million VCRs in the U S 89 of households and about 400 million worldwide 110000 VCRs shipped in the first two years after release Nearly 16 million VCRs were shipped in 1998 In 2000 there were about 270 million TVs in the U S and 1 3 billion worldwide When DVD came out in 1997 there were under 3 million laserdisc players in the U S For latest U S player sales statistics see the CEA page at The Digital Bits Other DVD statistics and forecasts can be found at IRMA MediaLine Twice Industry analyses and forecasts can be purchased from Adams Media Research Alexander & Associates British Video Association Cahners Instat Centris Datamonitor Dataquest DVD Intelligence eBrain International Data Corporation IDC InfoTech Jon Peddie Associates JPA Paul Kagan Associates Screen Digest SIMBA Information Strategy Analytics Understanding & Solutions and others 1 10 What are regional codes country codes or zone locks Motion picture studios want to control the home release of movies in different countries because theater releases arent simultaneous a movie may come out on video in the U S when its just hitting screens in Europe Also studios sell distribution rights to different foreign distributors and would like to guarantee an exclusive market Therefore they required that the DVD standard include codes to prevent playback of certain discs in certain geographical regions Each player is given a code for the region in which its sold The player will refuse to play discs that are not coded for its region This means that a disc bought in one country may not play on a player bought in another country Some people believe that region codes are an illegal restraint of trade but no legal cases have established this Regional codes are entirely optional for the maker of a disc Discs without region locks will play on any player in any country Its not an encryption system its just one byte of information on the disc that the player checks Some studios originally announced that only their new releases would have regional codes but so far almost all Hollywood releases play in only one region Region codes are a permanent part of the disc they wont unlock after a period of time Region codes dont apply to DVDAudio DVDROM or recordable DVD see below for more detail Seven regions also called locales or zones have been defined and each one is assigned a number Players and discs are often identified by their region number superimposed on a world globe If a disc plays in more than one region it will have more than one number on the globe 1 U S Canada U S Territories2 Japan Europe South Africa and Middle East including Egypt3 Southeast Asia and East Asia including Hong Kong4 Australia New Zealand Pacific Islands Central America Mexico South America and the Caribbean5 Eastern Europe Former Soviet Union Indian subcontinent Africa North Korea and Mongolia6 China7 Reserved8 Special international venues airplanes cruise ships etc See the map at www blackstar co ukhelphelpdvdregions Technically there is no such thing as a region zero disc or a region zero player There is such thing as an allregion disc There are also allregion players Some players can be hacked using special command sequences from the remote control to switch regions or play all regions Some players can be physically modified chipped to play discs regardless of the regional codes on the disc This usually voids the warranty but is not illegal in most countries since the only thing that requires player manufacturers to regioncode their players is the CSS license see 1 11 Many retailers especially outside North America sell players that have already been modified for multiple regions or in some cases they simply provide instructions on how to access the secret region change features already built into the player As an interesting side note on Feb 7 2001 NASA sent two multiregion DVD players to the International Space Station Extensive information about modifying players and buying regionfree players can be found on the Internet see 6 4 2 In addition to region codes there are also differences in discs for NTSC and PAL TV systems see 1 19 Some discs from Fox Buena VistaTouchstoneMiramax MGMUniversal Polygram and Columbia TriStar contain program code that checks for the proper region setting in the player Theres Something About Mary and Psycho are examples In late 2000 Warner Bros began using the same active region code checking that other studios had been using for over a year They called it region code enhancement RCE also known as REA and it received much publicity RCE was first added to discs such as The Patriot and Charlies Angels Smart discs with active region checking wont play on codefree players that are set for all regions FFh but they can be played on manual codeswitchable players that allow you to use the remote control to change the players region to match the disc They may not work on autoswitching players that recognize and match the disc region It depends on the default region setting of the player An RCE disc has all its region flags set so that the player doesnt know which one to switch to The disc queries the player for the region setting and aborts playback if its the wrong one A default player setting of region 1 will fool RCE discs from region 1 Playing a region 1 disc for a few seconds sets most autoswitching players to region 1 and thus enables them to play an RCE disc When an RCE disc detects the wrong region or an allregion player it will usually put up a message saying that the player may have been altered and that the disc is not compatible with the player A serious side effect is that some legitimate players fail the test such as the Fisher DVDS1000 There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when RCE first appeared but DVD fans quickly learned that it only affected some players Makers of player modification kits that didnt work with RCE soon improved their chips to get around it For every higher wall there is a taller ladder See DVDTalks RCE FAQ for more info and workarounds In general region codes dont apply to recordable DVDs A DVD that you make on a PC with a DVD burner or in a home DVD video recorder will play in all regions but dont forget NTSC vs PAL differences see 1 19 Region codes do not apply to DVDAudio Regional codes apply to game consoles such as PlayStation 2 and Xbox but only for DVDVideo movie discs see DVDRegionX for region modifications to PS2 PlayStation has a separate regional lockout scheme for games Regional codes also apply to DVDROM computers but affect only DVDVideo discs not DVDROM discs containing computer software Computer playback systems check for regional codes before playing movies from a CSSprotected DVDVideo see 1 11 for CSS info Newer RPC2 DVDROM drives let you change the region code several times RPC stands for region protection control Once an RPC2 drive has reached the limit of 5 changes it cant be changed again unless the vendor or manufacturer resets the drive The Drive Info utility can tell you if you have an RPC2 drive it will say This drive has region protection See 6 4 2 for links to more information about circumventing DVDROM region restrictions Since December 31 1999 only RPC2 drives have been manufactured 1 11 What are the copy protection issues CPSA content protection system architecture is the name given to the overall framework for security and access control across the entire DVD family Developed by the 4C entity Intel IBM Matsushita and Toshiba in cooperation with the Copy Protection Technical Working Group CPTWG it covers encryption watermarking protection of analog and digital outputs and so on There are many forms of content protection that apply to DVD 1 Analog CPS MacrovisionVideotape analog copying is prevented with a Macrovision 7 0 or similar circuit in every player Macrovision may show up as stripes of color distortion rolling black & white picture and darklight cycling Macrovision creates problems for most TVVCR combos see 3 2 1 and some highend equipment such as line doublers and video projectors The general term for a system that prevents taping is APS Analog Protection System also sometimes called copyguard Computer video cards with composite or svideo YC output must also use APS Macrovision changes the composite video and svideo output in two ways the Colorstripe technique creates a rapidly modulated colorburst signal and the AGC technique inserts pulses in the vertical blanking signal This confuses the synchronization and automaticrecordinglevel circuitry in 95 of consumer VCRs Unfortunately it can degrade the picture especially with old or nonstandard equipment Macrovision was not present on analog component video output of early players but is now required on component output AGC only since there is no burst in a component signal The discs themselves contain trigger bits telling the player whether or not to enable Macrovision AGC with the optional addition of 2line or 4line Colorstripe The triggers occur about twice a second which allows fine control over what part of the video is protected The producer of the disc decides what amount of copy protection to enable and then pays Macrovision royalties accordingly several cents per disc Just as with videotapes some DVDs are Macrovisionprotected and some arent For a few Macrovision details see STMicroelectronics NTSCPAL video encoder datasheets at www st comstonlinebooks Inexpensive devices can defeat Macrovision although only a few work against the more recent Colorstripe feature These devices go under names such as DVD Red Video Clarifier Image Stabilizer Color Corrector DVD Red and CopyMaster Or you can build your own Some DVD players can be modified to turn off Macrovision output see 6 4 2 Professional timebase correctors TBCs that regenerate line 21 also remove Macrovision APS affects only video not audio 2 CGMSEach disc contains information specifying if the contents can be copied This is a serial copy generation management system SCMS designed to prevent initial copies or generational copies copies of copies The CGMS information is embedded in the outgoing video signal For CGMS to work the equipment making the copy must recognize and respect the CGMS information The analog standard CGMSA encodes the data on NTSC line 21 in the XDS service or line 20 CGMSA is recognized by most digital camcorders and by some computer video capture cards they will flash a message such as recording inhibited Professional timebase correctors TBCs that regenerate lines 20 and 21 will remove CGMSA information from an analog signal The digital standard CGMSD is included in DTCP and HDMI for digital connections such as IEEE 1394FireWire See subsections 6 and 7 below 3 Content Scramble System CSSBecause of the potential for perfect digital copies paranoid movie studios forced a deeper copy protection requirement into the DVD standard Content Scramble System CSS is a data encryption and authentication scheme intended to prevent copying video files directly from DVDVideo discs CSS was developed primarily by Matsushita and Toshiba Each CSS player licensee is given a key from a master set of 409 keys stored on every CSSencrypted disc The theory was to allow a license to be revoked by removing its key from future discs The CSS decryption algorithm exchanges keys with the drive unit to generate an encryption key that is then used to obfuscate the exchange of disc keys and title keys that are needed to decrypt data from the disc DVD players have CSS circuitry that decrypts the data before its decoded and displayed and computer DVD decoder hardware and software must include a CSS decryption module All DVDROM drives have extra firmware to exchange authentication and decryption keys with the CSS module in the computer As of 2000 DVDROM drives are required to support regional management in conjunction with CSS see 1 10 and 4 1 Makers of equipment used to display DVDVideo drives decoder chips decoder software display adapters etc must license CSS There is an annual 15000 fee for the CSS license and qualification is a lengthy process so its recommended that interested parties apply early CSS is administered by the DVD Copy Control Association DVD CCA Near the end of May 1997 CSS licenses were finally granted for software decoding The license is extremely restrictive in an attempt to keep the CSS algorithm and keys secret Of course nothing thats used on millions of players and drives worldwide could be kept secret for long In October 1999 the CSS algorithm was cracked and posted on the Internet triggering endless controversies and legal battles see 4 8 4 Content Protection for Prerecorded Media CPPMCPPM is used only for DVDAudio It was developed as an improvement on CSS Keys are stored in the leadin area but unlike CSS no title keys are placed in the sector headers Each volume has a 56bit album identifier similar to a CSS disc key stored in the control area Each disc contains a media key block stored in a file in the clear on the disc The media key block data is logically ordered in rows and columns that are used during the authentication process to generate a decryption key from a specific set of player keys device keys As with CSS the media key block can be updated to revoke the use of compromised player keys If the device key is revoked the media key block processing step will result in an invalid key value The authentication mechanism is the same as for CSS so no changes are required to existing drives A disc may contain both CSS and CPPM content if it is a hybrid DVDVideoDVDAudio disc 5 Content Protection for Recordable Media CPRMCPRM is a mechanism that ties a recording to the media on which it is recorded It is supported by some DVD recorders but not by many DVD players Each blank recordable DVD has a unique 64bit media ID etched in the BCA see 3 11 When protected content is recorded onto the disc it can be encrypted with a 56bit C2 Cryptomeria cipher derived from the media ID During playback the ID is read from the BCA and used to generate a key to decrypt the contents of the disc If the contents of the disc are copied to other media the ID will be absent or wrong and the data will not be decryptable 6 Digital Copy Protection System DCPSIn order to provide digital connections between components without allowing perfect digital copies five digital copy protection systems were proposed to the CEA The frontrunner is DTCP digital transmission content protection which focuses on IEEE 1394FireWire but can be applied to other protocols The draft proposal called 5C for the five companies that developed it was made by Intel Sony Hitachi Matsushita and Toshiba in February 1998 Sony released a DTCP chip in mid 1999 Under DTCP devices that are digitally connected such as a DVD player and a digital TV or a digital VCR exchange keys and authentication certificates to establish a secure channel The DVD player encrypts the encoded audiovideo signal as it sends it to the receiving device which must decrypt it This keeps other connected but unauthenticated devices from stealing the signal No encryption is needed for content that is not copy protected Security can be renewed by new content such as new discs or new broadcasts and new devices that carry updated keys and revocation lists to identify unauthorized or compromised devices A competing proposal XCA extended conditional access from Zenith and Thomson is similar to DTCP but can work with oneway digital interfaces such as the EIA762 RF remodulator standard and uses smart cards for renewable security Other proposals have been made by MRJ Technology NDS and Philips In all five proposals content is marked with CGMSstyle flags of copy freely copy once dont copy and sometimes no more copies Digital devices that do nothing more than reproduce audio and video will be able to receive all data as long as they can authenticate that they are playbackonly devices Digital recording devices are only able to receive data that is marked as copyable and they must change the flag to dont copy or no more copies if the source is marked copy once DCPSes are designed for the next generation of digital TVs digital receivers and digital video recorders They require new DVD players with digital connectors such as those on DV equipment These new products began to appear in 2003 Since the encryption is done by the player no changes are needed to existing discs 7 HighBandwidth Digital Content Protection HDCP DVI and HDMIHDCP is similar to DTCP but it was designed for digital video monitor interfaces In 1998 the Digital Display Working Group DDWG was formed to create a universal interface standard between computers and displays to replace the analog VGA connection standard The resulting Digital Visual Interface DVI specification released in April 1999 was based on Silicon Images PanelLink technology which at 4 95 Gbps can support 1600�1200 UXGA resolution which covers all the HDTV resolutions Intel proposed HDCP as a security component for DVI A new connection standard called HDMI combines DVI and HDCP DVD players with DVI or HDMI digital video output appeared in spring 2003 Many new HDTV displays are likely to have both IEEE 1394 and HDMI connections HDCP provides authentication encryption and revocation Specialized circuitry in the playback device and in the display monitor encrypts video data before it is sent over the link When an HDMI output senses that the connected monitor does not support HDCP it lowers the image quality of protected content The HDCP key exchange process verifies that a receiving device is authorized to display or record video It uses an array of forty 56bit secret device keys and a 40bit key selection vector all supplied by the HDCP licensing entity If the security of a display device is compromised its key selection vector is placed on the revocation list The host device has the responsibility of maintaining the revocation list which is updated by system renewability messages SRMs carried by newer devices and by video content Once the authority of the receiving device has been established the video is encrypted by an exclusiveor operation with a stream cipher generated from keys exchanged during the authentication process If a display device with no decryption ability attempts to display encrypted content it appears as random noise The first four forms of copy protection Macrovision CGMS CSS and CPPM are optional for the producer of a disc CSS decryption is optional for hardware and software playback manufacturers although a player or computer without decryption capability will only be able to play unencrypted movies CPRM is handled automatically by DVD recorders although its optional and many recorders dont support it DTCP and HDCP are handled by DVD players with digital video outputs These copy protection schemes are designed only to guard against casual copying which the studios claim causes billions of dollars in lost revenue The goal is to keep the honest people honest The people who developed the copy protection standards are the first to admit they cant stop wellequipped pirates Movie studios have promoted legislation making it illegal to defeat DVD copy protection The result is the World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty December 1996 and the compliant U S Digital Millennium Copyright Act DMCA passed into law in October 1998 Software intended specifically to circumvent copy protection is now illegal in the U S and many other countries A cochair of the legal group of the DVD copy protection committee stated in the video context the contemplated legislation should also provide some specific assurances that certain reasonable and customary home recording practices will be permitted in addition to providing penalties for circumvention Its not at all clear how this might be permitted by a player or by studios that routinely set the dont copy flag on all their discs DVDROM drives and computers including DVDROM upgrade kits are required to support Macrovision CGMS and CSS PC video cards with TV outputs that dont support Macrovision will not work with encrypted movies Computers with IEEE 1394FireWire connections must support the final DCPS standard in order to work with other DCPS devices Likewise computers with HDMI DVI connections must support HDCP to output DVDVideo content Every DVDROM drive must include CSS circuitry to establish a secure connection to the decoder hardware or software in the computer although CSS can only be used on DVDVideo content Of course since a DVDROM can hold any form of computer data other encryption schemes can be implemented See 4 1 for more information on DVDROM drives The Watermarking Review Panel WaRP the successor to the DataHiding SubGroup DHSG of the CPTWG selected an audio watermarking system that has been accepted by the DVD Forum for DVDAudio see 1 12 The original seven video watermarking proposals were merged into three IBMNEC HitachiPioneerSony and MacrovisionDigimarcPhilips On February 17 1999 the first two groups combined to form the Galaxy Group and merged their technologies into a single proposal The second group has dubbed their technology Millennium Watermarking permanently marks each digital audio or video frame with noise that is supposedly undetectable by human ears or eyes Watermark signatures can be recognized by playback and recording equipment to prevent copying even when the signal is transmitted via digital or analog connections or is subjected to video processing Watermarking is not an encryption system but rather a way to identify whether a copy of a piece of video or audio is allowed to be played New players and software are required to support watermarking but the DVD Forum intends to make watermarked discs compatible with existing players Reports were made that the early watermarking technique used by Divx caused visible raindrop or gunshot patterns but the problem was apparently solved for later releases 1 12 What about music on DVD DVDAudio and SACD Note Dont confuse DVDAudio with DVDMusic see 1 12 1 When DVD was released in 1996 there was no DVDAudio format although the audio capabilities of DVDVideo far surpassed CD The DVD Forum sought additional input from the music industry before defining the DVDAudio format A draft standard was released by the DVD Forums Working Group 4 WG4 in January 1998 and version 0 9 was released in July The final DVDAudio 1 0 specification minus copy protection was approved in February 1999 and released in March but products were delayed in part by the slow process of selecting copy protection features encryption and watermarking with complications introduced by the Secure Digital Music Initiative SDMI The scheduled October 1999 release was further delayed until mid 2000 ostensibly because of concerns caused by the CSS crack see 4 8 but also because the hardware wasnt quite ready production tools werent up to snuff and there was lackluster support from music labels Pioneer released the first DVDAudio players without copy protection support in Japan in late 1999 Matsushita released Panasonic and Technics brand universal DVDAudioDVDVideo players in July 2000 for 700 to 1200 Pioneer JVC Yamaha and others released DVDAudio players in fall 2000 and early 2001 By the end of 2000 there were about 50 DVDAudio titles available By the end of 2001 there were just under 200 DVDAudio titles available DVDAudio is a separate format from DVDVideo DVDAudio discs can be designed to work in DVDVideo players but its possible to make a DVDAudio disc that wont play at all in a DVDVideo player since the DVDAudio specification includes new formats and features with content stored in a separate DVDAudio zone on the disc the AUDIOTS directory that DVDVideo players never look at New DVDAudio players are needed or new universal players that can play both DVDVideo and DVDAudio discs Universal players are also called VCAPs videocapable audio players A plea to producers Universal players are rare but you can make universal discs easily With a small amount of effort all DVDAudio discs can be made to work on all DVD players by including a Dolby Digital version of the audio in the DVDVideo zone A plea to DVDAudio authoring system developers Make your software do this by default or strongly recommend this option during authoring DVDAudio players and universal players work with existing receivers They output PCM and Dolby Digital and some will support the optional DTS and DSD formats However most current receivers cant decode highdefinition multichannel PCM audio see 3 6 1 for details and even if they could it cant be carried on standard digital audio connections DVDAudio players with highend digitaltoanalog converters DACs can only be hooked up to receivers with 2channel or 6channel analog inputs but some quality is lost if the receiver converts back to digital for processing New receivers with improved digital connections such as IEEE 1394 FireWire are needed to use the full digital resolution of DVDAudio DVD audio is copyright protected by an embedded signaling or digital watermark feature This uses signal processing technology to apply a digital signature and optional encryption keys to the audio in the form of supposedly inaudible noise so that new equipment will recognize copied audio and refuse to play it Proposals from Aris Blue Spike Cognicity IBM and Solana were evaluated by major music companies in conjunction with the 4C Entity comprising IBM Intel Matsushita and Toshiba Aris and Solana merged to form a new company called Verance whose Galaxy technology was chosen for DVDAudio in August 1999 In November 1999 Verance watermarking was also selected for SDMI Verance and 4C claimed that tests on the Verance watermarking method showed it was inaudible but goldeneared listeners in later tests were able to detect the watermarking noise Sony and Philips have developed a competing Super Audio CD format that uses DVD discs See 3 6 1 for details Sony released version 0 9 of the SACD spec in April 1998 the final version appeared in April 1999 SACD technology is available to existing SonyPhilips CD licensees at no additional cost Most initial SACD releases have been mixed in stereo not multichannel SACD was originally supposed to provide legacy discs with two layers one that plays in existing CD players plus a highdensity layer for DVDAudio players but technical difficulties kept dualformat discs from being produced until the end of 2000 and only then in small quantities Pioneer which released the first DVDAudio players in Japan at the end of 1999 included SACD support in their DVDAudio players If other manufacturers follow suit the entire SACD vs DVDAudio standards debate could be moot since DVDAudio players would play both types of discs Sony released an SACD player in Japan in May 1999 at the tearinducing price of 5000 The player was released in limited quantities in the U S at the end of 1999 Philips released a 7500 player in May 2000 Sony shipped a 750 SACD player in Japan in mid 2000 About 40 SACD titles were available at the end of 1999 from studios such as DMP Mobile Fidelity Labs Pioneer Sony and Telarc Over 500 SACD titles were available by the end of 2001 A drawback related to DVDAudio and SACD players is that most audio receivers with 6 channels of analog input arent able to do bass management Receivers with Dolby Digital and DTS decoders handle bass management internally but 6channel analog inputs are usually passed straight through to the amplifier Without full bass management on 6channel analog inputs any audio setup that doesnt have fullrange speakers for all 5 surround channels will not properly reproduce all the bass frequencies If you are interested in making the most of a DVDAudio or SACD player you need a receiver with 6channel analog audio inputs You also need 5 fullfrequency speakers that is each speaker should be able to handle subwoofer frequencies and a subwoofer unless you have a receiver that can perform bass management on the analog inputs or you have an outboard bass management box such as from Outlaw Audio For more on DVDAudio including lists of titles and player models visit Digital Audio Guide 1 12 1 Whats the difference between DVDAudio discs and DVDMusic discs DVDMusic isnt actually an official DVD format but it has become a commonly used name for a DVDVideo disc that contains primarily music A DVDMusic disc plays in any standard DVD player with video or still pictures that accompany the audio As explained in 1 12 a DVDAudio disc contains special highfidelity audio tracks that can only be played in DVDAudio players 1 13 Which studios support DVD All major movie studios and most major music labels support DVD When DVD players became available in early 1997 Warner and Polygram were the only major movie studios to release titles Additional titles were available from small publishers The other studios gradually joined the DVD camp see 6 2 for a full list see 1 6 for movie info Dreamworks was the last significant studio to announce full DVD support Paramount Fox and Dreamworks initially supported only Divx but in summer 1998 they each announced support for open DVD 1 14 Can DVD record from TVVCRetc Yes if you have a DVD recorder When DVD was originally introduced in 1997 only players were available Most DVD units sold today are still playonly but recorders are available and affordable DVD video recorders first appeared in Japan at the end of 1999 and in the rest of the world at the end of 2000 Early units were expensive 2500 to 4000 but models are available for under 100 today DVD recorders are being added to satellite and cable receivers harddisk video recorders and other advanced consumer electronics devices A DVD recorder works like a VCR it has a tuner and AV inputs and it can be programmed to record shows An important difference is that you never have to rewind or fast forward recordings on a disc are instantly accessible usually from an onscreen menu Many DVD recorders include an electronic program guide EPG that gives you onscreen TV listings from which you can pick shows to record no need to enter day time channel and so on by hand Although DVD recorders use digital recording most inputs are analog video that is digitized inside the recorder As of 2006 there are no DVD recorders with digital tuners so they are unable to directly record digital broadcasts such as U S DTV or European DVB Note that DVD video recorders cant copy most DVD movie discs which are protected see 1 11 Unfortunately there is more than one recordable DVD format and they dont all play together nicely Its nothing like the old VHS vs Betamax battle as many in the press would have you believe but it is rather confusing See 4 3 to get more confused Dont be further confused by DVD recordable drives DVD burners for computers see 4 3 These recorders can store data but to create fullfeatured DVDVideos requires additional software to do video encoding MPEG audio encoding Dolby Digital MPEG or PCM navigation and control data generation and so on see 5 4 and 5 8 1 15 What happens if I scratch the disc Arent discs too fragile to be rented Scratches may cause minor data errors that are easily corrected That is data is stored on DVDs using powerful error correction techniques that can recover from even large scratches with no loss of data A common misperception is that a scratch will be worse on a DVD than on a CD because of higher storage density and because video is heavily compressed DVD data density say that fast ten times is physically four times that of CDROM so its true that a scratch will affect more data But DVD error correction is at least ten times better than CDROM error correction and more than makes up for the density increase Its also important to realize that MPEG2 and Dolby Digital compression are partly based on removal or reduction of imperceptible information so decompression doesnt expand the data as much as might be assumed Major scratches may cause uncorrectable errors that will produce an IO error on a computer or show up as a momentary glitch in DVDVideo picture Paradoxically sometimes the smallest scratches can cause the worst errors because of the particular orientation and refraction of the scratch There are many schemes for concealing errors in MPEG video which may be used in future players See 1 39 for information on care and cleaning of DVDs The DVD computer advisory group specifically requested no mandatory caddies or other protective carriers Consider that laserdiscs music CDs and CDROMs are likewise subject to scratches but many video stores and libraries rent them Major chains such as Blockbuster and West Coast Entertainment rent DVDs in many locations Most reports of rental disc performance are positive although if you have problems playing a rental disc check for scratches 1 16 VHS is good enough why should I care about DVD The primary advantages of DVD are video quality surround sound and extra features see 1 2 In addition DVD will not degrade with age or after many playings like videotape will which is an advantage for parents with kids who watch Disney videos twice a week This is the same thing that makes CDs more collectable than cassette tapes Did I mention video quality The better your TV the bigger the difference in picture quality between VHS and DVD If none of this matters to you then VHS probably is good enough 1 17 Is the packaging different from CD Manufacturers were worried about customers assuming DVDs would play in their CD player so they wanted the packaging to be different Most DVD packages are as wide as a CD jewel box about 558 and as tall as a VHS cassette box about 738 as recommended by the Video Software Dealers Association VSDA However no one is being forced to use a larger package size Some companies use standard jewel cases or paper and vinyl sleeves Divx discs came in paperboard and plastic QPack cases the same size as a CD jewel case Most movies are packaged in the Amaray keep case an allplastic clamshell with clear vinyl pockets for inserts thats popular among consumers Time Warners snapper a paperboard case with a plastic lip is less popular Theres also a super jewel box the stretchlimo version of a CD jewel case thats common in Europe 1 18 Whats a duallayer disc Will it work in all players A duallayer disc has two layers of data one of them semitransparent so that the laser can focus through it and read the second layer Since both layers are read from the same side a duallayer disc can hold almost twice as much as a singlelayer disc typically 4 hours of video see 3 3 for more details Many discs use dual layers Initially only a few replication plants could make duallayer discs but most plants now have the capability The second layer can use either a PTP parallel track path layout where both tracks run in parallel for independent data or special switching effects or an OTP opposite track path layout where the second track runs in an opposite spiral that is the pickup head reads out from the center on the first track then in from the outside on the second track The OTP layout also called RSDL reversespiral dual layer is designed to provide continuous video across both layers When the laser pickup head reaches the end of the first layer it changes focus to the second layer and starts moving back toward the center of the disc The layer change can occur anywhere in the video it doesnt have to be at a chapter point Theres no guarantee that the switch between layers will be seamless The layer change is invisible on some players but it can cause the video to freeze for a fraction of a second or as long as 4 seconds on other players The seamlessness depends as much on the way the disc is prepared as on the design of the player The advantage of two layers is that long movies can use higher data rates for better quality than with a single layer See 1 27 for more about layer changes There are various ways to recognize duallayer discs 1 the gold color 2 a menu on the disc for selecting the widescreen or fullscreen version 3 two serial numbers on one side The DVD specification requires that players and drives read duallayer discs There are very few units that have problems with duallayer discsthis is a design flaw and should be corrected for free by the manufacturer Some discs are designed with a seamless layer change that technically goes beyond what the DVD spec allows This causes problems on a few older players All players and drives also play doublesided discs if you flip them over No manufacturer has announced a model that will play both sides other than a few DVD jukeboxes The added cost would be hard to justify since discs can hold over 4 hours of video on one side by using two layers Early discs used two sides because duallayer production was not widely supported This is no longer a problem Pioneer LDDVD players can play both sides of a laserdisc but not a DVD See 2 12 for note on reading both sides simultaneously 1 19 Is DVDVideo a worldwide standard Does it work with NTSC PAL and SECAM Video on a DVD is stored in digital format but its formatted for one of two mutually incompatible television systems 52560 NTSC or 62550 PALSECAM Therefore there are two kinds of DVDs NTSC DVDs and PAL DVDs Some players only play NTSC discs others play PAL and NTSC discs Discs are also coded for different regions of the world see 1 10 NTSC is the TV format used in Canada Japan Mexico Philippines Taiwan United States and other countries PAL is the TV format used in most of Europe most of Africa China India Australia New Zealand Israel North Korea and other countries See the chart at www remoteviewing com for a complete list Almost all DVD players sold in PAL countries play both kinds of discs These multistandard players partially convert NTSC to a 60Hz PAL 4 43 NTSC signal The player uses the PAL 4 43MHz color subcarrier encoding format but keeps the 52560 NTSC scanning rate Most modern PAL TVs can handle this pseudoPAL signal A few multistandard PAL players output true 3 58 NTSC from NTSC discs which requires an NTSC TV or a multistandard TV Some players have a switch to choose 60Hz PAL or true NTSC output when playing NTSC discs There are a few standardsconverting PAL players that convert from an NTSC disc to standard PAL output for older PAL TVs Proper on the fly standards conversion requires expensive hardware to handle scaling temporal conversion and object motion analysis Because the quality of conversion in DVD players is poor using 60Hz PAL output with a compatible TV provides a better picture than converting from NTSC to PAL Sound is not affected by video conversion Most NTSC players cant play PAL discs and most NTSC TVs dont work with PAL video A very small number of NTSC players such as Apex and SMC can convert PAL to NTSC External converter boxes are also available such as the Emerson EVC1595 350 Highquality converters are available from companies such as TenLab and Snell and Wilcox Beware some standardsconverting players cant convert anamorphic widescreen video for 43 displays see 1 22 The latest software tools such as Adobe After Effects and Canopus ProCoder do quite a good job of converting between PAL and NTSC at low cost but they are only appropriate for the production environment converting the video before it is encoded and put on the DVD See Snell and Wilcoxs The Engineers Guide to Standards Conversion and The Engineers Guide to Motion Compensation for technical details of conversion There are three differences between discs intended for playback on different TV systems picture dimensions and pixel aspect ratio 720x480 vs 720x576 display frame rate 29 97 vs 25 and surround audio options Dolby Digital vs MPEG audio See 3 4 and 3 6 for details Video from film is usually encoded at 24 framessec but is preformatted for one of the two required display rates Movies formatted for PAL display are usually sped up by 4 at playback so the audio must be adjusted accordingly before being encoded All PAL DVD players can play Dolby Digital audio tracks but not all NTSC players can play MPEG audio tracks PAL and SECAM share the same scanning format so discs are the same for both systems The only difference is that SECAM players output the color signal in the format required by SECAM TVs Note that modern TVs in most SECAM countries can also read PAL signals so you can use a player that only has PAL output The only case in which you need a player with SECAM output is for older SECAMonly TVs and youll probably need a SECAM RF connection see 3 1 A producer can choose to put 52560 NTSC video on one side of the disc and 62550 PAL on the other Most studios put Dolby Digital audio tracks on their PAL discs instead of MPEG audio tracks Because of PALs higher resolution the video usually takes more space on the disc than the NTSC version See 3 4 for more details There are actually three types of DVD players if you count computers Most DVD PC software and hardware can play both NTSC and PAL video and both Dolby Digital and MPEG audio Some PCs can only display the converted video on the computer monitor but others can output it as a video signal for a TV Bottom line NTSC discs with Dolby Digital audio play on over 95 of DVD systems worldwide PAL discs play on very few players outside of PAL countries This is irrespective of regions see 1 10 1 20 What about animation on DVD Doesnt it compress poorly Some people claim that animation especially handdrawn cell animation such as cartoons and anime does not compress well with MPEG2 or even ends up larger than the original Other people claim that animation is simple so it compresses better Neither is true Supposedly the jitter between frames caused by differences in the drawings or in their alignment causes problems An animation expert at Disney pointed out that this doesnt happen with modern animation techniques And even if it did the motion estimation feature of MPEG2 would compensate for it Because of the way MPEG2 breaks a picture into blocks and transforms them into frequency information it can have a problem with the sharp edges common in animation This loss of highfrequency information can show up as ringing or blurry spots along edges called the Gibbs effect However at the data rates commonly used for DVD this problem does not usually occur 1 21 Why do some discs require side flipping Cant DVDs hold four hours per side Even though DVDs duallayer technology see 3 3 allows over four hours of continuous playback from a single side some movies are split over two sides of a disc requiring that the disc be flipped partway through Most flipper discs exist because of producers who are too lazy to optimize the compression or make a duallayer disc Better picture quality is a cheap excuse for increasing the data rate in many cases the video will look better if carefully encoded at a lower bit rate Lack of duallayer production capability is also a lame excuse in 1997 very few DVD plants could make duallayer discs but this is no longer the case Very few players can automatically switch sides but its not needed since most movies less than 4 hours long can easily fit on one duallayer RSDL side The Film Vault at DVD Review includes a list of flipper discs Note A flipper is not the same as a disc with a widescreen version on one side and a pan & scan version or supplements on the other 1 22 Why is the picture squished making things look too skinny Answer RTFM You are watching an anamorphic picture intended for display only on a widescreen TV See 3 5 for technical details You need to go into the players setup menu and tell it you have a standard 43 TV not a widescreen 169 TV It will then automatically letterbox the picture so you can see the full width at the proper proportions In some cases you can change the aspect ratio as the disc is playing by pressing the aspect button on the remote control On most players you have to stop the disc before you can change aspect Some discs are labeled with widescreen on one side and standard on the other In order to watch the fullscreen version you must flip the disc over See 1 38 for more on letterboxing Apparently most players that convert from NTSC to PAL or viceversa see 1 19 cant simultaneously letterbox or pan and scan an anamorphic picture Solutions are to use a widescreen TV a multistandard TV or an external converter Or get a better player 1 23 Do all videos use Dolby Digital AC3 Do they all have 5 1 channels Most DVDVideo discs contain Dolby Digital soundtracks However its not required Some discs especially those containing only audio have PCM tracks Its possible but rare for a 62550 PAL disc to contain only MPEG audio Discs with DTS audio are required to also include a Dolby Digital audio track in a few rare cases they have a PCM track See 1 32 for more on DTS Dont assume that the Dolby Digital label is a guarantee of 5 1 channels A Dolby Digital soundtrack can be mono dual mono stereo Dolby Surround stereo etc For example Blazing Saddles and Caddyshack have monophonic soundtracks so the Dolby Digital soundtrack on these DVDs has only one channel Some DVD packaging has small lettering or icons under the Dolby Digital logo that indicates the channel configuration In some cases there is more than one Dolby Digital version of a soundtrack a 5 1channel track and a track specially remixed for stereo Dolby Surround Its perfectly normal for your DVD player to indicate playback of a Dolby Digital audio track while your receiver indicates Dolby Surround This means the disc contains a twochannel Dolby Surround signal encoded in Dolby Digital format See 3 6 for more audio details 1 24 Can DVDs have laser rot Laser rot is a colloquial term referring to various defects or deteriorations of optical discs There are rare cases of problems with DVDs but these have largely disappeared as manufacturing processes have improved The result of deterioration is that a disc which played perfectly when it was new develops problems later such as skipping freezing or picture breakup If a disc seems to go bad make sure its not dirty scratched or warped see 1 39 Try cleaning it and try playing it in other players If the disc consistently has problems it may have deteriorated If so theres nothing you can do to fix it so you should try to get a replacement from the supplier Before DVDs there were laserdiscs see 2 6 which were occasionally subject to what was commonly called laser rot the deterioration of the aluminum layer due to oxidation or other chemical change This usually results from the use of insufficiently pure metal for the reflective coating created during replication but can be exacerbated by mechanical shear stress due to bending warping or thermal cycles the large size of laserdiscs makes them flexible so that movement along the bond between layers can break the seal this is called delamination Deterioration of the data layer can be caused by chemical contaminants or gases in the glue or by moisture that penetrates the plastic substrate Like laserdiscs DVDs are made of two platters glued together but DVDs are more rigid and use newer adhesives DVDs are molded from polycarbonate which absorbs about ten times less moisture than the slightly hygroscopic acrylic PMMA used for laserdiscs DVDs can have delamination problems partly because some cases or players hold too tightly to the hub Delamination by itself can cause problems because the data layer is no longer at the correct distance from the surface and can also lead to oxidation Delamination may appear as concentric rings or a stain around the hub DVDs have few DVD rot problems Around 2003 there were reports of a few discs going bad possibly due to delamination contaminated adhesive chemical reactions or oxidation of the reflective layer see Yerington and Byrnes The most likely explanation for DVD deterioration is that during the early days of DVD 19972000 disc manufacturing processes and materials were not as good as they should have been Many improvements have been made since then so the minuscule problem seems to have become even more minuscule There are occasional reports of cloudiness or milkiness in DVDs which can be caused by improper replication An example is when the molten plastic cools off too fast or isnt under enough pressure to completely fill all the bumps in the mold see this archived article from TapeDisc Business for more Minimal clouding doesnt hurt playback and doesnt seem to deteriorate If