Introduction to DVD

What is DVD?

Originally DVD was being worked on by two different groups of companies, using the names "Digital Video Disc" and "Digital Versatile Disc". Luckily for consumers, the two groups merged, at which time they dropped both of these acronyms, so DVD doesn't actually stand for anything. It is a standard for storing MPEG-2 compressed audio and video information on a high density disc the same physical size as a normal audio CD.

Disc capacities range from 4.3 Gb to 15.9 Gb (standard CD is about 740Mb), allowing up to 8 hours of high quality audio and video to be stored on a single disc.

Although there is only one DVD-ROM standard (that used for DVDs that you buy or rent) there are many recordable standards, each slightly different. Each standard is playable on some, but not all DVD players. The recordable formats are:

Name Description
DVD-R A write once format, readable on the majority of DVD players. There are 2 separate versions, DVD-R(G) and DVD-R(A), which uses slightly different wavelength lasers to write to the disc. DVD-R(G) discs cannot be written in a DVD-R(A) writer (and vice versa), but both are playable in about 90% of DVD players. Disc capacity is 4700 million bytes (4.37 Gb).
DVD-RAM This format is best suited for PC use, since it has better resistance against errors, has faster random access and is re-writable. It is compatible with fewer DVD players than other formats, making it less suitable for audio and video applications.
DVD-RW Also known as DVD-R/W or DVD-ER, this re-writable format is playable on many DVD players.
DVD+RW DVD+RW is a re-writable format which has good compatibility with newer DVD players.
DVD+R The write once sister of DVD+RW, this format is more similar to DVD-R than DVD+RW, being dye based. It also has good compatibility with newer DVD players.

In conclusion, DVD-R and DVD+R are similar, write once formats. DVD-RW and DVD+RW are similar re-writable formats. DVD-RAM is more suitable to data applications than for audio and video use due to less compatibility with DVD players. For maximum compatibility with DVD players, choose a DVD recorder that is capable of recording to DVD-R or DVD+R as well as one of the re-writable formats.

Technical Specifications DVD-Video

Feature Description
Video Resolutions 720x480, 704x480, 352x480 and 352x240 (NTSC). 720x576, 704x576, 352x576, and 352x288 (PAL).
Video Compression MPEG-1 or MPEG-2
Video Bitrate Up to 9.8 Mbps variable bitrate (VBR)
Audio Compression MPEG-1 layer 2, MPEG-2, Dolby Digital (AC3), DTS, PCM (uncompressed audio)
Audio Bitrate (Dolby Digital) 64 kbps to 448 kbps
Audio Bitrate (MPEG) 32 kbps to 912 kbps
Audio Bitrate (DTS) 64 kbps to 1536 kbps
Surround Sound MPEG-2 5.1 or 7.1, Dolby Digital, Digital Theater Systems Digital Surround (DTS).
Maximum audio streams Up to 8 (each with up to 8 channels)
Other features Multiple camera angles, menus and interactive functionality
Still picture resolutions Up to 720 x 480 or 720 x 576

Digital Video
Glossary MPEG Bitrate

Video Editing

Introduction Plasma LCD Projection HDTV Antennas

Introduction Aerial Channels Coverage PVR Recording STB Guides TV


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