What the heck is a DVD?

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DVD is one of the most recent, and most exciting additions the the world of home video! Actually, DVD can be used for Data, Movies and now even music-- but we'll concentrate on the DVD-video version for now... (View dvd & blu-ray players here.)

A DVD is a CD sized digital disc which contains audio and video. DVD offers a serious upgrade in terms of picture quality versus previous home video formats (like VHS for example), and offers digital sound (including the ability to play back theatrical surround sound formats like Dolby Digital and DTS!).

A DVD works with video very much the same way a CD works with Audio. The disc allows you to access any point in the movie easily, and doesn't require rewinding like tape formats. DVD requires a special player (it doesn't play in a CD player).

DVD has grown quite popular, both because of added quality of video and audio and because of special features available exclusive to DVD. Often, movies released on DVD will include:
- A special audio track where you can listen to the director or the stars discuss the making of the film
- Access to scenes that were removed from the film
- Access to alternate endings to the movie which were filmed but not used.
- Documentaries about the film production or special achievements of the film.
- Tons more!

In short, DVD can help you enjoy your favorite movies even more! Even better, DVDs usually cost around $20- so you can build a library of your favorites without breaking the bank!

If you're new to DVD, you might want to check out Jim Taylor's excellent DVD Frequently Asked Questions, located here:


Here's what Jim had to say about what a DVD is:

DVD once stood for digital video disc or digital versatile disc, but now it just stands for DVD -- the next generation of optical disc storage technology. DVD is essentially a bigger, faster CD that can hold cinema-like video, better-than-CD audio, and computer data. DVD aims to encompass home entertainment, computers, and business information with a single digital format, eventually replacing audio CD, videotape, laserdisc, CD-ROM, and video game cartridges. 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 has become the most successful consumer electronics product of all time in less than three years of its introduction.

It's important to understand the difference between the physical formats (such as DVD-ROM or DVD-R) and the application formats (such as DVD-Video or DVD-Audio). DVD-ROM is the base format that holds data. DVD-Video (often simply called DVD) defines how video programs such as movies are stored on disc and played in a DVD-Video player or a DVD computer (see 4.1). The difference is similar to that between CD-ROM and Audio CD. DVD-ROM includes recordable variations DVD-R/RW, DVD-RAM, and DVD+R/RW (see section 4.3). The application formats include DVD-Video, DVD-Video Recording, DVD-Audio (see section 1.12), DVD-Audio Recording, DVD Stream Recording, and SACD. There are also special application formats for game consoles such as Sony PlayStation 2.

Article written by Vince Maskeeper of www.musicianassist.com . Thanks also to www.HomeTheaterForum.com .

© Copyright 2002. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.

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