HD DVD Guide

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HD DVD – Beginner’s Guide

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about high-definition TV. This new broadcast format delivers vastly improved images compared with standard definition pictures.

Not surprisingly, the major film studios were keen to jump on the high-definition bandwagon as well. They realised that once the public experienced high-definition TV, regular DVDs (which once seemed so high-tech) would just not be good enough any more.

To cater for an anticipated demand for high-quality pictures from a home movie format, HD DVD (High-Definition DVD) was created. It is currently involved in a a format war with the rival technology, Blu-ray (see our Guide to Blu-ray).

Basic HD DVD technology

HD DVD uses similar technology to regular DVD – it is a natural evolution of the format.

The format uses the same structure of ‘bumps’ or ‘pits’ as DVD (see our Guide to DVD players), but they are much smaller, allowing about five times as much data to be stored on the disc.

This is all well and good, but by compressing the data a more precise laser is required in order to read it. This became possible with the development of blue lasers, which can focus on a much smaller area than the red lasers used in DVD players. Interestingly, the blue laser gives the name to the rival Blu-ray disc.

Further advancement has come in the form of data compression. DVDs use MPEG-2 compression, which gives wonderful picture quality on a standard definition TV.

For HD DVD, MPEG-4 encoding is used. This greatly reduces the amount of data needed to deliver a high-definition signal (it is the same compression technology used to deliver DiVX files via broadband internet connections).

This enhanced compression technology, coupled with the extra storage capacity, means that a dual-layered HD DVD can hold up to eight hours of high-definition programming.



Top tips for buying an HD DVD player

HD DVD Glossary

Blu-ray – A rival to HD DVD, offering more storage capacity but still delivering high-definition movies.

DiVX – A video-compression format that can squeeze video files to a fraction of their normal space, allowing near-DVD quality movies to be downloaded from the internet and stored on a CD

HD DVD – A high-definition version of DVD technology

High-definition – A superior delivery format for TV that presents more lines of detail, resulting in a much sharper, more detailed image

Article from HomeCinemaUK.com

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