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1. What is DVD?

1. What a DVD is

DVD is the abbreviation of Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc. It can hold a minimum of 4.7GB data and uses MPEG-2 to compress video data. DVDs are commonly used as a medium for digital representation of movies and other multimedia presentations that combine sound with graphics.

1.1. The Division of DVD

There are several kinds of DVD in the current markets. Each kind of them has their own strongpoint compared with other kinds of DVD.

1.1.1. DVD+R and DVD+RW

DVD+R and DVD+RW formats are supported by Philips, Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Ricoh, Yamaha and others.

DVD+R is a recordable DVD format similar to CD-R . A DVD+R can record data only once and then the data becomes permanent on the disc. The disc can not be recorded onto a second time.

DVD+RW is a re-recordable format similar to CD-RW . The data on a DVD+RW disc can be erased and recorded over numerous times without damaging the medium.

DVDs created by a +R/+RW device can be read by most commercial DVD-ROM players.

1.1.2. DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM

These formats are supported by Panasonic, Toshiba, Apple Computer, Hitachi, NEC, Pioneer, Samsung and Sharp. These formats are also supported by the DVD Forum.

DVD-R is a recordable DVD format similar to CD-R and DVD+R. A DVD-R can record data only once and then the data becomes permanent on the disc. The disc cannot be recorded onto a second time. There also are two additional standards for DVD-R disks: DVD-RG for general use, and DVD-RA for authoring, which is used for mastering DVD video or data and is not typically available to the general public.

DVD-RW is a re-recordable format similar to CD-RW or DVD+RW. The data on a DVD-RW disc can be erased and recorded over numerous times without damaging the medium.

DVDs created by a -R/-RW device can be read by most commercial DVD-ROM players.

DVD-RAM discs can be recorded and erased repeatedly but are compatible only with devices manufactured by the companies that support the DVD-RAM format. DVD-RAM discs are typically housed in cartridges.

1.1.3. DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL

Dual layer technology is supported by a range of manufacturers including Dell, HP, Verbatim, Philips, Sony, Yamaha and others. As the name suggests, dual layer technology provides two individual recordable layers on a single-sided DVD disc. Dual Layer is more commonly called Double Layer in the consumer market, and can be seen written as DVD+R DL or DVD-R DL.

DVD+R DL (also called DVD+R9) is a Dual Layer writeable DVD+R.

DVD-R DL (also called DVD-R9) is a Dual Layer writeable DVD-R. The dual layered discs can hold 9.95GB

The dual layered discs (DVD+R9 and DVD-R9) can hold 9.95GB and double sided dual layer (called dvd-18) can hold 15.9GB.

1.1.4. HD-DVD

It is Short for high definition-DVD, a generic term for the technology of recording high-definition video on a DVD. In general, HD-DVD is capable of storing between two and four times as much data as standard DVD. The two most prominent competing technologies are Blu-ray and AOD.

1.1.5. DVD-ROM

DVD-ROM was the first DVD standard to hit the market and is a read-only format. The video or game content is burned onto the DVD once and the DVD will run on any DVD-ROM-equipped device.

Tips:
A Note on DVD Burners
Until 2003 consumers would have to choose a preferred DVD format and purchase the DVD media that was compatible with the specific DVD burner. In 2003 Sony introduced a multi-format DVD burner (also called a combo drive or DVD-Multi) and today many manufacturers offer multi-format DVD burners which are compatible with multiple DVD formats.

1.2. Difference between DVD and VCD

Compared with VCD, the Video Compact Disc, the VCD contains exactly the same material, but in an inferior quality. The audio stream on the DVD is a 5.1 one (in comparison with only left and right channels on the VCD) - as described above for DVD-audio. Though this is not true for all DVDs - for example DVDs coming with first "Japan" issue of albums 'MY STORY' and '(miss)understood', and with "overseas" versions of all 2005 singles only have a simple stereo; but 2005 concert DVDs (both 'Arena Tour 2005' and 'a-nation 2005' have a 5.1 audio stream; VCD files are encoded in MPEG-1 format, DVD ones - in MPEG-2 (technical details could be found elsewhere); The frame rate is the same for DVD and VCD formats (30 fps for NTSC and 25 fps for PAL); The frame size is different (that's from where video quality of DVD mainly comes from) - DVD one is four times larger quality.

1.3 DVD Player

There are hundreds of DVD players in the market. The important criteria to judge the quality of a DVD player is the video quality and the audio quality. Among so many brands, Panasonic, Sony, Samsung and Toshiba are most popular, in particular, Samsung DVD-V5500, Panasonic DVD-S77S and Sony DVP-NS975V are recommended strongly. There are several specifications of DVD as follows:

  • Single-disc DVD player

    With intuitive menus, easy setup and excellent picture quality, Sony is regarded as the best basic DVD player. It supports 5-channel surround sound, as well as Dolby Digital sound. So it is the best choice for those who want a no-frills player that handles rented movies as well as MP3s and JPEG photo files burned onto CDs, audio CDs and home-burned DVDs.

  • 5-disc DVD player

    The Panasonic is the best choice of 5-disc DVD player for those who like to play multi-disc movies or listen to CDs; moreover, it continues playing one disc while you change the other four. Especially, its smooth forward and backward scanning feature makes it better than other players. Like most current DVD players, it can also play MP3 music files and JPEG photos burned onto CDs, as well as home movies burned onto DVD-R and DVD-RW discs. It can also play DVD-A audio discs, and has Dolby Digital and DTS decoders, which is helpful if you're not using a home theater receiver .

  • VCR - DVD combo player

    A VCR- DVD combo machine gives much convenience to those who need a VCR and a DVD player. In reviews, the Samsung not only does well with DVDs, but it also does an admirable job with VHS tapes. what's more, It has excellent picture quality and a sturdy build. This model can also play audio and picture CDs.

  • HDMI DVD player

    HDMI is a new interface that allows video and audio signals to travel digitally to your TV. Other types of DVD players must convert the digital DVD data to analog, then back to digital for display on an HDTV. So in theory, if you have an HDTV with HDMI input, you'll get better picture quality than with an analog composite connection. In reviews, however, this isn't the case, and most experts say there's no difference in picture quality. The Panasonic does have some other admirable features, such as DVD-A playback, but reviews say the only people who should consider an HDMI DVD player are those whose plasma, LCD or rear-projection TVs don't do a good job at displaying DVD movies to begin with.

1.4 DVD Burner

The major differences in different kinds of DVD Burner come from the speeds for dual layer media and CD recording. In current DVD Burner market, these brands including NEC, LG, Sony, Plextor and LG are the preferable choices.

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