you can see something with your naked eye it is probably not oxidation or other deterioration 1 25 Which titles are pan & scan only Why Some titles are available only in pan & scan because there was no letterbox or anamorphic transfer made from film See 3 5 for more info on pan & scan and anamorphic formats Since transfers cost 50000 to 100000 studios may not think a new transfer is justified In some cases the original film or rights to it are no longer available for a new transfer In the case of old movies they were shot full frame in the 1 37 academy aspect ratio so no widescreen version can be created Video shot with TV cameras such as music concerts is already in 43 format There is a list of pan & scan titles in the Film Vault at DVD Review and in the Internet Movie Database which also includes discs with both widescreen and pan & scan versions 1 26 How do I make the subtitles on my Pioneer player go away On the remote control press Subtitle then either Clear or 0 zero No need to use the menus 1 27 Why does playback sometimes freeze for a second Some movies especially those over two hours long or encoded at a high data rate are spread across two layers on one side of the disc When the player changes to the second layer the video and audio may freeze for a moment as the laser refocuses and finds its place The length of the pause depends on the player and on the layout of the disc The disc producer usually tries to choose a point where the pause will be less noticeable The pause is not a defect in the player or the disc See 1 18 for more information There is a list of layer switch points in the Film Vault at DVD Review Please send new times to infodvdreview com 1 28 The disc says Dolby Digital Why do I get 2channel surround audio Some discs many from Columbia TriStar have 2channel Dolby Surround audio or plain stereo on track one and 5 1channel audio on track two Some studios create separate sound mixes optimized for Dolby Surround or stereo and they feel the default track should match the majority of sound systems in use Unless you specifically select the 5 1channel track with the audio button on the remote or with the onscreen menu the player will play the default 2channel track Some players have a feature to automatically select the first 5 1 track Dolby Digital doesnt necessarily mean 5 1 channels See 1 23 and 3 6 1 29 Why doesnt the repeat AB feature work on some discs Almost all features of DVD such as search pause and scan can be disabled by the disc which can prevent the player from searching back to the beginning of a segment If the player uses time search to repeat a segment then a disc with fancy nonsequential title organization will not have timecode information the player needs to search In many cases the authors dont even realize they have prevented the use of the repeat feature 1 30 Whats the difference between first second and third generation DVD There is no meaningful answer to this question since youll get a different response from everyone you ask The terms 2nd generation and 3rd generation and so on refer both to DVDVideo players and to DVDROM drives In general they simply mean newer versions of DVD playback devices The terms havent been used yet to refer to DVD products that can record play video games or so on According to some people secondgeneration DVD players came out in the fall of 1997 and thirdgeneration players are those that came out in the beginning of 1998 According to others the second generation of DVD will be HD players see 2 12 that wont come out until 2003 or so Many conflicting variations occur between these extremes including the viewpoint that DTScompatible players or Divx players or progressivescan players or 10bit video players or players that can play The Matrix constitute the second third or fourth generation Things are a little more clear cut on the PC side where second generation DVD II usually means 2x DVDROM drives that can read CDRs and third generation DVD III usually means 5x or sometimes 2x or 4 8x or 6x DVDROM drives a few of which can read DVDRAMs and some of which are RPC2 format Some people refer to RPC2 drives or 10x drives as fourth generation See section 4 2 for more speed info See section 1 10 for an RPC2 explanation 1 31 Whats a hybrid DVD Do you really want the answer to this one Ok you asked for it A disc that works in both DVDVideo players and DVDROM PCs More accurately called an enhanced DVD A DVDROM disc that runs on Windows and Mac OS computers More accurately called a crossplatform DVD A DVDROM or DVDVideo disc that also contains Web content for connecting to the Internet More accurately called a WebDVD or Enhanced DVD A disc that contains both DVDVideo and DVDAudio content or SACD content More accurately called a universal or AV DVD The DVDAudio standard allows this The SACD standard does not officially allow video so its unclear what a given SACD player will do with a hybrid SACDDVDVideo disc Other variations of this hybrid would be a disc with both DVDAudio and SACD content or a disc with all three formats A disc with two layers one that can be read in DVD players and one that can be read in CD players More accurately called a legacy or CDcompatible disc There are at least three variations of this hybrid although most arent commercially available A 0 9 to 1 2mm CD substrate bonded to the back of a 0 6 mm DVD substrate One side can be read by CD players the other side by DVD players The resulting disc is 0 6 mm thicker than a standard CD or DVD which can cause problems in players with tight tolerances such as portables Sonopress the first company to announce this type calls it DVDPlus Its colloquially known as a fat disc Theres a variation in which an 8cm data area is embedded in a 12cm substrate so that a label can be printed on the outer ring A 0 6mm CD substrate bonded to a semitransparent 0 6 mm DVD substrate Both layers are read from the same side with the CD player being required to read through the semitransparent DVD layer causing problems with some CD players The trick is to make the semitransparent layer invisible to 780nm CD lasers This is the format used for hybrid SACDs A 0 6mm CD substrate with a special refractive coating that causes a 1 2 mm focal depth bonded to the back of a 0 6 mm DVD substrate One side can be read by CD players the other side by DVD players A 0 6mm DVD substrate bonded to a CDDVD hybrid substrate 2 in this subsection This disc would be readable by SACD and CD players on one side and by standard DVD players on the other since most standard DVD players are confused by a hybrid disc with only a semitransparent layer A disc with two layers or two sections one containing pressed DVDROM data and one containing rewritable DVDRAM or other media for recording More accurately called a DVDPROM mixedmedia or rewritable sandwich disc A disc with two layers on one side and one layer on the other More accurately called a DVD14 A disc with an embedded memory chip for storing custom usage data and access codes More accurately called a chipped DVD A disc that has a foreign language dubbed audio track and also has subtitles in that language Did I miss any 1 32 Whats the deal with DTS and DVD Digital Theater Systems Digital Surround is an audio encoding format similar to Dolby Digital It requires a decoder either in the player or in an external receiver See 3 6 2 for technical details Some people claim that because of its lower compression level DTS sounds better than Dolby Digital Others claim there is no meaningfully perceptible difference especially at the typical data rate of 768 kbps which is 60 more than Dolby Digital Because of the many variances in production mixing decoding and reference levels its almost impossible to accurately compare the two formats DTS usually produces a higher volume level causing it to sound better in casual comparisons DTS originally did all encoding in house but as of October 1999 DTS encoders became available for purchase DTS titles are often considered to be specialty items intended for audio enthusiasts so some DTS titles are also available in a Dolby Digitalonly version DTS is an optional format on DVD Contrary to uninformed claims the DVD specification has included an ID code for DTS since 1996 before the spec was even finalized Because DTS was slow in releasing encoders and test discs players made before mid 1998 and many since ignore DTS tracks A few demo discs were created in 1997 by embedding DTS data into a PCM track the same technique used with CDs and laserdiscs and these are the only DTS DVD discs that work on all players New DTScompatible players arrived in mid 1998 but theatrical DTS discs using the DTS audio stream ID did not appear until January 7 1999 they were originally scheduled to arrive in time for Christmas 1997 Mulan a directtovideo animation not the Disney movie with DTS soundtrack appeared in November 1998 DTScompatible players carry an official DTS Digital Out logo Dolby Digital or PCM audio is required on 52560 NTSC discs and since both PCM and DTS together dont usually leave enough room for quality video encoding of a fulllength movie essentially every disc with a DTS soundtrack also carries a Dolby Digital soundtrack This means that all DTS discs will work in all DVD players but a DTScompatible player and a DTS decoder are required to play the DTS soundtrack DTS audio CDs work on all DVD players because the DTS data is encapsulated into standard PCM tracks that are passed untouched to the digital audio output DTS discs often carry a Dolby Digital 2 0 track in Dolby Surround format instead of a full Dolby Digital 5 1 track 1 33 Why is the picture black and white or or tinted one color You may have connected one of the component outputs usually colored red green and blue of your DVD player to the composite input of your TV Connect yellow to yellow See section 3 2 for hookup details Also if youve hooked up component video check the three cables to make sure one of them hasnt become disconnected or developed a short and that they are connected in the correct order If you use an svideo connection the chroma wire maybe broken try a different cable or try the composite connection If you live in a PAL country most countries outside of the U S Canada and Japan you may be playing an NTSC disc in a PAL player but your PAL TV cant handle the signal If your player has a switch or onscreen setting to select the output format for NTSC discs choosing PAL 60 Hz should solve the problem See section 1 19 for more information 1 34 Why are both sides fullscreen when one side is supposed to be widescreen Many DVDs are labeled as having widescreen 169 format video on one side and standard 43 on the other If you think both sides are the same youre probably seeing uncompressed 169 on the widescreen side It may look like 43 fullframe but if you look carefully youll discover that the picture is horizontally compressed The problem is that your player has been set for a widescreen TV See 1 22 for details 1 35 Why are the audio and video out of sync There have been numerous reports of lip sync problems where the audio lags slightly behind the video or sometimes precedes the video Perception of a sync problem is highly subjective some people are bothered by it while others cant discern it Problems have been reported on a variety of players notably the Pioneer 414 and 717 models possibly all Pioneer models some Sony models including the 500 series and the PS2 some Toshiba models including the 3109 and some PC decoder cards Certain discs are also more problematic notably Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Lost In Space TRON The Parent Trap and Austin Powers The cause of the sync problem is a complex interaction of as many as four factors Improper sync in audiovideo encoding or DVDVideo formatting Poor sync during film production or editing especially postdubbing or looping Loose sync tolerances in the player Delay in the external decoderreceiver Factor 1 or 2 usually must be present in order for factor 3 or 4 to become apparent Some discs with severe sync problems have been reissued after being reencoded to fix the problem In some cases the sync problem in players can be fixed by pausing or stopping playback and then restarting or by turning the player off waiting a few seconds then turning it back on A good way to test your player is to simultaneously listen to the analog and digital outputs play the digital output through your stereo and the analog output through your TV If the audio echoes or sounds hollow then the player is delaying the signal and is thus the main cause of the sync problem Unfortunately there is no simple answer and no simple fix More complaints from customers should motivate manufacturers to take the problem more seriously and correct it in future players or with firmware upgrades Pioneer originally stated that altering the audiovisual synchronization of their players to compensate for the software quality would dramatically compromise the picture performance Since then Pioneer has fixed the problem on its new players If you have an older model check with Pioneer about an upgrade For many more details see Michael Ds Pioneer Audio Sync page 1 36 Why does the picture alternate between light and dark You are seeing the effects of Macrovision copy protection see 1 11 probably because you are running your DVD player through your VCR or VCRTV combo see 3 2 1 1 37 How do I find Easter eggs and other hidden features Some DVD movies contain hidden features often called Easter eggs These are extra screens or video clips hidden in the disc by the developers For example Dark City includes scenes from Lost in Space and the Twin Peaks movie buried in the biography pages of William Hurt and Keifer Sutherland Theres also an amusing Shell Beach game entwined throughout the menus On Mallrats perhaps indicating that DVD has already become too postmodern for its own good theres a hidden clip of the director telling you to stop looking for Easter eggs and do something useful Its more fun to search for hidden features on your own but if you need some help the best list is at DVD Review 1 38 How do I get rid of the black bars at the top and bottom The black bars are part of the letterbox process see 3 5 and in many cases you cant get rid of them even if you have a widescreen TV If you set the display option in your player to pan & scan sometimes called fullscreen or 43 instead of letterbox it wont do you much good since almost no DVD movies have been released with this feature enabled If you set the player to 169 widescreen output it will make the bars smaller but this is intended for use with widescreen TVs only you will get a tall stretched picture on a standard TV In some cases there may be both a fullscreen and a letterbox version of the movie on the same disc with a variety of ways to get to the fullscreen version usually only one works so you may have to try all three Check the other side of the disc if its twosided Look for a fullscreen choice in the main menu Use the aspect button on the remote control DVD was designed to make movies look as good as possible on TV Since most movies are wider than standard TVs letterboxing preserves the format of the theatrical presentation Nobody seems to complain that the top and bottom of the picture are cut off in theaters DVD is ready for TVs of the future which are widescreen For these and other reasons many movies on DVD are only available in widescreen format About two thirds of widescreen movies are filmed at 1 85 flat aspect ratio or less In this case the actual size of the image on your TV is the same for a letterbox version and a fullscreen version unless the pan & scan technique is used to zoom in which cuts off part of the picture In other words the picture is the same size with extra areas visible at the top and bottom in the fullscreen version In more other words letterboxing covers over the part of the picture that was also covered in the theater or it allows the entire widescreen picture to be visible for movies wider than 1 85 in which case the letterboxed picture is smaller and has less detail than a pan & scan version would If you have a widescreen TV make sure your player is set to 169 widescreen output Most widescreen movies will fill the screen but some movies are filmed at an aspect ratio of around 2 4 These movies are usually letterboxed to fit the 1 78 aspect ratio of your TV so theres nothing you can do about the black bars Just be happy theyre much thinner than they would be on a standard TV If theres not a fullscreen version of the movie on the disc one solution is to use a DVD player with a zoom feature to enlarge the picture enough to fill the screen This will cut off the sides of the picture but in many cases its a similar effect to the pan and scan process Just think of it as doityourself pan and scan For a detailed explanation of why most movie fans prefer letterboxing see the LetterboxWidescreen Advocacy Page For an explanation of anamorphic widescreen and links to more information and examples on other Web sites see 3 5 The best solution to this entire mess might be the FlikFX Digital Recomposition System the greatest advance in entertainment in 57 years 1 39 How should I clean and care for DVDs Since DVDs are read by a laser they are resistant to fingerprints dust smudges and scratches see 1 15 for more info However surface contaminants and scratches can cause data errors On a video player the effect of data errors ranges from minor video artifacts to frame skipping to complete unplayability So its a good idea to take care of your discs In general treat them the same way as you would a CD Your player cant be harmed by a scratched or dirty disc unless globs of nasty substances on it actually hit the lens Still its best to keep your discs clean which will also keep the inside of your player clean Dont attempt to play a cracked disc as it could shatter and damage the player It doesnt hurt to leave the disc in the player even if its paused and still spinning but leaving it running unattended for days on end might not be a good idea In general theres no need to clean the lens on your player since the air moved by the rotating disc keeps it clean However if you use a lens cleaning disc in your CD player you may want to do the same with your DVD player Its advisable to use a cleaning disc specifically designed for DVD players because there are minor differences in lens positioning between DVD and CD players Periodic alignment of the pickup head is not necessary Sometimes the laser can drift out of alignment especially after rough handling of the player but this is not a regular maintenance item Care and feeding of DVDs Handle only at the hub or outer edge Dont touch the shiny surface with your popcorngreasy fingers Store in a protective case when not in use Dont bend the disc when taking it out of the case and be careful not to scratch the disc when placing it in the case or in the player tray Make certain the disc is properly seated in the player tray before you close it Keep discs away from radiators heaters hot equipment surfaces direct sunlight near a window or in a car during hot weather pets small children and other destructive forces The DVD specification recommends that discs be stored at a temperature between 20 to 50 �C 4 to 122 �F with less than 15 �C 27 �F variation per hour at relative humidity of 5 to 90 percent Artificial light and indirect sunlight have no effect on replicated DVDs since they are made of polycarbonate polymer adhesives and metal usually aluminum or gold none of which are significantly affected by exposure to light Exposure to bright sunlight may affect recordable DVDs specifically writeonce DVDs DVDR and DVDR that use lightsensitive dyes Magnetic fields have no effect on DVDs so its ok to leave them sitting on your speakers Coloring the outside edge of a DVD with a green marker or any other color makes no difference in video or audio quality Data is read based on pit interference at 14 of the laser wavelength a distance of less than 165 nanometers A bit of dye that on average is more than 3 million times farther away is not going to affect anything NIST has prepared a 1page guide and a 50page guide to disc care Cleaning and repairing DVDs If you notice problems when playing a disc you may be able to correct them with a simple cleaning Do not use strong cleaners abrasives solvents or acids With a soft lintfree cloth wipe gently in only a radial direction a straight line between the hub and the rim Since the data is arranged circularly on the disc the micro scratches you create when cleaning the disc or the nasty gouge you make with the dirt you didnt see on your cleaning cloth will cross more error correction blocks and be less likely to cause unrecoverable errors Dont use canned or compressed air which can be very cold and may thermally stress the disc For stubborn dirt or gummy adhesive use water water with mild soap or isopropyl alcohol As a last resort try peanut oil Let it sit for about a minute before wiping it off There are commercial products that clean discs and provide some protection from dust fingerprints and scratches CD cleaning products work as well as DVD cleaning products If you continue to have problems after cleaning the disc you may need to attempt to repair one or more scratches Sometimes even hairline scratches can cause errors if they just happen to cover an entire error correction ECC block Examine the disc to find scratches keeping in mind that the laser reads from the bottom There are essentially two methods of repairing scratches 1 fill or coat the scratch with an optical material 2 polish down the scratch There are many commercial products that do one or both of these or you may wish to do it yourself with polishing compounds or toothpaste The trick is to polish out the scratch without causing new ones A mess of small polishing scratches may cause more damage than a big scratch As with cleaning polish only in the radial direction Libraries rental shops and other venues that need to clean a lot of discs may wish to invest in a commercial polishing machine that can restore a disc to pristine condition after an amazing amount of abuse Keep in mind that the data layer on a DVD is only half as deep as on a CD so a DVD can only be repolished about half as many times 1 40 Whats a progressive DVD player A progressivescan DVD player converts the interlaced 480i or 576i video from DVD into progressive 480p or 576p format for connection to a progressivescan display 31 5 kHz or higher Progressive players work with all standard DVD titles but look best with film source The result is a significant increase in perceived vertical resolution for a more detailed and filmlike picture Since computers use progressivescan monitors DVD PCs are by definition progressivescan players although quality varies quite a bit see 4 1 and 2 12 Theres enormous confusion about whether DVD video is progressive or interlaced Heres the one true answer Progressivesource video such as from film is usually encoded on DVD as interlaced field pairs that can be reinterleaved by a progressive player to recreate the original progressive video See 3 8 for further explanation of interlaced and progressive scanning You must use a progressivescan display in order to get the full benefit of a progressivescan player However all progressive players also include interlaced outputs so you can use one with a standard TV until you upgrade to a progressive TV You may have to use a switch on the back of the player to set it to interlaced output Toshiba developed the first progressivescan player SD5109 800 in mid 1998 but didnt release it until fall of 1999 because of copy protection concerns Panasonic also released a progressivescan player DVDH1000 3000 in fall of 1999 Many manufacturers have released progressive models since then at progressively cheaper prices pun intended Its also possible to buy an external line multiplier to convert the output of a standard DVD player to progressive scanning Converting interlaced DVD video to progressive video involves much more than putting film frames back together There are essentially three ways to convert from interlaced to progressive1 reinterleaving also called weave If the original video is from a progressive source such as film the two fields can be recombined into a single frame 2 Line doubling also called bob If the original video is from an interlaced source simply combining two fields will cause motion artifacts the effect is reminiscent of a zipper so each line of a single field is repeated twice to form a frame Better line doublers use interpolation to produce new lines that are a combination of the lines above and below The term line doubler is vague since cheap line doublers only bob while expensive line doublers those that contain digital signal processors can also weave 3 Fieldadaptive deinterlacing which examines individual pixels across three or more fields and selectively weaves or bobs regions of the picture as appropriate Chips to do this used to cost 10000 and up but the feature is now appearing in consumer DVD players 4 And theres also a fourth way called motionadaptive deinterlacing which examines MPEG2 motion vectors or does massive image processing to identify moving objects in order to selectively weave or bob regions of the picture as appropriate Most systems that do this well cost 50000 and up aside from the cool but defunct Chromatic Mpact2 chip There are three common kinds of deinterlacing systems1 Integrated This is usually best where the deinterlacer is integrated with the MPEG2 decoder so that it can read MPEG2 flags and analyze the encoded video to determine when to bob and when to weave Most DVD computers use this method 2 Internal The digital video from the MPEG2 decoder is passed to a separate deinterlacing chip The disadvantage is that MPEG2 flags and motion vectors may no longer available to help the deinterlacer determine the original format and cadence Some internal chips receive the repeatfirstfield and topfieldfirst flags passed from the decoder but not the progressivescan flag 3 External Analog video from the DVD player is passed to a separate deinterlacer line multiplier or to a display with a builtin deinterlacer In this case the video quality is slightly degraded from being converted to analog back to digital and often back again to analog However for highend projection systems a separate line multiplier which scales the video and interpolates to a variety of scanning rates may achieve the best results Most progressive DVD players use an internal deinterlacing chip usually from GenesisFaroudja Some use MPEG decoders with integrated deinterlacing Some such as Toshibas Super Digital Progressive players and Panasonics progressivescan player add 444 chroma oversampling which provides a slight quality boost from DVDs native 420 format Addon internal deinterlacers such as the Cinematrix and MSB Progressive Plus are available to convert existing players to progressivescan output Faroudja Silicon Image DVDO and Videon Omega line multipliers are examples of external deinterlacers A progressive DVD player has to determine whether the video should be linedoubled bobbed or reinterleaved weaved When reinterleaving filmsource video an NTSC DVD player also has to deal with the difference between film frame rate 24 Hz and TV frame rate 30 Hz Since the 23 pulldown trick cant be used to spread film frames across video fields there are worse motion artifacts than with interleaved video However the increase in resolvable detail more than makes up for it Advanced progressive players such as the Princeton PVD5000 and DVD computers can get around the problem by displaying at multiples of 24 Hz such as 72 Hz 96 Hz and so on A progressive player also has to deal with problems such as video that doesnt have clean cadence as when its edited after being converted to interlaced video when bad fields are removed during encoding when the video is speedshifted to match the audio track and so on Another problem is that many DVDs are encoded with incorrect MPEG2 flags so the reinterleaver has to recognize and deal with pathological cases In some instances its practically impossible to determine if a sequence is 30frame interlaced video or 30frame progressive video For example the documentary on Apollo 13 is interlaced video encoded as if it were progressive Other examples of improper encoding are Titanic Austin Powers Fargo More Tales of the City the Galaxy Quest theatrical trailer and The Big Lebowski makingof featurette One problem is that many TVs with progressive input dont allow the aspect ratio to be changed they assume all progressivescan input is anamorphic When a nonanamorphic 43 picture is sent to these TVs they distort it by stretching it out Before you buy a DTV make sure that it allows aspect ratio adjustment on progressive input Or get a player with an aspect ratio control option that windowboxes 43 video into a 169 rectangle by squeezing it horizontally and adding black bars on the side Because of the added scaling step this degrades picture quality but at least it gets around the problem Just as early DVD computers did a poor job of progressivescan display of DVDs the first generations of progressive consumer players are also a bit disappointing But as techniques improve and as DVD producers become more aware of the steps they must take to ensure good progressive display and as more progressive displays appear in homes the experience will undoubtedly improve bringing home theaters closer to real theaters For more on progressive video and DVD see part 5 and player ratings in the excellent DVD Benchmark series at Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity 1 41 Why doesnt disc X work in player Y The DVD specification is complex and open to interpretation DVDVideo title authoring is also very complex As with any new technology there are compatibility problems The DVDVideo standard has not changed substantially since it was finalized in 1996 but many players dont properly support it Discs have become more complex as authoring tools improve so recent discs often uncover engineering flaws in players Some discs behave strangely or wont play at all in certain players In some cases manufacturers can fix the problem with an upgrade to the player see 1 47 In other cases disc producers need to reauthor the title to correct an authoring problem or to work around a player defect Problems can also occur because of damaged or defective discs or because of a defective player If you have problems playing a disc try the following Check the list below to see if its a reported problem Also check the list of problem discs in DVD Reviews Film Vault and at InterActuals tech support page Try a newsgroup search at Google Try playing the disc a few more times If you dont get the exact same problem every time then its probably a defective or damaged disc Make sure the disc isnt dirty or scratched see 1 39 Try the disc in a different player Visit a friend or a nearby store that sells players If the disc plays properly in a different player then your player is likely at fault Contact the manufacturer of your player for a firmware upgrade Or if you bought the player recently you may wish to return it for a different model Try a different copy of the disc If the problem doesnt recur it indicates that your first copy was probably damaged or defective If more than one copy of the disc has problems in more than one player it may be a misauthored disc Contact the distributor or the studio about getting a corrected disc If its a recordable disc RRW your player might not be able to read it see 4 3 1 For other DVD and home theater problems try Doc DVD or DVD Digests Tech Support Zone If you have a Samsung 709 see the Samsung 709 FAQ For troubleshooting DVD on computers see 4 6 The Dell Inspiron 7000 DVD Movie List has Inspironspecific problems Below are problems reported by readers of this FAQ The FAQ author has not verified these claims and takes no responsibility for their accuracy Please report other confirmed problems Title Player Problem Solution various Polygram titles early Toshiba and Magnavox models wont load or freezes upgrade available from Toshiba service centers various Central Park Media anime titles similar problems as The Matrix any allregion title many JVC models rejects disc RCE titles see 1 10 Fisher DVDS1000 Sanyo Model DVD5100 world map and only plays on nonmodified players message contact tech SanyoFisher support for workaround The Abyss SE early Toshiba models disc 2 wont load or freezes upgrade available from Toshiba service centers many cheap players repeats scenes player doesnt properly handle seamless branching get upgrade from manufacturer Apex AD600A scenes play twice check with Apex for upgrade AI PAL region 2 Wharfdale 750 wont play Akira SE Pioneer DV37 DV737 DV525 freezes in several places fast forward to skip trouble spots Aliens 20th Anniversary Edition Pioneer DVS737 picture degrades after layer change American Beauty Awards Edition Toshiba SD3108 Philips DVD805 wont load upgrade from manufacturer service center Toshiba firmware 3 30 or newer American Pie Philips 940 freezes at layer change 11709 Any Given Sunday Pioneer Elite DVL90 wont load upgrade from Pioneer service center Arlington Road see Cruel Intentions Armageddon Panasonic A115U and A120U wont load unplug player with disc inserted plug in turn on Avengers TV series A&E Toshiba SD3108 locks up player upgrade available from Toshiba service centers Philips 930 935 wont load check with Philips for firmware upgrade Back to the Future Trilogy region 4 various players anecdote subpictures dont play properly Bats Apex AD 600A wont load check with Apex for upgrade Big Trouble in Little China Special Edition Panasonic SCDK3 wont load unplug player with disc inserted plug in turn on The Blair Witch Project some Toshiba players doesnt play properly upgrade available from Toshiba service centers Bruce Springsteen Live in Barcelona various players menu doesnt work or tour documentary doesnt play call Sony Pictures at 8002557514 for a new version of the disc Cheers Season 2 Apex AD3201 no audio Cruel Intentions some JVC and Yamaha players error in first release messes up parental controls causing other discs to not play reset the player or get the corrected version of the disc or set parental country code to AD with password of 8888 Deep Blue Sea similar problems as The Matrix Dinosaur many players JVCXV501BK Philips DVD781 CH Pioneer DV737 DV37 DV09 DVL919 DV525 DVL90 KV301C Sony 7700 Panasonic A300 Toshiba SD3109 RCA 5220 Denon DVD 2500 Magnavox DVD502AT Toshiba 21093109 JVC XVD2000XVD701 Oritron DVD600DVD100 Sylvania DVL100A and others wont load ejects disc freezes skips slow menus wont pauseforwardrewind sound cuts out authoring problem contact Disney for a replacement also see Disneys The Kid below Disneys The Kid many players Apex 600AD Philips 711 Pioneer DV737 RCA and others skips ejects disc freezes blue lines on screen authoring problem contact Disney for a replacement solution on Philips player put disc in drawer do not close drawer press 1 on remote to jump to chapter 1 Dragons Lair Toshiba SD21093109 before mid 1999 various upgrade available from Toshiba service centers most Samsung Aiwa various check with Samsung 8007267864 or Aiwa for firmware upgrade Enigma2002 Toshiba SD4700 wont play Entrapment JVC Sony 850 freezes check with JVC for firmware upgrade Sigma Hollywood Plus see The World Is Not Enough Everything Everything Underworld Toshiba SD3108 and SD3109 wont load upgrade available from Toshiba service centers Evolution Many computer DVD software players wont play contact studio for new version of disc Finding Nemo Pioneer DV563AS pixelization in spots especially Sea Turtle sequence Galaxy Quest most Samsung players freezes at chapter 7 check with Samsung 8007267864 for firmware upgrade Girl Interrupted Apex AD600A Shinco 2120 Smart DVDMP3000 others jumps to Features menu wont play movie press Resume on remote control upgrade available for Smart Gladiator Toshiba SD3108SD3109 Wharfedale DVD 750 others wont load contact studio for new version of disc The Godfather Collection bonus disc A few players various problems upgrade your player or get new disc from Paramount replacement disc works around player bugs Good Will Hunting Apex AD3201 wont play audio commentary Idle Hands see Cruel Intentions In the Heat of the Night Pioneer Elite DVL90 wont play In Too Deep Toshiba SD5109 wont play Dolby Digital audio unless PCM music video played first Independence Day Toshiba SD3108 and SD3109 wont load upgrade available from Toshiba service centers Philips DVD805 and DVD855 wont load check for upgrade from Philips many cheap players repeats scenes player doesnt properly handle seamless branching get upgrade from manufacturer Insomnia Toshiba SD1700 stutters and freezes The Last Broadcast GE 1105P wont load The Last Of the Mohicans see The World Is Not Enough The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers Extended Edition Aiwa XDDV370 discs 3 and 4 wont play check with Aiwa Lord Peter Wimsey The Nine Taylors Yamaha DVDC900 disc 2 wont load or freezes in menu Lost In Space Sharp freezes Creative DXR3 freezes audio out of sync check for updated drivers The Man With The Golden Gun a few firstgeneration players many software player garbled video after layer change might be a disc authoring error The Matrix various players various problems details at InterActual tech supportfor GE 1105P serial number beginning with 940 or lower get upgrade from GE see Samsung 709 FAQ Mission Impossible II Toshiba SD3108 wont load get upgrade from manufacturer service center Mission to Mars Toshiba SD3108 wont load get upgrade from manufacturer service center Monsters Inc Various players locks up near end of movie seems to be player flaws check for player upgrade Disney may reauthor disc with a workaround The Mummy Philips 930 935 wont load The Mummy Returns Zenith DVD 2200 Video skewed left or right on bonus material The Patriot Apex AD 600A wont play movie check with Apex for upgrade pressing Resume may work JVC XV511BK wont load check with JVC for upgrade The Perfect Storm Toshiba SD3108 wont load get upgrade from manufacturer service center Planet of the Apes Toshiba SD2109 PIP feature activates and locks up when the two ape generals fight The Princess Bride Special Edition Toshiba SD3109 freezes during first sword fight scene Saving Private Ryan all players distortion smearing flares in beach scene at end of ch 4 This is a deliberate camera effect in the film Stop returning discs Scary Movie Creative Encore 12x GE 1105P crashes in FBI warning try to skip past FBI warning check for bug fix from Creative The Simpsons The Complete Second Season Yamaha DVDC900 some special features on disc 4 cause player to crash The Sixth Sense Sigma Hollywood Plus MMSYSTEM275 error wait for a software update from Sigma Sleepy Hollow some Toshiba players doesnt play properly upgrade available from Toshiba service centers Snow White Windows 2000 and Windows XP doesnt play movie fix available from Microsoft Space Ace see Dragons Lair Stargate SE Magnavox 400AT freezes in directors commentary Stuart Little see Girl Interrupted The Three Kings LG DVD2310P wont play extras Thomas the Tank Engine see Girl Interrupted Tomorrow Never Dies Sharp 600UBush DVD2000 locks up playerwont load Universal Soldier Wharfedale 750 picture breakup after ch 30 might be a problem with the disc Wild Wild West Samsung DVD 709 Philips 930 935 GE 1105P wont load check with Samsung 8007267864 Philips or GE for firmware upgrade The World Is Not Enough Sigma Hollywood Plus MMSYSTEM275 error Wait for a software update from Sigma Might be related to trying to play in wrong region The World Is Not Enough region 2 Philips 750 stutters and freezes presumably a flaw in the player plays region 1 version ok Youve Got Mail various players various problems details at InterActual tech support 1 42 How do the parental control and multirating features work DVD includes parental management features for blocking playback and for providing multiple versions of a movie on a single disc Players including software players on PCs can be set to a specific parental level using the onscreen settings If a disc with a rating above that level is put in the player it wont play In some cases different programs on the disc have different ratings The level setting can be protected with a password A disc can also be designed so that it plays a different version of the movie depending on the parental level that has been set in the player By taking advantage of the seamless branching feature of DVD objectionable scenes are automatically skipped over or replaced during playback This requires that the disc be carefully authored with alternate scenes and branch points that dont cause interruptions or discontinuities in the soundtrack There is no standard way to identify which discs have multirated content Unfortunately very few multirating discs have been produced Hollywood studios are not convinced that there is a big enough demand to justify the extra work involved shooting extra footage recording extra audio editing new sequences creating branch points synchronizing the soundtrack across jumps submitting new versions for MPAA rating dealing with players that dont properly implement parental branching having video store chains refuse to carry discs with unrated content and much more If this feature is important to you let the studios know A list of studio addresses is available at DVD File and theres a Studio and Manufacturer Feedback area at Home Theater Forum You might also want to visit the Viewer Freedom site Multiratings discs include Kalifornia Crash Damage Embrace of the Vampire Poison Ivy Species II In most cases these discs provide uncut or unrated versions that are more intense than the original theatrical release Discs that use multistory branching not always seamless for a directors cut or special edition version include Dark Star Stargate SE The Abyss Independence Day and Terminator 2 SE 2000 release Also see multipath movies at Brilliant Digital Another option is to use a software player on a computer that can read a playlist telling it where to skip scenes or mute the audio Playlists can be created for the thousands of DVD movies that have been produced without parental control features ClearPlay seems to be the most successful product of this type A shareware Cinebit DVD Player did this but it has been withdrawn apparently because of legal threats from Nissim who seem determined to stifle the very market they claim to support A Canadian company Select Viewing is releasing software for customized DVD playback on Windows PCs A few similar projects are under development Yet another option is TVGuardian a device that attaches between the DVD player and the TV to filter out profanity and vulgar language The box reads the closed caption text and automatically mutes the audio and provides substitute captions for objectionable words Note that current versions of these devices dont work with digital audio connections and dont work with DVDs without NTSC Closed Captioning 1 43 Which discs include multiple camera angles Theres a euphemism in the DVD industry where multiangle titles spoken with the right inflection means adult titles However apart from thousands of XXXrated discs not very many mainstream DVDs have multiple angles since it takes extra work and limits playing time a segment with two angles uses up twice as much space on the disc Short Cinema Journal vol 1 was one of the first to use camera angles in the animated Big Story which is also available on the DVD Demystified first edition sample disc Ultimate DVD Gold or Platinum is another sample disc with examples of angles King Crimson Deja Vroom has excellent angles allowing you to focus on any of the musicians Other multiangle music discs include Dave Matthews Band Listener Supported Metallica Cunning Stunts Sarah McLachlan Mirrorball Some movies such as Detroit Rock City KISS video Ghostbusters SE Mallrats Suicide Kings Terminator 2 SE and Tomorrow Never Dies SE use multiple angles in supplements Some discs especially those from Buena Vista use the angle feature to show credits in the selected language usually with the angle key locked out You can get an incomplete list of multiangle discs by doing an extended search at DVD File or other sites with searchable databases see 1 6 1 44 Is it ok to put labels or magnetic strips on DVDs It depends on the label If a label or adhesive strip is heavy enough it can unbalance the disc and cause read errors or slow down the disc speed This is especially a problem with magnetic strips for library or rental store security As DVDROM drives get faster and faster an unbalanced becomes more critical DVD players and drives are designed to compensate for unbalanced discs so a thin light label is usually ok Pressuresensitive adhesives break down over time or may be weak to begin with so its possible for a label to come loose while the disc is spinning and damage the player or drive The best option is a ringshaped donut label that goes around the center of the disc As long as the circular label doesnt interfere with the player clamping onto the hub it should be ok If you have to use a noncircular sticker place it as close to the center as possible to minimize unbalancing Placing a second sticker straight across from the center will also help Highadhesion labels are best Writing with a marker in the clear not reflective area at the hub is better than using a sticker although theres not much room to write Its best to write inside a 44mm diameter since writing elsewhere with certain kinds of inks could possibly eat away the protective coating and damage the data layer underneath In most cases a better alternative for security is a case that can only be opened with special equipment at the register or checkout counter Barcodes stickers and security strips can be placed on the case without endangering discs or players This is especially good for doublesided discs which have no space for stickers There are fullsize round labels designed to go on recordable CDs and DVDs but they have been known to cause problems especially if not applied smoothly and straight A better but more expensive solution is to use an inkjet disc printer IMT Odixion Primera Rimage Trace Affex with printablesurface discs Some drives have the HP LightScribe feature where if you have software that supports LightScribe and you use special LightScribe discs with a photosensitive side after you record the disc you can put it back in the drive upside down to etch a label on the disc If you do use adhesive paper donut labels its best to get one of the devices that helps you center the label on the disc Worldlabel com has free templates for printing on CD and DVD adhesive labels 1 45 Whats the difference between Closed Captions and subtitles Closed Captions CC are a standardized method of encoding text into an NTSC television signal The text can be displayed by a TV with a builtin decoder or by a separate decoder All TVs larger than 13 inches sold in the US since 1993 have Closed Caption decoders Closed Captions can be carried on DVD videotape broadcast TV cable TV and so on Even though the terms caption and subtitle have similar definitions captions commonly refer to onscreen text specifically designed for hearing impaired viewers while subtitles are straight transcriptions or translations of the dialogue Captions are usually positioned below the person who is speaking and they include descriptions of sounds such as gunshots or closing doors and music Closed captions are not visible until the viewer activates them Open captions are always visible such as subtitles on foreign videotapes Closed Captions on DVDs are carried in a special data channel of the MPEG2 video stream and are automatically sent to the TV You cant turn them on or off from the DVD player Subtitles on the other hand are DVD subpictures which are fullscreen graphical overlays see 3 4 for technical details One of up to 32 subpicture tracks can be turned on to show text or graphics on top of the video Subpictures can also be used to create captions To differentiate from NTSC Closed Captions and from subtitles captions created as subpictures are usually called captions for the hearing impaired If this is all too confusing just follow this advice To see Closed Captions use the CC button on the TV remote To see subtitles or captions for the hearing impaired use the subtitle button on the DVD remote or use the onscreen menu provided by the disc Dont turn both on at once or theyll end up on top of each other Keep in mind that not all DVDs have Closed Captions or subtitles Also some DVD players dont reproduce Closed Captions at all See DVD Files A Guide to DVD Subtitles and Captioning Gary Robsons Caption FAQ and Joe Clarks DVD Accessibility for more about Closed Captions Note that DVD does not support PAL Teletext the muchimproved European equivalent of Closed Captions 1 46 What do the D codes on region 2 DVDs mean Some nonU S discs from Warner MGM and Disney are marked with a distribution zone number D1 identifies a UKonly release These often have Englishonly soundtracks with BBFC censoring D2 and D3 identify European DVDs that are not sold in the UK and Ireland These often contain uncut or less cut versions of films D4 identifies DVDs that are distributed throughout all of Europe region 2 and AustraliaNew Zealand region 4 1 47 Whats firmware and why would I need to upgrade it DVD players are simple computers Each one has a software program that controls how it plays discs Since the software is stored on a chip its called firmware Some players have flaws in their programming that cause problems playing certain DVDs In order to correct the flaws or in some cases to work around authoring errors on popular discs the player must be upgraded with a replacement firmware chip This usually has to be done in a factory service center although some players can be upgraded simply by inserting a CD See 1 41 for more on compatibility problems 1 48 Are there discs to help me test optimize or show off my audiovideo system A few DVDs are designed specifically for testing and optimizing video and audio playback Some also demonstrate special features of DVD AVIA Guide to Home Theater Ovation Software extensive video and audio test patterns and setup tutorials Video Essentials Joe Kane Productions the original system optimization disc from the master Ultimate DVD series Henninger Interactive examples of many DVD features plus test and demo material DVD Demystified demo disc examples of almost every DVD feature plus demo material Here are a few movies that work especially well for demonstrating DVDs video and audio quality Dinosaur DirecttoDVD digital transfer gives sharp clear images good bass on footsteps and fights The Eagles Hell Freezes Over Outstanding 5 1channel music DTS only Dolby Digital tracks are 2channel The Fifth Element Excellent video especially in beginning desert scenes with stellar audio as well Gladiator Stunning surround audio with brilliantly mixed orchestration O Brother Where Art Thou Beautiful color and incredible detail check out facial stubble with wellrendered shadows Terminator 2 Judgment Day Ultimate Edition Great video for shadows and reds highly dimensional audio Toy Story 2 Perfect alldigital transfer results in sharp rich images sound effects are nicely staged U571 Intense surround effects Earthshaking bass makes a great subwoofer demo Films on Disc has a list of ISF DVD citations examples of the best of the craft 1 49 What do Sensormatic and Checkpoint mean Sensormatic and Checkpoint are two pointofsale security systems They use little metal tags inserted into DVD packaging to set off an alarm if you go through the sensors at the store entrance without having the tags deactivated during checkout The tags are placed in the packages at the replication plant so that it doesnt have to be done at the store This is called source tagging The tags are not placed on the discs themselves and have nothing to do with whether a DVD will play or not There is RFbased technology that can make DVDs unplayable until they are passed through an activation field at checkout but it hasnt been commercially deployed 1 50 What are Superbit Infinifilm and other variations of DVD There is one single DVDVideo standard However within the DVDVideo format there is a great deal of flexibility in the way discs can be created Different studios have come up with brand names for their particular implementations of advanced features Theres nothing extraordinary about any particular variation other than a studio spending a lot of time and effort making it work well and promoting it These kinds of advanced DVDs should play on most players but may reveal more player bugs than standard discs see 1 41 Superbit DVDs from Columbia TriStar use a high data rate for the video to improve picture quality Additional language tracks and other extras are left off the disc to make room for more video data and for a DTS audio track In most cases the difference is subtle but it does improve the experience on highend players and progressivescan displays See superbitdvd com for marketing fluff Infinifilm DVDs from New Line let you watch a movie with popups that direct you to extra content such as an interview behindthescenesfootage or historical information See infinifilm com for more hype DisneyDVD is Walt Disney Studios own name for DVDs with special features but nothing especially more special than what other DVD producers put on their special edition discs 1 51 I dont know the parental control password for my player What do I do Most DVD players allow you to lock out discs above a certain rating see 1 42 The rating level is protected by a password so that children or spouses cant change it If you dont know the password you wont be able to play some discs You might be able to clear the password by resetting the player see the user manual or unplugging it for a few days In some cases you might be able to use the default password 0000 9999 or 3308 Otherwise youll have to call the customer service number of the manufacturer and see if they can help you Make sure you speak in a deep voice so they dont think you are a kid trying to hack into his parents player 1 52 Can my DVD player get a virus Theres almost no chance your DVD player can be infected with a virus of the kind that infect computer software DVD players have simple computers in them that run commands from the disc as it plays but memory is reset when you press Stop or eject the disc The firmware in some DVD players can be upgraded by inserting a special disc see 1 47 so its theoretically possible someone could make a disc that damages the firmware of a player but its highly unlikely and would only affect a few models 1 53 Will xrays hurt DVDs No Xray machines such as those used for airport security have no effect on storebought DVDs or on DVDs that you have recorded R RW or RAM format 1 54 Why does a little camera sometimes pop up on the screen Your player is telling you that there are multiple camera angles or multiple video views on the disc You can use the Angle key on the remote control to switch angles On some players you need to press the Info or Display key to bring up an onscreen interface to change angles see your manual for details You can turn off angle notification in the preferences or setup menu of some players but on other players it cant be turned off 2 1 Will DVD replace VCRs Eventually DVD player sales exceeded VCR sales in 2001 DVD recorders see 1 14 will hasten the death of VCRs once the price difference is small enough DVDs have many advantages over tapes such as no rewinding quick access to any part of a recording and fundamentally lower technology cost for hardware and disc production Some projections show DVD recorder sales passing VCR sales in 2005 By 2010 VHS may be as dead as vinyl records were in 2000 2 2 Will DVD replace CD CDROMs and recordable CDs will probably never disappear since they are cheaper and can be use instead of DVD when the extra capacity isnt needed Likewise CD audio discs will probably never be replaced by DVDVideo or DVDAudio discs since CDs are cheap and simple to make However DVDROM drives and recordable DVD drives will eventually replace CDROM drives and CDRW drives in computers Most manufacturers plan to cease CD drive production in favor of DVD drives once they are cheap enough Because DVDROM drives can read CDROMs and because DVD recordable drives can write CDR and CDRW discs there is a compatible forward migration path 2 3 How does DVD compare with Bluray Disc BD The Bluray Disc BD format released in 2006 was developed by most of the same companies that developed DVD Its the next generation HD version of DVD where HD means both high definition better video and audio and high density more storage capacity BDs come in 25 and 50Gbyte capacities which can easily hold hours of highdefinition video at resolutions of 1280x720 or 1920x1080 with multichannel audio tracks in compressed or uncompressed format The interactivity of DVD has been significantly extended for BD with menus that can pop up over the video as it plays A version of the Java programming language is built into every BD player so BDs can include games and other sophisticated programs There is also an Internetconnected version called BDLive BDLive discs require a BDLive player to work Jim has been working on a BD FAQ for several years now but hasnt found time to get it into shape to post In the meantime you can buy his book Bluray Disc Demystified or see Hugh Bennetts Bluray Disc BD FAQ for more information 2 3 1 Is BD compatible with DVD You cant play BDs in a DVD player You can play DVDs and CDs in a BD player In other words if you want to move to highdefinition movies on BD you will need a new player but your collection of DVDs will play just fine in the new player 2 3 2 What about the other HD formats Nextgeneration DVD was actually under development before DVD came out but didnt begin to emerge until 2003 and the formats were not used for movies until 2006 Some highdefinition optical formats use the original DVD physical format but depend on new video encoding technology such as H 264 and VC1 to fit highdefinition video in the space that previously held only standarddefinition video Highdensity formats use blue or violet lasers to read smaller pits increasing data capacity to around 15 to 30 GB per layer Highdensity formats use highdefinition MPEG2 video for compatibility with ATSC and DVB HD broadcasts see 2 9 and also use advanced encoding formats such as AVC H 264 and VC1 supporting 720p and 1080p video In early 2008 Bluray won the war and became the dominant HD optical format for entertainment when Toshiba officially threw in the towel for HD DVD Heres a summary of the contenders some of which are still around Format Backers Data depth Laser Video Audio Capacity single layerdual layer Data rate Bluray BD BluRay Disc Association BDA 0 1 mm Blue 405 nm MPEG2 HD H 264 VC1 PCM Dolby Digital DTS HD 27G 50G 36 Mbps HD DVD DVD Forum 0 6 mm Blue 405 nm MPEG2 SDHD H 264 VC1 PCM Dolby TrueHD MLP Dolby Digital DTS HD 15G 30G ROM 20G 40G recordable 36 Mbps WMV HD Microsoft 0 6 mm Red 650 nm WMV9 WMA9 4 7G 8 5G standard DVD 22 Mbps EVD eWorld Govt of China 0 6 mm Red 650 nm HD MPEG2 later AVS ExAC na 8 5G ROM 22 Mbps FVD AOSRAITRI Taiwan 0 6 mm Red 650 nm WMV9 1280x720 WMA9 6G 11G 25 05 Mbps VC1 is the SMPTE standard based on Microsofts Windows Media Series 9 Nextgeneration discs do not play on standard DVD players Even redlaser discs which the player may be able to physically read require new circuitry to decode and display the highdef video Redlaser discs can play on DVD PCs with the right software for example HD versions of DVDs using Microsoft HDWMV were available in 2003 Bluelaser discs require new optical assemblies and controllers Nextgeneration players read standard DVDs as well as audio CDs Bluray Disc BD Bluray is a highdensity physical format that holds 25 GB per layer using a blueultraviolet laser and a 0 1mm data depth Because of the 0 1mm cover layer it required significant changes to production equipment Bluray was initially intended for home recording professional recording and data recording Sony released the first BD recorder in Japan in April 2003 although it was designed for home recording only not for playing prerecorded HD movies and only worked with Japans digital HD broadcast system Massmarket distribution of prerecorded movies came later after the readonly format called BDROM was developed Primary Bluray backers were Dell Hitachi HP LG Panasonic Philips Pioneer Mitsubishi Samsung Sharp Sony and Thomson Technical details 25 GB per layer using 0 1mm recording depth to reduce aberration from disc tilt 405nm blueviolet semiconductor with 0 85 NA numerical aperture lens design to provide 0 32 �m track pitch half that of DVD and as small as 0 138 �m pit length Variations include 23 3 GB capacity with 0 160�m minimum pit length used by Sonys Professional Disc system and 25 GB capacity with 0 149�m minimum pit length The physical discs uses phasechange groove recording on a 12cm diameter 1 2mm thick disc similar to DVDRW and DVDRW 36 Mbps data transfer rate Recording capacity on a single layer is about 2 hours of HD video at 28 Mbps or about 10 hours of standarddefinition video at 4 5 Mbps HD DVD and CHDVD The DVD Forum developed a nextgeneration format initially called Advanced Optical Disc AOD and later christened HD DVD HD DVD is a modification of the original DVD physical format to enable about 15 GB per layer using a blueultraviolet readout laser to handle smaller pits and closer tracks The same 0 6mm data depth as DVD is used HD DVD is designed to improve data capacity while theoretically being able to use existing replication equipment It was primarily supported by Toshiba and Microsoft with Intel jumping on board late in the game There was also a subformat called HD DVD9 that put HD DVD video on standard duallayer DVD9 discs It was essentially a compatiblebutcheapertoreplicate companion to bluelaser HD DVD A 2hour movie can fit on a DVD9 at data rates of 6 to 7 Mbps Given advances in video compression technology its possible to get highdefinition quality of at least 720p24 at these data rates 720 lines of progressive video at 24 framessecond Shorter movies could be encoded in 1080p24 format Although Toshiba and the DVD Forum abandoned HD DVD in early 2008 the format lives on in China The DVD Forum licensed the specifications to the China High Definition DVD Industry Association CHDA which is developing a China High Definition DVD CHDVD format by adding homegrown audio and video encoding formats CHDVD uses a different modulation technique which makes the discs incompatible with other HD DVD players WMV HD WMV HD isnt really a new format Microsofts highdefinition video format came on standard duallayer DVDs and played in Windows PCs with enough power 2 4 to 3 GHz As of 2005 about 40 titles were available in WMV HD format usually with both a standard DVD and a WMV HD DVD in the package This was an interim format that disappeared after HD DVD and BD came out but its still a viable option for publishing highdefinition video on DVD EVD A governmentbacked consortium of companies in China called eWorld developed a domestic version of DVD called EVD Enhanced Versatile Disc EVD is an aggressive program to standardize on technology developed within China but in order to realistically release products the early phases borrow from existing standards EVD players released in December 2003 used standard red lasers and MPEG HD video along with Chinas own ExAC audio format The plan was to switch to a Chinese video format AVS in 2004 but as of 2008 AVS was still not finalized Future versions were planned to use multilevel red laser and multilevel blue laser recording where the pit depth is varied to achieve higher density but the EVD format never achieved much success and is fading out EVD was ostensibly developed to reduce reliance on and cost of nonChinese patents but ironically all EVD players play DVD so nothing has changed in the short term FVD The Advanced Optical Storage Research Alliance AOSRA formed by Taiwans Industrial Technology Research Institute ITRI developed its own tweaked redlaser format called Forward Versatile Disc FVD The track pitch was reduced from 0 74�m to 0 64�m to increase capacity to 5 4 GB with the potential to hit 6 GB 9 8 to 11 GB with dual layers Microsofts WM9 is used for video and audio encoding So far even Taiwanese companies seem to be paying more attention to BD than FVD AOSRA also developed its own variations of 0 6mm and 0 1mm bluelaser formats but they may never make it out of the research lab 2 3 2 1 Which format will win Bluray or HD DVD This was the burning question for many years as HD DVD and Bluray duked it out in the marketplace and court of public opinion The question has been answered but its left here in the FAQ for historical flavor Before January 2008 no one really knew the answer to this question despite myriad strong opinions Bluray had more consumer companies supporting it but HD DVD was cheaper and had Microsoft behind it What made it uncertain was that the Hollywood studios were split roughly 5050 between the two formats with Warner Bros releasing titles for both formats But on January 4 2008 Warner completely changed the game when it announced that it would support Bluray exclusively after May Successful formats are driven by content and suddenly Bluray had the lions share of the content Rumors circulated that Toshiba and Sony had each offered increasingly large payments to Warner and that Toshiba thought it had won the tussle by getting Fox to switch to HD DVD which would have brought Warner off the fence Fox allegedly bailed out at the last minute possibly because of a 120 million payment from Sony and Warner was said to have received around 400 million from Sony Given Foxs strong support for Bluray from early on parts of this story are hard to swallow but Sony was apparently writing large checks in an effort to end the stalemate and get on with business Toshiba execs were clearly shellshocked by Warners announcement cancelling their planned CES press conference and recalling execs to Japan On February 19 2008 Toshiba officially announced that it would stop making HD DVD players and would focus on other areas such as flash memory Later in an aboutface that smacked of sour grapes Toshiba introduced highpowered hardware that it claimed could make standard DVDs look as good as HD 2 4 Is CD compatible with DVD This is actually many questions with many answers covered in the following sections Note the differentiation between DVD general case and DVDROM computer data 2 4 1 Is CD audio CDDA compatible with DVD Yes All DVD players and drives will read audio CDs Red Book This is not actually required by the DVD spec but so far all manufacturers have made their DVD hardware read CDs On the other hand you cant play a DVD in a CD player The pits are smaller the tracks are closer together the data layer is a different distance from the surface the modulation is different the error correction coding is new etc Also you cant put CD audio data onto a DVD and have it play in DVD players Red Book audio frames are different than DVD data sectors 2 4 2 Is CDROM compatible with DVDROM Yes All DVDROM drives will read CDROMs Yellow Book Software on a CDROM will run fine in a DVDROM system However DVDROMs are not readable by CDROM drives 2 4 3 Is CDR compatible with DVD Sometimes The problem is that most CDRs Orange Book Part II are invisible to DVD laser wavelength because the dye used to make the CDR doesnt reflect the beam Some firstgeneration DVDROM drives and many DVD players cant read CDRs The formulation of dye used by different CDR manufacturers also affects readability That is some brands of CDR discs have better reflectivity at DVD laser wavelength but even these dont reliably work in all players The common solution is for the DVD player or drive to use two lasers at different wavelengths one for reading DVDs and the other for reading CDs and CDRs Variations on the theme include Sonys dual discrete optical pickup with switchable pickup assemblies with separate optics dualwavelength lasers initially deployed on Sonys Playstation 2 Samsungs annular masked objective lens with a shared optical path Toshibas similar shared optical path using an objective lens masked with a coating thats transparent only to 650nm light Hitachis switchable objective lens assembly and Matsushitas holographic dualfocus lens The MultiRead logo guarantees compatibility with CDR and CDRW media but unfortunately few manufacturers are using it Bottom line If you want a DVD player that can read CDR discs look for a dual laser twin laser or dual optics feature An effort to develop CDR Type II media compatible with both CD and DVD wavelengths was abandoned DVDROM drives cant record on CDR or any other media but a few combination DVDROMCDRW drives can write to CDR and CDRW Most newer recordable DVD drives see 4 3 can also record on CDR or CDRW CDR burners cant read or write DVD discs of any kind There are no upgrades to convert CDR drives to DVDR since this would cost more than purchasing a new DVDR drive 2 4 4 Is CDRW compatible with DVD Usually CDRewritable Orange Book Part III discs have a smaller reflectivity difference requiring new automaticgaincontrol AGC circuitry in CDROM drives and CD players Most existing CDROM drives and CD players cant read CDRW discs The OSTA MultiRead standard addresses this and some DVD manufacturers have suggested they will support it The optical circuitry in even firstgeneration DVDROM drives and DVD players is usually able to read CDRW discs since CDRW does not have the invisibility problem of CDR see 2 4 3 Most newer recordable DVD drives see 4 3 can also record on CDR or CDRW CDRW burners cant read or write DVD discs of any kind 2 4 5 Is Video CD compatible with DVD Sometimes Its not required by the DVD spec but its trivial to support the Video CD White Book standard since any MPEG2 decoder can also decode MPEG1 from a Video CD About two thirds of DVD players can play Video CDs Most Panasonic RCA Samsung and Sony models play Video CDs Japanese Pioneer models play Video CDs but American models older than the DVL909 dont Toshiba players older than models 2100 3107 and 3108 dont play Video CDs VCD resolution is 352x288 for PAL and 352x240 for NTSC The way most DVD players and Video CD players deal with the difference is to chop off the extra lines or add blank lines When playing PAL VCDs the Panasonic and RCA NTSC players apparently cut 48 lines 17 off the bottom Sony NTSC players scale all 288 lines to fit Because PAL VCDs are encoded for 25 fps playback of 24 fps film there is usually a 4 speedup Playing time is shorter and the audio is shifted up in pitch unless it was digitally processed before encoding to shift the pitch back to normal This also happens with PAL DVDs see 1 19 All DVDROM computers can play Video CDs with the right software Standard VCD players cant play DVDs Note Many Asian VCDs carry two soundtracks by putting one language on the left channel and another on the right The two channels are mixed together into babel on a stereo system unless you adjust the balance or disconnect one input to get only one channel For more on Video CD see Glenn Sanderses Video CD FAQ at CDPage or Russil Wvongs Video CD FAQ 2 4 6 Is Super Video CD compatible with DVD Not generally Super Video CD SVCD is an enhancement to Video CD that was developed by a Chinese governmentbacked committee of manufacturers and researchers partly to sidestep DVD technology royalties and partly to create pressure for lower DVD player and disc prices in China The final SVCD spec was announced in September 1998 winning out over CCubes China Video CD CVD and HQVCD from the developers of the original Video CD In terms of video and audio quality SVCD is in between Video CD and DVD using a 2x CD drive to support 2 2 Mbps VBR MPEG2 video at 480x480 NSTC or 480x576 PAL resolution and 2channel MPEG2 Layer II audio As with DVD it can overlay graphics for subtitles Its technically easy to make a DVDVideo player compatible with SVCD but its being done mostly on Asian DVD player models The Philips DVD170 player can be upgraded using a special disc to play SVCD discs SVCD players cant play DVDs since the players are based on CD drives See Jukka Ahos Super Video CD Overview and Super Video CD FAQ for more info 2 4 7 Is Picture CD or Photo CD compatible with DVD Sometimes Because Picture CDs and Photo CDs are usually on CDR media they suffer from the CDR problem see 2 4 3 That aside some DVD players can play Picture CDs Only a few can play Photo CDs Most DVDROM drives will read Picture CDs or Photo CDs if they read CDRs since its trivial to support the XA and Orange Book multisession standards Picture CDs are designed to work with Windows Photo CDs require specific support from an application or an OS Photos can be put on recordable DVDs using the DVDVideo slideshow feature which works on all DVD players See 5 8 2 4 8 Is CDi compatible with DVD In general no DVD players do not play CDi Green Book discs Philips once announced that it would make a DVD player that supported CDi but it never appeared Some people expected Philips to create a DVDi format in an attempt to breathe a little more life into CDi and recover a bit more of the billion or so dollars they invested in it A DVDROM PC with a CDi card should be able to play CDi discs There are also CDi movies that use the CDi Digital Video format that was the precursor to Video CD Early CDi DV discs wont play on DVD players or VCD players but newer CDi movies which use the standard VCD format will play on any player that can play VCDs see 2 4 5 See Jorg Kennis CDi FAQ for more information on CDi 2 4 9 Is Enhanced CD compatible with DVD Yes DVD players will play music from enhanced music CDs Blue Book CD Plus CD Extra and DVDROM drives will play music and read data from enhanced CDs Older ECD formats such as mixed mode and track zero pregap hidden track should also be compatible but there is a problem with Microsoft and other CDDVDROM drivers skipping track zero 2 4 10 Is CDG compatible with DVD Only a few players such as the Pioneer DVL9 player and Pioneer karaoke DVD models DVK800 and DVK1000 support CDG discs Most DVD players dont support this mostly obsolete format All DVDROM drives can read the CDG information but special software is required to make use of it 2 4 11 Is CDV compatible with DVD Sort of CDV sometimes called Video Single is actually a weird combination of CD and laserdisc Part of the disc contains 20 minutes of digital audio playable on any CD or DVD player The other part contains 5 minutes of analog video and digital audio in laserdisc format playable only on a CDVcompatible laserdisc player Pioneers combination DVDlaserdisc players are the only DVD players that can play CDVs Standard laserdiscCDV players cant play DVDs See 2 5 for more LD info 2 4 12 Is MP3 compatible with DVD Not officially MP3 is the MPEG Layer 3 audio compression format MP3 is not MPEG3 which doesnt exist The DVDVideo spec allows only Layer 2 for MPEG audio MP2 However MP3 files can be played from DVD on any computer with a DVDROM drive and many DVD players particularly those manufactured in Asia can play MP3 CDs However most DVD players cant play MP3 DVDs because they are shortsightedly designed to only look for MP3 files on CDs Check the player list at DVDRHelp com for players that can play MP3 CDs or MP3 DVDs 2 4 13 Is HDCD compatible with DVD Yes Pacific Microsonics HDCD highdefinition compatible digital is an encoding process that enhances audio CDs so that they play normally in standard CD and DVD players and allegedly sound better than normal CDs yet produce an extra 4 bits of precision 20 bits instead of 16 when played on CD and DVD players equipped with HDCD decoders 2 5 Is laserdisc compatible with DVD No Standard DVD players will not play laserdiscs and you cant play a DVD disc on any standard laserdisc player Laserdisc uses analog video DVD uses digital video they are very different formats Pioneer makes combo players that play laserdiscs and DVDs and also CDVs and audio CDs 2 6 Will DVD replace laserdisc When this question was first entered in the FAQ in 1996 before DVD was available many people wondered if DVD would replace laserdisc the 12inch optical disc format that had been around since 1978 Some argued that DVD would fail and its adherents would come groveling back to laserdisc After DVD was released it soon became clear that it had doomed laserdisc to quick obscurity Pioneer Entertainment the longtime champion of laserdisc abandoned laserdisc production in the U S in June of 1999 This was sooner than even Pioneer thought possible in September 1998 Pioneers president Kaneo Ito said the company expected laserdisc products to be in the market for another oneandahalf to two years although Pioneer did continue to release small runs in Japan until 2001 Laserdisc still fills niches in education training and video installations but its fading even there Existing laserdisc players and discs will be around for a while though essentially no new discs are being produced There were about 18000 laserdisc titles in the US and a total of over 35000 titles worldwide that could be played on over 7 million laserdisc players See Julien Wilks Laserdisc Database for the most extensive list of titles It took DVD several years to reach this level and there are still rare titles available on laserdisc but not on DVD One bright point is that laserdiscs can now be had at bargain prices 2 7 How does DVD compare to laserdisc Features DVD has the same basic features as CLV LD scan pause search and CAV LD freeze slow and adds branching multiple camera angles parental control video menus interactivity etc although some of these features are not available on all discs Capacity Singlelayer DVD holds over 2 hours duallayer holds over 4 hours CLV LD holds one hour per side CAV holds half an hour A CAV laserdisc can hold 104000 still images DVD can hold thousands of still pictures accompanied by hundreds of hours of audio and text Convenience An entire movie fits on one side of a DVD so theres no need to flip the disc or wait for the player to do it DVDs are smaller and easier to handle DVD players can be portable similar to CD players Discs can be easily and cheaply sent through the mail On the other hand laserdiscs have larger covers for better art and text Noise Most LD players make a whirring noise that can be heard during quiet segments of a movie Most DVD players are as quiet as CD players Audio LD can have better quality on Dolby Surround soundtracks stored in uncompressed PCM format DVD has better quality on Dolby Digital or music only PCM LD has 2 audio tracks analog and digital whereas DVD has up to 8 audio tracks LD uses PCM audio sampled with 16 bits at 44 1 kHz DVD LPCM audio can use 16 20 or 24 bit samples at 48 or 96 kHz although PCM is not used with most movies LD has surround audio in Dolby Surround Dolby Digital AC3 and DTS formats 5 1channel surround sound is available by using one channel of the analog track for AC3 or both channels of the digital track for DTS DVD uses the same Dolby Digital surround sound usually at a higher data rate of 448 kbps and can optionally include DTS at data rates up to 1536 kbps compared to LDs 1411 kbps but in practice DTS data rates are often 768 kbps DVD players convert Dolby Digital to Dolby Surround The downmixing combined with the effects of compression often results in lowerquality sound than from LD Dolby Surround tracks Video DVD usually has better video LD suffers from degradation inherent in analog storage and in the composite NTSC or PAL video signal DVD uses digital video and even though its heavily compressed most professionals agree that when properly and carefully encoded its virtually indistinguishable from studio masters This doesnt mean that the video quality of DVD is always better than LD Only that it can be better Also keep in mind that the average television is of insufficient quality to show much difference between LD and DVD Home theater systems or HDTVs are needed to take full advantage of the improved quality Resolution In numerical terms DVD has 345600 pixels 720x480 which is 1 3 times LDs approximately 272160 pixels 567x480 Widescreen DVD has 1 7 times the pixels of letterboxed LD or 1 3 times anamorphic LD As for lines of horizontal resolution DVD has about 500 whereas LD has about 425 more info in 3 4 1 In analog output signal terms typical luma frequency response maintains full amplitude to between 5 0 and 5 5 MHz This is below the 6 75 MHz native frequency of the MPEG2 digital signal Chroma frequency response is onehalf that of luma Laserdisc frequency response usually begins to fall off at 3 MHz All figures are for NTSC not PAL Legacy titles Some movies on laserdisc will probably never appear on DVD see Julien Wilks Laserdisc Database Availability DVD players and discs are available for purchase and rental in thousands of outlets and on the Internet LD players and discs are becoming hard to find Price Lowcost DVD players are cheaper than the cheapest LD player Most movies on DVD cost less than on LD Restrictions For those outside the US regional coding see 1 10 is a definite drawback of DVD For some people Macrovision copy protection see 1 11 is an annoyance Laserdisc has no copy protection and does not have regional differences other than PAL vs NTSC Recordable DVD recorders are increasingly affordable Laserdisc recording at a low of 250 per disc was never available to general consumers For more laserdisc info see Leopolds FAQ at www cs tut fi~leopoldLdFAQindex html and Bob Nilands FAQs and overview at www accessone comrjnlaserlaserdisc html overview reprinted from Widescreen Review magazine 2 8 Can I modify or upgrade my laserdisc player to play DVD No DVD circuitry is completely different the pickup laser is a different wavelength the tracking control is more precise etc No hardware upgrades have been announced and in any case they would be more expensive than buying a DVD player to put next to the laserdisc player 2 9 Does DVD support HDTV DTV Will HDTV make DVD obsolete Short answers Partially No First some quick definitions HDTV highdefinition TV encompasses both analog and digital televisions that have a widescreen 169 aspect ratio and approximately 5 times the resolution of standard TV double vertical double horizontal wider aspect DTV digital TV applies to digital broadcasts in general and to the U S ATSC standard in specific The ATSC standard includes both standarddefinition SD and highdefinition HD digital formats The notation HDTV is often used to specifically refer to highdefinition digital TV In December of 1996 the FCC approved the U S DTV standard HDTVs became available in late 1998 but they are still expensive and wont become widespread for many years DVDs are not HD but they look great on HDTVs Over 80 percent of the 2 million DTV sets sold in the U S in 2002 did not have tuners indicating that their owners got them for watching DVDs DVDVideo does not directly support HDTV No digital HDTV standards were finalized when DVD was developed In order to be compatible with existing televisions DVDs MPEG2 video resolutions and frame rates are closely tied to NTSC and PALSECAM video formats see 1 19 DVD does use the same 169 aspect ratio of HDTV and the Dolby Digital audio format of U S DTV HDTV in the U S is part of the ATSC DTV format The resolution and frame rates of DTV in the US generally correspond to the ATSC recommendations for SD 640x480 and 704x480 at 24p 30p 60p 60i and HD 1280x720 at 24p 30p and 60p 1920x1080 at 24p 30p and 60i 24p means 24 progressive framessec 60i means 60 interlaced fieldssec 30 framessec The current DVDVideo spec covers all of SD except 60p Its expected that future DVD players will output digital video signals from existing discs in SDTV formats The HD formats are 2 7 and 6 times the resolution of DVD and the 60p version is twice the frame rate The ITUR is working on BT 709 HDTV standards of 112560 1920x103530 same as SMPTE 240M similar to Japans analog MUSE HDTV and 125050 1920x115225 which may be used in Europe The latter is 5 3 times the resolution of DVDs 720x57625 format HD maximum data rate is usually 19 4 Mbps almost twice the maximum DVDVideo data rate In other words DVDVideo does not currently support HDTV video content HDTV will not make DVD obsolete Those who postpone purchasing a DVD player because of HDTV are in for a long wait It will take many years before even a small percentage of homes have HDTV sets The CEA expects 10 percent of U S households to have HDTV in 2003 20 percent by 2005 and 30 percent by 2006 HDTV sets include analog video connectors composite svideo and component that work with all DVD players and other existing video equipment such as VCRs Existing DVD players and discs will work perfectly with HDTV sets and provide a much better picture than any other prerecorded consumer video format especially when using a progressivescan player Since the cheapest route to HDTV reception will be HDTV converters for existing TV sets broadcast HDTV for many viewers will look no better than DVD HDTV displays support digital connections such as HDMI DVI and IEEE 1394FireWire although standardization is not quite finished Digital connections for audio and video provide the best possible reproduction of DVDs especially in widescreen mode The DVD Forum finalized specifications for supporting 1394 and HDMI in 2002 and players with DVIHDMI digital outputs appeared in 2003 When the DVD stream recording SR format is finalized DVDSR players may be usable as transports that output any kind of AV data even formats developed after the player was built to different sorts of external displays or converters The interesting thing many people dont realize is that DTV happened sooner faster and cheaper on PCs A year before any consumer DTV sets came out you could buy a DVD PC with a 34 VGA monitor and get gorgeous progressivescan movies for under 3000 The quality of a good DVD PC connected to a datagrade video projector can beat a 30000 linedoubler system See BroadbandMagic Digital Connection and Sleekline for product examples Video projectors are available from Barco Dwin Electrohome Faroudja InFocus Projectavision Runco Sharp Sony Vidikron and others Eventually the DVDVideo format will be upgraded to an HD DVD format See 2 12 3 13 and 6 5 2 10 What is Divx There are two Divxes The original was a payperview version of DVD The later claimant of the name spelled DivX is a video encoding format The original Divx Depending on whom you ask Divx Digital Video Express first known as ZoomTV was either an insidious evil scheme for greedy studios to control what you see in your own living room or an innovative approach to video rental that would have offered cheap discs you could get almost anywhere and keep for later viewings Developed by Circuit City and a Hollywood law firm Divx was supported by Disney Buena Vista Twentieth Century Fox Paramount Universal MGM and DreamWorks SKG all of which also released discs in open DVD format since the Divx agreement was nonexclusive HarmanKardon JVC Kenwood Matsushita Panasonic Pioneer Thomson RCAProscanGE and Zenith announced Divx players though some never came to market Divx models are Panasonic X410 Proscan PS8680Z RCA RC5230Z and RC5231Z and Zenith DVX2100 The studios and hardware makers supporting Divx were given incentives in the form of guaranteed licensing payments totaling over 110 million Divx discs were manufactured by Nimbus Panasonic and Pioneer Circuit City lost over 114 million after tax writeoffs on Divx Divx was a payperviewingperiod variation of DVD Divx discs sold for 4 50 Once inserted into a Divx player the disc would play normally allowing the viewer to pause rewind even put in another disc before finishing the first disc for the next 48 hours after which the owner had to pay 3 25 to unlock it for another 48 hours A Divx DVD player which cost about 100 more than a regular player had to be hooked up to a phone line so it could call an 800 number for about 20 seconds during the night once each month or after playing 10 or so discs to upload billing information Most Divx discs could be converted to DivxSilver status by paying an additional fee usually 20 to allow unlimited plays on a single account as of Dec 1998 85 of Divx discs were convertible Unlimitedplayback DivxGold discs were announced but never produced Divx players can also play regular DVD discs but Divx discs do not play in standard DVD players Divx discs are serialized with a barcode in the standard Burst Cutting Area and in addition to normal DVD copy protection see 1 11 they employ watermarking of the video modified channel modulation and triple DES encryption two 56bit keys of serial communications Divx technology never worked on PCs which undoubtedly contributed to its demise Because of the DES encryption Divx technology may not have been allowed outside the U S Divx was originally announced for summer 1998 release Limited trials began June 8 1998 in San Francisco CA and Richmond VA The only available player was from Zenith which at the time was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the promised 150 movies had dwindled to 14 The limited nationwide rollout with one Zenith player model and 150 movies in 190 stores began on September 25 1998 By the end of 1998 about 87000 Divx players from four models available and 535000 Divx discs were sold from about 300 titles available The company apparently counted the five discs bundled with each player which means 100000 additional discs were sold By March 1999 420 Divx titles were available compared to over 3500 open DVD titles All things considered Divx players were selling well and titles were being produced with impressive speed On June 16 1999 less than a year after initial product trials Circuit City withdrew its support and Divx announced that it was closing down Divx did not confuse or delay development of the DVD market nearly as much as many people predicted including yours truly In fact it probably helped by stimulating Internet rental companies to provide better services and prices by encouraging manufacturers to offer more free discs with player purchases and by motivating studios to develop rental programs When it closed down the company offered 100 rebate coupons to all owners of Divx players This made the players a good deal since they can play open DVDs just as well as other lowend players that cost more On July 7th 2001 Divx players dialed into the central billing computer which decommissioned them Divx players not connected to phone lines have expired their playback allowance Divx discs are no longer playable in any players For more information see the Divx Owners Association Advantages of Divx Viewing could be delayed unlike rentals Discs need not be returned No late fees You could watch the movie again for a small fee Initial cost of owning a disc was reduced Discs could be unlocked for unlimited viewing Divx Silver an inexpensive way to preview before deciding to purchase The disc is new no damage from previous renters The rental market was opened up to other retailers including mail order Studios got more control over the use of their content You received special offers from studios in your Divx mailbox Divx players with better quality and features than comparable players were a steal after Divx went out of business Disadvantages of Divx Higher player cost about 100 more at first about 50 later Although discs did not have to be returned the viewer still had to go to the effort of purchasing the disc Cablesatellite pay per view is more convenient Higher cost than for regular DVD rental 3 to 7 vs 2 to 4 There were few obstacles to the company raising prices later since it had a monopoly Casual quick viewing looking for a name in the credits playing a favorite scene watching supplements required paying a fee Most Divx titles were pan & scan see 3 5 without extras such as foreign language tracks subtitles biographies trailers and commentaries The player had to be hooked to your phone line possibly requiring a new jack in your living room or a phone extension cable strung across it Players required a connection once a month or so so you could periodically connect it to a phone line Divx couldnt be used in mobile environments such as a van or RV unless you took it out and connected it to a phone line about once a month The Divx central computer collected information about your viewing habits as do cablesatellite payperview services and large rental chains According to Divx the law did not allow them to use the information for resale and marketing Divx players included a mailbox for companies to send you unsolicited offers spam Those who didnt lock out their Divx player could receive unexpected bills when their kids or visitors played Divx discs Divx discs wouldnt play in regular DVD players or on PCs with DVDROM drives Some uninformed consumers bought Divx discs only to find they wouldnt play in their nonDivx player Unlocked Silver discs would only work in players on the same account Playback in a friends Divx player would incur a charge Gold discs which were never released would have played without charge in all Divx players There was no market for used Divx discs Divx discs became unplayable after June 2001 Divx players were never available outside the U S and Canada The new DivX In March 2000 a DVD redistribution technology called DivX appeared Yes the smiley face was originally part of the name which was a takeoff on the original Divx format The perpetrators should be drawn and quartered for the stupid joke which has caused untold confusion DivX was originally a simple hack of Microsofts MPEG4 video codec combined with MP3 audio allowing decrypted video from a DVD to be reencoded for downloading and playing in Windows Media Player Work on DivX evolved through Project Mayo and a version originally called DivX Deux into an opensource initiative known as OpenDivX based on the MPEG4 standard Out of all this came DivXNetworks a company that has turned DivX into an extensive video encoding and delivery system based on proprietary implementations of MPEG4 A variation called 3ivx has also made the jump from open source to commercial XviD seems to be the remaining alternative thats still open source Some DVD players can play files encoded in DivX format See www divx comhardware 2 11 How can I record from DVD to videotape Why in the world would you want to degrade DVDs beautiful digital picture by copying it to analog tape Especially since you lose the interactive menus and other nice features If you really want to copy to VHS hook the audiovideo outputs of the DVD player to the audiovideo inputs of your VCR then record the disc to tape Youll discover that most of the time the resulting tape is garbled and unwatchable This is because of the Macrovision feature designed to prevent you from doing this See 1 11 2 12 Will highdefinition DVD or 720p DVD make current players and discs obsolete Not for a while The high definition Bluray Disc format is still new and it will take years before Bluray surpasses DVD as the dominant format Even then Bluray players can play old DVD discs and often make them look even better with progressivescan video and HD upconversion New Bluray discs dont play in standard DVD players but your collection of standard DVDs will be playable for years if not decades to come and they will only become obsolete in the sense that you might want to replace them with new highdefinition versions In other words youll need to buy a new player if you want to be able to play the new discs but you dont necessarily have to replace any of the discs you already own Consider that U S HDTV was anticipated to be available in 1989 yet it was not finalized until 1996 and did not appear until 1998 Has it made standarddefinition programming obsolete yet See 3 13 for more details of HD DVD and 6 5 for more on the future of DVD Ironically computers supported HDTV before settop players because 2x DVDROM drives coupled with appropriate playback and display hardware met the 19 Mbps data rate needed for HDTV This led to various 720p DVD projects which use the existing DVD format to store video in 1280x720 or 1920x1080 resolution at 24 progressive frames per second Its possible that 720p DVDs can be made compatible with existing players which would only recognize and play the 480line line data Note The term HDVD has already been taken for highdensity volumetric display Some have speculated that a doubleheaded player reading both sides of the disc at the same time could double the data rate or provide an enhancement stream for applications such as HDTV This is currently impossible since the track spirals go in opposite directions unless all four layers are used The DVD spec would have to be changed to allow reverse spirals on layer 0 Even then keeping both sides in sync especially with MPEG2s variable bit rate would require independently tracking heads precise track and pit spacing and a larger more sophisticated track buffer Another option would be to use two heads to read both layers of one side simultaneously This is technically feasible but has no advantage over reading one layer twice as fast which is simpler and cheaper See 2 9 for more information about HDTV and DVD 2 13 What effect will FMD have on DVD Very little as predicted from the beginning in this FAQ Constellation 3D ran out of money in mid 2002 The various reports of fluorescent multilayer disc FMD causing the early death of DVD were wildly exaggerated and not founded in reality Fluorescent multilayer technology which can be used in cards or discs aims a laser at fluorescent dye causing it to emit light Since it doesnt depend on reflected laser light its possible to create many data layers C3D prototyped 50 layers in its lab It can use the same 650 nm laser as DVD so FMD drives could be made to read DVDs In June 2000 C3D announced a program to make FMDs with 25 GB per side that would be readable by DVD drives with a minor and inexpensive modification C3D later said players would be available by mid 2001 FMD was very cool technology but it was new with no track record developed by one small company DVD is based on decades of optical storage technology development by dozens of companies The monumental task of changing entire production infrastructures over to a new format was too much for C3D even with tens of millions of dollars and some large partners 2 14 How does MPEG4 affect DVD MPEG4 is a video encoding standard designed primarily for lowdata rate streaming video although its actually more efficient than MPEG2 at DVD and HDTV data rates MPEG4 also provides for advanced multimedia with media objects but most implementations only support simple video Simple Visual Profile Theres also MPEG4 part 10 also known as H 264 and also known as JVT or AVC which is an even better video encoding standard DVD uses MPEG2 video encoding see 3 4 for details Standard DVD players dont recognize the MPEG4 video format MPEG4 files can be stored on DVDROM for use on computers For example DivX uses MPEG4 see 4 8 Its possible that MPEG4 or H 264 will be used in a future highdefinition version of DVD In any case it will probably not appear before 2005 at the earliest For more about MPEG see Tristans MPEG org site and the MPEG home page 2 15 Whats WebDVD or Enhanced DVD WebDVD is the simple but powerful concept of combining DVD content with Internet technology It combines the best of DVD fast access to highquality video audio and data with the best of the Internet interactivity dynamic updates and communication In general WebDVD refers to enhancing a DVD with HTML pages links and scripting or enhancing a Web site with content from a local DVD drive WebDVD is not a trademarked term of AOLWarner Microsoft or any other company Variations on the WebDVD concept are known as iDVD eDVD Connected DVD and so on Its not a new idea its been done with CDROM for years but the differences with DVD are that the quality of the audio and video are finally better than TV and the discs can be played in lowcost settop players Almost all WebDVD implementations are currently for PCs but some new DVD players are adding WebDVD features A working group of the DVD Forum is creating a standardized WebDVD format for settop DVD players to be known as Enhanced DVD Most professional authoring systems see 5 4 include rudimentary tools for adding HTML enhancements to DVD For fancier WebDVD development there are a variety of tools see 4 9 For more on WebDVD see Phil DeLancies EMedia article Good examples of WebDVD sites are Mars The Red Planet Stargaze and DVD Demystified The authors of these sites Ralph LaBarge and Jim Taylor encourage you to copy their code as a starting place for your own WebDVD creations You can request a copy of the WebDVD Demystified disc from DVD Learn 2 16 Whats a Nuon player Nuon was a specialized media processor chip designed by VM Labs that was powerful enough to play DVDs and video games The chip was originally intended for video game consoles but was hitched to DVDs wagon when the game market dried up and the DVD market exploded Some DVD players from Samsung Thomson RCA and Toshiba were built on Nuon technology The extra processing power in a Nuon player enabled special features such as graphical overlays digital zoom and live thumbnails Some DVD movies were produced with added content designed specifically for the Nuon platform As of the beginning of 2002 four Nuonenhanced DVD movies were available The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Special Edition Bedazzled Dr Doolittle 2 and Planet of the Apes In December 2001 VM Labs filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and in March 2002 the companys assets were purchased by Genesis Microchip A new division Nuon Semiconductor was formed to market Nuon chips under the Aries name On July 24 2002 Genesis laid off the entire Nuon division RIP 2 17 What effect will DVHS have on DVD DVHS the D stands for data or digital the digital successor to VHS tape was first announced in 1995 but didnt appear outside of Japan until 1998 At the time DVHS decks could only record preencoded bit streams such as from a digital satellite receiver In 2001 the DTheater format was released which standardized MPEG compression and copy protection paving the way for the release of prerecorded movies on DVHS tape in 2002 DTheater became the first format for viable commercial distribution of movies in highdefinition Quality is excellent with a resolution of 1280x720p 2 7 times NTSC DVD 2 2 times PAL DVD or 1920x1080i roughly 4 times NTSC DVD 3 5 times PAL DVD However consumers have shown a distinct preference for discs instead of tapes so DVHS will never become more than a niche product Since HD DVD began to arrive in 2003 see 3 13 consumers other than early adopters and HD aficionados are choosing to wait for the next generation of DVD for prerecorded movies and for home recording of HD programs 2 18 Will DVD players stop working in the U S in 2009 A lot of people seem to be confused and think that the FCC cutoff date will affect NTSC DVD players Its true that most analog television broadcasts in the U S will stop on or before the DTV transition date of February 17 2009 but this will have no effect on DVD players Think about it your DVD player and your TV work fine today The U S government doesnt have a magic switch to make them all suddenly stop working The only thing the FCC has done is require broadcasters to switch to digital transmissions only But this doesnt affect the direct connection from a DVD player to a TV The transition to new DTV sets also does not cause problems for DVD players Hundreds of millions of people worldwide already have HDTV sets that work fine with their DVD players So even after analog transmissions cease in 2009 and you have to buy a new DTV or a converter box for your old analog TV your DVD player will still work with both old and new TVs 3 1 What are the outputs of a DVD player DVD players usually have two or three kinds of video output composite svideo and component and three or four kinds of audio output analog stereo digital PCM stereo Dolby Digital and DTS More details below and in 3 2 Video outputs Most DVD players have the following video output connections which can carry an NTSC PAL or SECAM signal Svideo YC 4pin round plug Carries brightness signal Y and two combined color signals C Composite video CVBS Standard yellow RCA video plug Combines all three video signals into one European players combine both of the signals above and others into a 21pin rectangular SCART connector aka Peritel or Euro Connector EC Some players may have additional video connections Component interlaced analog video EIA 770 1 Keeps all three video signals separate YPbPr format 3 RCA or BNC connectors RGB or RGBS or RGBHV format SCART connector or 3 4 or 5 RCA or BNC connectors Component progressive analog video Keeps all three video signals separate YPbPr format 3 RCA connectors RGB or RGBS or RGBHV format SCART connector or 3 4 or 5 RCA or BNC connectors RF video For connecting to the TV antenna input usually on channel 3 or 4 Screwon 75ohm Ftype connector May require an adapter for TVs that have 300ohm twoscrew antenna wire connectors DVI Digital video output Uses HDCP for copyprotected content HDMI Digital video in the DVI format with HDCP plus digital audio Most DVD players with component video outputs use YUV YPbPr which is incompatible with RGB equipment European players with component video outputs usually provide RGBS redgreenbluesync signals on the SCART connector YUV to RGB transcoders are rumored to be available for 200300 but seem hard to track down A 700 converter is available from avscience and 900 converter the CVC 100 is available from Extron Converters are also available from Altinex Kramer Monster Cable and others For progressive scan you need a converter that can handle 31 5 kHz signals Converters from svideo are also an option try Markertek Note The correct term for analog colordifference output is YPbPr not YCbCr which is digital not analog To simplify things this FAQ sometimes uses the term YUV in the generic sense to refer to analog color difference signals There are specialty players from companies such as Function Communications Theta Digital and Vigatec with SDI serial digital interface output but they connect only to highend or production equipment Audio outputs Most DVD players have the following audio output connections Analog stereo audio May be in Dolby Surround depending on the disc Two RCA connectors red and white European players transmit analog stereo audio on the SCART connector Digital audio with 1 to 5 1 channels Raw digital audio in PCM MLP Dolby Digital AC3 DTS or MPEG2 format Requires an amplifierreceiver with a builtin decoder or a separate external decoder SPDIF coax format RCA connector IEC958 Type II Toslink format square optical connector EIAJ CP340 and EIAJ CP1201 Some players may have additional audio connections Multichannel analog audio Requires a multichannelready or Dolby Digital ready amplifierreceiver with 6 inputs Six RCA connectors or one DB25 connector AC3 RF audio Only on combination LDDVD players Carries audio from AC3 laserdiscs One RCA connector Highresolution digital audio 1394 FireWire rectangular connector Requires a receiver with 1394 audio input and DTCP compatibility HDMI Requires a receiver or TV with HDMI input Some players and receivers support only SPDIF or only Toslink If your player and receiver dont match youll need a converter such as the Audio Authority 977 Midiman C02 COP 1 or POF Some players can output 9624 PCM audio using a nonstandard variation of IEC958 running at 6 144 Mbps instead of the normal limit of 3 1 MHz Note The CSS license does not allow digital PCM output of CSSprotected material at 96 kHz The player must downsample to 48 kHz 3 2 How do I hook up a DVD player It depends on your audiovideo system and your DVD player Most DVD players have 2 or 3 video hookup options and 3 audio hookup options Choose the output format with the best quality indicated below that is supported by your video and audio systems See 3 1 for output connector details On many TVs you will need to switch the TV to auxiliary input line input You might need to tune it to channel 0 to make this happen If you want to hook multiple devices DVD player VCR cablesatellite box WebTV and so on to a single TV you need one of the following a TV with multiple inputs a manual audiovideo switchbox ~30 at electronics suppliers such as Comtrad an AV receiver to switch between video sources via remote control If you plan on getting an AV receiver make sure it can handle the video format you want to use component or svideo Video hookup pick one from the list Svideo good quality Almost all DVD players have svideo output Svideo looks much better than composite video and is only slightly inferior to component video Hook an svideo cable from the player to the display or to an AV receiver that can switch svideo The round 4pin connector may be labeled YC svideo or SVHS If youre in Europe you can use a SCART cable Composite video ok quality All DVD players have standard RCA Cinch baseband video connectors or a SCART connector in Europe to carry composite video Hook a standard video cable or a SCART cable from the player to the display or to an AV receiver to switch the video The RCA video connectors are usually yellow and may be labeled video CVBS composite or baseband Component video better quality Some U S and Japanese players have interlaced component YUV YPbPr video output Connectors may be labeled YUV color difference YPbPr or YBYRY and may be colored greenbluered Some players incorrectly label the output as YCbCr Some players have RGB component video output via a SCART connector or 3 RCA or BNC connectors labeled RGB Hook cables from the three video outputs of the player to the three video inputs of the display or hook a SCART cable from the player to the display Note There is no standardization of the output interface format voltage and setup Players apparently use SMPTE 253M 286 mV sync 0 luma setup with 700 mV peak 300 mV color excursion Betacam 286 mV sync 7 5 luma setup with 714 mV peak 350 mV color excursion MII 300 mV sync 7 5 luma setup with 700 mV peak 324 5 mV color excursion or nonstandard variations Note that outputs with zero IRE setup can provide a wider range of luma values for a slightly better picture For equipment with RGB input a YUV converter is usually needed See section 3 1 Progressive video even better quality A few players have progressivescan YUV YPbPr or RGB European players only component video output Hook decentquality cables from the three video outputs of the player to the three video inputs of a progressivescan line multiplier or a progressivescan TV or use a SCART cable if you have a European player and progressivescan TV with the right connectors Toshiba calls progressive scan ColorStream PRO Progressive video preserves the progressive nature of most movies providing a filmlike flickerfree image with improved vertical resolution and smoother motion DVD computers can also produce progressive video from DVD In this case use a 15pin computer video cable to connect the VGA output of the PC to the VGA input of a monitor or projector If the projector only has RGB or YPbPr inputs youll need a converter such as the Audio Authority 9A60 See 1 40 2 12 and 4 1 for more information on progressive video Digital video best quality A few players have HDMI DVI or 1394 digital outputs This preserves the true digital signal from the DVD Hook an HDMI or 1394 cable from the output of the player to the HDMI or 1394 input of a digital television or other digital AV system The same cable carries the digital audio signal RF video worst quality You should use this connection only if you have an old TV that has only a screwon antenna input Most DVD players dont have RF output so you will probably need to buy an RF modulator ~30 at Radio Shack or Comtrad or Markertek But first see the warning below about using a VCR as an RF modulator If the player has builtin RF output it will include audio although it may only be mono Connect a coax cable from the yellow video output of the player to the input of the modulator If you are not hooking the player up to a separate stereo system then connect a coax cable from the left audio output of the player to the audio input of the modulator If you have a stereo modulator connect another cable for the right audio channel Connect a coax antenna cable from the modulator to the TV You may need a 300 ohm to 75 ohm adapter to switch between a twowire antenna connection and a threaded coax connection Tune the TV to channel 3 or 4 or channel 36 in Germany and some other European countries and set the switch on the modulator or the back of the player to match If you also want to hook up a VCR connect an antenna cable from the output of the VCR to the antenna input of the modulator Warning If you connect your DVD player to a VCR and then to your TV or to a combination TVVCR you will probably have problems with discs that enable the players Macrovision circuit See 3 2 1 Warning Some video projectors dont recognize the 4 43 NTSC signal from NTSC discs in PAL players see 1 19 They see the 60Hz scanning frequency and switch to NSTC even though the color subcarrier is in PAL format Note Most DVD players support widescreen signaling which tells a widescreen display what the aspect ratio is so that it can automatically adjust One standard ITUR BT 1119 used mostly in Europe includes information in a video scanline Another standard for YC connectors adds a 5V DC signal to the chroma line to designate a widescreen signal Unfortunately some switchers and amps throw away the DC component instead of passing it on to the TV For more information on conversions between formats see the amazing Notes on Video Conversion from the Sci Electronics Repair FAQ Audio hookup pick one from the list Note All DVD players have a builtin 2channel Dolby Digital AC3 decoder Some can also decode MPEG audio or DTS audio The decoder translates multichannel audio into 2channel PCM audio This goes to the digital output and is also converted to analog for standard audio output Some players have a builtin multichannel Dolby Digital decoder but its only useful if you have an audio system with multichannel analog inputs See 3 6 3 for more explanation Analog audio 2channel stereosurround ok quality All DVD players include two RCA connectors for stereo output Any disc with multichannel audio is automatically decoded and downmixed to 2channel Dolby Surround output for connection to a regular stereo system or a Dolby SurroundPro Logic system Connect two audio cables between the player and a receiver amplifier or TV Connectors may be labeled audio or leftright left is usually white right is usually red If your TV has only one audio input connect the left channel from the DVD player If your DVD player has multichannel analog outputs leftcenterrightleft rearright rear do not connect them to a stereo system with only two inputs or you will lose center and rear audio use the 2channel leftright outputs instead Digital audio best quality Almost all DVD players have digital audio outputs The same output can carry Dolby Digital AC3 PCM audio including PCM from CDs DTS MPEG2 audio PALSECAM players only and MLP audio from DVDAudio discs For PCM a digital receiver or an outboard DAC is required For all other formats the appropriate decoder is required in the receiveramplifier or as a separate audio processor For example to play a disc with a Dolby Digital soundtrack using a digital audio connection the receiver has to have the Dolby Digital feature DTS discs require a player with the DTS Digital Out mark older players dont recognize DTS tracks and the DTS decoding feature in the receiver All DVD players can play DTS CDs if a DTS decoder is connected to the digital PCM output signal Some DVD players have coax connectors SPDIF some have fiberoptic connectors Toslink and many have both There are endless arguments over which of these is better Coax seems to have more advocates since its inherently simpler Optical cable is not affected by electromagnetic interference but its more fragile and cant curve tightly Suffice it to say that since the signal is digital a quality cable of either type will provide similar results Hook a 75ohm coax cable or a fiberoptic cable between the player and the receiver You might need a converter see 3 1 Some players provide separate connectors for Dolby DigitalDTSMPEG and for PCM On others you may need to select the desired output format using the player setup menu or a switch on the back of the player If you try to feed Dolby Digital or DTS to digital receiver that doesnt recognize it youll get no audio Note Make sure you use a quality cable a cheap RCA patch cable may cause the audio to sound poor or not work at all Note Connecting to the AC3RF laserdisc input of a receiver will not work unless your receiver can autoswitch since DVD digital audio is not in RF format see below Component analog audio excellent quality Some players provide 6channel analog output from the internal Dolby Digital or DTS decoder A few provide 7channel output from 6 1 tracks The digitaltoanalog conversion quality in the player may be better or worse than in an external decoder A receiveramplifier with 6 or 7 inputs or more than one amplifier is required this type of unit is often called Dolby Digital ready or AC3 ready Unfortunately in many cases you wont be able to adjust the volume of individual channels or perform bass management Hook 6 or 7 audio cables to the RCA connectors on the player and to the matching connectors on the receiveramplifier Some receivers require an adapter cable with a DB25 connector on one end and RCA connectors on the other Note Until there is a digital connection standard the only way to get multichannel PCM output from DVDAudio players will be with analog connections or proprietary connections If you plan to get a DVDAudio player youll need a receiver with analog multichannel inputs RF digital audio laserdisc only Combination LDDVD players include AC3 RF output for digital audio from laserdiscs Hook a coax cable to the AC3 RF input of the receiverprocessor Note digital audio from DVDs does not come out of the RF output it comes out of the opticalcoax outputs Analog audio from LDs will come out the stereo connectors so three separate audio hookups are required to cover all variations 3 2 1 Will I have problems connecting my VCR between my TV and my DVD player Its not a good idea to route the video from your DVD player through your VCR Most movies use Macrovision protection see 1 11 which affects VCRs and causes problems such as a repeated darkening and lightening of the picture If your TV doesnt have a direct video input you may need a separate RF converter see 3 2 Or better yet get a new TV with direct video inputs You may also have problems with a TVVCR combo since many of them route the video input through the VCR circuitry The best solution is to get a box to strip Macrovision see 1 11 3 2 2 Why is the audio or video bad The number one cause of bad video is a poorly adjusted TV The high fidelity of DVD video demands much more from the display Turn the sharpness and brightness down See 1 3 for more information For technical details of TV calibration see Anthony Haukaps FAQ How To Adjust a TV If you get audio hum or noisy video its probably caused by interference or a ground loop Try a different set of cables Try a shorter cable Long cables can degrade the signal Make sure the cables are good quality with shielding Try turning off all equipment except the pieces you are testing Try moving things farther apart Try plugging into a different circuit Make sure all equipment is plugged into the same outlet If all else fails ground your braces and wrap your entire house in tinfoil For more on ground loops see www hut fiMiscElectronicsdocsgroundloop More information for repair technicians is available at Shophelper Video or audio problems can also be caused by a faulty player or bad disc see 1 41 If the video freezes or breaks up it may be caused by scratches on the disc see 1 39 Its normal for DVDs to freeze for a fraction of a second in the middle of a movie this is a layer break see 1 27 3 3 What are the sizes and capacities of DVD There are many variations on the DVD theme Discs come in two physical sizes 12 cm 4 7 inches and 8 cm 3 1 inches both 1 2 mm thick made of two 0 6mm substrates glued together These are the same form factors as CD A DVD disc can be singlesided or doublesided Each side can have one or two layers of data The amount of video a disc can hold depends on how much audio accompanies it and how heavily the video and audio are compressed The oftquoted figure of 133 minutes is apocryphal a DVD with only one audio track easily holds over 160 minutes and a single layer can actually hold up to 9 hours of video and audio if its compressed to VHS quality At a rough average rate of 5 Mbps 4 Mbps for video and 1 Mbps for two or three tracks or audio a singlelayer DVD can hold a little over two hours A duallayer disc can hold a twohour movie at an average of 9 5 Mbps close to the 10 08 Mbps limit A DVDVideo disc containing mostly audio can play for 13 hours 24 hours with dual layers using 4816 PCM slightly better than CD quality It can play 160 hours of audio or a whopping 295 hours with dual layers using Dolby Digital 64 kbps compression of monophonic audio which is perfect for audio books Capacities of DVD For reference a CDROM holds about 650 megabytes which is 0 64 gigabytes or 0 68 billion bytes In the list below SSDS means singlesideddoublesided SLDLML means singlelayerduallayermixedlayer mixed means single layer on one side dual layer on the other side gig means gigabytes 230 BB means billions of bytes 109 See note about giga vs billion in section 7 2 DVD5 12 cm SSSL 4 37 gig 4 70 BB of data over 2 hours of video DVD9 12 cm SSDL 7 95 gig 8 54 BB about 4 hours DVD10 12 cm DSSL 8 74 gig 9 40 BB about 4 5 hours DVD14 12 cm DSML 12 32 gig 13 24 BB about 6 5 hours DVD18 12 cm DSDL 15 90 gig 17 08 BB over 8 hours DVD1 8 cm SSSL 1 36 gig 1 46 BB about half an hour DVD2 8 cm SSDL 2 47 gig 2 66 BB about 1 3 hours DVD3 8 cm DSSL 2 72 gig 2 92 BB about 1 4 hours DVD4 8 cm DSDL 4 95 gig 5 32 BB about 2 5 hours DVDR 1 0 12 cm SSSL 3 68 gig 3 95 BB DVDR 2 0 12 cm SSSL 4 37 gig 4 70 BB DVDR 2 0 12 cm DSSL 8 75 gig 9 40 BB DVDRW 2 0 12 cm SSSL 4 37 gig 4 70 BB DVDRW 2 0 12 cm DSSL 8 75 gig 9 40 BB DVDR 2 0 12 cm SSSL 4 37 gig 4 70 BB DVDR 2 0 12 cm DSSL 8 75 gig 9 40 BB DVDRW 2 0 12 cm SSSL 4 37 gig 4 70 BB DVDRW 2 0 12 cm DSSL 8 75 gig 9 40 BB DVDRAM 1 0 12 cm SSSL 2 40 gig 2 58 BB DVDRAM 1 0 12 cm DSSL 4 80 gig 5 16 BB DVDRAM 2 0 12 cm SSSL 4 37 gig 4 70 BB DVDRAM 2 0 12 cm DSSL 8 75 gig 9 40 BB DVDRAM 2 0 8 cm SSSL 1 36 gig 1 46 BB DVDRAM 2 0 8 cm DSSL 2 47 gig 2 65 BB CDROM 12 cm SSSL 74 minutes 0 635 gig 0 682 BB CDROM 12 cm SSSL 80 minutes 0 687 gig 0 737 BB CDROM 8 cm SSSL 0 180 gig 0 194 BB DDCDROM 12 cm SSSL 1 270 gig 1 364 BB DDCDROM 8 cm SSSL 0 360 gig 0 387 BB Formatted DVDRAM discs have slightly less than stated capacity For example the contents of a completely full DVDR will not quite fit on a DVDRAM Tip It takes about two gigabytes to store one hour of average video The increase in capacity from CDROM is due to 1 smaller pit length ~2 08x 2 tighter tracks ~2 16x 3 slightly larger data area ~1 02x 4 more efficient channel bit modulation ~1 06x 5 more efficient error correction ~1 32x 6 less sector overhead ~1 06x Total increase for a single layer is about 7 times a standard CDROM Theres a slightly different explanation at www mpeg orgMPEGDVDGeneralGain html The capacity of a duallayer disc is slightly less than double that of a singlelayer disc The laser has to read through the outer layer to the inner layer a distance of 20 to 70 microns To reduce interlayer crosstalk the minimum pit length of both layers is increased from 0 4 um to 0 44 um To compensate the reference scanning velocity is slightly faster 3 84 ms as opposed to 3 49 ms for single layer discs Longer pits spaced farther apart are easier to read correctly and are less susceptible to jitter The increased length means fewer pits per revolution which results in reduced capacity per layer Note Older versions of Windows that use FAT16 instead of UDF FAT32 or NTFS to read a DVD may run into problems with the 4 gigabyte volume size limit FAT16 also has a 2 gigabyte file size limit while FAT32 has a 4 gigabyte file size limit NTFS has a 2 terabyte limit so were ok there for a while See 4 3 for details of writable DVD More info on disc specifications and manufacturing can be found at Disctronics Cinram Technicolor and other disc replicator sites 3 3 1 When did doublesided duallayer discs DVD18 become available These supersize discs are used for data but are not commonly used for movies The first commercial DVD18 title The Stand was released in October 1999 A DVD18 requires a completely different way of creating two layers A singlesided duallayer disc DVD9 is produced by putting one data layer on each substrate and gluing the halves together with transparent adhesive so that the pickup laser can read both layers from one side But in order to get four layers each substrate needs to hold two This requires stamping a second data layer on top of the first a much more complicated prospect Only a few replicators can make DVD18s and the low yield number of usable discs in a batch makes it more difficult and expensive than making DVD9s My prediction in this FAQ in December 1998 was that we wouldnt see commercial DVD18 discs until fall 1999 in spite of many rumors that they would appear sooner 3 3 2 Whats a MiniDVD The term miniDVD confusingly refers to 8cm DVDs and to CDs with DVDVideo content on them more appropriately called cDVDs 8cm DVDs are defined in the DVD specification and will play on almost all DVD players and drives but they dont work in most slotloading systems such as in cars cDVDs play on most DVD PCs but only on very few DVD players see 5 7 for details 3 4 What are the video details DVDVideo is an application of DVDROM according to the specification created by the DVD Forum see 6 1 DVDVideo is also an application of MPEG1 MPEG2 Dolby Digital DTS and other formats This means the DVDVideo format defines subsets of these standards and formats to be applied in practice to make discs intended for DVDVideo players DVDROM can contain any desired digital information but DVDVideo is limited to certain data types designed for television reproduction A disc has one track stream of MPEG2 constant bit rate CBR or variable bit rate VBR compressed digital video A restricted version of MPEG2 Main Profile at Main Level MPML is used SPML is also supported MPEG1 CBR and VBR video is also allowed 52560 NTSC 29 97 interlaced framessec and 62550 PALSECAM 25 interlaced framessec video display systems are expressly supported Coded frame rates of 24 fps progressive from film 25 fps interlaced from PAL video and 29 97 fps interlaced from NTSC video are typical MPEG2 progressivesequence is not allowed but interlaced sequences can contain progressive pictures and progressive macroblocks In the case of 24 fps source the encoder embeds MPEG2 repeatfirstfield flags into the video stream to make the decoder either perform 23 pulldown for 60Hz NTSC displays actually 59 94Hz or 22 pulldown with resulting 4 speedup for 50Hz PALSECAM displays In other words the player doesnt know what the encoded rate is it simply follows the MPEG2 encoders instructions to produce the predetermined display rate of 25 fps or 29 97 fps This is one of the main reasons there are two kinds of discs one for NTSC and one for PAL Very few players convert from PAL to NTSC or NTSC to PAL See 1 19 Because film transfers for NTSC and PAL usually use the same coded picture rate 24 fps but PAL resolution is higher the PAL version takes more space on the disc The raw increase before encoding is 20 480 to 576 but the final result is closer to 15 depending on encoder efficiency This translates to an increase of 600 to 700 megabytes on PAL discs compared to NTSC discs Its interesting to note that even interlaced source video can be rendered as progressivestructured MPEG pictures by a good encoder with interlaced fieldencoded macroblocks used only when needed for motion Most film sources are encoded at 24 frames per second the inverse telecine process during encoding removes duplicate 23 pulldown fields from the videotape source and the remaining field pairs although technically in interlaced form can be reinterleaved by a progressive player Most video sources are encoded at 25 or 30 interlaced frames per second These may be mixed on the same disc such as an interlacedsource logo followed by a progressivesource movie See 3 Further Ahead Video VHS NTSC A Business English Video 8 for an explanation of progressive and interlaced scanning See 1 40 for progressivescan players See the MPEG page www mpeg org for more information on MPEG2 video Picture dimensions are at maximum 720x480 for 52560 NTSC display or 720x576 for 62550 PALSECAM display Pictures are subsampled from 422 ITUR BT 601 down to 420 before encoding allocating an average of 12 bitspixel in YCbCr format Color depth is 24 bits since color samples are shared across 4 pixels DVD pixels are not square see 3 5 The uncompressed source is 124 416 Mbps for video source 720x480x12x30 or 720x576x12x25 or 99 533 or 119 439 Mbps for film source 720x480x12x24 or 720x576x12x24 In analog output terms lines of horizontal resolution is usually around 500 but can go up to 540 see 3 4 1 Typical luma frequency response maintains full amplitude to between 5 0 and 5 5 MHz This is below the 6 75 MHz native frequency of the MPEG2 digital signal in other words most players fall short of reproducing the full quality of DVD Chroma frequency response is half that of luma Allowable picture resolutions areMPEG2 52560 NTSC 720x480 704x480 352x480 352x240MPEG2 62550 PAL 720x576 704x576 352x576 352x288MPEG1 52560 NTSC 352x240MPEG1 62550 PAL 352x288 Different players use different numbers of bits for the video digitaltoanalog converter wit the bestquality players using 10 or 12 bits This has nothing to do with the MPEG decoding process since each original component signal is limited to 8 bits per sample More bits in the player provide more headroom and more signal levels during digitaltoanalog conversion which can help produce a better picture Maximum video bit rate is 9 8 Mbps The average video bit rate is around 4 Mbps but depends entirely on the length quality amount of audio etc This is a 311 reduction from uncompressed 124 Mbps video source or a 251 reduction from 100 Mbps film source Raw channel data is read off the disc at a constant 26 16 Mbps After 816 demodulation its down to 13 08 Mbps After error correction the user data stream goes into the track buffer at a constant 11 08 Mbps The track buffer feeds system stream data out at a variable rate of up to 10 08 Mbps After system overhead the maximum rate of combined elementary streams audio video subpicture is 10 08 MPEG1 video rate is limited to 1 856 Mbps with a typical rate of 1 15 Mbps Still frames encoded as MPEG Iframes are supported and can be displayed for a specific amount of time or indefinitely These are used for menus or slideshows Still frames can be accompanied by audio A disc also can have up to 32 subpicture streams that overlay the video for subtitles captions for the hard of hearing captions for children karaoke menus simple animation etc These are fullscreen runlengthencoded bitmaps with two bits per pixel giving four color values and four transparency values For each group of subpictures four colors are selected from a palette of 16 from the YCbCr gamut and four contrast values are selected out of 16 levels from transparent to opaque Since one of the four values is usually 100 transparency to let the video show through only three combinations of colors and transparencies are left making overlay graphics rather crude Subpicture display command sequences can be used to create effects such as scroll move colorhighlight and fade The maximum subpicture data rate is 3 36 Mbps with a maximum size per frame of 53220 bytes In addition to subtitles in subpicture streams DVD also supports NTSC Closed Captions Closed Caption text is stored in the video stream as MPEG2 user data in packet headers and is regenerated by the player as a line21 analog waveform in the video signal which then must be decoded by a Closed Caption decoder in the television Although the DVDVideo spec mentions NTSC only there is no technical reason PALSECAM DVD players could not be made to output the Closed Caption text in World System Teletext WST format the only trick is to deal with frame rate differences Unfortunate note DVD Closed Caption MPEG2 storage format is slightly different than the ATSC format See 1 45 for more about Closed Captions 3 4 1 What does lines of resolution mean Everyone gets confused by the term lines of horizontal resolution also known as LoHR or TVL Its a carryover from analog video its poorly understood and its inconsistently measured and reported by manufacturers but were stuck with it until all video is digital and we can simply report resolution in pixels Technically lines of horizontal resolution refers to visually resolvable vertical lines per picture height In other words its measured by counting the number of vertical black and white lines that can be distinguished an area that is as wide as the picture is high The idea is to make the measurement independent of the aspect ratio Lines of horizontal resolution applies both to television displays and to signal formats such as that produced by a DVD player Most TVs have ludicrously high numbers listed for their horizontal resolution Since DVD has 720 horizontal pixels on both NTSC and PAL discs the horizontal resolution can be calculated by dividing 720 by 1 33 from the 43 aspect ratio to get 540 lines On a 1 78 169 display you get 405 lines In practice most DVD players provide about 500 lines instead of 540 because of filtering and lowquality digitaltoanalog converters VHS has about 230 172 widescreen lines broadcast TV has about 330 248 widescreen and laserdisc has about 425 318 widescreen Dont confuse lines of horizontal resolution resolution along the x axis with scan lines resolution along the y axis DVD produces exactly 480 scan lines of active picture for NTSC and 576 for PAL The NTSC standard has 525 total scan lines but only 480 to 483 or so are visible The extra lines contain sync pulses and other information such as the Closed Captions that are encoded into line 21 PAL has 625 total scan lines but only about 576 to 580 are visible Since all video formats DVD VHS LD broadcast and so on have the same number of scan lines its the horizontal resolution that makes the big difference in picture quality For more information see Allan Jaynes TV and Video Resolution Explained 3 4 2 What are jacket pictures A DVD can optionally include a representative still image called a jacket picture which is displayed by some DVD players when the disc is inserted paused or stopped Some DVD jukeboxes also use jacket pictures for thumbnail lists A jacket picture is often the same cover art used on the DVD package or sometimes a simplified picture especially for the smaller sizes The picture is stored on the disc in the rootlevel JACKETP folder as MPEG2 still images in three sizes large medium and small in either 1 33 or 1 78 widescreen NTSC or PAL format to match the video format of the disc The filenames and pixel dimensions are NTSC PAL Size Filename Resolution Filename Resolution Large J005L MP2 720�480 J006L MP2 720�576 Medium J005M MP2 176�112 J006M MP2 176�144 Small J005S MP2 96�64 J006S MP2 96�80 See Crady von Pawlacks Guide to DVD Jacket Picture Creation for more information 3 5 Whats widescreen How do the aspect ratios work Video can be stored on a DVD in 43 format standard TV shape or 169 widescreen The widthtoheight ratio of standard televisions is 4 to 3 in other words 1 33 times wider than high New widescreen televisions specifically those designed for HDTV have a ratio of 16 to 9 that is 1 78 times wider than high DVD is specially designed to support widescreen displays Widescreen 169 video such as from a 169 video camera can be stored on the disc in anamorphic form meaning the picture is squeezed horizontally to fit the standard 43 rectangle then unsqueezed during playback Things get more complicated when film is transferred to video since most movies today have an aspect ratio of 1 66 1 85 flat or 2 40 scope Because these dont match 1 33 or 1 78 TV shapes two processes are employed to make various movie pegs fit TV holes Letterbox often abbreviated to LBX means the video is presented in its theatrical aspect ratio which is wider than standard or widescreen TV Black bars called mattes are used to cover the gaps at the top and bottom A 1 85 movie that has been letterboxed for 1 33 display has thinner mattes than a 2 4 movie letterboxed to 1 33 28 of display height vs 44 although the former are about the same thickness as those of a 2 4 movie letterboxed to 1 78 26 of display height The mattes used to letterbox a 1 85 movie for 1 78 display are so thin 2 that theyre hidden by the overscan of most widescreen TVs Some movies especially animated features and European films have an aspect ratio of 1 66 which can be letterboxed for 1 33 display or sideboxed windowboxed for 1 78 display Pan & scan means the thinner TV window is panned and zoomed across the wider movie picture chopping off the sides However most movies today are shot soft matte which means a full 1 33 aspect film frame is used The cinematographer has two sets of frame marks in her viewfinder one for 1 33 and one for 1 85 so he or she can allow for both formats The top and bottom are masked off in the theater but when the film is transferred to video the full 1 33 frame can be used in the pan & scan process Pan & scan is primarily used for 1 33 formatting not for 1 78 formatting since widescreen fans prefer that letterboxing be used to preserve the theatrical effect For more details and nice visual aids see Leopolds How Film Is Transferred to Video page Once the video is formatted to fullscreen or widescreen form its encoded and stored on DVD discs DVD players have four playback modes one for 43 video and three for 169 video full frame 43 video for 43 display auto letterbox 169 anamorphic video for 43 display auto pan & scan 169 anamorphic video for 43 display widescreen 169 anamorphic video for 169 display Video stored in 43 format is not changed by the player It appears normally on a standard 43 display Widescreen systems either enlarge it or add black bars to the sides 43 video may have been formatted with letterboxing or pan & scan before being transferred to DVD All formatting done to the video prior to it being stored on the disc is transparent to the player It merely reproduces it as a standard 43 TV picture Video that is letterboxed before being encoded can be flagged so that the player will tell a widescreen TV to automatically expand the picture Unfortunately some discs such as Fargo do not flag the video properly And worse some players ignore the flags The beauty of anamorphosis is that less of the picture is wasted on letterbox mattes DVD has a frame size designed for 1 33 display so the video still has to be made to fit but because its only squeezed horizontally 33 more pixels 25 of the total pixels in a video frame are used to store active picture instead of black Anamorphic video is best displayed on widescreen equipment which stretches the video back out to its original width Alternatively many new 43 TVs can reduce the vertical scan area to restore the proper aspect ratio without losing resolution an automatic trigger signal is sent to European TVs on SCART pin 8 Even though almost all computers have 43 monitors they have higher resolution than TVs so they can display the full widescreen picture in a window 854x480 pixels or bigger for NTSC 1024x576 or bigger for PAL Anamorphic video can be converted by the player for display on standard 43 TVs in letterbox or pan & scan form If anamorphic video is shown unchanged on a standard 43 display people will look tall and skinny as if they have been on a crash diet The setup options of DVD players allow the viewer to indicate whether they have a 169 or 43 TV In the case of a 43 TV a second option lets the viewer indicate a preference for how the player will reformat anamorphic video The two options are detailed below For automatic letterbox mode the player generates black bars at the top and the bottom of the picture 60 lines each for NTSC 72 for PAL This leaves 34 of the height remaining creating a shorter but wider rectangle 1 781 In order to fit this shorter rectangle the anamorphic picture is squeezed vertically using a letterbox filter that combines every 4 lines into 3 reducing the vertical resolution from 480 scan lines to 360 576 to 432 for PAL If the video was already letterboxed to fit the 1 78 aspect then the mattes generated by the player seamlessly extend the mattes in the video The vertical squeezing exactly compensates for the original horizontal squeezing so that the movie is shown in its full width Some players have better letterbox filters than others using weighted averaging to combine lines scaling 4 lines into 3 or merging the boundary lines rather than simply dropping one out of every four lines Widescreen video can be letterboxed to 43 on expensive studio equipment before its stored on the disc or it can be stored in anamorphic form and letterboxed to 43 in the player If you compare the two the letterbox mattes will be identical but the picture quality of the studio version may be slightly better See 1 38 for more about letterboxing For automatic pan & scan mode the anamorphic video is unsqueezed to 169 and the sides are cropped off so that a portion of the image is shown at full height on a 43 screen by following a center of interest offset encoded in the video stream according to the preferences of those who transferred the film to video The pan & scan window is 75 of the full width which reduces the horizontal pixels from 720 to 540 The pan & scan window can only travel laterally This does not duplicate a true pan & scan process in which the window can also travel up and down and zoom in and out Auto pan & scan has three strikes against it 1 it doesnt provide the same artistic control as studio pan & scan 2 there is a loss of detail when the picture is scaled up and 3 equipment for recording picture shift information is not widely available Therefore no anamorphic movies have been released with auto pan & scan enabled although some discs use the pan & scan feature in menus so that the same menu video can be used in both widescreen and 43 mode In order to present a quality fullscreen picture to the vast majority of TV viewers yet still provide the best experience for widescreen owners some DVD producers choose to put two versions on a single disc 43 studio pan & scan and 169 anamorphic Playback of widescreen material can be restricted by the disc producer Programs can be marked for the following display modes 43 full frame 43 LB for sending a letterbox expand signal to widescreen TV 169 LB only the player is not allowed to pan & scan on a 43 TV 169 PS only the player is not allowed to letterbox on a 43 TV 169 LB or PS the viewer can select pan & scan or letterbox on a 43 TV You can usually tell if a disc contains anamorphic video if the packaging says enhanced for 169 widescreen or something similar If all it says is widescreen it may be letterboxed to 43 not 169 Widescreen Review has a list of anamorphic DVD titles Additional explanations of how anamorphic video works can be found at Greg Loverns Whats an Anamorphic DVD page Bill Hunts Ultimate Guide to Anamorphic Widescreen DVD and Dan Ramers What the Heck Is Anamorphic More information can be found at the Anamorphic Widescreen Support Page the LetterboxWidescreen Advocacy Page and The American Widescreen Museum You might also be interested in Guy Wrights The Widescreen Scam See 1 38 for further discussion of letterboxing Anamorphosis causes no problems with line doublers and other video scalers which simply duplicate the scan lines before they are stretched out by the widescreen display For anamorphic video the pixels are fatter Different pixel aspect ratios none of them square are used for each aspect ratio and resolution 720pixel and 704pixel sizes have the same aspect ratio because the first includes overscan Note that conventional values of 1 0950 and 0 9157 are for heightwidth and are tweaked to match scanning rates The table below uses lessconfusing widthheight values yx hw 720x480 720x576 704x480 704x576 352x480 352x576 43 0 909 1 091 1 818 2 182 169 1 212 1 455 2 424 2 909 For gory details of video resolution and pixel aspect ratios see Jukka Ahos Quick Guide to Digital Video Resolution and Aspect Ratio Conversions 3 6 What are the audio details DVD comes in two homeentertainment flavors DVDVideo and DVDAudio Each supports highdefinition multichannel audio but DVDAudio includes higherquality PCM audio 3 6 1 Details of DVDAudio and SACD LPCM is mandatory in DVDAudio discs with up to 6 channels at sample rates of 4896192 kHz also 44 188 2176 4 kHz and sample sizes of 162024 bits This allows theoretical frequency response of up to 96 kHz and dynamic range of up to 144 dB Multichannel PCM is downmixable by the player although at 192 and 176 4 kHz only two channels are available Sampling rates and sizes can vary for different channels by using a predefined set of groups The maximum data rate is 9 6 Mbps The DVD Forums Working Group for audio WG4 decided to include lossless compression and on August 5 1998 approved Meridians MLP Meridian Lossless Packing scheme licensed by Dolby MLP removes redundancy from the signal to achieve a compression ratio of about 21 while allowing the PCM signal to be completely recreated by the MLP decoder thats required in all DVDAudio players MLP allows playing times of about 74 to 135 minutes of 6channel 96kHz24bit audio on a single layer compared to 45 minutes without packing Twochannel 192kHz24bit playing times are about 120 to 140 minutes compared to 67 minutes without packing Other audio formats of DVDVideo Dolby Digital MPEG audio and DTS described below are optional on DVDAudio discs although Dolby Digital is required for audio content that has associated video A subset of DVDVideo features no angles no seamless branching etc is allowed Most DVDAudio players are also universal players that play DVDVideo discs as well DVDAudio includes specialized downmixing features for PCM channels Unlike DVDVideo where the decoder determines how to mix from 6 channels down to 2 DVDAudio includes coefficient tables to control mixdown and avoid volume buildup from channel aggregation Up to 16 tables can be defined by each Audio Title Set album and each track can be identified with a table Coefficients range from 0dB to 60dB This feature goes by the horribly contrived name of SMART systemmanaged audio resource technique Dolby Digital supported in both DVDAudio and DVDVideo also includes downmixing information that can be set at encode time DVDAudio can provide up to 99 still images per track at typical compression levels about 20 images fit into the 2 MB buffer in the player with a set of limited transitions cut inout fade inout dissolve and wipe Unlike DVDVideo the user can move at will through the slides without interrupting the audio as it plays this is called a browsable slideshow Onscreen displays can be used for synchronized lyrics and navigation menus A special simplified navigation mode can be used on players without a video display Sony and Philips are promoting SACD a competing DVDbased format using Direct Stream Digital DSD encoding with sampling rates of 2 8224 MHz DSD is based on the pulsedensity modulation PDM technique that uses single bits to represent the incremental rise or fall of the audio waveform This supposedly improves quality by removing the brick wall filters required for PCM encoding It also makes downsampling more accurate and efficient DSD provides a frequency response from DC to over 100 kHz with a dynamic range of over 120 dB DSD includes a lossless encoding technique that produces approximately 21 data reduction by predicting each sample and then runlength encoding the error signal The maximum data rate is 2 8 Mbps SACD includes a physical watermarking feature pit signal processing PSP which modulates the width of pits on the disc to store a digital watermark data is stored in the pit length The optical pickup must contain additional circuitry to read the PSP watermark which is then compared to information on the disc to make sure its legitimate Because of the requirement for specialized watermark detection circuitry protected SACD discs are not playable in standard DVDROM drives SACD includes text and still graphics but no video Sony says the format is aimed at audiophiles and is not intended to replace the audio CD format See 1 12 for more general info on DVDAudio and SACD 3 6 2 Audio details of DVDVideo The following details are for audio tracks in DVDVideo Some DVD manufacturers such as Pioneer are developing audioonly players using the DVDVideo format Some DVDVideo discs contain mostly audio with only still pictures A DVDVideo disc can have up to 8 audio tracks streams associated with each video track or each video angle Each audio track can be in one of three formats Dolby Digital AC3 1 to 5 1 channels MPEG2 audio 1 to 5 1 or 7 1 channels PCM 1 to 8 channels Two additional optional formats are provided DTS and SDDS Both require the appropriate decoders and are not supported by all players The 1 refers to a lowfrequency effects LFE channel that connects to a subwoofer This channel carries an emphasized bass audio signal Linear PCM is uncompressed lossless digital audio the same format used on CDs and most studio masters It can be sampled at 48 or 96 kHz with 16 20 or 24 bitssample Audio CD is limited to 44 1 kHz at 16 bits There can be from 1 to 8 channels The maximum bit rate is 6 144 Mbps which limits sample rates and bit sizes when there are 5 or more channels Its generally felt that the 120 dB dynamic range of 20 bits combined with a frequency response of around 22000 Hz from 48 kHz sampling is adequate for highfidelity sound reproduction However additional bits and higher sampling rates are useful in audiophile applications studio work noise shaping advanced digital processing and threedimensional sound field reproduction DVD players are required to support all the variations of LPCM but many subsample 96 kHz down to 48 kHz and some may not use all 20 or 24 bits The signal provided on the digital output for external digitaltoanalog converters may be limited to less than 96 kHz and less than 24 bits Dolby Digital is multichannel digital audio using lossy AC3 coding technology from PCM source with a sample rate of 48 kHz at up to 24 bits The bitrate is 64 kbps to 448 kbps with 384 or 448 being the normal rate for 5 1 channels and 192 being the typical rate for stereo with or without surround encoding Most Dolby Digital decoders support up to 640 kbps so nonstandard discs with 640 kbps tracks play on many players The channel combinations are frontsurround 10 110 dual mono 20 30 21 31 22 and 32 The LFE channel is optional with all 8 combinations For details see ATSC document A52 www atsc orgdocument html Dolby Digital is the format used for audio tracks on almost all DVDs MPEG audio is multichannel digital audio using lossy compression from original PCM format with sample rate of 48 kHz at 16 or 20 bits Both MPEG1 and MPEG2 formats are supported The variable bit rate is 32 kbps to 912 kbps with 384 being the normal average rate MPEG1 is limited to 384 kbps Channel combinations are frontsurround 10 20 21 22 30 31 32 and 52 The LFE channel is optional with all combinations The 7 1 channel format adds leftcenter and rightcenter channels but is rare for home use MPEG2 surround channels are in an extension stream matrixed onto the MPEG1 stereo channels which makes MPEG2 audio backwards compatible with MPEG1 hardware an MPEG1 system will only see the two stereo channels MPEG Layer 3 MP3 and MPEG2 AAC also known as NBC or unmatrix are not supported by the DVDVideo standard MPEG audio is not used much on DVDs although some inexpensive DVD recording software programs use MPEG audio even on NTSC discs which goes against the DVD standard and is not supported by all NTSC players DTS Digital Theater Systems Digital Surround is an optional multichannel digital audio format using lossy compression from PCM at 48 kHz at up to 24 bits The data rate is from 64 kbps to 1536 kbps with typical rates of 754 5 and 1509 25 for 5 1 channels and 377 or 754 for 2 channels The DTS Coherent Acoustics format supports up to 4096 kbps variable data rate for lossless compression but this isnt supported by DVD DVD also does not allow DTS sampling rates other than 48 kHz Channel combinations are frontsurround 10 20 30 21 22 32 The LFE channel is optional with all combinations DTS ES support 6 1 channels in two ways 1 a Dolby Surround EX compatible matrixed rear center channel 2 a discrete 7th channel DTS also has a 7 1channel mode 8 discrete channels but no DVDs have used it yet The 7channel and 8channel modes require a new decoder The DVD standard includes an audio stream format reserved for DTS but many older players ignore it The DTS format used on DVDs is different from the one used in theaters Audio Processing Technologys aptX an ADPCM coder not a psychoacoustic coder All DVD players can play DTS audio CDs since the standard PCM stream holds the DTS code See 1 32 for general DTS information For more info visit www dtstech com and read Adam Barratts article SDDS Sony Dynamic Digital Sound is an optional multichannel 5 1 or 7 1 digital audio format compressed from PCM at 48 kHz The data rate can go up to 1280 kbps SDDS is a theatrical film soundtrack format based on the ATRAC compression format that is also used by Minidisc Sony has not announced any plans to support SDDS on DVD THX Tomlinson Holman Experiment is not an audio format Its a certification and quality control program that applies to sound systems and acoustics in theaters home equipment and digital mastering processes The LucasFilm THX Digital Mastering program uses a patented process to track video quality through the multiple video generations needed to make a final format disc or tape setup of video monitors to ensure that the filmmaker is seeing a precise rendition of what is on tape before approval of the master and other steps along the way THXcertified 4 0 amplifiers enhance Dolby Pro Logic in the following ways a crossover that sends bass from front channels to subwoofer reequalization on front channels to compensate for highfrequency boost in theater mix designed for speakers behind the screen timbre matching on rear channels decorrelation of rear channels a bass curve that emphasizes low frequencies THXcertified 5 1 amplifiers enhance Dolby Digital and improve on 4 0 in the following ways rear speakers are full range so the crossover sends bass from both front and rear to the subwoofer decorrelation is turned on automatically when rear channels have the same audio but not during splitsurround effects which dont need to be decorrelated More info at Home THX Program Overview Discs containing 52560 NTSC video must use PCM or Dolby Digital on at least one track Discs containing 62550 PALSECAM video must use PCM or MPEG audio or Dolby Digital on at least one track Additional tracks may be in any format A few firstgeneration players such as those made by Matsushita cant output MPEG2 audio to external decoders The original DVDVideo spec required either MPEG audio or PCM on 62550 PAL discs There was a brief scuffle led by Philips when early discs came out with only twochannel MPEG and multichannel Dolby Digital but the DVD Forum clarified in May of 1997 that only stereo MPEG audio was mandatory for 62550 discs In December 1997 the lack of MPEG2 encoders and decoders was a big enough problem that the spec was revised to allow Dolby Digital audio tracks to be used on 62550 discs without MPEG audio tracks Because of the 4 speedup from 24 fps film to 25 fps PAL display the audio must be adjusted to match before it is encoded Unless the audio is digitally processed to shift the pitch back to normal it will be slightly high about half a semitone For stereo output analog or digital all players have a builtin 2channel Dolby Digital decoder that downmixes from 5 1 channels if present on the disc to Dolby Surround stereo That is 5 channels are phase matrixed into 2 channels to be decoded to 4 channels by a Dolby Pro Logic processor or 5 channels by a Pro Logic II processor PAL players also have an MPEG or MPEG2 audio decoder Both Dolby Digital and MPEG2 support 2channel Dolby Surround as the source in cases where the disc producer cant or doesnt want to remix the original onto discrete channels This means that a DVD labeled as having Dolby Digital sound may only use the LR channels for surround or plain stereo Even movies with old monophonic soundtracks may use Dolby Digital with only 1 or 2 channels Some players can optionally downmix to nonsurround stereo If surround audio is important to you you will hear significantly better results from multichannel discs if you have a Dolby Digital system The new Dolby Digital Surround EX format DDEX which adds a rear center channel is compatible with DVD discs and players and with existing Dolby Digital decoders The new DTSES Matrix format which likewise adds a rear center channel works with existing DTS decoders and with DTScompatible DVD players However for full use of either new format you need a new decoder to extract the rear center channel which is phase matrixed into the two standard rear channels in the same way Dolby Surround is matrixed into standard stereo channels Without a new decoder youll get the same 5 1channel audio you get now Because the additional rear channel isnt a fullbandwidth discrete channel its appropriate to call the new formats 5 2channel digital surround There is also DTSES Discrete which adds a fullbandwidth discrete rear center channel in an extension stream which is used by DTS ES Discrete decoders but ignored by older DTS decoders DTSES decoders include DTS Neo6 which is not an encoding format but a matrix decoding process that provides 5 or 6 channels The Dolby Digital downmix process does not usually include the LFE channel and may compress the dynamic range in order to improve dialog audibility and keep the sound from becoming muddy on average home audio systems This can result in reduced sound quality on highend audio systems The downmix is auditioned when the disc is prepared and if the result is not acceptable the audio may be tweaked or a separate LR Dolby Surround track may be added Experience has shown that minor tweaking is sometimes required to make the dialog more audible within the limited dynamic range of a home stereo system Some disc producers include a separately mixed stereo track rather than fiddle with the surround mix The Dolby Digital dynamic range compression DRC feature often called midnight mode reduces the difference between loud and soft sounds so that you can turn the volume down to avoid disturbing others yet still hear the detail of quiet passages Some players have the option to turn off DRC Dolby Digital also includes a feature called dialog normalization DN which should more accurately be called volume standardization DN is designed to keep the sound level the same when switching between different sources This will become more important as additional Dolby Digital sources digital satellite DTV etc become common Each Dolby Digital track contains loudness information so that the receiver can automatically adjust the volume turning it down for example on a loud commercial Of course the commercial makers can cheat and set an artificially low DN level causing your receiver to turn up the volume during the commercial Turning DN on or off on your receiver has no effect on dynamic range or sound quality its effect is no different than turning the volume control up or down All five DVDVideo audio formats support karaoke mode which has two channels for stereo L and R plus an optional guide melody channel M and two optional vocal channels V1 and V2 A DVD5 with only one surround stereo audio stream at 192 kbps can hold over 55 hours of audio A DVD18 can hold over 200 hours For more information about multichannel surround sound see Bobby Owsinskis FAQ at www surroundassociates comfqmain html 3 6 3 Can you explain this Dolby Digital Dolby Surround Dolby Pro Logic DTS stuff in plain English Almost every DVD contains audio in the Dolby Digital AC3 format DTS is an optional audio format that can be added to a disc in addition to Dolby Digital audio Dolby Digital and DTS can store mono stereo and multichannel audio usually 5 1 channels Every DVD player in the world has an internal Dolby Digital decoder The builtin 2channel decoder turns Dolby Digital into stereo audio which can be fed to almost any type of audio equipment receiver TV boombox etc as a standard analog stereo signal using a pair of stereo audio cables or as a digital PCM audio signal using a coax or optical cable See 3 2 for more information A standard audio mixing technique called Dolby Surround piggybacks a rear channel and a center channel onto a 2channel signal A Dolby Surround signal can be played on any stereo system or even a mono system in which case the rear and centerchannel sounds remain mixed in with the left and right channels When a Dolby Surround signal is played on a multichannel audio system that knows how to handle it the extra channels are extracted to feed center speakers and rear speakers The original technique of decoding Dolby Surround called simply Dolby Surround extracts only the rear channel The improved decoding technique Dolby Pro Logic also extracts the center channel A brand new decoding technology Dolby Pro Logic II extracts both the center channel and the rear channel and also processes the signals to create more of a 3D audio environment Dolby Surround is independent of the storage or transmission format In other words a 2channel Dolby Surround signal can be analog audio broadcast TV audio digital PCM audio Dolby Digital DTS MP3 audio on a VHS tape etc Unlike Dolby Surround Dolby Digital encodes each channel independently Dolby Digital can carry up to 5 channels left center right left surround right surround plus an omnidirectional lowfrequency channel The builtin 2channel Dolby Digital decoder in every DVD player handles multichannel audio by downmixing it to two channels using Dolby Surround see 3 6 2 This allows the analog stereo outputs to be connected to just about anything including TVs and receivers with Dolby Pro Logic capability Most DVD players also output the downmixed 2channel Dolby Surround signal in digital PCM format which can be connected to a digital audio receiver most of which do Dolby Pro Logic decoding Most DVD players also output the raw Dolby Digital signal for connection to a receiver with a builtin Dolby Digital decoder Some DVD players have builtin multichannel decoders to provide 6 or 7 analog audio outputs to feed a receiver or amplifier with multichannel analog inputs See 3 1 for more info DTS is handled differently Many DVD players have a DTS Digital Out feature also called DTS passthrough which sends the raw DTS signal to an external receiver with a DTS decoder A few players have a builtin 2channel DTS decoder that downmixes to Dolby Surround just like a 2channel Dolby Digital decoder Some players have a builtin multichannel DTS decoder with 6 or 7 analog outputs Some DVD players dont recognize DTS tracks at all see 1 32 If you have a POS plain old stereo a Dolby Surround receiver or a Dolby Pro Logic receiver you dont need anything special in the DVD player Any model will connect to your system If you have a Dolby Digital receiver then you need a player with Dolby Digital out all but the cheapest players have this If your receiver can also do DTS you should get a player with DTS Digital Out The only reason to get a player with 6channel Dolby Digital or DTS decoder output is if you want use multichannel analog connections to the receiver see the component analog section of 3 2 3 6 4 Why is the audio level from my DVD player so low Many people complain that the audio level from DVD players is too low In truth the audio level is too high on everything else Movie soundtracks are extremely dynamic ranging from near silence to intense explosions In order to support an increased dynamic range and hit peaks near the 2V RMS limit without distortion the average sound volume must be lower This is why the line level from DVD players is lower than from almost all other sources So far unlike on CDs and LDs the level is much more consistent between discs If the change in volume when switching between DVD and other audio sources is annoying you may be able to adjust the output signal level on some players or the input signal level on some receivers but other than that theres not much you can do 3 6 5 Why is the dialog hard to hear Dialog people speaking is usually mixed into the center channel with music effects and ambience mixed into other channels If your audio system isnt hooked up correctly or doesnt work properly the center channel might not be properly reproduced If you have a system with only two speakers make sure it is connected to the stereo outputs not the multichannel outputs see 3 2 In some cases the movie sound was not mixed well in the studio making the dialog hard to hear In this case theres not much you can do other than curse the sound engineer who thought sound effects were more important than understanding what people are saying Try turning on dynamic range compression see 3 6 2 or check the disc to see if there is a separate 2channel soundtrack mix 3 7 How do the interactive features work DVDVideo players and software DVDVideo navigators for computers support a command set that provides rudimentary interactivity The main feature is menus which are present on almost all discs to allow content selection and feature control Each menu has a still or motion background and up to 36 highlightable rectangular buttons only 12 if widescreen letterbox and pan & scan modes are used Remote control units have updownleftright arrow keys for selecting onscreen buttons along with numeric keys a select enter key a menu key a top menu title key and a return key Additional remote functions may include freeze step slow fast scan next previous audio select subtitle select camera angle select play mode select search to program search to part of title chapter search to time and search to camera angle Any of these features can be disabled by the producer of the disc an act which is called user operation control UOP Its commonly used to lock you into the copyright warning or movie previews at the beginning of the disc or to keep you from changing audio or subtitle tracks during the movie Additional features of the command set include simple math add subtract multiply divide modulo random bitwise and bitwise or bitwise xor plus comparisons equal greater than etc and register loading moving and swapping There are 24 system registers for information such as language code audio and subpicture settings and parental level There are 16 general registers for command use A countdown timer is also provided Commands can branch or jump to other commands Commands can also control player settings jump to different parts of the disc and control presentation of audio video subpicture camera angles and so on The command set enables relatively sophisticated discs such as games or interactive educational programs DVDV content is broken into titles movies or albums and parts of titles chapters or songs Titles are made up of cells grouped into programs and linked together by one or more program chains PGC A PGC can be one of three types sequential play random play may repeat or shuffle play random order but no repeats Individual cells may be used by more than one PGC which is how parental management and seamless branching are accomplished different PGCs define different sequences through mostly the same material Additional material for camera angles and seamless branching is interleaved together in small chunks The player jumps from chunk to chunk skipping over unused angles or branches to stitch together the seamless video Since angles are stored separately they have no direct effect on the bitrate but they do affect the playing time Adding 1 camera angle for a program roughly doubles the amount of space needed and cuts the playing time in half Examples of branching seamless and nonseamless include Kalifornia Dark Star Stargate SE and The Abyss 3 8 What is the difference between interlaced and progressive video There are basically two ways to display video interlaced scan or progressive scan Progressive scan used in computer monitors and digital televisions displays all the horizontal lines of a picture at one time as a single frame Interlaced scan used in standard television formats NTSC PAL and SECAM displays only half of the horizontal lines at a time the first field containing the oddnumbered lines is displayed followed by the second field containing the evennumbered lines Interlacing relies on phosphor persistence of the TV tube to blend the fields together over a fraction of a second into a seemingly single picture The advantage of interlaced video is that a high refresh rate 50 or 60 Hz can be achieved with only half the bandwidth The disadvantage is that the vertical resolution is essentially cut in half and the video is often filtered to avoid flicker interfield twitter and other artifacts It may help to understand the difference by considering how the source images are captured A film camera captures full frames in intervals that are 124th of a second long whereas a video camera alternately scans fields of odd and even lines in 160th of a second intervals resulting in interlaced frames that are 130th of a second long Unlike projected film where the entire frame is shown in an instant many progressivescan displays trace a series of lines from top to bottom but the end result is about the same DVD is specifically designed to be displayed on interlacedscan displays which represent 99 9 percent of the more than one billion TVs worldwide However most DVD content comes from film which is inherently progressive To make film content work in interlaced form the video from each film frame is split into two video fields 240 lines in one field and 240 lines in the other and encoded as separate fields in the MPEG2 stream A complication is that film runs at 24 frames per second whereas TV runs at 30 frames 60 fields per second for NTSC or 25 frames 50 fields per second for PAL and SECAM For PALSECAM display the simple solution is to show the film frames at 25 per second which is a 4 percent speed increase and to speed up the audio to match For NTSC display the solution is to spread 24 frames across 60 fields by alternating the display of the first film frame for 2 video fields and the next film frame for 3 video fields This is called 23 pulldown The sequence works as shown below where A through D represent film frames A1 A2 B1 and so on represent the separation of each film frame into two video fields and 1 through 5 represent the final video frames Film frames A B C D Video fields A1 A2B1 B2B1 C2C1 D2D1 D2 Video frames 1 2 3 4 5 For MPEG2 encoding repeated fields B1 and D2 are not actually stored twice Instead a flag is set to tell the decoder to repeat the field The inverted order of C2 and C1 and D2 and D1 are because of the requirement that top and bottom fields alternate Since the fields are from the same film frame the order doesnt matter MPEG2 also has a flag to indicate when a frame is progressive that the two fields come from the same instant in time For film content the progressiveframe flag should be true for every frame See 3 4 for more MPEG2 details As you can see there are a couple of problems inherent in 23 pulldown 1 some film frames are shown for a longer period of time than others causing judder or jerkiness that shows up especially in smooth pans 2 if you freeze the video on the third or fourth video frame when there is motion in the picture you will see two separate images combined in a flickering mess Most DVD players avoid the second problem by only pausing on coherent frames or by only showing one field although some allow you to freeze on flickerframes This is what the framefield still option in the players setup menu refers to Most DVD players are hooked up to interlaced TVs so theres not much that can be done about artifacts from film conversion However see 1 40 for information about progressive DVD players For more on progressive video and DVD see part 5 and player ratings in the excellent DVD Benchmark series at Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity and Dan Ramers What The Heck Is 32 Pulldown at DVDFile com Note 23 pulldown is the same term as 32 pulldown but this FAQ uses the 23 notation to indicate that its a sequence not a ratio and that in practice 2 video fields are usually created from the first film frame 3 9 What is edge enhancement When films are transferred to video in preparation for DVD encoding they are commonly run through digital processes that attempt to clean up the picture These processes include digital video noise reduction DVNR and image enhancement Enhancement increases contrast similar to the effect of the sharpen or unsharp mask filters in PhotoShop but can tend to overdo areas of transition between light and dark or different colors causing a chiseled look or a ringing effect like the haloes you see around streetlights when driving in the rain Video noise reduction is a good thing when done well since it can remove scratches spots and other defects from the original film Enhancement which is rarely done well is a bad thing The video may look sharper and clearer to the casual observer but fine tonal details of the original picture are altered and lost Note that ringing can also be caused by the player and by the TV Scan velocity modulation SVM for example causes ringing 3 10 Does DVD work with barcodes If your humble FAQ author and other longtime developers of laserdisc had prevailed all DVD players would support barcodes This would have made for really cool printed supplements and educational material that could jump to any part of a disc with a swipe of a barcode wand But the rejection of our recommendations after an allstar meeting in August 1995 is another story for another day So the answer is mostly no A few industrial players the Pioneer LDV7200 Pioneer LDV7400 and Philips ProDVD170 support barcodes including compatibility with the LaserBarCode standard The DVD must be authored with onesequentialPGC titles in order for timecode search to work More info can be found in the Pioneer technical manuals 3 11 What is BCA or NBCA BCA stands for burst cutting area a zone near the hub of a DVD reserved for a barcode that can be etched into the disc by a highpowered YAG laser NBCA narrow burst cutting area is a thinnerdiameter variation used on recordable discs to avoid impinging on the leadin Because barcode cutting is independent of the stamping process each disc can have unique data recorded in the BCA such as a serialized ID DVD readers can use the laser pickup head to read the BCA The BCA is used by CPRM see 1 11 and Divx see 2 10 to uniquely identify each disc 3 12 How long do DVDs last DVDs are read by a laser so they never wear out from being played since nothing touches the disc Pressed discs the kind that movies come on will probably last longer than you will anywhere from 50 to 300 years Expected longevity of dyebased DVDR and DVDR discs is anywhere from 20 to 250 years about as long as CDR discs Some dye formulations such as phthalocyanine and azo are more stable and are expected to last longer 100 years or more compared to 20 or 30 years for less stable dyes The phasechange erasable formats DVDRAM DVDRW and DVDRW have an expected lifetime of 25 to 100 years In actuality DVDs often dont last as long as the above statisticallybased longevity figures would lead you to expect Longevity can be reduced by problems in manufacturing or recording and by poor quality material Shoddy pressed DVDs may deteriorate within a few years and cheap recordable DVDs may produce errors when recording or may become unreadable after a while See 1 24 In other words you get what you pay for If longevity is important invest in highquality media In 2009 Millenniata introduced MARC technology also marketed by Cranberry as DiamonDisc a DVDcompatible recordable format using an obsidianlike synthetic recording layer etched by a highpowered laser The discs are expected to last hundreds of years They require special very expensive recorders but the discs can be read by standard DVD readers Because of the high recording costs Cranberry offers an online service for uploading data to be burned For more info on disc longevity see The Relative Stabilities of Optical Disc Formats Lifetime of KODAK CDR Ultima Media and Professor Kelin J Kuhn lecture notes For comparison magnetic media tapes and disks last 10 to 30 years highquality acidneutral paper can last 100 years or longer and archivalquality microfilm is projected to last 300 years or more Note that computer storage media often becomes technically obsolete within 20 to 30 years long before it physically deteriorates In other words before the media becomes unviable it may become difficult or impossible to find equipment that can read it Optical media is proving to be one of the exceptions to this rule since DVD and Bluray readers can read CDs from 1983 although the CDDVDBD format will begin to fall out of use around 2020 3 13 How does the player know where I stopped or ejected the disc Some DVD players set a bookmark when the disc is stopped or ejected so they can restart at the same spot when the disc is reinserted This requires saving the entire state of the player registers mode current program timecode etc as well as a fingerprint of the disc so they player can tell the difference between it and a different disc The fingerprint is usually a hash of certain sectors at the beginning of the disc Some players only save one bookmark for the most recent disc whereas other players save bookmarks for many discs Unlike cassette tapes where the position of the tape itself naturally lets the player start at the same spot DVDs are read by a laser and cant store new information Therefore the player has to remember where you stopped playing Thats why if you take the disc out of one player and put it into another player it will start over at the beginning 4 1 Can I play DVD movies on my computer Yes if your computer has the right stuff Almost all Windows and Mac OS computers with DVD drives come with software to play DVDs The computer operating system or playback software must support regional codes and be licensed to descramble copyprotected movies If the computer has TV video out it must support Macrovision in order to play copyprotected movies You may also need software that can read the UDF file system format used by DVDs You dont need special drivers for Windows or Mac OS since the existing CDROM drivers work fine with DVDROM drives In addition to a DVDROM drive you must have software or extra hardware that knows how to play the DVDVideo format and decode MPEG2 video and Dolby Digital or MPEG2 audio Goodquality softwareonly playback requires a 350MHz Pentium II or a Mac G4 Almost all new computers with DVDROM drives use software decoding instead of hardware decoding Hardware upgrade kits can be purchased for older computers usually minimum 133 MHz Pentium or G3 starting at 150 Mac OS X 10 0 Cheetah had no support for DVD playback when released in March 2001 and also did not support Apples DVD authoring applications iDVD and DVD Studio Pro More info at CNET Support for DVD playback was added to version 10 1 Puma If youre having problems playing movies on your computer see section 4 6 Certain MPEG decoding tasks such as motion compensation IDCT inverse discrete cosine transform IVLC inverse variable length coding and even subpicture decoding can be performed by special circuitry on a video graphics chip improving the performance of software decoders This is called hardware decode acceleration hardware motion comp or hardware assist Some card makers also call it hardware decode even though they dont do all the decoding in hardware All modern graphics cards also provide hardware colorspace conversion YCbCr to RGB and videoport overlay some graphics card makers make a big deal about this even though all their competitors cards have the same feature Microsoft Windows 98 2000 Me and XP include DirectShow which provides standardized support for DVDVideo and MPEG2 playback DirectShow can also be installed in Windows 95 its available for download DirectShow creates a framework for DVD applications but a thirdparty hardware or software decoder is required see below Windows NT 4 0 supports DVDROM drives for data but has very little support for playing DVDVideo discs Margi DVDToGo Sigma Designs Hollywood Plus and the related Creative Labs Dxr3 are among the few hardware decoders that work in NT 4 0 InterVideo WinDVD software works in NT 4 0 National Semiconductor DVD Express and MGI SoftDVD Max also work in NT 4 0 but they arent available retail Windows 98 and newer can read UDF discs Version 6 1 of Windows Media Player enabled scriptable DVD playback in an HTML page see 4 9 for more on DVD playback control Version 7 of Windows Media Player dropped all DVD support Version 8 of Windows Media Player added a user interface for DVD playback but no scripting Roxio provides a free filesystem driver UDF Reader for Windows 9598NT Software Architects sells Read DVD for Windows 95 Apple QuickTime 6 is partially ready for DVDVideo and MPEG2 but does not yet have full decoding or DVDVideo playback support in place Mac OS 8 1 or newer can read UDF discs Roxio provides a free utility UDF Volume Access that enables Mac OS 7 6 and newer to read UDF discs Software Architects sells UDF reading software for Mac OS called DVDRAM TuneUp Intechs CDDVD SpeedTools software allows most any DVD drive to be used with a Mac Note The QuickTime MPEG Extension for Mac OS is for MPEG1 only and does not play MPEG2 DVDVideo DVD player applications using either software or hardware decoding are virtual DVD players They support DVDVideo features menus subpictures etc and emulate the functionality of a DVDVideo player remote control Many player applications include additional features such as bookmarks chapter lists and subtitle language lists Microsoft Windows includes a DVD software player but does not include the necessary decoder You must have a thirdparty software or hardware decoder in order to play a DVD Most PCs that come with a DVD drive include a decoder or you can purchase one See 4 11 and 4 12 for more info Software decoders and DVD player applications for Microsoft Windows PCs ATI special version of CineMaster software for certain ATI graphics cards ASUS ASUSDVD custom version of InterVideo WinDVD software or CyberLink PowerDVD software KiSS CoolDVD DirectShow Windows 98Me2000XP Creative Technology SoftPCDVD CyberLink PowerDVD DirectShow Windows 98Me2000XP NT 4 0 available for purchase ELSA ELSAMovie German only InterVideo WinDVD DirectShow Windows 98Me2000XP NT 4 0 available for purchase Matrox special version of CineMaster software for certain Matrox graphics cards National Semiconductor DVD Express DirectShow Windows 98Me2000XP OEM only NEC NEC PCs only Odyssey DVD Player is no longer available Orion Studios DirectDVD DirectShow downloadable trial note unsatisfactory rating at BBB Sonic formerly Ravisent formerly Quadrant International CinePlayer DirectShow Windows 98Me2000XP available for purchase Varo Vision VaroDVD Xing DVDPlayer is no longer available since the company was purchased by Real Networks Software decoders need at least a 350 MHz Pentium II and a DVDROM drive with bus mastering DMA to play without dropped frames Anything slower than a 400 MHz Pentium III will benefit quite a bit from hardware decode acceleration in the graphics card An AGP graphics card rather than PCI also improves the performance of software decoders Hardware decoder cards and DVDROM upgrade kits for Microsoft Windows PCs are pretty much a thing of the past Hardware decoders use video overlay to insert the video into the computer display Some use analog overlay which takes the analog VGA signal output from the graphics card and keys in the video while others use video port extension VPE a direct digital connection to the graphics adapter via a cable inside the computer Analog overlay may degrade the quality of the VGA signal See 4 4 for more overlay info Many Macintosh models come standard with DVDROM DVDRAM or DVDRW drives The included Apple software DVD player uses hardware acceleration in the ATI graphics card The stillunreleased QuickTime MPEG2 decoder may use the Velocity Engine AltiVec portion of the PowerPC G4 chip for video and audio decoding DVDROM upgrade kits and decoder cards for Macintoshes were made by E4 Elecede Cool DVD CCube chip E4 has gone out of business EZQuest BOA Mac DVD Fantom Drives DVD Home Theater kit DVDROM or DVDRAM drive with Wired MPEG2 card and Wired Wired 4DVD Sigma EM8300 chip same card as Hollywood plus MasonX cant play encrypted movies DVDToGo out of production Wired was acquired by Media100 but later reconstituted Theres a beta version of a shareware DVD software player that can play unencrypted movies The Sigma Designs NetStream 2000 DVD decoder card supports Linux DVD playback InterVideo and CyberLink have also announced DVD player applications for Linux although the CyberLink player is only available to OEMs In addition there are free software players for Linux Unix BeOS and other operating systems OMS LiViD VideoLan and Xine Computers have the potential to produce better video than settop DVDVideo players by using progressive display and higher scan rates but many PC systems dont look as good as a home player hooked up to a quality TV If you want to hook a DVD computer to a TV the decoder card or the VGA card must have a TV output composite video or svideo Video quality is much better with svideo Alternatively you can connect a scan converter to the VGA output Scan converters are available from ADS Technologies AITech Antec AverLogic AVerMedia Communications Specialties Digital Vision Focus Enhancements Key Digital Systems RGB Products and others Make sure the scan converter can handle the display resolution you have chosen 640x480 800x600 etc although keep in mind that even 800x600 is beyond the ability of a standard TV so higher resolutions wont make the TV picture better The quality of video from a PC depends on the decoder the graphics card the TV encoder chip and other factors The RGB output of the VGA card in computers is at a different frequency than standard component RGB video so it cant be directly connected to most RGB video monitors If the decoder card or the sound card has Dolby Digital or DTS output you can connect to your AV receiver to get multichannel audio A DVD PC connected to a progressivescan monitor or video projector instead of a standard TV usually looks much better than a consumer player See 2 9 Also see the Home Theater Computers forum at AVS For remote control of DVD playback on your PC check out Animax Anir Multimedia Magic Evation IRMan Multimedia Studio Miro MediaRemote Packard Bell RemoteMedia RealMagic Remote Control and X10 MouseRemote Many remotes are supported by Visual Domains Remote Selector software 4 1 1 Can I play DVDAudio discs on my computer Usually not DVDROM drives can read DVDAudio discs but as of 2005 only the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 card includes the software needed to play DVDAudio on a computer Part of the reason for general lack of support is that very few computers provide the high quality audio environment needed to take advantage of DVDAudio fidelity Its possible that Microsoft could add DVDAudio playback to a future version of Windows in which case you would only need to download some inexpensive decoding software to get DVDAudio playback 4 2 What are the features and speeds of DVD drives Unlike CDROM drives which took years to move up to 2x 3x and faster spin rates faster DVDROM drives began appearing in the first year A 1x DVDROM drive provides a data transfer rate of 1 321 MBs 11 081068220 with burst transfer rates of up to 12 MBs or higher The data transfer rate from a DVDROM disc at 1x speed is roughly equivalent to a 9x CDROM drive 1x CDROM data transfer rate is 150 KBs or 0 146 MBs DVD physical spin rate is about 3 times faster than CD that is 1x DVD spin ~ 3x CD spin but most DVDROM drives increase motor speed when reading CDROMs achieving 12x or faster performance A drive listed as 16x40x reads a DVD at 16 times normal or a CD at 40 times normal DVDROM drives are available in 1x 2x 4x 4 8x 5x 6x 8x 10x and 16x speeds although they usually dont achieve sustained transfer at their full rating The max in DVD and CD speed ratings means that the listed speed only applies when reading data at the outer edge of the disc which moves faster The average data rate is lower than the max rate Most 1x DVDROM drives have a seek time of 85200 ms and access time of 90250 ms Newer drives have seek times as low as 45 ms Likewise DVD recordable drives have steadily increased in write speed 16x DVD writers began to be widely available in 2004 Note that recordable discs have different speed ratings see 4 3 11 Current thinking is that DVD drive speeds have topped out at 16x since disc wobbling and other physical factors become a problem at faster speeds DVD drive speed Data rate Disc write time Equivalent CD rate CD reading speed 1x 11 08 Mbps 1 32 MBs 53 min 9x 8x18x 2x 22 16 Mbps 2 64 MBs 27 min 18x 20x24x 4x 44 32 Mbps 5 28 MBs 14 min 36x 24x32x 5x 55 40 Mbps 6 60 MBs 11 min 45x 24x32x 6x 66 48 Mbps 7 93 MBs 9 min 54x 24x32x 8x 88 64 Mbps 10 57 MBs 7 min 72x 32x40x 10x 110 80 Mbps 13 21 MBs 6 min 90x 32x40x 16x 177 28 Mbps 21 13 MBs 4 min 144x 32x40x Disc write time is the approximate theoretical time it takes to write a DVD5 which doesnt include software overhead time to write leadout etc In practice writing will take longer The bigger the cache memory buffer in a DVDROM drive the faster it can supply data to the computer This is useful primarily for data not video It may reduce or eliminate the pause during layer changes but has no effect on video quality Rewritable DVD drives see 4 3 write at about half their advertised speed when the data verification feature is turned on which reads each block of data after it is written Verification is usually on by default in DVDRAM drives Turning it off will speed up writing Whether this endangers your data is a subject of debate Verification is off in DVDRW and DVDRW drives In order to maintain constant linear density typical CDROM and DVDROM drives spin the disc more slowly when reading or writing near the outside where there is more physical surface in each track This is called CLV constant linear velocity Some faster drives keep the rotational speed constant and use a buffer to deal with the differences in data readout or writeout speed This is called CAV constant angular velocity In CAV drives the data is read or written fastest at the outside of the disc which is why specifications often list max speed Note When playing movies a fast DVD drive gains you nothing more than possibly smoother scanning and faster searching Speeds above 1x do not improve video quality from DVDVideo discs Higher speeds only make a difference when reading computer data such as when playing a multimedia game or when using a database Connectivity of DVD drives is similar to that of CD drives EIDE ATAPI SCSI2 etc All DVD drives have audio connections for playing audio CDs No DVD drives have been announced with their own DVD audio or video outputs which would require internal audiovideo decoding hardware Almost all DVDVideo and DVDROM discs use the UDF bridge format which is a combination of the DVD MicroUDF subset of UDF 1 02 and ISO 9660 file systems The OSTA UDF file system will eventually replace the ISO 9660 system originally designed for CDROMs but the bridge format provides backwards compatibility until more operating systems support UDF 4 2 1 What is the audio output connector on a DVD drive for DVDROM drives and DVD recordable drives have an RCA connector or a 4pin flat Molex connector to send analog audio to the audio card in the PC This is just like the connector on a CD drive and in fact its only for playing audio CDs The audio from DVDs comes through the computer not out of the drive Playing audio from a CD used to require the analog audio output but most PCs can now play digital audio directly from the CD so the analog connector is not needed 4 3 What about recordable DVD DVDR DVDRAM DVDRW DVDRW and DVDR There are six recordable versions of DVD DVDR for General DVDR for Authoring DVDRAM DVDRW DVDRW and DVDR DVDR and DVDR can record data once like CDR whereas DVDRAM DVDRW and DVDRW can be rewritten thousands of times like CDRW DVDR was first available in fall 1997 DVDRAM followed in summer 1998 DVDRW came out in Japan in December 1999 but was not available in the U S until spring 2001 DVDRW became available in fall 2001 DVDR was released in mid 2002 Recordable DVD was first available for use on computers only Home DVD video recorders see 1 14 appeared worldwide in 2000 This FAQ uses the terms drive or burner to refer to recordable computer drives and the term video recorder to refer to home settop recorders DVDRAM is more of a removable storage device for computers than a video recording format although it has become widely used in DVD video recorders because of the flexibility it provides in editing a recording The other two recordable format families DVDRRW and DVDRRW are essentially in competition with each other The market will determine which of them succeeds or if they end up coexisting or merging There are many claims that one or the other format is better but they are actually very similar In 2003 many companies began making drives that could record in both dash and plus format Each writable DVD format is covered briefly below See section 6 2 3 for hardware manufacturers For more on writable DVD see Dana Parkers Writable DVD A Guide For the Perplexed very good although a bit out of date More information on writable DVD formats is available at industry associations RW Products Promotion Initiative RWPPI Recordable DVD Council RDVDC and DVDRW Alliance Also DVD Writers and DVDplusRW org If youre interested in writable DVD for data storage visit Steve Rothmans DVDDATA page for FAQ and mailing list info 4 3 1 Is it true there are compatibility problems with recordable DVD formats Yes None of the writable formats are fully compatible with each other or even with existing drives and players In other words a DVDRRW drive cant write a DVDR or DVDRW disc and vice versa unless its a combo drive that writes both formats As time goes by the different formats are becoming more compatible and more intermixed A player with the DVD Forums DVD Multi is guaranteed to read DVDR DVDRW and DVDRAM discs and a DVD Multi recorder can record using all three formats Some new super combo drives can record in both plus and dash format and a few super multi drives can record all 5 disc types DVDR DVDRW DVDR DVDRW and DVDRAM In addition not all players and drives can read recorded discs The basic problem is that recordable discs have different reflectivity than pressed discs the prerecorded kind you buy in a store see 5 and not all players have been correctly designed to read them There are compatibility lists at CustomFlix DVDMadeEasy DVDRHelp StashSpace Apple YesVideo and elsewhere that indicate player compatibility with DVDR and DVDRW discs DVDplusRW org maintains a list of DVDRW compatible players and drives Note test results vary depending on media quality handling writing conditions player tolerances and so on The indications of compatibility in these lists are often anecdotal in nature and are only general guidelines There is insignificant compatibility difference between the dash and plus formats see 4 3 6 There are much bigger compatibility differences between brands so be careful about buying cheap discs Very roughly DVDR and DVDR discs work in about 85 of existing drives and players while DVDRW and DVDRW discs work in around 80 The situation is steadily improving In another few years compatibility problems will mostly be behind us just as with CDR did you know that early CDRs had all kinds of compatibility problems Here is a summary of recordable DVD compatibility Below each drive is a column indicating how well it can read or write each format for simplicity doesnt write is implied if not otherwise specified DVD unit DVDRG unit DVDRA unit DVDRW unit DVDRAM unit DVDRW unit DVDROM disc reads reads reads reads reads reads DVDRG disc often reads reads writes reads reads writes reads reads DVDRA disc usually reads reads reads writes reads reads reads DVDRW disc often reads reads reads reads writes usually reads usually reads DVDRAM disc rarely reads doesnt read doesnt read doesnt read reads writes doesnt read DVDRW disc usually reads usually reads usually reads usually reads usually reads reads writes DVDR disc often reads usually reads usually reads usually reads reads reads may write The author of this DVD FAQ is a member of the OSTADVDANIST Recordable DVD Compatibility Study committee A report on phase 1 DVDROM drive testing is available from NIST 4 3 2 DVDR DVDR which is pronounced dash R not minus R uses organic dye technology like CDR and is compatible with most DVD drives and players Firstgeneration capacity was 3 95 billion bytes later extended to 4 7 billion bytes Matching the 4 7G capacity of DVDROM was crucial for desktop DVD production In early 2000 the format was split into an authoring version and a general version The general version intended for home use writes with a cheaper 650nm laser the same as DVDRAM DVDRA is intended for professional development and uses a 635nm laser DVDRA discs are not writable in DVDRG recorders and viceversa but both kinds of discs are readable in most DVD players and drives The main differences in addition to recording wavelength are that DVDRG uses decrementing prepit addresses a prestamped version 1 0 or prerecorded version 1 1 control area CPRM see 1 11 and allows doublesided discs A third version for special authoring allowing protected movie content to be recorded on DVDR media was considered but will probably not happen Pioneer released 3 95G DVDRA 1 0 drives in October 1997 about 6 months late for 17000 New 4 7G DVDRA 1 9 drives appeared in limited quantities in May 1999 about 6 months late for 5400 Version 2 0 drives became available in fall 2000 Version 1 9 drives can be upgraded to 2 0 via downloaded software This removes the 2500 hour recording limit New 2 0 4 7G media with newer copy protection features can only be written in 2 0 drives 1 9 media and old 1 0 3 95G media can still be written in 2 0 drives Version 1 0 3 95G discs are still available and can be recorded in Pioneer DVDRA drives Although 3 95G discs hold less data they are more compatible with existing players and drives Pioneers DVRA03 DVDRG drive was released in May 2001 for under 1000 By August it was available for under 700 and by February 2002 it was under 400 The same drive model DVR103 was built into certain Apple Macs and Compaq PCs Many companies now produce DVDRW drives all of which write CDRRW As of mid 2002 DVDRW drives were selling for under 200 Most DVDRAM drives also write DVDR discs some also write DVDRW discs Many new drives write both DVDRRW and DVDRRW Pioneer released a professional DVD video recorder in 2002 It sells for about 3000 and provides component video YPbPr and 1394 DV inputs along with svideo and composite It has 1hour 10 Mbps and 2hour 5 Mbps recording modes and includes a 2channel Dolby Digital audio encoder Prices for blank DVDRA discs are 10 to 25 down from the original 50 although cheaper discs seem to have more compatibility problems Prices for blank DVDRG discs are around 1 Blank media are made by CMC Magnetics Fuji Hitachi Maxell Mitsubishi Mitsui Pioneer Ricoh Ritek Taiyo Yuden Sony TDK Verbatim Victor and others The DVDR 1 0 format is standardized in ECMA279 Andy Parsons at Pioneer has written a white paper that explains the differences between DVDRG and DVDRA Its possible to submit DVDRA and DVDRG discs for replication with limitations First not all replicators will accept submissions on DVDR Second there can be problems with compatibility and data loss when using DVDR so its best to generate a checksum that the replicator can verify Third DVDR does not directly support CSS regions and Macrovision Support for this is being added to DVDRA with the cutting master format CMF which stores DDP information in the control area but it will take a while before many authoring software programs and replicators support CMF 4 3 3 DVDRW DVDRW formerly DVDRW and also briefly known as DVDER is a phasechange erasable format Developed by Pioneer based on DVDR using similar track pitch mark length and rotation control DVDRW is playable in many DVD drives and players Some drives and players are confused by DVDRW medias lower reflectivity into thinking its a duallayer disc In other cases the drive or player doesnt recognize the disc format code and doesnt even try to read the disc Simple firmware upgrades can solve both problems DVDRW uses groove recording with address info on land areas for synchronization at write time land data is ignored during reading Capacity is 4 7 billion bytes DVDRW discs can be rewritten about 1000 times In December 1999 Pioneer released DVDRW home video recorders in Japan The units cost 250000 yen about 2500 and blank discs cost 3000 yen about 30 Since the recorder used the new DVDVR video recording format the discs wouldnt play in existing players the discs were physically compatible but not logically compatible Recording time varies from 1 hour to 6 hours depending on quality A new version of the recorder was later released that also recorded on DVDRG discs and used the DVDVideo format for better compatibility with existing players DVDRW drives write DVDR DVDRW CDR and CDRW discs DVDRW disc prices are around 2 down from the original 30 Blank media is being made by CMC Magnetics Hitachi Maxell Mitsubishi Mitsui Pioneer Ricoh Ritek Sony Taiyo Yuden TDK Verbatim Victor and others There are three kinds of DVDRW discs All are 4 7G capacity Version 1 0 discs rarely found outside of Japan have an embossed leadin to prevent copying of CSS information which causes compatibility problems Version 1 1 discs have a prerecorded leadin that improves compatibility Version 1 1 discs also come in a B version that carries a unique ID in the BCA for use with CPRM Btype discs are required when copying certain kinds of protected video See 1 11 for more on CPRM 3 11 for more on BCA The DVDRW format is standardized in ECMA338 Note The Apple SuperDrive even with older 1 22 firmware can write to DVDRW discs but not from the iDVD application You must use a different software utility such as Toast to write to DVDRW discs 4 3 4 DVDRAM DVDRAM with an initial storage capacity of 2 58 billion bytes later increased to 4 7 uses phasechange dual PD technology with some magnetooptic MO features mixed in DVDRAM is the best suited of the writable DVD formats for use in computers because of its defect management and zoned CLV format for rapid access However its not compatible with most drives and players because of defect management reflectivity differences and minor format differences A wobbled groove is used to provide clocking data with marks written in both the groove and the land between grooves The grooves and preembossed sector headers are molded into the disc during manufacturing Singlesided DVDRAM discs come with or without cartridges There are nine types of cartridges see 4 3 4 1 Discs can only be written while in the cartridge Doublesided DVDRAM discs were initially available in sealed cartridges only but now come in removable versions as well Cartridge dimensions are 124 6 mm x 135 5 mm x 8 0 mm DVDRAM can be rewritten more than 100000 times and the discs are expected to last at least 30 years DVDRAM 1 0 drives appeared in June 1998 about 6 months late for 500 to 800 with blank discs at about 30 for singlesided and 45 for doublesided The first DVDROM drive to read DVDRAM discs was released by Panasonic in 1999 SR8583 5x DVDROM 32x CD Hitachis GD5000 drive released in late 1999 also reads DVDRAM discs Blank DVDRAM media is manufactured by CMC Magnetics Hitachi Maxell Eastman Kodak Mitsubishi Mitsui Ritek TDK and others The spec for DVDRAM version 2 0 with a capacity of 4 7 billion bytes per side was published in October 1999 The first drives appeared in June 2000 at about the same price as DVDRAM 1 0 drives Singlesided discs were priced around 25 and doublesided discs were around 30 Disc prices were under 10 and retail drive prices were under 200 by 2003 DVDRAM 2 0 also specifies 8cm discs and cartridges for portable uses such as digital camcorders Future DVDRAM discs may use a contrast enhancement layer and a thermal buffer layer to achieve higher density Samsung and CCube made a technology demonstration not a product announcement in October 1999 of a DVDRAM video recorder using the new DVDVR format see DVDRW section above for more about DVDVR Panasonic demonstrated a 3000 DVDRAM video recorder at CES in January 2000 It appeared in the U S in September for 4000 model DMRE10 At the beginning of 2001 Hitachi and Panasonic released DVD camcorders that use small DVDRAM discs The instant access and onthefly editing and deleting capabilities of the DVD camcorders are impressive Panasonics 2ndgeneration DVDRAM video recorder appeared in October 2001 for 1500 and also wrote to DVDR discs The DVDRAM 1 0 format is standardized in ECMA272 and ECMA273 The DVDRAM 2 0 format is standardized in ECMA330 and ECMA331 4 3 4 1 What are the DVDRAM cartridge types Type 1 A case for a onesided Type 1S or a twosided Type 2S 120 mm DVDRAM disk such that the disk cannot be removed from the case This case is reversible Type 2 A case for a onesided Type 1S 120 mm DVDRAM disk such that the disk may be removed from the case This case is not reversible Type 3 A case into which a onesided Type 1S or a twosided Type 2S 120 mm DVDRAM disk may be inserted then used as a cartridge This case is not reversible Type 4 A case for a twosided Type 2S 120 mm DVDRAM disk such that the disk may be removed from the case This case is reversible Type 5 A case into which a onesided Type 1S or a twosided Type 2S 120 mm DVDRAM disk may be inserted then used as a cartridge This case is reversible Type 6 A case for a twosided Type 2S 80 mm DVDRAM disk such that the disk may be removed from the case This case is reversible Type 7 A case for a onesided Type 1S 80 mm DVDRAM disk such that the disk may be removed from the case This case is not reversible Type 8 A case into which a twosided Type 2S 80 mm DVDRAM disk may be inserted then used as a cartridge This case is reversible Type 9 A case into which a onesided Type 1S 80 mm DVDRAM disk may be inserted then used as a cartridge This case is not reversible 4 3 4 2 How do I remove a DVDRAM type 2 disc from the cartridge Type 2 DVDRAM cartridges allow the disc to be removed so that it can be played in standard players or drives However most players and drives still wont be able to read the disc see 4 3 1 First break yes break the locking pin by pushing on it with a pointed object such as a ballpoint pen Remove the locking pin Unlatch the cover by using a pointed object to press the indentation on the back left corner of the cartridge Data is recorded on the unprinted side of the disc do not touch it When you put the bare disc back the cartridge make sure the printed side of the shutter and the printed side of the disc face the same direction Most DVDRAM drives will not allow you to write to a bare disc Some will not allow you to write to a cartridge if the disc has been removed 4 3 5 DVDRW and DVDR DVDRW is an erasable format based on CDRW technology It became available in late 2001 DVDRW is supported by Philips Sony HewlettPackard Dell Ricoh Yamaha and others It is not supported by the DVD Forum even though most of the DVDRW companies are members but the Forum has no power to set standards DVDRW drives read DVDROMs and CDs and usually read DVDRs and DVDRWs but do not read or write DVDRAM discs DVDRW drives also write CDRs and CDRWs DVDRW discs which hold 4 7 billion bytes per side are readable in many existing DVDVideo players and DVDROM drives They run into the same reflectivity and disc format recognition problems as DVDRW DVDRW backers claimed in 1997 that the format would be used only for computer data not home video but this was apparently a smokescreen intended to placate the DVD Forum and competitors The original 1 0 format which held 3 billion bytes 2 8 gigabytes per side and was not compatible with any existing players and drives was abandoned in late 1999 The DVDRW format uses phasechange media with a highfrequency wobbled groove that allows it to eliminate linking sectors This plus the option of no defect management allows DVDRW discs to be written in a way that is compatible with many existing DVD readers The DVDRW specification allows for either CLV format for sequential video access read at CAV speeds by the drive or CAV format for random access but CAV recording is not supported by any current hardware DVDR discs can only be recorded in CLV mode Only CLVformatted discs can be read in standard DVD drives and players DVDRW media can be rewritten about 1000 times down from 100000 times in the original 1 0 version DVDR is a writeonce variation of DVDRW which appeared in mid 2002 Its a dyebased medium like DVDR so it has similar compatibility as DVDR Original DVDRW drives did not fulfill the promise of a simple upgrade to add DVDR writing support so they have to be replaced with newer models The original Philips DVDRW video recorders on the other hand can be customerupgraded to write R discs Philips announced a DVDRW home video recorder for late 2001 The Philips recorder uses the DVDVideo format so discs play in many existing players HP announced a 600 DVDRW drive made by Ricoh and 16 DVDRW discs for September 2001 HPs drive reads DVDs at 8x and CDs at 32x and writes to DVDRW at 2 4x CDR at 12x and CDRW at 10x In 2005 DVDR discs cost around 1 and DVDRW discs cost around 2 DVDRW media is produced by CMC Magnetics HewlettPackard MCCVerbatim Memorex Mitsubishi Optodisc Philips Ricoh Ritek and Sony More DVDRW information is at www dvdrw com and www dvdplusrw org The obsolete DVDRW 1 0 format is standardized in ECMA274 DVDRW 2 0 format is standardized in ECMA337 and DVDR in ECMA349 4 3 6 Which recordable DVD format should I buy As explained in the previous sections there are two main formats dash DVDRRW and plus DVDRRW Theres not much difference between them They both record data and video and they both read back data and play back video Both formats are available as recordable drives for computers and as home video recorders In spite of claims that one format is more compatible with players and drives both formats are similarly compatible see 4 3 1 There are speed differences but its a game of leapfrog One format will come out with faster write speeds then the other one will match it or surpass it 16x is the theoretical maximum speed so the latest drives from both formats are close to the limit Modern combo drives can write to almost all disc formats DVDR DVDRW DVDR DVDRW CDR CDRW Older drives write only their DVD format so you may have to get DVDRRW discs for a DVDRW drive and DVDRRW discs for a DVDRW drive The DVDRW format has a few advantages when used in a computer but if data backup or access speed is important also consider the DVDRAM format DVDRAM is fast and reliable and the discs have an optional cartridge to help protect data Most DVDRAM drives also write DVDRRW discs and some super combo drives write all three formats 4 3 7 Other recordable optical formats Competitors to recordable DVD were announced but never appeared thanks in part to the success of the entire DVD family These formats included ASMO formerly MO7 which was to hold 5 to 6 billion bytes and NECs Multimedia Video Disc MVDisc formerly MMVF Multimedia Video File which was to hold 5 2 billion bytes and was targeted at home recording ASMO drives were expected to read DVDROM and compatible writable formats but not DVDRAM MVDisc was similar to DVDRW and DVDRW using two bonded 0 6mm phasechange substrates land and groove recording and a 640nm laser but contrary to initial reports the drives were not expected to be able to read DVDROM or compatible discs There was also FMD see 2 13 And there are new HD formats see 6 5 4 3 8 How long does DVD recording take The time it takes to burn a DVD depends on the speed of the recorder and the amount of data Playing time of the video may have little to do with recording time since a half hour at high data rates can take more space than an hour at low data rates A 2x recorder running at 22 Mbps can write a full 4 7G DVD in about 30 minutes A 4x recorder can do it in about 15 minutes Note that the RRW format often writes a full leadout to the diameter required by the DVD spec so small amounts of data like a very short video clip may take the same amount of time as large amounts 4 3 9 Which color of recordable DVD is best Different colors of recordable CDs and DVDs come from the combination of the reflective metal layer gold or silver and the dye used in the recording layer cyanine blue phthalocyanine clear azo dark blue formazan green etc Judging DVD quality by color is like judging bell pepper quality by color is yellow better than red or green You may find that some color discs seem to work better in some players but youll also find that there is little correlation between color and readability across multiple brands of disc Other factors such as manufacturing quality and chemical formulation have much more of an effect on how well a disc records and plays back Color does indicate longevity since some dyes such as phthalocyanine and azo are more stable and last longer See 3 12 4 3 10 When will duallayer rewritable DVDs be available Duallayer recordonce R drives and discs have been available since 2004 Duallayer rewritable RW discs have been available since 2006 4 3 11 What does 2x 4x 16x and so on mean on recordable discs and which one should I use Recordable discs come in different speed ratings 2x = twice standard write speed 8x = eight times standard speed and so forth The speed ratings of blank discs match the speed ratings of drives see 4 2 As faster drives become available new discs are designed to work with the new drives as well as older drives Discs have different speed ratings because there are different write strategies and media formulations for faster speeds since the recording laser operates at higher power and moves much faster over the surface of the disc in other words it spends less time burning holes on the disc You will get the best results by using discs that are rated at or above the speed of your drive For example if you have a 4x drive you should use 4x or faster discs not 1x or 2x unless you set the drive to 1x or 2x speed Matching the speed rating of the disc to the speed rating you burn at will give the best results Almost all home DVD video recorders use 1x drives so discs with any speed rating should work although 1x or 2x discs tend to work better 4 3 12 Whats an unfinalized disc and why wont it play in my player Many DVD recorders can record onto DVDR and DVDR discs in unfinalized form where temporary directory information is recorded after the last recorded section instead of at the beginning of the disc in the normal place This is sometimes called the TMPVMGI format after the name for the temporary data This technique allows a writeonce disc to be recorded in more than one session since updated temporary directory information is written after each new recorded area Most DVD recorders and some DVD players can read unfinalized discs by checking in reverse order from the end of the disc for the most recently recorded directory information When a disc is finalized the directory information is written in the normal place allowing standard DVD players to recognize and play the disc 4 4 Why cant I take a screenshot of DVD video Why do I get a pink or black square Most DVD PCs even those with software decoders use video overlay hardware to insert the video directly into the VGA signal This an efficient way to handle the very high bandwidth of fullmotion video Some decoder cards such as the Creative Labs Encore Dxr series and the Sigma Designs Hollywood series use a passthrough cable that overlays the video into the analog VGA signal after it comes out of the video display card Video overlay uses a technique called colorkey to selectively replace a specified pixel color often magenta or nearblack with video content Anywhere a colorkey pixel appears in the computer graphics video its replaced by video from the DVD decoder This process occurs downstream from the computers video memory so if you try to take a screenshot which grabs pixels from video RAM all you get is a solid square of the colorkey color Hardware acceleration must be turned off before screen capture will work This makes some decoders write to standard video memory Utilities such as Creative Softworx HyperSnap and SD Capture can then grab still pictures Some player applications such as PowerDVD and the Windows Me player can take screenshots if hardware acceleration is turned off 4 5 Why cant I play movies copied to my hard drive Almost all movies are encrypted with CSS copy protection see 1 11 Decryption keys are stored in the normally inaccessible leadin area of the disc Youll usually get an error if you try to copy the contents of an encrypted DVD to a hard drive However if you have used a software player to play the movie it will have authenticated the disc in the drive allowing you to copy without error but the encryption keys will not be copied If you try to play the copied VOB files the decoder will request the keys from the DVDROM drive and will fail You may get the message Cannot play copyprotected files 4 6 Why do I have problems playing DVDs on my computer There are thousands of answers to this question but here are some basic troubleshooting steps to help you track down problems such as jerky playback pauses error messages and so on Get updated software Driver bugs are the biggest cause of playback problems ranging from freezes to bogus error messages about regions Go to the support section on the Web sites of your equipment manufacturers and make sure you have the latest drivers for your graphics adapter audio card and DVD decoder if you have a hardware decoder Also make sure you have the latest update of the player program Apple has released numerous updates for audio drivers and the DVD player application Make sure you have the latest versions Go to the downloads page and search for DVD If you have multiple DVD players installed especially trial versions that have expired uninstall all but one of them You may then have to reinstall your preferred player If you have problems loading a DVD on a Mac hold down the Command Option and I keys when inserting the disk This mounts the disc using ISO 9660 instead of UDF Make sure DMA or SDT is turned on In Windows go into the System Properties Device Manager choose CDROM open the CDDVD driver properties choose the Settings tab and make sure the DMA box for IDE drives or the Sync Data Transfer box for SCSI drives is checked Download CD Speed to check the performance of your drive if its below 1x you have problems Caution You may run into problems turning DMA on especially with an AMD K6 CPU or VIA chipset Check for a BIOS upgrade a drive controller upgrade a bus mastering driver upgrade and a CDDVDROM driver upgrade from your system manufacturer before turning DMA on If the drive disappears reboot in safe mode uncheck DMA and reboot again You may have to tell Windows to restore the registry settings from its last registry backup If you get an error about unavailable overlay surface reduce the display resolution or number of colors rightclick desktop choose Settings tab Try turning off programs that are running in the background In Windows close or exit applets in the system tray the icons in the lower right corner In Mac OS turn off AppleTalk file sharing and virtual memory Allocate more memory to the Apple DVD Player If you are using a SCSI DVDROM drive make sure that its the first or last device in the SCSI chain If its the last device make sure its terminated Reinstall the Windows bus mastering drivers Delete them from the device manager and let Windows ask for original disc Bad video when connecting to a TV could be from too long a cable or from interference or a ground loop See 3 2 2 More information on specific graphics cards and driver updates Nvidia DVD Zone Nvidia geForce 256 FAQ 4 7 Can I stream DVD over a network or the Internet Short answer Not if the disc is copy protected With a fast enough network 100 Mbps or better with good performance and low traffic and a highperformance server its possible to stream DVDVideo from a server to client stations If the source on the server is a DVDROM drive or jukebox then more than one user simultaneously accessing the same disc will cause breaks in the video unless the server has a fast DVDROM drive and a very good caching system designed for streaming video A big problem is that CSSencrypted movies see 1 11 cant be remotely sourced because of security issues The CSS license does not allow decrypted video to be sent over an accessible bus or network so the decoder has to be on the remote PC If the decoder has a secure channel to perform authentication with the drive on the server then its possible to stream encrypted video over a network to be decrypted and decoded remotely But so far almost no decoders can do this One solution is the VideoLAN project which runs on GNULinuxUnix BeOS Mac OS X and other operating systems It includes a player with builtin CSS decryption Although the code is different from DeCSS its an unlicensed implementation and is probably illegal in most countries see 4 8 An alternative approach is to decode the video at the server and send it to individual stations via separate cables usually RF The advantage is that performance is very good but the disadvantage is that DVD interactivity is usually limited and every viewer connected to a single drivedecoder must watch the same thing at the same time Many companies provide support for streaming video MPEG1 MPEG2 MPEG4 etc over LANs but only from files or realtime encoders not from DVDVideo discs The Internet is a different matter It takes over a week to download the contents of a singlelayer DVD using a 56k modem It takes about 7 hours on a T1 line Cable modems theoretically cut the time down to a few hours but if other users in the same neighborhood have cable modems bandwidth could drop significantly Jims prediction made in 2001 the average DVD viewing household wont have sufficiently fast Internet connections before 2007 at the earliest Around that time there will be a new highdefinition version of DVD with double the data rate which will once again exceed the capacity of the typical Internet connection 4 8 What is DeCSS CSS Content Scrambling System is an encryption and authentication scheme intended to prevent DVD movies from being digitally copied See 1 11 for details DeCSS refers to the general process of defeating CSS as well as to DeCSS source code and programs Computer software to decrypt CSS was released to the Internet in October 1999 see Dana Parkers article at www emediapro netnews99news111 html although other ripping methods were available before that see 6 4 2 The difference between circumventing CSS encryption with DeCSS and intercepting decrypted decompressed video with a DVD ripper is that DeCSS can be considered illegal under the DMCA and the WIPO treaties The DeCSS information can be used to guess at master keys such that a standard PC can generate the entire list of 409 keys rendering the key secrecy process useless In any case theres not much appeal to being able to copy a set of movie files often without menus and other DVD special features that would take over a week to download on a 56K modem and would fill up a 6G hard disk or a dozen CDRs An alternative is to recompress the video with a different encoding format such as DivX see 2 10 so that it will take less space but this often results in significantly reduced picture quality In spite of lower data rates of DivX et al the time and effort it takes to find and download the files is not worth the bother for most movie viewers The reality is that most people ripping and downloading DVDs are doing it for the challenge not to avoid buying discs The supporters of DeCSS point out that it was only developed to allow DVD movies to be played on the Linux operating system which had been excluded from CSS licensing because of its opensource nature This is specifically allowed by DMCA and WIPO laws However the DeCSS exe program posted on the Internet is a Windows application that decrypts movie files The lack of differentiation between the DeCSS process in Linux and the DeCSS exe Windows application is hurting the cause of DeCSS backers since DeCSS exe can be used in the process of copying and illegally distributing movies from DVD See Tom Vogts DeCSS central for more information on DeCSS Worthy of note is that DVD piracy was around long before DeCSS Serious DVD pirates can copy the disc bit for bit including the normally unreadable lead in this can be done with a specially modified drive or copy the video output from a standard DVD player or get a copy of the video from another source such as laserdisc VHS or a camcorder smuggled into a theater Its certainly true that DVD piracy is a problem but DeCSS has little to do with it Shortly after the appearance of DeCSS the DVD CCA filed a lawsuit and requested a temporary injunction in an attempt to prevent Web sites from posting or even linking to DeCSS information The request was denied by a California court on December 29 1999 On January 14 2000 the seven top U S movie studios Disney MGM Paramount Sony ColumbiaTriStar Time Warner Twentieth Century Fox and Universal backed by the MPAA filed lawsuits in Connecticut and New York in a further attempt to stop the distribution of DeCSS on Web sites in those states On January 21 the judge for the New York suit granted a preliminary injunction and on January 24 the judge for the CCA suit in California reversed his earlier decision and likewise granted a preliminary injunction In both cases the judges ruled that the injunction applied only to sites with DeCSS information not to linking sites Good thing since this FAQ links to DeCSS sites The CCA suit is based on misappropriation of trade secrets somewhat shaky ground while the MPAA suits are based on copyright circumvention On January 24 16year old Jon Johansen the Norwegian programmer who first distributed DeCSS was questioned by local police who raided his house and confiscated his computer equipment and cell phone Johansen says the actual cracking work was done by two anonymous programmers one German and one Dutch who call themselves Masters of Reverse Engineering MoRE This all seems to be a losing battle since the DeCSS source code is available on Tshirts and was made publicly available by the DVD CCA itself in court recordsoops See Fire Work With Me for a facetious look at the broad issue 4 9 How do I play DVD video in HTML PowerPoint Director VB etc A variety of multimedia developmentauthoring programs can be extended to play video from a DVD either as titles and chapters from a DVDVideo volume or as MPEG2 files In Windows this is usually done with ActiveX controls On the Mac until DVDVideo support is added to QuickTime the options are limited Newer versions of the Apple DVD Player can be controlled with AppleScript DVDVideo and MPEG2 video can be played back in an HTML page in Microsoft Internet Explorer using many different ActiveX controls see table Some ActiveX controls also work in PowerPoint Visual Basic and other ActiveX hosts Netscape Navigator is out of the game until it supports ActiveX objects Simple MPEG2 playback can be done in PowerPoint using the Insert Movie feature requires that a DirectShowcompatible MPEG2 decoder be installed DVD and MPEG2 playback can be integrated into Macromedia Director using specialized Xtras Price HTML IE only PowerPoint ActiveX host VB etc Director Microsoft MSWebDVD or MSVidWebDVD see MSDN overview free yes yes yes no Microsoft Windows Media Player 6 1 docs in Windows Media SDK free yes no no no InterActual PC Friendly not available certain versions no no no InterActual Player 2 0 2000 and up yes yes yes yes SpinWare iControl PE 120 Web 1200 and up Web version PE version no no Visible Light Onstage DVD 500 and up ActiveX version ActiveX version ActiveX version Director version Sonic eDVD InterActual engine feature of Sonic products 4000 yes no no no Sonic DVD Presenter InterActual engine no longer available 40 no yes no no Tabuleiro DirectMediaXtra 200 no no no MPEG2VOB files but not DVDVideo volumes LBO Xtra DVD 500 no no no yes Matin�e Presenter Separate presentation application Plays MPEG2 files not DVDVideo Of course if you simply treat DVDROM as a bigger faster CDROM you can create projects using traditional tools Director Flash Toolbook HyperCard VB HTML etc and traditional media types CinePak Sorenson Indeo Windows Media etc in QuickTime or AVI format and theyll work just fine from DVD You can even raise the data rate for bigger or better quality video But it usually wont look as good as MPEG2 4 10 What are IFO VOB AOB and VRO files How can I play them The DVDVideo and DVDAudio specifications see 6 1 define how audio and video data are stored in specialized files The IFO files contain menus and other information about the video and audio The BUP files are backup copies of the IFO files The VOB files for DVDVideo and AOB files for DVDAudio are MPEG2 program streams with additional packets containing navigation and search information Since a VOB file is just a specialized MPEG2 file most MPEG2 decoders and software DVD players can play them You may need to change the extension from VOB to MPG However any special features such as angles or branching will cause strange effects The best way to play a VOB file is to use a DVD player application to play the entire volume or to open the VIDEOTS IFO file since this will make sure all the DVDVideo features are used properly Many DVDs are encrypted which means the VOB files wont play when copied to your hard drive See 4 5 If you try to copy the IFO and VOB files to a recordable DVD it may not play See 5 9 VRO files are created by DVD video recorders using the DVDVR format In some cases you can treat the files just like VOB files but in many cases they are fragmented and unplayable Newer version of Cyberlink PowerDVD InterVideo WinDVD and Sonic Cineplayer can play them Otherwise youll need a utility such as Heuris Extractor or Panasonic DVDMovieAlbum to copy them to a hard disk in usable format Alternatively you can use DVD disc creation software such as InterVideo WinDVD Creator MedioStream neoDVD or Sonic MyDVD can import from VR discs and write out standard DVDVideo discs 4 11 How do I get the Microsoft Windows DVD player application to run Windows 98 and Windows 2000 included a simple player application It requires that a DirectShowcompatible DVD decoder be installed see 4 1 During setup Windows installs the player application if it finds a compatible hardware decoder You must install the player by hand if you want to use it with a software decoder or an unrecognized hardware decoder Using WinZip or other utility that can extract from cab files extract dvdplay exe from driver17 cab on the original Windows disc This is the only file you need but you can also extract the help file from driver11 cab and you can extract dvdrgn exe from driver17 cab if you intend to change the drive region Windows Me includes a much improved player although it still requires a thirdparty DirectShowcompatible decoder Windws ME DVD Player is always installed but it usually does not appear in the Start menu To use the player choose Run from the Start menu then enter dvdplay Windows XP moved DVD playback into Windows Media Player It requires a DVD Decoder Pack which contains a DirectShowcompatible DVD decoder See Microsofts DVD Support in Windows XP page for more info and links to Decoder Packs Microsoft also has a list of supported software decoders for Windows XP 4 12 I upgraded to Windows XP why did my DVD software stop working DVD player software written for Windows 98 and ME does not work in Windows XP Most Windows 2000 software also requires an upgrade Check with your DVD software manufacturer or your PC manufacturer for an upgrade which in many cases is free Or you may want to buy a lowcost Windows XP DVD Decoder Pack see 4 11 4 13 How can I rip audio from a DVD to play as MP3 or burn to a CD Keep in mind that unless you are copying something for your own personal use from a DVD that you own copying a DVD is usually a copyright violation which is illegal and dishonest Use a DVD ripping tool see 4 8 and 6 4 2 to extract Dolby Digital or PCM WAV files from a DVD Then use a utility to convert to MP3 WMA or other formats or to burn to an audio CD Alternatively you can connect the audio output from a DVD player see 3 1 to an audio recorder or to audio inputs on a computer DVD production has two basic phases development and publishing Development is different for DVDROM and DVDVideo publishing is essentially the same for both Cheap lowvolume productions can be duplicated on recordable discs whereas highvolume massmarket products such as movies must be replicated in specialized factories DVDROM content can be developed with traditional software development tools such as Macromedia Director Visual BASIC Quark mTropolis and C Discs including DVDR check discs can be created with UDF formatting software see 5 3 DVDROMs that take advantage of DVDVideos MPEG2 video and multichannel Dolby Digital or MPEG2 audio require video and audio encoding see 5 3 DVDVideo content development has three basic parts encoding authoring design layout and testing and premastering formatting a disc image The entire development process is sometimes referred to as authoring Development facilities are provided by many service bureaus see 5 5 If you intend to produce numerous DVDVideo titles or you want to set up a service bureau you may want to invest in encoding and authoring systems see 5 3 and 5 4 Replication including mastering is the process of pressing discs in production lines that spit out a new disc every few seconds Replication is done by large plants see 5 5 for a list that also replicate CDs DVD replication equipment typically costs millions of dollars A variety of machines are used to create a glass master create metal stamping masters stamp substrates in hydraulic molds apply reflective layers bond substrates together print labels and insert discs in packages Most replication plants provide oneoff or check disc services where one to a hundred discs are made for testing before mass duplication Unlike DVDROM mastering DVDVideo mastering may include an additional step for CSS encryption Macrovision and regionalization There is more information on mastering and replication at Technicolor and Disctronics For projects requiring fewer than a few hundred copies it can be cheaper to use recordable discs see 4 3 Automated machines can feed recordable blanks into a recorder and even print labels on each disc This is called duplication as distinguished from replication 5 1 How much does it cost to produce a DVD How does it compare to videotape or CD Videotape laserdisc and CDROM cant be compared to DVD in a straightforward manner There are basically three areas of cost production premastering authoring encoding and formatting and masteringreplication DVD video production costs are not much higher than for VHS and similar video formats unless extra features of DVD such as multiple sound tracks camera angles seamless branching etc are employed Authoring and premastering costs are proportionately the most expensive part of DVD Video and audio must be encoded menus and control information have to be authored and encoded it all has to be multiplexed into a single data stream and finally encoded in low level format Typical charges for compression are 40min for video 15min for audio 5min for subtitles plus formatting and testing at about 30min A ballpark cost for producing a Hollywoodquality twohour DVD movie with motion menus multiple audio tracks subtitles trailers and a few info screens is about 15000 Alternatively many facilities charge for time at rates of around 300hour A simple twohour DVDVideo title with menus and various video clips can cost as low as 2000 If you want to do it yourself authoring and encoding systems can be purchased at prices from 30 to over 2 million See 5 8 for more on lowcost DVD creation Videotapes dont really have a mastering cost and they run about 2 40 for replication CDs cost about 1000 to master and under 0 40 to replicate in quantity Laserdiscs cost about 3000 to master and about 8 to replicate As of 2007 DVDs cost about 800 to master and under 0 50 to replicate in quantity Doublesided or duallayer discs cost about 0 20 more to replicate Doublesided duallayer discs DVD18s are more difficult and more expensive see 3 3 1 5 2 What DVDROM formatting tools are available GEAR GEAR Pro DVD DVD formatting software for Windows 9598NT4 Writes to DVDR DVDRAM jukeboxes and tape along with general UDF formatting and CDRRW burning features 700 JVC Professional Computer Products DVD RomMaker DVD formatting systems with RAID hardware 60000 to 100000 Seems to be discontinued Nero Nero DVD formatting software for Windows Can make disc image files and bootable discs 70 Philips DVDROM Disc Builder DVD formatting software for Windows NT Writes to tape Seems to be discontinued PinnacleNote Pinnacle Systems was acquired by Avid in August 2005 InstantCDDVD Software tools for recording files to CDRW DVDRAM and DVDRW discs from Windows Can make a bootable DVD 50 InstantCopy CDDVD copy software for Windows 30 RoxioNote Roxio was acquired by Sonic in January 2005 SmartDisk acquired MTC ForDVD DVD formatting software for Windows Writes to DVDR and tape Can create DVDVideo discs from VOB and IFO files 1200 Smart Storage SmartDVD Maker DVD formatting software for Windows NT Writes to DVDR and tape Can create DVDVideo discs from VOB and IFO files 2500 Discontinued as of March 2001 Software Architects WriteDVD Pro and WriteUDF DVD formatting software for Mac OS and Windows Writes to DVDR and DVDRAM Sonic acquired Daikin Veritas DMD and Roxio ROM Formatter Professional DVD formatting software for Windows NT2000XP Writes to DVDR and tape Can create DVDVideo discs from VOB and IFO files RecordNow CD and DVD burning software for music photos and video Windows 30 standard 50 Deluxe 70 Deluxe Suite Backup MyPC and Simple Backup Windows file backup software for recordable DVD and CD Toast DVD DVD formatting software for Mac OS Writes to DVDR and tape Can create DVDVideo discs from VOB and IFO files 200 Veritas acquired PrassiNote Veritas Desktop and Mobile Division was acquired by Sonic in November 2002 VOBNote VOB was acquired by Pinnacle Systems in October 2002 Young Minds DVD Studio and MakeDisc for DVD DVD formatting software for Windows NT and Unix Writes to DVDR Features to look for in DVD formatters Support for UDF file system including MicroUDF UDF 1 02 Appendix 6 9 for DVDVideo and DVDAudio zones Support for UDF bridge format which stores both UDF and ISO9660 file systems on the disc Ability to recognize VIDEOTS and AUDIOTS directories containing IFO VOB and AOB files and place them contiguously at the physical beginning of the disc for compatibility with DVDVideo players Placement of directory entries in first UDF file descriptor is also needed for compatibility with certain deficient consumer players Support for long filenames in Windows Joliet format recommended Full equivalence between UDF and Joliet ISO9660 filenames Windows NT 4 0 and Windows 98 read Joliet filenames Mac OS 8 1 Windows 98 and Windows 2000 read UDF filenames MSDOS and Windows 95 and earlier read ISO9660 filenames Mac OS 8 0 and earlier read HFS or ISO9660 filenames Proper truncation and translation of ISO9660 filenames to 8 3 format for discs intended for use with MSDOS and certain other OSes Support for Mac OS file information within the UDF file system for use with Mac OS 8 1 and later Support for Mac OS HFS file system if icons and other file information is needed for Mac OS versions earlier than 8 1 Ability to create a bootable disc using the El Torito specification in the ISO9660 sectors 5 3 What DVD production tools are available 5 3 1 Video encoding tools Brent Beyeler bbMPEG Basic MPEG2 encoder for Windows Free from various download sites Canopus ProCoder Software video format converter with MPEG encoding Twopass VBR Advanced features such as NTSCPAL conversion deinterlacing 23 pulldown and batch processing Windows 700 MVR1000 Hardware realtime video capture and MPEG encoder board for Windows VBR and CBR Includes Sonic DVDit SE for DVDVCD authoring Amber MPEG2 hardware designed for encoding and archiving video in MPEG format VBR and CBR Panasonic MN85560 encoder chip Windows 2000 DVRaptor RT Hardware DV video editing with MPEG output Windows 600 DVStorm Hardware video editingencoding system for MPEG and DV Includes Ulead DVD Workshop for DVDVCD authoring Windows 1100 DVRex RT Professional Hardware video editingencoding system for MPEG and DV Includes Sonic DVDit SE for DVDVCD authoring Windows 4400 Custom Technology Cinemacraft EncoderPRO MPEG2 realtime NTSC video encoding software for Windows NT 38000 Cinema Craft EncoderSP MPEG video encoding software for Windows XP and 2000 CBR and VBR 2000 Cinema Craft EncoderBasic MPEG video encoding software for Windows CBR and VBR 60 Darim MPEGator 2 MPEG2 realtime encoding hardware for Windows and Windows NT 1800 Dazzle Digital Video Creator II MPEG2 video captureeditencode system with PCI card Includes Sonic DVDit LE Windows 982000 300 Digital Ventures DVDComposer MPEG2 video encoding system for SGI VBR and CBR CCube chip 50000 Digital Vision BitPack MPEG2 video encoding workstation Extendable to HDTV DVNR system for video preprocessing Digigami MegaPeg MPEG2 video encoding software for Windows VBR and CBR 500 Also available as Adobe Premiere plugin for Windows or PowerMac 400 DV Studio Apollo Expert MPEG2 video encoding and decoding hardware for Windows NT 2000 FlaskMPEG Freeware encoding software for Windows Gunjarm DigitalMetaware formerly Gunzameory and DreamCom MPEGRich Professional MPEG2 realtime encoding hardware CBR and VBR Windows NT Heuris MPEG Power Professional 1 MPEG Power Professional 2 MPEG Power Professional DVD MPEG Power Professional DTVSD and Power Professional DTVHD MPEG2 video encoding software for Mac OS and Windows DVD and DTV versions include VBR encoding 350 1000 1500 and 2500 Cyclone MPEG1 and MPEG2 encoding software designed for OEMs Mac OS and Windows NT Ligos LSXMPEG Encoder MPEG2 video encoding software CBR and VBR Windows 150 LSXMPEG Suite Adobe Premiere plugin for producing MPEG1 or MPEG2 output Includes standalone LSXMPEG player Windows 9xNT 400 Media100 iFinish RealTime MPEG Option Editing software with MPEG2 video encoding addon Windows NT 6000 to 18000 MicrocosmosNanocosmos MPEG SoftEngine MPEG2 video encoding software for Windows Solaris and Linux 250 to 3500 Minerva Compressionist 110 200 and 250 Professional MPEG2 realtime encoding hardware CBR and VBR Mac OS host computer 70000 No longer available Publisher 300 Professional MPEG2 video and MPEG Layer 2 audio realtime encoding hardware CBR and VBR Mac OS No longer available Optibase MPEG MovieMaker 200 Professional MPEG2 video and Dolby Digital audio realtime encoding hardware for Windows and Windows NT CBR and VBR 7000 to 22000 Pegasys TMPGEnc and TMPGEnc Plus MPEG1 and MPEG2 software video encoders plus multiplexingdemultiplexing file joining and trimming tools Basic version is free Plus version is 48 to download 88 in retail box Philips DVS3110 Professional MPEG2 video encoder for PAL and NTSC CBR and VBR PixelTools ExpertDVD MPEG2 video encoding software CBR and VBR Windows 2000 Expert2 Professional tweakable MPEG encoder Windows Snell & Wilcox Prefix CPP100 Prefix CPP200 NRS500 Kudos NRS50 and Kudos NRS30 Video preprocessors noise reduction and image enhancement Sonic Solutions SD1000 Professional MPEG2 video encoding hardware CBR and VBR Segmentbased reencoding Mac OS and Windows OS 13000 DVD Fusion Encodingauthoring plugin for Media 100 and QuickTime video editing systems Hardwareaccelerated version velocity engine encodes VBR and CBR in real time Mac OS 8000 and 12000 Sony DVAV1100 Highend MPEG2 video encoding hardware CBR and VBR Windows NT Spruce TechnologiesNote Spruce was acquired in July 2001 by Apple The MPX3000 encoder might still be available from some dealers MPX3000 Professional MPEG2 realtime encoding hardware CBR and VBR Windows NT MPEGXpress 2000 formerly from CagEnt Professional MPEG2 realtime encoding hardware CBR and VBR Windows NT VisionTech MVCast Lowend realtime MPEG2 videoaudio encoding hardware for Windows NT and Solaris AVItoMPEG2 conversion 2000 Vitech MPEG Toolbox2 AVI to MPEG2 VBRCBR MPEG2 video editing Windows 9598NT 250 Wired MediaPress MPEG2 encoding hardware PCI CBR and VBR Mac OS and Windows 9598NT 2500 Yusuf Motiwala YMPEG Basic MPEG1 and MPEG2 plugin software encoder for Windows Also does KVCD Free Zapex ZP200 Realtime PCI encoder for MPEG2 video and PCM Audio Nonrealtime encoding and VOB multiplexing from Adobe Premiere Windows NT ZP300 Realtime PCI Encoder for CBRVBR MPEG2 video 2channel Dolby Digital and PCM Audio Nonrealtime encoding and VOB multiplexing from Adobe Premiere Windows NT 5 3 2 Audio encoding tools AstarteNote Astarte was acquired in April 2000 by Apple Digital Vision BitPack Multichannel audio encoding workstation for Dolby Digital MPEG2 and PCM Dolby DP569 Multichannel Dolby Digital audio encoding hardware Kind of Loud Technologies SmartCode ProDolby Digital 5 1channel encoding software plugin for Digidesign Pro Tools 1000 SmartCode ProDTS 5 1channel encoding software plugin for Digidesign Pro Tools 2000 Microcosmos MPEG SoftEngineAudio MPEG audio encoding software for WindowsSolaris 95350 Minerva Audio Compressionist Professional Dolby Digital realtime 5 1channel encoder Windows NT Minnetonka Audio Software SurCode for DOlby Digital Multichannel Dolby Digital audio encoding software 1000 SurCode DVD Professional for DTS Multichannel DTS audio encoding software 2000 Philips DVD3310 Professional MPEG2 multichannel audio encoder PixelTools ExpertAudio MPEG Layer 2 audio encoding software Windows Sonic Solutions Sonic DVD Studio Professional realtime Dolby Digital 5 1 MPEG2 and PCM audio encoding hardware Mac OS MLP Encoder 9000 Sonic Foundry Soft Encode Dolby Digital 2channel or 5 1channel audio encoding software Windows 9598NT 500 2 channels or 900 5 1 channels Sony DVAA1100 Highend realtime Dolby Digital 5 1 MPEG2 and PCM audio encoding hardware Windows NT Spruce TechnologiesNote Spruce was acquired in July 2001 by Apple The ACX5100 encoder is still available from some dealers ACX 5100 formerly from CagEnt Professional Dolby Digital realtime 5 1channel encoder Windows NT ACX2000 formerly from CagEnt Professional Dolby Digital realtime 2channel encoder Windows NT Zapex ZP100 Realtime PCI encoder for 2 or 5 1channel Dolby Digital and MPEG Layer 2 Windows NT 5 3 3 Other production tools Alcohol Software Alcohol 52 Emulate CDs and DVDs without physical disc Windows 28 Alcohol 68 Copy CDs and DVDs Windows 30 Alcohol 120 Combination of Alcohol 52 and Alcohol 68 Windows 50 ASINT Industrial DVD players touchscreens and DVD kiosk products BCD Associates DVD controllers for custom installations Cambridge Multimedia Touchscreens and other custom interfaces for industrial DVD players Computer Prompting & Captioning Co CPCDVD Closed Caption production system DOS 6000 DCA Doug Carson & Associates MIS Mastering Interface System Mastering interface system for DVD and CD Windows NT ITS Image Transfer System Transfer and convert DVD and CD images DVS Data Verification System Checks DVD and CD images Includes Interra Surveyor to check for DVDVideo spec compliance Can transfer between discs and tape Windows NT INMS Integrated Network Mastering System Combination of MIS ITS DVS in a system with a RAID Eclipse Data Technologies EclipseSuite DVD and CD premastering tools to copy and verify images copy tapes etc Windows NT ImageEncoder LBR mastering interface for CD and DVD mastering Windows NT FAB FAB Subtitler DVD Edition Subtitle generator program text and bitmap formats that works with most DVD authoring systems Windows Heuris Xtractor Software to extract video and audio streams from unencrypted DVDVideo discs and DVDVR discs 150 Isomedia DVD DLT utilities copy DLTs extract images inspect ISOUDFDDP info checksums etc Museum Technology Source DVD controllers for Pioneer industrial players in custom installations Novastor TapeCopy Copy DLTs inspect tape blocks PixelTools MPEGRepair Software to analyze repair insert Closed Captions add panscan vectors and do other handy things to MPEG files Windows Smart Projects ISOBuster Inspect CD and DVD volumes and image files Freewareshareware 26 SoftNI The DVD Subtitler Subtitle graphics preparation software Windows 9598NT2000 The Caption Encoder Closed Caption production system DOS Windows 9598 The Caption Retriever Closed Caption recovery and decoding system Windows 9598NT2000 Tapedisk TD Raw Reads raw data from a SCSI tape drive as if it were a hard disk DOSWindows 500 TD RAW NT Version of TD Raw for Windows NT 4 0 750 Technovision Touchscreens and other custom interfaces for industrial DVD players Teco ParseMPEG 500 and Bitrate Viewer free Software to analyze MPEG streams Windows Also see 5 6 for DVD emulation verification and analysis tools 5 3 4 Other production services Captions Inc Burbank CA 8187299501 Captioning and subtitle services Captioneering Burbank CA 8884184782 Captioning and subtitle services European Captioning Institute ECI London UK 44 020 7323 4657 Captioning and subtitle services National Captioning Institute NCI LA 8182384201 NY 2125577011 VA 7039177619 Captioning and subtitle services SDI Media Group worldwide 44 020 7349 Subtitle services Softitler Los Angeles CA Subtitle services TeleCine London UK 44 0 171 208 2200 Filmtovideo conversion TelecineMojo Los Angeles CA 3236970695 Filmtovideo conversion Video Caption Corporation Stanfordville NY 8007051203 Captioning and subtitle services Vitac Canonsburg PA 8885284822 Captioning services 5 4 What DVD authoring systems are available For more detail on the systems listed below follow the links or see the comparison table of selected DVD authoring systems at DVDirect Apple DVD Studio Pro Midlevel DVDVideo authoring tool for Mac OS 1000 iDVD Simple draganddrop DVDVideo authoring bundled with Macs that have DVDR drives AstarteNote Astarte was acquired in April 2000 by Apple so their products are generally no longer available although they resurfaced in March 2001 as iDVD and DVD Studio Pro from Apple DVDirector and DVDirector Pro Lowend and midlevel DVDVideo authoring tools for Mac OS Pro version includes MediaPress hardware MPEG2 encoder from Wired Millennium Bundle turnkey workstation includes DVDirector Pro Mac G4 and more 5400 10000 15000 DVDelight Simple draganddrop DVDVideo authoring for Mac OS 1000 DVDExport Software to convert Macromedia Director presentations to DVDVideo format Mac OS 900 Authoringware DVD WISE Midlevel authoring system for Windows 9598NT 950 DVD Quickbuilder Multiplexing software Avid Xpress DV Video editing software with DVDVideo output using Sonic AuthorScript 1700 Xpress DV Powerpack Xpress DV with other software including Sonic DVDit SE 3000 Blossom Technologies DaViD 2000 4000 6000 and 10000 Turnkey Windows NT 4 0 systems using Daikin Scenarist authoring software and Optibase encoding hardware or Sonic Foundry audio encoding software 20000 to 100000 Canopus Amber for DVD Amber MPEG2 encoding hardware with Spruce DVDVirtuoso authoring software 3300 Daikin Daikin US Comtec LaboratoriesNote Daikins DVD business was acquired by Sonic in February 2001 Scenarist ReelDVD and ROM Formatter are now carried by Sonic DreamCom formerly Gunzameory DVDRich Midlevel DVDVideo authoringencoding on Windows NT Uses MPEGRich encoder and Daikin Scenarist or Intec DVDAuthorQuick 30000 DV Studio Apollo Expert Author and Apollo Expert DVDer Midlevel DVDVideo authoring system for Windows NT using DV Studio Apollo Expert MPEG2 encoding hardware and Intec DVDAuthorQuick authoring software Author package 4000 or Sonic DVDit DVDer package 2500 Apollo Expert Archiver MPEG2 encoding system for archiving video to DVDRAM 2500 DVDRAM drive included Futuretel Crescendo Houpert Digital Audio HDA CubeDVDA DVDAudio authoring plugin module for CubeTec AudioCube digital audio workstation Uses audio assets mastered by NuendoCube Windows 2000 InnovaCom DVDimpact DVDVideo authoring aimed at multimedia studios and corporations Uses InnovaCom DV5100 hardware encoding station and Daikin Scenarist NT or Intec DVDAuthorQuick software 47500 and 29000 Intec America DVDAuthorQuick Midlevel and lowlevel DVDVideo authoring software line for Windows NT Comes in three versions Pro Desktop and LE 8000 2500 and 400 InterVideo WinDVD Creator Basic DVDVideo authoring software for Windows 50 Gold and 70 Platinum Margi Systems DVPublishtoGo Simple DVD authoring to DVDR or CDRW Includes Margis 1394toGo PC MGIs VideoWave III and Sonic Solutions DVDit LETx Windows 98 SE or 2000 300 Matrox Matrox RT2000 and DigiSuite DTV Video capture and editing in DV and MPEG2 formats Includes Sonic Solutions DVDit LE for simple DVD authoring Windows 98 1300 Mediachance DVDlab DVDVideo authoring software with some unique features Windows 100 Microboards DVD AuthorSuite DVDVideo authoringencoding for Windows NT Uses Intec DVDAuthorQuick software Zapex encoders and Sigma Designs decoder 25000 Minerva Note Minerva DVD authoring software was acquired by Pinnacle in 2000 so it is no longer generally available Impression was rereleased by Pinnacle in July 2001 DVDProfessional SL and DVDProfessional XL DVDVideo authoringencoding systems for Windows NT Includes Publisher 300 and Minerva Studio 100000 Impression DVDVideo authoringencoding system for Windows 10000 Minnetonka Audio Software DiscWelder Steel Basic DVDAudio authoring software Windows 500 APlus Basic DVDAudio authoring software Windows 2000 DiscWelder Chrome Professional DVDAudio authoring software Windows 3500 MTC Multimedia Technology CenterNote MTC was acquired by SmartDisk in 2000 StreamWeaver Express and StreamWeaver Pro Simple and midlevel DVDVideo authoring and 900 premastering on Windows 900 and 3000 DVDMotion Authoring systems for Windows oriented toward multimedia DVDROM production Comes in three versions Pro SE Standard CE Consumer 1000 400 95 DVDMotion CE Entrylevel authoring system for Windows 98NT4 75 NEC DV Editor IEEE1394 card and software plus Sonics DVDit LE Windows 98 Available in Japan only Nero formerly Ahead Nero Basic DVDVideo authoring software for Windows Optibase DVDFab XPress and DVDFab Turnkey DVDVideo authoringencoding systems for Windows NT Includes Optibase MPEG Fusion MPEG2 encoder and Daikin Scenarist authoring software 35000 Panasonic LQVD2000S Turnkey professional DVDVideo authoring system including Windows NT 4 0 workstation Uses Panasonic MPEG2 encoder and LQVD3000 emulator 120000 LQVDS120 Additional workstation software for networking with LQVD2000S 22550 LQVD3000 DVD Emulator 15000 Pegasys TMPGEnc DVD Author Basic DVDVideo authoring for Windows 68 Pinnacle DVD1000 MPEG2 video editing and DVDVideo authoring system for Windows Pinnacle DVD1000 hardware with Adobe Premiere and Minerva Impression 8000 Impression DVD Midlevel DVDVideo authoringencoding system for Windows 1000 Pinnacle ProONE DVD editingauthoring package Uses Adobe Premiere and Impression DVDSE 1300 Pinnacle Edition Video editing with linearplay DVDSVCD output 700 Philips DVDVideo Disc Designer and DVDVideo Authoring Toolset Windows NT Pioneer DVDDesigner An offline design tool for DVDVideo planning and layout Can feed an authoring decision list into other authoring systems Available free to qualified developers Windows and Mac OS PixelTools SimpleDVD AVItoDVD converter for Windows 1500 HDTVPlugin Simple encodingauthoring plugin for Adobe Premiere Generates singleprogram autoplay images that can be copied to recordable discs 1000 QComm EasyDVD RoxioNote Roxio was acquired by Sonic in January 2005 SADiE DVDA Direct DVDAudio authoring package for SADiE editing and mastering system Windows Sonic Solutions Scenarist SGI DVDVideo authoring for SGI The original professional system 25000 Scenarist NT Professional DVDVideo authoring on Windows NT Comes in two versions Advanced 15000 Professional 22000 DVD Creator Professional DVDVideo authoringencoding systems for corporate and industrial applications Mac OS Various configurations DVD Creator AllinOne Workstation 80000 DVD Creator Encoding 24500 DVD Creator Authoring 15000 DVDAudio Creator DVDAudio authoring system codeveloped with Panasonic Windows DVDAudio Complete Workgroup 53000 DVDAudio Creator 13000 DVDAudio Creator LE 6000 OneClick DVD Simple DVDAudio authoring Mac OS 15000 DVD Fusion Midlevel DVDVideo authoring system Mac OS DVD Producer formerly DVD Fusion for Windows Midlevel DVDVideo authoring system Windows 3000 ReelDVD Midlevel authoring for Windows Filecompatible with Scenarist 250 DVDit Midlevel DVDVideo authoring for Windows 300 standard 400 Pro MyDVD Simple personal DVDVideo authoring for Windows 70 Studio 100 Studio Deluxe 150 Studio Deluxe Suite PrimeTime Addition to Windows XP Media Center Edition for burning recorded TV shows to DVD 80 Easy Media Creator Basic CD and DVDVideoVCD authoring for Windows 100 Toast Basic CD and DVDVideo creation for Mac OS 100 Titanium 200 with Jam Sony Media Software VegasDVD Midlevel authoring toolset DVD Architect bundled with video editing software 1000 Sony Professional DVA1100 Highend authoringencoding system with one to eight stations Price range starts at 175000 Spruce TechnologiesNote Spruce was acquired in July 2001 by Apple DVDMaestro Highend authoringencoding systems for Windows NT 25000 DVDConductor DVDVirtuoso DVDPerformer Midlevel authoringencoding systems for Windows NT Also allow DVD content to be recorded and played from CDR 10000 1500 SpruceUp Simple personal DVDVideo authoring for Windows NT498MENT2000 129 DVDStationCX Turnkey system using DVDConductor 25000 DVDStationNLE Turnkey system using DVDConductor and Heuris MPEG Power Professional encoding software 10000 DVDTransfer Turnkey automated tapetoDVD system 30000 UleadNote Ulead was acquired by InterVideo in April 2005 MediaStudio Directors Cut Video editing software with builtin DVD authoring 190 DVD Workshop Midlevel video editing and DVD authoring 200 Express 400 standard DVD Movie Factory Basic DVDVideo authoring software for Windows 50 Standard 100 Disc Creator Visible Light Macarena and Macarena Pro DVDVideo authoring for Power Mac G4 Software encoding or hardware encoding Pro version Uses Astarte DVDirector software 10000 and 15000 Vitech DVD Toolbox AVI to DVDVideo Write to CDR DVDR DVDRAM etc Windows 9598NT 400 DVD Cut Machine Hardware audiovideo encoder bundled with DVD Toolbox software 800 5 5 Who can produce a DVD for me There are various steps to producing a DVD but they can be split into two major parts 1 authoring creating the content and formatting a disc image and 2 replication cutting a master disc and stamping out hundreds or millions of copies See 5 for more details A = authoring including encoding DVDR creation and premastering R = replication mastering check discs and mass production D = duplication shortrun copying onto recordable discsNote that almost all replicators and duplicators have inhouse authoring facilities or partnerships with authoring houses so R or D implies A Other lists are available at DVDInsider DVDMadeEasy and Post Magazine Also see 5 8 for companies specializing in transferring home videos and slides to DVD A 12CM Multimedia Mountain View CA 6505649000 Santa Clara CA 4083509000 A 247DVD London UK 44 0 208 748 2247 A Abbey Road Interactive London UK 44 171 266 7000 A Accelerated Post Chicago IL 3125959100 Minneapolis IN 6123773100 A Acutrack Pleasanton CA 8882343472 A Advanced Media Post Burbank CA 8189731668 A Advanced Visual Communications AVCOM Video Tampa FL 8138750888 A Alchemey Digital Video Portland OR 503 735 1222 A All Post CA 8185565756 A Aludra Ontario Canada 8885525837 R Americ Disc also see MPO Salida CA 8885457350 Miami FL 8003640759 Drummonville Quebec Canada 800 2630419 A Artistic Communication Center Chicago IL 3128298100 A Ascent Media Santa Monica CA 8188407235 Northvale NJ 2017842129 London UK 44 0 20 7208 1567 Merger of companies including 4MC Post Box Stream TVP ToddAO and POP A asv multimedia Mengen Germany 49 0 757278361 A Atelier Digital Birmingham AL 2052637678 A Audio Plus Video International Northvale NJ 2017673800 Burbank CA 8188417100 A AVCA Austin TX 512 4724995 A AVM Dialog AB Goteborg Sweden A B1 Media Sherman Oaks CA 8189059902 A BCD Associates Oklahoma City OK 4058434574 A Blackcat Interactive Cheltenham UK 44 1926614675 A Blink Digital New York NY 2126616900 A Blue City Digital North Kansas City MO 8163000441 A C&C interactive AB Boras Sweden 46 33 290700 A California DVD San Francisco CA 18008641957 A Cambridge Multimedia Cambridge UK 44 0 1954 262030 R Canada Disc & Tape Calgary Canada 4032779292 A CAT Technologies London UK 44 020 8332 6548 A CBO Interactive Los Angeles CA 3234689580 A CDA Albrechts Germany 49 0 36 81 3 87 1 53 R CD Digital Card Rancho Cucamonga CA 8002681256 specialize in shaped discs R CDman Vancouver BC Canada 8005573347 R CD Press Bergdietikon Switzerland 41 01 745 90 60 R CDROMWorks Portland OR 5032199331 R CDVideo Manufacturing Santa Ana CA 7142650770 A Chicago Recording Company Chicago IL 3128229333 R Cine Magnetics Armonk NY 9142737500 Studio City CA 8186232560 8004311102 A CinramPOP DVD Center Santa Monica CA R Cinram Huntsville AL 2568599042 Anaheim CA 7146306700 Richmond IN 8008652200 Scarborough Ontario Canada 4162988190 800433DISC A CKSPictures CA & NY 4083425009 A ComChoice Gardena CA 8776334241 A Complete Post Hollywood CA 3238607622 R Concord Disc Manufacturing Anaheim CA Acquired 1203 by Crest National A COTOC Stockholm Sweden 46 8 54568780 A Crafted Timbre Cortland NY 6077564780 A CREATIVVIDEO & DIALOGOS Moedling Austria 430223648311 R Crest National Hollywood CA 3238601300 A CRUSH Digital Video NY 2129896500 A CruSh Interactive Houston TX 7139721133 A Cubist Post & Effects Philadelphia PA 2156271292 A CustomFlix San Luis Obispo CA 978 6261110 A Cut & Copy Vienna Austria 43 1 523 98 24 A CVC Los Angeles CA 8189720200 Time Warner California Video Center A D2 Productions CA 8185768113 A Dallas Digital Transfer Dallas TX 2143366292 R Davenport Van Nuys CA A DAVID Aprilia Italy 39692704597 R Deluxe Video Services Carson City CA 3105180710 Formerly Pioneer Video Manufacturing R Denon Digital now MD Digital A Designlab Systems London UK 44 0 207 437 5621 A Digidisc Atlanta GA 7709251839 A Digisonics DVD Northridge CA 8188823444 A Digital Farm Seattle WA 2066342677 A Digital Group London UK A digital images Halle Germany 49 03452175101 A Digital Media Group Amsterdam The Netherlands 31204226317 A Digital Metropolis Denver CO 3032924692 A Digital Outpost CA 8004646434 A Digital Safari UK 44 07092 144 480 A Digital Video Compression Corporation DVCC CA 8187775185 A Digital Video Dynamix Seaford NY 5168266414 A Digital Video Mastering Sydney Australia R Digital Video Technology 3000 DVT El Segundo CA A Digitonium Los Angeles CA 8188892215 A Digiverse London UK 44 0 20 7287 3141 R DISC Orem UT R Disc Makers Pennsauken NJ Fremont CA 8004689353 R Disc Manufacturing Inc now part of Cinram R DiscBurn Com St Paul MN 6127828200 R Disctronics Southwater UK Plano TX Saint Mande France Italy R Disk Press International Erembodegem Belgium 32 53 78 48 14 A Directorsite Manhattan Beach CA 3107272770 A DGP London UK 44 0 207 734 4501 R DOCdata Tilburg The Netherlands 31 13 544 6444 Berlin Germany 49 30 467 0840 Sanford ME USA 2073241124 Canoga Park CA USA 8183411124 A DownStream Digital Portland OR 5032261944 R DVDandMedia com Enniskillen UK 44 02866 340088 A DVD Austin Round Rock TX 8008313774 A DVD Labs Princeton NJ 888DVDLABS A DVD Master Fountain Valley CA 7149624098 A DVD Masters Calgary Canada 4032301505 A DVD Power Auckland New Zealand 64 9 415 5639 A DVD Power Singapore 65 7796155 A DVD Recording Center Acton MA 8003218141 A DVD Technologies Sydney Australia 1300FORDVD A DVD Transfer com Minneapolis MN 6126761165 A DVD Scandinavia Copenhagen Denmark 45 35817585 A DVDworx Philadelphia PA 2152389679 A DVData Carson CA 3105130757 A Dynamic Media Ellicott City MD 4102032553 R DV Line Seoul Korea 82234620331 A DVM Digital Video Mastering Sydney Australia 61 2 9571 6767 A EagleVision Stamford CT 800EAGLE73 R Ecofina Milan Italy 39 024816121 A EDS Digital Studios CA 2138501165 A Electric Switch London 4401315556055 R EMI Operations Italy Caronno Pertusella VA Italy 39 02 965111 A EMS Dortmund Germany 0231 4424110 A EntGates Productions Buffalo NY 7166920064 A escape lab Brussels Belgium 32 2 644 99 62 R Euro Digital Disc G�rlitz Germany 49 0 35 81 85 32 0 A FatDisc Seattle WA 2065473055 A Film und Videotechnik B Gurtler Munchen Germany A Firefly Ireland A Fitz com Santa Monica CA 3103159160 A Flare DVD London UK 44 0 20 7343 6565 A Forest Post Productions Farmington Hills MI 2488554333 A Full Circle Studios Buffalo NY 7168757740 A FULLSTREAM DVD Dallas TX 2149691820 R Future Media Productions Valencia CA 6612945575 A Future Disc Systems West Hollywood CA 3238768733 A G9 Interactive Monrovia CA 6263580859 A Gateway Mastering Studios Portland ME 2078289400 R Gema OD Madrid Spain 34 91 643 42 55 A Gnome Digital Media Burbank CA 8185636539 R GoldenROM Canonsburg PA 8887573472 A GTN Oak Park MI 2485482500 A GVI Washington DC 2022934488 A HAVE Hudson NY 5188282000 A hdmg Minneapolis MN 9529431711 A HD Studios DVDAudio only CEDEX Suresnes France A Hecker & Schneider GmbH Dortmund Germany A Henninger Interactive Media Arlington VA 7032433444 A HNC VideoDVD Production Chicago IL 8473386560 A Hoboken Entertainment Los Angeles CA 3104709440 A Hoek & Son�pouse Diemen The Netherlands 31 020 69 09 141 R Home Run Software Services Huntington Beach CA 7143755454 A Ibis Multimedia Suffolk UK 44 01473 288865 A IBM InteractiveMedia GA 7708357193 A IBT Media Merriam KS 9136776655 R Imation formerly 3M WI 6127044898 A Immediate Impact UK 44 01322 553 505 R Infodisc Taipei Taiwan 886222266616 El Paso TX A Instinct Video & Film Productions Orlando FL 4076479555 A International Digital Centre IDC New York NY 2125813940 A IPA Intermedia IL 7738716033 R IPC Communication Services Foothill Ranch CA 9495887765 A JamSync Nashville TN 6153205050 A Javanni Digital Video Atlanta GA 7047957712 R JVC Disc America Sacramento CA 3102742221 R KAO Infosystems Fremont CA 8005256575 R Kao Ontario Canada 800871MPEG A kdg mediatech Elbigenalp Austria 43 0 5634500 Parc dActivit�s France 33 0 3 29 58 40 70 A kkontorHamburg kommunikations Hamburg Germany 49408509021 A The Lawrence Company Santa Monica CA 3104529657 R LaserPacific CA 2134626266 R Lena Optical Disc Hong Kong 85225568198 A Look and Feel New Media Kansas City MO 8164727878 A The Machine Room London UK 44 171 734 3433 A Mares Multimedia Nashville TN 6153563905 A Marin Digital Sausalito CA 4153314423 A Main Point Interactive Oley PA 6109879320 R Marcorp Pittsburgh PA 8002846277 A Mastering Studio M�nchen Munich Germany 49892866920 R Maxell Multimedia now MD Digital R Maxwell Productions Scottsdale AZ R MD Digital Manufacturing Madison GA 7063423425 R Media Group Fremont CA 8153569484 A Media Tech Denver CO 3037416878 A Meedja London UK 44 020 8747 2055 R Megalodon Ashland OR 8882342283 R MemoryTech Corporation Tokyo Japan A MEP Medienhaus Frankfurt Germany 49 069 78960202 R Mercury Entertainment Selangor Darul Ehsan Malaysia R Metatec Dublin OH 6147612000 Milpitas CA 4085195000 Breda Netherlands 31 76 5333 100 A Metcom Video London UK 44 0207 836 2772 A Metropolis Group London UK 442087421111 A Microsoft Studios Digital Video Services Redmond WA A Microvision Services Huddersfield UK 44 1484 644852 R Midwest Replication Milwaukee WI 4149634469 A MillsJames Productions Columbus OH 6147779933 A Mirage Video Productions Boulder CO 3037867800 A MPEG Production Stockholm Sweden 468324030 A MPL Media Nashville TN 8008441675 R MPO Europe North America and Asia 33 01 41 10 51 51 R MRT Technology Ritek partner City of Industry CA 6268395555 R Multimedia InfoTech Ritek partner Belfast Ireland 44 0 2890 300883 R Multi Media Replication Andover UK 44 01264 336 330 R New Cyberian Systems San Jose CA 4089220682 R Nimbus CD International see Technicolor A NOB Interactive Netherlands 31 0356775413 A NordArt Video & Multimedia Sundbyberg Sweden 46 8764 66 90 R Nordisc Rjukan Norway 47 35 08 01 00 A Oasis Post Kent Town South Australia 61 8 8362 2888 A Oasis Television London UK 44 0 20 7534 1808 R OEM Charlotte NC 7045041877 R Optical Disc Corporation 5629463050 LaserWave DirectCut DVD recorder for creating single copies R Optical Disc Media CA R Optimes L’aquila Italy 3908623311 A Option Facilities Mechelen Belgium 321528 73 00 A The Other Side nee TwoPlusOne London UK 44 0 207 494 8290 A OUTPOST Charlotte NC 7043443577 A Pacific Coast Sound Works CA 2136554771 R Pacific Mirror Image Melbourne Australia A Pacific Ocean Post CA 3104589192 Now part of Liberty Livewire A Pacific Video Resources CA 4158645679 R Panasonic Disc Services Corp Torrance CA Pinckneyville IL Guadalajara Mexico Youghal Ireland 3107834800 A Paris Media System Paris France A Paul Stubblebine Mastering and DVD San Francisco CA 4154690123 A The Pavement London UK 44 0 207 426 5190 A Performance Digital Labs San Diego CA 8002533085 A Phaebus Manchester UK 44 0 161 950 8105 A PIMC Professional Interactive Media Centre Diepenbeek Belgium 32 11 303690 A Pink Pigeon London UK 44 0 207 439 3266 A Pioneer France Nanterre France 33 1 47 60 79 30 R Pioneer Optical Disc Barcelona Spain 34937399900 R Pioneer Video Kofu Japan A Pixel Farm Interactive Minneapolis MN 6123397644 A Positive Charge Ltd Warszawa Poland 48 22 632 97 32 R Pozzoli Milan Italy 39 02 954341 A PRC Digital Media Jacksonville FL 9043545353 A Prime Disc Ritek partner Wiesbaden Germany 496119628644 A Provac Disc Media Toronto Ontario 8008769013 R Racman Avdio Video Studio Ljubljana Slovenia 386 1 5819 201 A Rage DVD & Multimedia Dallas TX 2143582588 A Rainmaker New Media Burbank CA 8185261500 A Riccelli Creative Fort Worth TX 8173327777 A The Richard Diercks Company Minneapolis MN 6123345900 A RISE Intl Inc Fort Worth TX 8009902348 R Ritek HsinChu Taiwan ROC 8863598 5696 Taipei Taiwan ROC 886285215555 Also see MRT U S Multimedia InfoTech Ireland Prime Disc Germany and Ritek Australia R Ritek Australia Alexandria Australia 61296693311 A Rivetal Provo UT 801 818 2222 A RTFFX and Video Services Nashua NH 8668433611 A Saga Productions New York NY 6468259063 R Saturn Solutions Markham Ontario 9054700844 St Laurent Quebec 5148565656 Provo Utah 8013709090 Dublin Ireland 35314038599 A ScreamDVD New York NY 2129517171 R SDC Group Brabrand Denmark 45 87 45 45 45 A Sharpline Arts Glendale CA 8185003958 R SKC Chonan South Korea R SNA Tourouvre France 33 0 2 33 85 15 15 R Speedlight Duplication Los Angeles CA 8187270200 R Sonopress G�tersloh Germany 49524180 5200 Weaverville NC USA 8286582000 Dublin Ireland 353 1 840 9000 Madrid Spain 34916 71 22 00 Forbach France 33153 43 82 32 R Sony DADC Niederalm Austria 43 624 688 0555 R Sony Disc Manufacturing Terre Haute Indiana 8003587316 A Sound Chamber Mastering North Hollywood CA 8187527581 A SOUNDnVISION Milano Italy 39 02 55 18 02 45 R Spinergy East Rochester NY 8003331428 R Spool Multi Media Deeside UK 44 0 1244 280602 A Squash DVD London UK 44 0 20 7292 0222 A Star Video Duplicating Phoenix AZ 6024370646 A Stay Tuned Brussels Belgium 32 2 7611100 A Stimulus Calgary Alberta A St� EXILOG Vendoeuvres FRANCE 33 02 54 38 30 95 A Stonehenge Filmworks Toronto and Ontario Canada 4168671189 A Stream AV Melbourne Australia 61 3 9376 6444 A Studio Reload Boise ID 2083444321 A Sunset Post CA 8189567912 A Super Digital Media Santa Clara CA 4087275091 A Supersonic Media Productions Vancouver BC 6046830250 A Sync Sound NY 2122465580 5 1 audio A Syrinx music & media GmbH Hamburg Germany 494063709230 A Systeam Rome Italy 3906508141 A Tape House Broadband New York NY 2125574949 R Takt Warsaw Poland 48 22 874 35 75 A TC Video Middlesex UK 44 0208 904 6271 R Technicolor Burbank CA 8182603800 Camarillo CA 8054451122 Charlottesville VA 8049851100 Cwmbran Wales UK 441163465000 8007324555 R TIB Merthyr Tydfil UK 44 01685 354700 A Tobin Productions New York NY 2127271500 R Tocano Smoerum Denmark 45 44666200 A Total Media Clearwater Florida D Tree Falls Post Los Angeles CA 323 8510299 D US DigitalMedia Phoenix AZ 8779923766 R Universal Manufacturing & Logistics Blackburn UK 44 0 1254 505300 Langenhagen Germany 49 0 5119721755 A US DVD San Jose CA 4082591495 A Valkieser Solutions Hilversum Netherlands 31356714300 A VDI Multimedia Chicago Dallas Los Angeles New York San Francisco 3239577990 R VDC Group Wembley UK 44 0208 903 3345 A Versatile Media One VM1 Montreal PQ 514 8760102 R Japan Victor Kanagawa Japan 454530305 A Video Movie Magic Laguna Hills CA 9495828596 A Video Replay Chicago IL A Video Transfer Boston MA 6172470100 A Visible Light Digital Orlando FL 4073277804 A Visom Digital Rio de Janeiro Brazil 55 21 5397313 A The Vision Factory St Louis MO 3149637887 A Vision Wise Irving TX 8889799473 R Warner Advanced Media Operations WAMO 7173833291 R WTS Duplication ChattanoogaTN 800 5914837 A The Zak Studio Paris France 33 1 49823773 R Zomax Plymouth MN 6125773515 Fremont CA 5104925191 Indianapolis IN 5104925191 Dublin Ireland 35314056222 Langen Germany 496103970223 A Zuma Digital Now part of Tape House Broadband 5 6 What testingverification services and tools are available AudioDev Sweden USA Hong Kong 46 40 690 49 00 CD Associates CA Testing equipment and software 714 7338580 ContentWise Rehovot Israel 97289408773 Second Sight software for checking compatibility of DVD titles on multiple players Hitachi Japan Testing services and test discs Official DVD Forum verification lab Intellikey Labs Burbank CA 818 9539116 fax 818 9539144 Interra Digital Video Technologies Surveyor software 6000 DProbe 10000 ITRI HsinChu Taiwan Testing services and test discs Official DVD Verification Lab 88635915066 fax 88635917531 Matsushita Japan Testing services test discs and test equipment Official DVD Verification Lab 81669054195 fax 81669095027 MatsushitaPanasonic Japan Panasonic LQVD300P emulator Hardware player with Windows NT software 15000 Philips Europe DVDVideo Verifier software 500 Official DVD Verification Center Pioneer Japan Testing services and test discs Official DVD Verification Lab 81334955474 fax 81334954301 PMTC Professional Multimedia Test Centre Diepenbeek Belgium 32 11 303636 Sonic Solutions USA DVD PrePlay software Emulation and diagnosis tools for Windows 5000 Sony Japan Testing services and test discs Official DVD Format Lab 81354482200 fax 81354483061 Testronic Labs Burbank CA 818 8453223 fax 818 8453236 Toshiba Japan Testing services and test discs Official DVD Verification Lab 81334572105 fax 81354449202 Victor Japan Testing services and test discs Official DVD Verification Lab 81332892813 fax 81454501639 WAMO USA Testing services and test discs Official DVD Forum verification lab 15703833568 fax 15703837487 Also see 5 3 3 for tools to analyze and verify coded bitstreams disc images and DLTs 5 7 Can I put DVDVideo content on a CDR or CDRW Note This section refers to creating original DVDVideo content not copying from DVD to CD The latter is impractical since it takes 7 to 14 CDs to hold one side of a DVD Also most DVD movies are encrypted so that the files cant be copied without special software There are many advantages to creating a DVDVideo volume using inexpensive recordable CD rather than expensive recordable DVD The resulting cDVD sometimes called a miniDVD is perfect for testing and for short video programs Unfortunately you can put DVDVideo files on CDR or CDRW media or even on pressed CDROM media but almost no settop player can play the disc There are a number of reasons DVDVideo players cant play DVDVideo content from CD media1 checking for CD media is a fallback case after DVD focus fails at which point the players are no longer looking for DVDVideo content2 its simpler and cheaper for players to spin CDs at 1x speed rather than the 9x speed required for DVDVideo content3 many players cant read CDR discs see 2 4 3 The only known players that can play a cDVD are the AfreeySampo LD2060 and ADV2360 models and the Aiwa XDDW5 and XDDW1 Some of these players use 1x or 2x readers so they cant handle data rates over 4 Mbps Its possible to replace the IDE drive mechanism in the player with a faster drive which can then handle higher data rates See robshot com for details on cDVDcapable players Note there have been many reports of players able to play DVD content from CDR Upon investigation it turns out that they play Video CDs but not cDVDs The players mentioned above have been verified to play DVDVideo files VOB and IFO from CD media Computers are more forgiving DVDVideo files from any source with fast enough data rates including CDR or CDRW with or without UDF formatting will play back on most DVDROM PCs as long as the drive can read the media all but early model DVDROM drives can read CDRs On a Mac you need version 2 3 or newer of the Apple DVD Player To create a cDVD author the DVDVideo content as usual see 5 4 then burn it to a CDR or CDRW If your authoring software doesnt write directly to CDRRW discs use a separate utility to copy the VIDEOTS directory to the root directory of the disc To be compatible with the few settop players that read cDVDs turn on the UDF filesystem option of the CD burning software To achieve longer playing times encode the video in MPEG2 halfD1 format 352x480 or 352x576 or in MPEG1 format An alternative is to put Video CD or Super Video CD content on CDR or CDRW media for playback in a DVD player Settop DVD players that are VCD or SVCD capable and can read recordable media will be able to play such discs see 2 4 5 The limitations of VCD apply MPEG1 video and audio 1 152 Mbps 74 minutes of playing time All DVDROM PCs able to read recordable CD media can play recorded VCD discs An MPEG2 decoder see 4 1 is needed to play SVCDs See 5 8 for more on creating Video CDs 5 8 How do I copy my home videofilmphotos to DVD This used to be almost impossible but luckily for you its getting cheaper and easier all the time For a simple videotoDVD transfer you can buy a DVD video recorder and connect it to your VCR camcorder laserdisc player or other video source See 1 14 for more on DVD recorders For transferring photos or music or for making a customized DVD with menus and chapters and other fun stuff youll need the following A computer A DVD recordable drive 40150 or it might come with the computer DVD authoring software usually comes with the drive or computer or you can buy it for 3027000 see 5 4 Note You must use authoring software You cant just copy MPEG or AVI or JPEG files onto a disc and expect it to play in DVD players Then take the following steps If the video and pictures are not already in digital form AVI WMV DivX QuickTime JPEG and so on you need to transfer them to your computer For analog video such as VHS and Hi8 you need a video capture device or a computer with builtin analog video input for digital video such as DV or D8 you need a 1394FireWire input on the computer For film first have it transferred to tape or digital video at a camera shop or video company see a list at HomeMovieDay com For slides or photos use a scanner you can rent scanning time at a place such as Kinkos Import the video and audio clips into the DVDVideo authoring program Many DVD authoring programs will convert and encode the video and audio for you If not you have to Encode the video into MPEG2 make sure the display frame rate is set to 29 97 for NTSC or 25 for PAL Encode the audio into Dolby Digital or if your video is short enough that you have room on the disc format the audio as 48kHz PCM You can also use MPEG Level 2 audio but it wont work on all players Create some chapter points in your video tracks or let the DVD recording software do it for you To put photos on the disc use the slideshow feature in the authoring software or make each picture a menu Most DVD authoring software will directly read TIFF JPEG BMP and PhotoShop files Create menus that link to your video clips and slideshows Write your finished gem out to a recordable DVD But see 4 3 1 for compatibility worries Note Most DVD authoring software gives you a choice of making an NTSC or PAL DVD For best compatibility choose NTSC See 1 19 John Beale has written a page about his experiences making DVDs Another option is to use a service that does all the work for you at a reasonable fee Here are a few choices American Digital Media Hoover AL Up to 2 hours for 99 Digital Video Dynamics Orlando FL Up to 2 hours for 40 chapters at 5minute intervals DV4U Online com Sacramento CA Up to 2 hours for 150 DVD ELF Miami FL Up to 1 hour for 60 2 hours for 95 DVD Wedding Productions South Pasadena CA One tape for 150 VHS dubbing charge StashSpace Video Transfer Everett WA Up to 2 hours for 50 chapters included ImageStation SonyVingage Reston VA Up to 90 minutes for 40 Latale Productions Flushing NY 1 tape for 99 chapters extra Memories on Disc Princess Anne MD 0 50 per minute of video 1 00 per slide save2dvd Pleasant Hill CA Up to 2 hours for 140 Also film and slide transfer ScreamDVD New York NY Up to 1 hour for 40 up to 2 hours for 70 chapters at 3minute intervals VHStoDVD Pembroke Pines FL Up to 1 hour for 1825 up to 2 hours for 2835 VT TV Bristol UK WadeSound Phoenix AZ Wedding DVD no longer offers the service YesVideo Santa Clara CA service available at Walgreens Ritz Camera CVS and elsewhere 25 for up to 2 hours chapters and automatic highlights video included Also transfer service from movie film reels 35mm slides and photo prints starting at 50 Or if nearVHS quality is sufficient make a Video CD Get MPEG1 video encoding software and a CDRRW formatting application that supports Video CD such as Creator or Toast from Roxio InstantCD from Pinnacle formerly from VOB InternetDiscWriter from Query MPEG Maker2 from VITEC MyDVD or RecordNow Max from Sonic Nero Burning ROM from Ahead NTI CDMaker from NTI or WinOnCD from Cequadrat Quality is not as good as DVD and playing time is not as long but hardware and blank CDs are cheaper Just make sure that any players you intend to play the disc in can read CDRs see 2 4 3 and can play Video CDs see 2 4 5 See VCDhelp com for more on making Video CDs A variation on this strategy is to make Super Video CDs see 2 4 6 which have better quality but shorter playing time A few of the authoringformatting tools listed above can make SVCDs but few DVD players can play SVCDs Another option is a home Video CD recorder such as the Terapin CD AudioVideo Recorder or the TV One MPEG2disk which record video from analog inputs to CDR or CDRW 5 8 1 How do I put other data files on a DVD I make DVDs can store any type of data file PowerPoint PDF text JPEG etc in addition to video The files can be viewed by putting the disc in a computer and opening the disc They can be put pretty much anywhere on the disc other than in the VIDEOTS folder However the software you’re using to create the DVD see 5 4 has to support adding data files Check the feature list for the software to see if it can add extra files Sometimes this is referred to as putting files in the ROM Zone If your DVD creation software doesnt directly support adding data files but it does have the ability to write a VIDEOTS folder on the hard drive then you can use DVD formatting software see 5 2 to copy the VIDEOTS folder plus your data files to a DVD The ROM formatting software needs to recognize VIDEOTS and properly arrange it on the disc otherwise it wont play in many DVD players 5 9 How can I copy or rip a DVD This section is about copying disctodisc or from disc to hard drive See 2 11 for copying to tape See 4 13 for copying audio First please understand that copying a commercial DVD may be illegal depending on what country you live in and what you do with the copy Copying video for your own personal use may be legal but making copies of copyrighted discs for friends is clearly not Second be aware that almost all DVD movies are protected from casual copying See 1 11 for details However any protection measure is usually broken see 4 8 Third realize that many movies come on duallayer discs DVD9s which can only be directly copied to duallayer recordable discs on a duallayer drive Some copying software can recompress the video to fit on a singlelayer recordable DVD but the picture quality will suffer There is a subtle difference between DVD copying and DVD ripping Ripping often refers to extracting the video and audio from the disc to a hard drive optionally skipping menus and interactivity Ripping usually implies that the CSS copy protection system is circumvented Copying usually refers to making a complete copy to a recordable DVD with menus and extras intact Shrinking used for copying duallayer discs to singlelayer discs leaves out parts of the disc such as extras and audio tracks and recompresses the video at a lower data rate if there still isnt enough room If you have a legitimate need to copy a DVD such as a disc you made yourself there are a number of options A variety of free shareware and commercial computer programs can copy entire discs using a single recordable DVD drive try a Web search for copy DVDs or can extract video and audio from a disc which you can then use to make a new disc try a Web search for rip DVDs Alternatively you can hook a DVD player to a settop DVD video recorder although in many cases the recorder will detect the Macrovision or CGMS signal from the player and refuse to record Some DVD authoring software see 5 4 can import video from an unprotected disc See 5 8 for how to make your own DVDs Beware of email and ads touting DVD copying software for sale See 5 9 1 below Note that that simply copying the computer files from a DVD to a recordable DVD often produces a disc that wont play in a settop DVD player since the files have to go in specific order and specific places on the disc Some DVD writing software recognizes the files and places them correctly but other software doesnt In other words you cant just copy the IFO and VOB files see 4 10 5 9 1 Whats with those Copy any DVD emails It’s possible but in many cases illegal to copy any DVD movie However the people selling DVD copying software neglect to mention the many free alternatives nor do some of them mention that their applications only copy to CDRRW in Video CD format which means the video quality is crummy and the copies don’t play in about half the DVD players out there see 2 4 3 and 2 4 5 5 10 How do I get a job making DVDs Read this FAQ through a few times For extra credit read my book DVD Demystified and visit some of the DVD information sources listed in section 6 4 Attend a conference see 5 11 to learn more and to make contacts in the DVD industry Take a few training courses see 5 11 Consider joining the DVDA If you can volunteer to be an intern at a DVD production house see 5 5 Once you have a little experience youll be in great demand 5 11 Where can I get DVD training A variety of workshops and seminars on various DVD topics are presented at conferences such as DVD Pro DVD Summit Europe or DVD Production Training companies offer DVD courses and boot camps adicomm Costa Mesa CA dvd learn Denver CO Expression Center for New Media Emeryville CA Gnome Digital Media Burbank CA maker of the DVD 101 trainingtemplate discs I N C Technologies Glendale CA oriented towards amateur DVD users TFDVD com Havertown PA DVD Studio Pro training Seneschal San Francisco CA Texas State Technical College Waco TX Video Symphony Burbank CA There are a few schools with fullterm courses College of San Mateo California DVD Studio Pro class Ngee Ann Polytechnic Digital Media Authoring Studio Singapore Seneca College Toronto CA South Seas Film and Television School Auckland New Zealand The major DVD authoring software companies offer training classes around the world sometimes for free Apple Computer Sonic Solutions 5 12 How can I sell DVDs that I made Amazon zShops Sales referrals Your disc is listed on Amazon site Amazon processes orders you are responsible for producing packaging and shipping discs CustomFlix Duplication and ecommerce consignment You give them a disc or tape that they turn into a disc they handle order processing copying onto DVDRs labeling packaging and shipment No minimum Auction sites such as eBay Amazon Auctions Yahoo Auctions uBid and many others Site runs auction you are responsible for taking payment producing packaging and shipping discs If you are looking for someone to deliver your titles to retailers see 6 2 2 for distributors 5 13 How do I put a PowerPoint presentation on DVD Theres not yet a feature in PowerPoint to export directly to video on DVD but you can convert a PowerPoint presentation to stills or video for import into a DVD authoring program see 5 8 Recent versions of PowerPoint allow you to save your slides as graphic images JPEG or PNG files that can be imported into a DVD authoring program that supports slideshows The advantage of using the slideshow feature is that you can have the DVD player pause indefinitely on each still until you press the Enter or Play key on the remote control Note make sure the authoring software supports true slideshows with infinite stills since many programs just render slides as video The disadvantage of using stills is that you wont get animations and other fancy PowerPoint effects Alternatively you can record the PowerPoint presentation as a video file use a PowerPoint addin or a motion screen capture program and import the video file into the DVD authoring program This preserves the full visual effect but locks you into the timing you used when recording the presentation Another alternative is 321 Studios DVD X Point which directly converts PowerPoint presentations version 2002 only to DVD slideshows 6 1 Who invented DVD and who owns it Whom to contact for specifications and licensing DVD is the work of many companies and many people DVD evolved from CD and related technologies Some of the early proposals for highdensity CD were made in 1993 and these efforts gradually coalesced into two competing proposed formats The MMCD format was backed by Sony Philips and others The SD format was backed by Toshiba Matsushita Time Warner and others A group of computer companies led by IBM insisted that the factions agree on a single standard The combined DVD format was announced in September of 1995 avoiding a confusing and costly repeat of the VHS vs Betamax videotape battle or the quadraphonic sound battle of the 1970s No single company owns DVD The official specification was originally developed by a consortium of ten companies Hitachi JVC Matsushita Mitsubishi Philips Pioneer Sony Thomson Time Warner and Toshiba Representatives from many other companies also contributed in various working groups In May 1997 the DVD Consortium was replaced by the DVD Forum which is open to all companies and as of 2005 had over 250 members Time Warner originally trademarked the DVD logo and later assigned it to the DVD FormatLogo Licensing Corporation DVD FLLC The written term DVD is too common to be trademarked or owned See section 6 2 and visit Roberts DVD Info page for links to Web sites of companies working with DVD The official DVD specification books are available after signing a nondisclosure agreement and paying a 5000 fee One book is included in the initial fee additional books are 500 each Manufacture of DVD products and use of the DVD logo requires additional format and logo licenses for a onetime fee of 10000 per format minus 5000 if you have already paid for the specification E g a DVDVideo player manufacturer must license DVDROM and DVDVideo for 20000 or 15000 if they have the spec Allowances are made for production houses and content providers to use the logo in conjunction with a licensed replicator and for nonlicensees to use the DVD logo in publications or presentations with an option to request logo art For more spec and logo information contact DVD FormatLogo Licensing Corporation DVD FLLC Shiba Shimizu Building 5F Shibadaimon 2311 Minatoku Tokyo 1050012 tel 81357772881 fax 81357772882 Before April 14 2000 logoformat licensing was administered by Toshiba ECMA has developed international standards for DVDROM part 1 the smallest part of the DVD spec available for free download as ECMA267 and ECMA268 from www ecmainternational org ECMA has also standardized DVDR in ECMA279 DVDRAM in ECMA272 and ECMA273 and DVDRW as ECMA274 see 4 3 Unfortunately ECMA has the annoying habit of spelling disc wrong Also confusing if youre not from Europe is ECMAs use of a comma instead of a period for the decimal point The specification for the UDF file system used by DVD is available from www osta org Many technical details of the DVDVideo format are available at the DVDVideo Information page Any company making DVD products must license essential technology patents from the 3C pool LG Philips Pioneer Sony 3 5 per playerdrive minimum 3 50 additional 0 75 for Video CD compatibility 3 75 cents per disc and the 6C pool Hitachi Matsushita Panasonic Mitsubishi Samsung Sanyo Sharp Toshiba Victor JVC Warner 4 per playerdrive minimum 3 maximum 8 4 per DVD Video decoder minimum 1 4 5 cents per ROMVideoAudio disc 4 5 cents for DVDR disc 6 5 cents for RWRAM disc Thomson jokingly referred to as the 1C pool requests ~1 per playerdrive Patent royalties of a few cents per disc are also owed to Discovision Associates which once owned about 1300 optical disc patents but many of them have expired Per disc costs are paid by the replicator Note IBM originally held about 250 DVD patents but sold them to Mitsubishi in August 2005 The licensor of CSS encryption technology is DVD CCA Copy Control Association a nonprofit trade association with offices at 225 B Cochrane Circle Morgan Hill CA There is a 15000 annual licensing fee but no perproduct royalties Send license requests to csslicenselmicp com technical info requests to cssinfolmicp com Before December 15 1999 CSS licensing was administered on an interim basis by Matsushita Macrovision licenses its analog antirecording technology to hardware makers There is a 30000 initial charge with a 15000 yearly renewal fee The fees support certification of players to ensure widest compatibility with televisions There are no royalty charges for player manufacturers Macrovision charges a royalty to content publishers approximately 4 to 10 cents per disc compared to 2 to 5 cents for a VHS tape Dolby licenses 2channel Dolby Digital decoders or encoders for 0 66 The fee for a system with both a 2channel decoder and 2channel encoder is 0 71 Multichannel decoders are approximately 1 50 Philips on behalf of CCETT and IRT also charges 0 20 per channel maximum of 0 60 per player for Dolby Digital patents along with 0 003 per disc Dolby also licenses MLP decoders for DVDAudio players DTS licenses optional DTS decoders MPEG LA MPEG Licensing Administrator licenses patents underlying MPEG2 encoding and decoding on behalf of several companies Cost is 2 50 for a DVD player PC software and 0 04 for each DVD disc In 2010 the fees drop to 2 00 per product and 0 0176 per disc Perdisc fees drop to 0 016 in 2011 Many DVD players are also Video CD VCD players Philips licenses the Video CD format and patents on behalf of themselves Sony JVC Matsushita CNETT and IRT for 25000 initial payment plus royalties of 2 5 per player or 2 50 minimum Nissim claims 0 25 per player and 0 0078 per disc for parental management and other DVDVideorelated patents Royalties for DVDR patents are charged by Philips approximately 0 06 per disc and Sony 1 5 to 3 5 of disc price Various essential licensing fees add up to over 14 per player about 0 20 per disc Player royalties are paid by the playerdrivecomputer manufacturer or the manufacturer of a component such as a decoder chip Disc royalties are paid by the replicator 6 2 Who is making or supporting DVD products 6 2 1 Consumer electronics Afreey DVDVideo players Aiwa DVDAudio and DVDVideo players Akai DVDVideo players Alba DVDVideo players Alpine DVD car navigationentertainment Altec Lansing DVD audio technology Amitech DVDVideo players Amoisonic DVDVideo players Apex Digital DVDVideo players made by VDDV info at www nerdout comapex Arcam DVDVideo players UK Ariston DVDVideo players Atlantis Land DVDVideo players Atrend DVDVideo players Atta DVDVideo players Audiologic DVDVideo players Audiosonic DVDVideo players Audiovox Car DVD players Axion DVDVideo players AV Phile Raite DVDVideo Players Bluesky DVDVideo players BUSH DVDVideo players California Audio Labs DVDVideo players CAT DVDVideo players Camelot DVDVideo players Casio DVDVideo players CCE DVDVideo players CD Playright protective film for discs Centrum DVDVideo players Chunlan DVDVideo players Clairtone DVDVideo players Clarion DVD car navigationentertainment Comjet DVDVideo players with Web connection Compro DVDVideo players Conia DVDVideo players Australia made by VDDV Cougar DVDVideo players Cyberhome YamakawaRaite DVDVideo players Daewoo Electronics DVDVideo players Dantax DVDVideo players Denon DVDAudio and DVDVideo players Denver DVDVideo players Digitor DVDVideo players Digitron DVDVideo players DiViDo DVDVideo players Netherlands Dual DVDVideo players DVDO video deinterlacing processors Dynamic DVDVideo players Eagle Wireless International DVD Internet appliances Eclipse DVDVideo players Electrohome DVDVideo players Elta DVDVideo players Eltax DVDVideo players Emerson Funai DVDVideo players Encore DVDVideo players Enzer DVDVideo players Esonic DVDVideo players ESS Technology DVDVideo players and WebDVD players Euro Asia Technologies DVDVideo players UK Faroudja DVDVideo players Finlux DVDVideo players Fisher Sanyo DVDVideo players Funai EmersonOrionSylvaniaSymphonic DVDVideo players GE Thomson DVDVideo players Genica DVDVideo players Goodmans DVDVideo players GPXYorx DVDVideo players Gradiente DVDVideo players Grandin DVDVideo players Great Wall DVDVideo players Hong Kong Grundig DVDVideo players Guangdong Jinzheng Digital DVDVideo players Gynco DVDVideo players Haier DVDVideo players Harman Kardon DVDVideo players Himage DVDVideo players Hitachi DVDVideo players and recorders Hiteker DVDVideo players made by VDDV Homemighty DVDVideo players Hoyo Raite DVDVideo Players Hyundai DVDVideo players iDVDBox Enhanced DVDVideo Players IJam DVDVideo players Innovacom PCTV with DVD support Irradio DVDVideo players Jasmine DVDVideo players Jeutech DVDVideo players JNL DVDVideo players Jocel DVDVideo players JVC Victor DVDVideo players and recorders Kendo DVDVideo players Kennex DVDVideo players Kenwood DVDVideo players Keymat DVDVideo players KiSS Raite DVDVideo players Kioto DVDVideo players KLH DVDVideo players Kones DVDVideo players Konka DVDVideo players Labway DVDVideo players Lafayette DVDVideo and DVDAudio players Lasonic Yung Fu DVDVideo players Lawson DVDVideo players Lecson DVDVideo players Lector DVDVideo players Legend DVDVideo players Lenco DVDVideo players Lenoxx DVDVideo players LG Electronics GoldStar DVDVideo players Lifetec DVDVideo players Limit DVDVideo players Loewe DVDVideo players Logix DVDVideo players Lumatron DVDVideo players Luxman DVDVideo players Madrigal Mark Levinson DVDAudio and DVDVideo players Magnavox Philips DVDVideo players Magnex DVDVideo players Majestic DVDVideo players Malata DVDVideo players Manhattan DVDVideo players Marantz Philips DVDAudio SACD and DVDVideo players Mark DVDVideo players Matsushita PanasonicNationalTechnicsQuasar DVDVideo players and recorders DVDAudio players DVD car navigationentertainment Matsui DVDVideo players Medion DVDVideo players Memorex DVDVideo players Meridian DVDVideo players Metz DVDVideo players MiCO DVDVideo players Microboss DVDVideo players Micromega DVDVideo players Minato DVDVideo players Mintek DVDVideo players Mishine DVDVideo players Mitsubishi DVDVideo players Mitsui DVDVideo players MonicaMonyka Raite DVDVideo players Mossimo DVDVideo players China Mustek DVDVideo players NAD DVDVideo players Nakamichi DVDAudio and DVDVideo players Napa DVDVideo players NEC DVDRAM video camera Neufunk DVDVideo players Nintaus Guangdong Jinzheng DVDVideo players Noriko DVDVideo players Odyssey DVDVideo players Olidata DVDVideo players Italy Omni DVDVideo players Onkyo DVDVideo and DVDAudio players OpticsStorage DVDRW video recorders supplier Optim DVDVideo players Orava DVDVideo players Orion DVDVideo players Oritron DVDVideo players Palsonic Australia DVDVideo players Panasonic Matsushita DVDVideo players and recorders DVDAudio players Philco DVDVideo players Philips MagnavoxMarantzNorelco DVDVideo players and recorders Phoenix DVDVideo players Phonotrend DVDVideo players Pioneer DVDVideo players and recorders DVDAudio players DVD car navigationentertainment Primare DVDVideo players Proceed DVDVideo players Proline DVDVideo players Proscan Thomson DVDVideo players Proson DVDVideo players Proton DVDVideo players Quadro DVDVideo players Raite DVDvideo players Taiwan Rankarena DVDVideo players RCA Thomson DVDvideo players RCR DVDVideo players China REC DVDVideo players UK made by VDDV same as APEX Redstar DVDVideo players Revoy Netherlands DVDvideo players Roadstar DVDVideo players Rotel DVDvideo players Rowa DVDVideo players Runco DVDvideo players and changers Saivod DVDVideo players Sampo Afreey DVDVideo players Samsung DVDVideo players Samwin DVDVideo players Sanyo DVDVideo players SAST DVDVideo players Schaub Lorenz DVDVideo players Schneider DVDVideo players Scott DVDVideo players SEG YamakawaRaite DVDVideo players Sharp DVDVideo players Shinco DVDVideo players Hong Kong Shinsonic DVDVideo players Singer DVDVideo players Skyworth DVDVideo players SMC DVDVideo players Sonic Blue DVDVideo players and combo DVDVHS players formerly Sensory Science and GoVideo Sony DVDVideo players and changers Soyea DVDVideo players Spatializer Audio Laboratories 3D audio processing Sublime DVDVideo players Sylvania Funai DVDVideo players Symphonic Funai DVDVideo players Tatung DVDVideo players Teac DVDVideo players Technics Matsushita DVDVideo and DVDAudio players Teknema Ravisent Webconnected DVDVideo players Telestar DVDVideo players Tevion DVDVideo players Thakral DVDVideo players China Hong Kong Theta DVDVideo players Thomson RCAG E ProscanFergusonNordmendeTelefunkenSabaBrandt DVDVideo players Tokai Raite DVDVideo Players Toshiba DVDVideo players and recorders DVDAudio players Tredex DVDVideo players Umax DVDVideo players United DVDVideo players Unity Motion DVDVideo players Universum DVDVideo players Venturer DVDVideo players Vialta ESS WebDVD players Victor JVC DVDVideo players Vieta DVDVideo players Visual Disc and Digital Video DVDVideo players China Waitec DVDVideo players Walkvision DVDVideo players Wharfedale DVDVideo players Wintel DVDVideo players XMS DVDVideo players Xwave DVDVideo players Yamaha DVDAudio and DVDVideo players Yamakawa Raite DVDVideo players Yami Raite DVDVideo players Yelo DVDVideo players Yukai DVDVideo players Zenith becoming a subsidiary of LG DVDVideo players 6 2 2 Studios video publishers and distributors DVD File maintains a list of studio addresses as well as DVD producer and distributor information A2O Entertainment wholesale distributor A D Vision anime Acorn Media Aftermath Media Tender Loving Care interactive movie All Day Entertainment Alphaville Pictures distributed by Universal Amazing Fantasy Amblin Entertainment distributed by Universal American Gramaphone American Software Anchor Bay Entertainment Animeigo APix Entertainment Artisan Home Entertainment formerly LIVE Entertainment Arts & Entertainment DVD Atomic Video adult Avalanche Baby Einstein infant development Baker & Taylor distributor Beyond Music distributor Black Chair Productions independent films Black Entertainment Television BET BMG Sonopress Brentwood Brilliant Digital Entertainment multipath movies BroadcastDVD Buena Vista Home Video Disney CAV Distributing distributor Castle Music Pictures music performance Castle Home Video Cecchi Gori Celebrity Central Park Media Cerebellum educational Chesky Classic Records Columbia TriStar Sony Compact Media distributor Concert Home Platinum Entertainment Concorde Video 12 Monkeys German Corinth Films Wade Williams Collection Creative Design Art Criterion Collection DaViD Entertainment Delos International mostly audio Delta Entertainment Deluxe distributor and replicator DG Distributors distributor Diamond Entertainment distributor Digital Disc Entertainment Digital Leisure formerly ReadySoft Dragons Lair Space Ace Digital Multimedia Digital Versatile Disc Dimension Films Miramax Direct Source Direct Video Distribution distributor UK Disney Buena Vista Home Video Dimension Films Hollywood Pictures Miramax Touchstone Dream Theater DreamWorks SKG DVD International distributor DVision Eaton Entertainment Elite Entertainment EMI Records E Real Biz Essex Entertainment Fantoma Filmways distributor ArgentinaSpain FOCUSFilm Entertainment Fox Lorber Front Row Full Moon Pictures Gainax anime General Media Communications Penthouse adult Goldhil Home Media Goodtimes Entertainment Gramercy Pictures distributed by Universal Hallmark Home Entertainment Artisan HBO Home Video Warner HODIE multimedia recording label Hollywood Pictures Disney folded into Touchstone Hot Body International adult Ice Storm Entertainment distributor Germany Ideal Entertainment Image Entertainment distributor Impressive adult IndieDVD publisher alliance of independent filmmakers Ingram distributor Key East Kings Road distributed by Trimark Kino International Laserdisc Entertainment adult Laserlight Lee & Lee Films Leo Films Living Arts health LucasFilm distributed by Twentieth Century Fox or Paramount Lucerne Media educational Lumivision distributed by SlingShot Lyric MacDaddy Madacy Magic Lantern Marin Digital Your Yoga Practice Master Tone MCA Universal MCA Music Media Galleries Media Group distributor Metro Global Media adult Metromedia MGMUA Warner Mill Reef Earthlight Miramax Films Disney Monarch Home Video Monterey MPI Home Video MTI Multimedia 2000 aka M2K Music Video Distributors distributor N2K Music Navarre distributor NET TEN distributor Nettwerk Productions New Horizons Home Video New Line Warner New Video Group New Vision New York Entertainment NuTech Digital adult October Films Universal Opera World Orion Pictures MGM some older DVD titles distributed by Image and Criterion Overseas Filmgroup distributor partner with Image Pacific Digital Palm Pictures Panasonic Interactive Media defunct Panorama Paramount Home Video owned by Viacom Parasol Passport Video Phantom Video Picture This Home Video Pioneer Entertainment distributor Platinum Playboy Home Video PM Entertainment Polygram Philips partner Pony Canyon Japan PPI Entertainment Private Media Group adult Pro7 Home Entertainment Germany Program Power Real Entertainment Red Distribution distributor Renegade Republic Pictures defunct distributed by Artisan Rhino Home Video Roadshow Entertainment Australia Roan Group Rykodisc Samsung Entertainment Group Shanachie Showtime Simitar Entertainment Sierra Vista Entertainment Innovacom Silver Screen SlingShot acquired Lumivision titles Sony Music Entertainment Sony Pictures Columbia Epic Sony Music Sony Wonder TriStar Sony Wonder kids Steeplechase Sterling Home Entertainment Super Digital Media SyCoNet com distributor anime Synapse Films Tai Seng Technicolor distributor and replicator Tempe Entertainment Thakral distributor Hong Kong China Toho Japan Tone Home Video Toshiba EMI Touchstone Disney Trimark Pictures Troma Entertainment Turner Home Entertainment Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment Unapix Entertainment United American United Artists MGM Universal Studios Home Video owned by Seagram USA U S Laser Valley Media distributor VCA Interactive VCA Pictures VCA Labs adult VCI Home Video Ventura Victor Entertainment JVC Victory Video Watchdog Video One Canada distributor Vidmark Vista Street Vivid Video adult Walt Disney Pictures Warner Bros RecordsWarner Music Toshiba partner Warner Home Video Toshiba partner Waterbearer Films WIT Entertainment distributor WGBH WWF Home Video Wolfe World Video Xenon Xoom York 6 2 3 Hardware and computer components Acer Laboratories DVD decodercontroller chips Advent DVDROMequipped computers Alliance Semiconductor display adapters with hardware acceleration for DVD playback Allion DVD mirroring servers AMLogic DVD player chipset Analog Devices 192kHz24bit audio DAC Apple DVDROM and DVDRAMequipped computers playback hardware and software QuickTime ASACA DVDRAM towers AST DVDROMequipped computers with MMXbased playback software ASM DVD jukeboxes ATI Technologies display adapters with hardware acceleration for DVD playback Avid Electronics DVD decodercontroller chips Axis Communications DVDROM storage servers Bridge Technology optical pickup assemblies Canopus DVDRAM video archiving CD Associates Software and hardware for production and testing CEI DVD playback hardware and software Cirrus Logic MPEG2 encoderdecoder chips CMC Magnetics recordable discs Compaq DVDROMequipped computers Creative Technology DVDROM and DVDRAM upgrade kits DVD decoder software Cygnet DVDRAM jukeboxes DIC Dainippon Ink and Chemicals ink organic pigments thermosetting resin Dave Jones Design controllers for industrial DVD players Diamond Multimedia DVD upgrade kit Toshiba drive Digimarc watermarking technology Digital DVD software playback for Alpha workstations DVD encoder chips Digital Stream optical pickup assemblie Digital Video Systems DVDROM drives Disc Inc DVDRAM jukeboxes DSM DVD jukeboxes DVDO video deinterlacing chips DynaTek DVD upgrade kit EPO Technology DVDROM drives Escient DVDROM changer ESS Technology playback chipset player reference design Fantom Drives DVDRAM and DVDROM kits Fujitsu DVDROMequipped computers Gateway DVDROMequipped computers Genesis Microchip video chips progressivescan scaling Granite Microsystems IEEE1394 DVDROM drives Harman Int DVD jukebox Hitachi DVDROM drives DVDRAM drives decoder chips HiVal DVD playback hardware upgrade kit HP DVD and BD drives Hyundai DVD decoder chips IBM DVDROMequipped computers decoder chips IJam DVDROM drives Imation DVDRAM media Inaka DVD jukebox software Infineon DVD reader circuitry Innovacom DVD encoder and decoder systems Intel DVD playback hardware MMX and software Interactive Seating Battle Chair IOMagic IEEE1394 DVDROM drives JVC DVDROM drives DVDRAM jukebox Kasan decoder hardware KOM DVDRAM changer LaCie DVDRAM drives Leitch DVDRAM video recording LG Electronics DVDROM drives LSI DVD encoder and decoder chips acquired CCube Luminex Unix software for DVDbased archiving and duplication LuxSonor DVD playback chips Margi DVD decoder card for notebook PCs Matrox display adapters with hardware acceleration for DVD playback Matsushita Panasonic DVDROM drives DVDRAM drives upgrade kits DVDWeb integration DVDRAM stillimage recorder Media100 DVD authoring tools DVD playback hardware and software Mediamatics DVD playback software and hardware Medianix Dolby Digital decoder hardware with Spatializer 3D audio Memorex DVDROM drives Microboards DVD drive VAR Microsoft DVD playback support DirectShow and player applications Microtest DVDROM jukeboxes Mitsubishi DVD players DVDROM drives Motorola DVD decoder chips National Semiconductor DVD playback and reference designs Number 9 display adapters with hardware acceleration for DVD playback Nuon Semiconductor DVD playback reference platform Nuon NEC DVDROM drives Net TV DVDROM PC for home entertainment NSM DVDROM jukebox DVDRAM jukebox Oak Technology DVD playback hardware and software OTG Software DVD jukebox software Packard Bell DVDROMequipped computers Philips DVDROM drives DVDRW drives decoder chips Pioneer DVDROM drives DVDR drives DVDRW video recorders Plasmon Data DVDRAM jukebox ProAction Media DVD duplication equipment Procom DVDROM jukebox Ricoh DVDROMCDRW drives Rimage DVD duplication and printing equipment RITEK DVDR DVDRAM S3 display adapters with hardware acceleration for DVD playback Samsung DVDROM drives and DVDROMequipped computers Spectradisc limitplay technology STMicroelectronics formerly SGSThomson DVD decoder chips SICAN DVD decoder chips Sigma Designs DVD playback hardware Software Architects DVDrecordable utilities for UDF and Mt Rainier writing Sonic Solutions DVDVideo playack and recording software acquired portion of Ravisent formerly Quadrant International acquired InterActual acquired Roxio Sony DVDROM drives DVDROMequipped computers ST Microelectronics DVD decoder chips acquired portion of Ravisent formerly Quadrant International STB Systems DVD playback hardware upgrade kit Summation Technology CDDVD Duplication Equipment and Supplies Technovision Controllers and synchronizers for consumer and industrial DVD players TDK blank DVDRAM discs Toshiba DVDROM drives DVDROMequipped computers DVDRAM drives Tracer Technologies DVD jukebox software and DVD recording software Unix TribeWorks custom player software Trident Microsystems DVD decoder chips DVDaccelerated video controller chips Truevision DVD playback software Microsoft Active Movie 2 0 Verbatim Australia ActiveMedia DVD playback hardware upgrade kit VisionTech MPEG2 encodermulitplexer Wired DVD playback hardware and software acquired by Media 100 X10 com wireless DVD transmitter Xing DVD playback software Yamaha AC3 decoder chips Zen multibeam DVD reading technology ZoranCompCore DVD software and hardware playback DVD decoder chips 6 2 4 Computer software titles on DVDROM 2 Way Media Launch Access Software Overseer Tex Murphy Acclaim Entertainment Reah Accolade Jack Nicklaus 4 Family Spectacular Action Zone games Activision Quicksilver Muppet Treasure Island Spycraft The Great Game Zork The Grand Inquisitor Aftermath Media Tender Loving Care ALLDATA automotive information databases Aludra Beat 2000 DVD Language Tutor DVD Virtual Makeover DVD Apple Computer Mac OS Anthology available to developers only BBC Interactive Black Isle Studios Interplay Baldurs Gate Broderbund Riven PrintMaster Platinum ClickArt 300000 Byron PreissSimon & Schuster The Timetables of Technology ComChoice Marketing sales and training Creative Multimedia Billboard Music Guide Blockbuster Entertainment Guide to Movies and Video Creative Wonders The Learning Company Schoolhouse Rock Sesame Street Wide World of Animals DeLorme AAA MapnGo DVD Deluxe Data Becker Clipart Collection Sound Collection Digital Directory Assistance PhoneDisc PowerFinder USA One Digital Versatile Disc Shaodan Digital Leisure Dragons Lair Hologram Time Traveler Space Ace Discovery Channel Leopard SonAnimal Planet Connections Dorling Kindersley Electronic Arts Wing Commander IV Electronic Publishing Association LANGMaster Collins COBUILD Student Dictionary EuroTalk Interactive Language Learning Firebrand Lost in Crazy Town genX Software Dead Moon Junction Global Star Software 100 Great Action Arcade Games Excessive Speed Gubble 303 Professional Legal Forms Graphix Zone Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia GT Entertainment Forrest Gump Reah Hachette Multimedia Hachette Encyclopedia IBM Interactive Media The Pistol The Birth of a Legend Index Dracula Resurrection Dracula the Last Sanctuary Louvre the Final Curse Interactual Technologies Star Trek VideoSaver Interplay Baldurs Gate Starfleet Academy Into Networks PlayNow unlockable games IVS The Union Catalogue of Belgian Research Libraries Japan Travel Bureau DVDWeb product Kunskapsforlaget Sweden Focus Encylopedia The Learning Company SoftKey Battles of the World Clickart Digital Library The Genius of Edison National Geographic Printmaster 7 Liris Havas Interactive D�couvertes Junior Discovery Magnum Design Mechadeus The Daedalus Encounter MediaGalleries Multimedia Bach MediaOne VersaDisc Microsoft Encarta MSDNTechNet Works Suite Mill Reef Earthlight Coral Sea Dreaming Mindscape Mitchell Repair Information Company ONDEMAND Monolith Claw Montparnasse Multimedia Microcomsos Voyage to the land of the Pharaohs Multimedia 2000 aka M2K formerly Multicom Birds of the World Bubblegum Crisis HomeDepots Home Improvement 123 Warren Millers Ski World 97 Exploring National Parks Great Chefs Great Cities Better Homes and Gardens Cool Crafts Natif NB DigitalMill Reef Earthlight Not A Number Blender Oeil Pour Oeil Death Dealer Organa The Book of Lulu Pro CD Select Phone Project Two Interactive Reah distributed by GT in U S Acclaim in UK and Ireland Psygnosis Lande Red Orb Entertainment Sega 4 gameinstruction titles to be released in early 1997 Sierra Online Sumeria Vanishing Wonders of the Sea Wild Africa SuperZero adult DVDVideo SuSE SuSE Linux 6 3 TerraGlyph Interactive Studios Buster and the Beanstalk Tiny Toons Torus Games Tsunami Crazy 8s Silent Steel Silent Steel II VR Sports Interplay Virtual Pool Warner Advanced Media Westwood Studios Command & Conquer Xiphias Encyclopedia Electronica Zombie VR Studios Liberty 6 3 Where can I buy or rent DVDs and players See 1 8 for price comparisons and coupons 800 com players A&B Sound Canada abcDVD UK region 1 abt Electronics players AccessDVD com Ace VCD DVD Hong Konganime Airplay Japan region 2 All DVD Movies DVDs AllCheapMusic com DVDs for 10 or less Amazon com players and DVDs Amazon co uk UK players and DVDs AnimeNation DVDs Anime Depot DVDs Asian Xpress Hong Kong films Atlantic DVD region 4 Bargainflix DVDs Best Buy players and DVDs Best Buy Movie Germany DVDs BestDVDPrice co uk price comparison site for UK DVDs BestPrices com DVDs Bensons World UK players Beyond Music DVDs Big Emma used DVDs BigStar players and DVDs BigWheelOnline com DVDs 1 shipping worldwide BlackStar UK region 2 DVDs free shipping worldwide Blockbuster rental and sales of DVDs Brainplay com DVDs Buy com players and DVDs CashForCDs com sell your used DVDs and CDs C&L Internet Club Canada DVDs CD JAPAN Japan region 2 CDNOW DVDs CDRealm Switzerland Columbia House DVD mailorder club Consumer Direct Warehouse players Critics Choice Video DVDs DeepDiscountDVD com DVDs DeVoteD Australia region 4 DVDs Digibuster Media online rental Digital Entertainment Indian films Digital Eyes DVDs Digital Playtime Australia region 4 Digitallageret com Asian imports The Digital Shop Greece Direct Video Disc and Picture Company Australia discShop com UK region 1 and 2 DVDCity DVD City Australia DV Depot DVD Domain DVD Empire DVDIt Italia Italy DVD North Canada DVDONE DVD Overnight online rental DVD Palace formerly Liquidata DVD Planet formerly Ken Cranes now a division of Image Entertaiment DVDPlus Europe DVD Rent Australia sales and online rental DVDshoppingCenter region 2 The DVD Movie Store Australia offline rentals DVDstreet region 2 DVD Supercenter com adult DVD VideoPlanet New Zealand regions 1 and 4 DVD Wave DVD World UK region 2 DVD World New Zealand regions 1 and 4 DVD Zone 2 region 2 eBay buy and sell new and used DVDs Elvic Netherlands Evolution Audio & Video Fantastic Movies Switzerland FeatureDVD Fotosound UK Gamestech com multiregion players German Music Express Germany GreenCine online rental of rare and alternative titles Just Watch It regions 1 and 2 Karaoke Show Switzerland LADA Universal regions 1 and 2 new and used Laser Corner Greece Laserdisc DVD Outlet Laser Discovery online rental Hong Kong movies The LaserDisc Division Laserdisc House UK regions 1 and 2 Lasers Edge Laservisions Direct GoDVD UK regions 1 and 2 Half com used discs and players Hastings Entertainment buy or rent DVDs HKFlix com Asian DVDs iNetVideo US Canada and UK InsideDVD free disc subscription Hollywood Video rental Ken Cranes Kotiteatteri Finland Media Play MegaDVD MovieGallery com new and used movies and games MoviesUnlimited com Musicland NetFlix online rental monthly fee North American DVD retail and wholesale On Cue OneCall players OZDVD Warehouse region 4 Redbox DVD rental kiosks Reel com no longer sells discs Reg2 net Spain RegionFreeDVDPlayers Rent A DVD online rental Switzerland RoDisc Netherlands regions 1 and 2 Sam Goody Second Chance DVD used Shopping com Shopping Matrix South Africa region 2 Sony Music Direct Stardust DVD Puerto Rico Starship Industries SublimeDigital com players and drives SVS UK region 2 Swinging Planet UK cult video region 2 TLA Video adult DVDs Trans World Entertainment TWEC Universe of Entertainment Switzerland VideoCave VideoLtd com Virgin Megastore ZoneFreeDVD Xchangecity trade DVDs with other members Disclosure Some of the links above include affiliate program information that may result in a commission to Jim 6 3 1 Where can I buy blank recordable DVDs Important note With blank DVDs the adage you get what you pay for is usually true Cheaper discs are more likely to produce errors when burning and are less compatible with players American Recordable Media CDDVDSupplies com CDRecordable com CDROM2Go com dvdr co uk Gotmedia com HP J&R Electronics Meritline com Memorex ProAction Media Shop4tech com SuperMediaStore com 6 4 Where can I get more information about DVD 6 4 1 A few of the top DVD info sites The Digital Bits www thedigitalbits com top DVD news site DVDFile www dvdfile com another good DVD news site DVD Review www dvdreview com DVD news and production information DigitalAudioVideo com httpwww digitalaudiovideo com DVD tech support DVDAnswers www dvdanswers com general DVD info site DVDVideo Information www mpucoder comDVD detailed technical info about the DVDVideo format Home Theater Forum www hometheaterforum com general DVD discussions TheDVDPlayer www thedvdplayer com immense collection of links to other DVD pages Chad Foggs DVD technical notes www mpeg org~tristanMPEGDVD from 1996 Quantel Digital Fact Book digital video info and glossary www quantel comdfb DVD for notsoDummies from Technicolor www technicolor comservicesDVD2000v1 pdf DVD White Papers from Sonic Solutions www sonic comtechwhitepapers html Disctronics Graham Sharplesss DVD Technology pages www discusa comdvddvdmain htm Tristans MPEG Pointers and Resources www mpeg org For details on YUV RGB YCbCr etc read Charles Poyntons Color FAQ or buy his book Roberts DVD Info www robertsdvd com the granddaddy DVD link page not updated since 2009 6 4 2 DVD utilities and regionfree information See 1 10 for more information about regions DVD Infomatrix www inmatrix com a wealth of information about DVD PCs MPEGX www mpegx com PC utilities for video and audio more DVDSoft net www dvdsoft net PC utilities more Doom9 www doom9 net PC utilities for DVD backup DVD Copy Software Review dvdcopysoftwarereview toptenreviews com Information and reviews about DVD backup software Visual Domain www visualdomain net PC utilities including Drive Info DVDCity www dvdcity comcodefreecodefreedvdinfo html codefree DVD player FAQ Code Free DVD www codefreedvd com regionfree DVD players Code Free DVD Mart www codefreedvdmart com regionfree DVD players and information Region Free DVD www regionfreedvd net region workarounds for players and PCs RegionFreeDVDPlayers regionfreedvdplayers com regionfree DVD players ZoneFreeDVD zonefreedvd com regionfree DVD players dvdkits com www dvdkits com modification chips for DVD players DVD Upgrades www dvdupgrades ch regionfree DVD players and modification chips DVDoverseas www dvdoverseas com regionfree DVD players Link Electronics www linkonline co uk regionfree DVD players and upgrades Techtronics www techtronics com regionfree DVD players and upgrades Upgrade Heaven www homecinemaheaven com regionfree DVD players Erics DVD Information www brouhaha com~ericvideodvd tech info on early players Google Deja Usenet Archive www deja com search the rec video dvd and alt video dvd newsgroups The Mac DVD Resource www wormintheapple grmacdvdaction=intro regionfree info for Macs RipDifferent Forum www ripdifferent com discussion of audio and video ripping on Macs PowerBook DVD Source httpwww dfbills compowerbookdvd html info about DVD on Macs 6 4 3 Information and discussion groups Geoff Tullys DVDList dvdlist tully comDVDList the longestrunning DVD discussion list mostly people in the DVD production business DVD discussion list Send subscribe DVDL your name to listservlistserv temple edu DVD Made Easy dvdmadeeasy com tutorials forums and other resources feebased EZ DVD Advisor www ezdvdadvisor com forums and other resources DVD Developer Club at Yahoo clubs yahoo comclubsdvddeveloper discussion of authoring techniques and problems TFDVD tfdvd com subscription side mostly focused on Apple DVD Studio Pro 6 4 4 DVD info for specific regions uk media dvd FAQ www dvd reviewer co ukumdvdfaq UK DVD FAQ movieuk comdvdfaq htm not updated since 1298 DVD Debate www dvddebate com news info and user discussions mainly region 2 DVD Times www dvdtimes co uk news info and reviews mainly region 2 DVD Reviewer www dvd reviewer co uk news info and reviews mainly UK DVDLink www dvdlink co uk news and links to hundreds of other DVD sites Michael Ds Region 4 DVD Info Page reviews and other info on region 4 discs 6 4 5 DVD info in languages other than English DVDUpdate www dvdupdate nl Dutch DVDEnFrancais www dvdenfrancais com French Canada dvdfr com www dvdfr com French Area DVD www areadvd de German Cinefacts de www cinefacts de German DVDPrime www dvdprime com Korean dvdnett no www dvdnett no Norwegian DVDmension dvd wp pl Polish DVDSpecial www dvdspecial ru Russian Audio Video Cine en Casa club idecnet com~modegar Spanish 6 4 6 Books about DVD DVD Demystified by Jim Taylor the author of this FAQ Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About DVD by Jim Taylor a book version of this FAQ DVD Authoring and Production by Ralph LaBarge Desktop DVD Production by Douglas Dixon From VHS to DVD by MarkSteffen Goewecke CDRDVD Disc Recording Demystified by Lee Purcell DVD Production by Phil De Lancie and Mark Ely 6 5 Whats new with DVD technology September 2007 The DVD CCA the licensing body for CSS see 1 11 approved the effective date July 1 2007 for CSS Managed Recording Companies such as Sonic Solutions with their Qflix program Movielink CinemaNow and Amazon CreateSpace will introduce products and services using CSS recording for burning DVDs on demand February 2007 The DVD Forum approved a new specification for DVD Download Disc for CSS Managed Recording This is a variation of DVDR designed to allow legal download and burn of movies and other video content June 2005 BDHD DVD format unification talks are continuing despite tough public stances from both sides that they will not give up key features of their format The CE groups seem to be having problems reaching any sort of compromise so the battlefield has now shifted to the studios with each format camp trying to get all the studios on their side If both formats go to market the one with the most content will win Dolby has decided that Dolby TrueHD will be the new marketing name for the MLP lossless audio format This is similar to Dolby Digital being the marketing name for the AC3 audio format April 2005 Members of both camps continue to talk about players and discs being available by the end of the year although its extremely unlikely other than perhaps limited releases in Japan since the specifications are not final and copy protection is still being worked out November 2004 New Medium Enterprises announced yet another contender for nextgeneration DVD VMD Versatile Multilayer Disc to be launched in fall 2005 which adds additional layers to standard 1 or 2layer DVDs to store 15 20 25 and 30 GB on a disc Ill say what I said about FMD an intriguing technology that failed dozens of highpowered companies defined the DVD standard Small startups with great ambitions but limited resources will never succeed in creating a massmarket successor August 2004 Both the DVDForum and the Bluray Disc Association BDA have chosen VC1 Microsofts WMV9 and H 264 as advanced video codecs November 2003 On November 19th the DVD Forum steering committee finally approved the bluelaser HD DVD standard for continued work The Chinese government announced that EVD enhanced versatile disc would be launched for Christmas 2003 EVD is a homegrown alternative to DVD technologies developed by the DVD Forum and CE companies in Japan EVD uses its own optical disc format and a proprietary video compression technology VP5 and VP6 developed by On2 in the U S EVD supports HD resolutions up to 1920x1080 EVDs will not play in standard DVD players and its possible that many EVD players will not play DVDs since part of the reason for developing the format was to get away from paying royalties on DVD technologies EVD players in China will cost about 250 compared to about 80 for a DVD player It remains to be seen if EVD will succeed in China and if it will appear in any other countries September 2003 The DVD Forum steering committee once again failed to approve the AOD format now being called HD DVD by proponents in the DVD Forum Some people in the industry including Warren Lieberfarb formerly at Warner and responsible for much of the success of DVD began talking about sticking with existing redlaser DVD for highdefinition video using advanced codecs such as H 264 or Microsoft WM9 A number of press articles incorrectly reported that the DVD Forum was abandoning bluelaser HD technology June 2003 There are rumors that theres a 6th HD format in the works based on the RW format In the June meeting of the DVD Forum Steering Committee the vote to officially approve work on the nextgeneration DVD format AOD see below did not pass This does not mean that the format was voted down as reported elsewhere only that the proposal as currently defined was not approved There was clear bias in the voting since the members that voted no or abstained were all participants in the competing Bluray group There will be another vote on a modified proposal in mid September In the meantime work continues inside and outside the DVD Forum on nextgeneration DVD March 2003 There are at least 5 candidates for highdefinition DVD See 3 13 for details HD DVD9 aka HD9 Advanced Optical Disc AOD Bluray Disc BD Advanced Optical Storage Research Alliance AOSRA BlueHD DVD1 AOSRA BlueDVDDVD2 June 2002 Philips demonstrated a bluelaser miniature prerecorded optical disc The 3cm 1 2inch disc holds 1 Gbyte of data The prototype drive to read the disc measured 5 6 x 3 4 x 0 75 cm 2 2 x 1 3 x 0 3 inches FebruaryMarch 2002 A group of 9 companies announced February 19th a new highdensity recordable DVD standard known as Bluray At the DVD Forum general meeting in March the Forum announced that it will investigate nextgeneration standards to choose the best one Since the 9 companies are all members of the DVD Forum its likely that Bluray will eventually be approved by the Forum Also at the March meeting the Forum announced that according to AOL Time Warners request it will work on a standard for putting highdefinition video on existing DVDs The format is being called HD DVD9 See 3 13 7 1 Unanswered questions None at the moment 7 2 Notation and units Theres an unfortunate confusion of units of measurement in the DVD world For example a singlelayer DVD holds 4 7 billion bytes G bytes not 4 7 gigabytes GB It only holds 4 37 gigabytes Likewise a doublesided duallayer DVD holds only 15 90 gigabytes which is 17 billion bytes The problem is that the SI prefixes kilo mega and giga normally represent multiples of 1000 103 106 and 109 but when used in the computer world to measure bytes they generally represent multiples of 1024 210 220 and 230 Both Windows and Mac OS list volume capacities in true megabytes and gigabytes not millions and billions of bytes Most DVD figures are based on multiples of 1000 in spite of using notation such as GB and KB that traditionally have been based on 1024 The G bytes notation does seem to consistently refer to billions 109 of bytes The closest I have been able to get to an unambiguous notation is to use kilobytes for 1024 bytes megabytes for 1048576 bytes gigabytes for 1073741824 bytes and BB for 1000000000 bytes This may seem like a meaningless distinction but its not trivial to someone who prepares 4 7 gigabytes of data according to the OS and then wastes a DVDR or two learning that the disc really holds only 4 3 gigabytes See 3 3 for a table of capacities Heres an analogy that might help A standard mile is 5280 feet whereas a nautical mile is roughly 6076 feet If you measure the distance between two cities you will get a smaller number in nautical miles since nautical miles are longer For example the distance from Seattle to San Francisco is about 4213968 feet which is 798 standard miles but only 693 nautical miles DVD capacities have similarly confusing units of measurement a billion bytes 1000000000 bytes or a gigabyte 1073741824 bytes DVD capacities are usually given in billions of bytes such as 4 7 billion bytes for a recordable disc Computer files are measured in gigabytes Unfortunately both types of measurements are often labeled as GB So a 4 5GB file 4 5 gigabytes from a computer will not fit on a 4 7GB disc 4 7 billion bytes since the file contains 4 8 billion bytes To make things worse data transfer rates when measured in bits per second are almost always multiples of 1000 but when measured in bytes per second are sometimes multiples of 1024 For example a 1x DVD drive transfers data at 11 08 million bits per second Mbps which is 1 385 million bytes per second but only 1 321 megabytes per second The 150 KBs 1x data rate commonly listed for CDROM drives is true kilobytes per second since the data rate is actually 153 6 thousand bytes per second This FAQ uses kbps for thousands of bitssec Mbps for millions of bitssec note the small k and big M In December 1998 the IEC produced new prefixes for binary multiples kibibytes KiB mebibytes MiB gibibytes GiB tebibytes TiB and so on More details at NIST also released as IEEE Std 15412002 These prefixes may never catch on or they may cause even more confusion but they are a valiant effort to solve the problem The big strike against them is that they sound rather silly 7 3 Acknowledgments This FAQ is written and maintained by Jim Taylor The following people contributed to early versions of the DVD FAQ Their contributions are deeply appreciated Some information was taken from material distributed at the April 1996 DVD Forum May 1997 DVDRDVDRAM Conference and October 1998 DVD Forum Conference as well as many other conferences and presentations since Robert Lundemo AasAdam BarrattDavid BouletEspen BraathenWayne BundrickIrek DefeeRoger DresslerChad FoggDwayne FujimaRobert Obi GeorgeHenrik Leopold HerranenKilroy HughesMark JohnsonRalph LaBargeMartin LeeseDana ParkerEric SmithSteve TannehillGeoffrey Tully Thanks to Videodiscovery for hosting this FAQ for the first two and a half years Copyright 19962013 by Jim Taylor This document may be redistributed only in its entirety with version date authorship notice and acknowledgements intact No part of it may be sold for profit or incorporated in a commercial document without the permission of the copyright holder Permission will be granted for complete electronic copies to be made available as an archive or mirror service on the condition that the author be notified and that the copy be kept up to date This document is provided as is without any express or implied warranty End DVD Demystified is hosted by the excellent SiteGround Sign up for hosting services at SiteGround and Jim will get a discount on the cost of hosting this site