DVD Formats Explained
DVD which in the past has been called Digital
Video Disc, but is more commonly referred to as Digital
Versatile Disc is one of the fastest growing consumer electronic
products in history. With that are a number of competing
formats looking to become the de-facto standard, the way that
CD-R/W has become in the computer industry.
In due time, as formats are standardized,
inexpensive DVD burners will become as common as CD burners and
along with that will be the availability of affordable DVD
software and DVD blank media.
The method of using your DVD burner on your
computer will be no different than what you are currently used
to with your CD-R/W burners and CD burning software. It's just a
matter of patience and time before the industry sorts things out
because DVD burners are set to take off the same way as CD
burners did a few years ago. Let's now take a look at the
various DVD formats available today.
DVD Audio provides higher-quality audio
than available from current CDs. DVD Audio offers higher
quality audio including Dolby Digital AC-3 and surround
sound, and a wide range of options for coding audio at
high fidelity, with 24 bits per sample and 96 KHz sampling
frequency and beyond.
In addition, look for features such as
still pictures, text information, menus and navigation,
and even video sequences. The format provides for longer
playing times; a dual layer DVD Audio disc will hold at
least 2 hours of full surround sound audio. For the
recording industry, DVD Audio includes copy
protection and anti-piracy measures. Consumer response has
been slow and DVD Audio shouldn't displace CD audio as the
standard any time soon.
This is the format used by Hollywood and
by consumers for viewing movies and other visual
entertainment. The total capacity is 17 gigabytes if two
layers on both sides of the disk are used.
Its basic technology is the same as DVD
Video, but it also includes computer friendly file formats
which be used to store data. This product should replace
conventional CD-ROMs over time.
Think of a DVD-RAM as a virtual hard disk,
with a random read-write access. Originally a 2.6GB drive,
its capacity has increased to 4.7GB per side. Double sided
DVD-RAM media is now available with a 9.4GB capacity and
can be re-written more than 100,000 times and does not
need to be reformatted when you want to re-write. You can
drag and drop files to a DVD-RAM drive as if it were a
regular hard drive. However, DVD-RAM disks can not be
played in existing DVD players and DVD-ROM drives. You
will require a DVD-RAM drive to playback DVD-RAMs.
Developed by Pioneer, DVD-R, with a
capacity of 4.7GB per side is similar to a DVD-ROM but
allows users to write only once. Originally designed for
professional authoring DVD-R(A), a version for general
consumer use is now available DVD-R(G). The major
difference between professional and general authoring is
that professional supports Mastering and Copy Protection.
DVD-R disks can be played in most DVD players and DVD-ROM
DVD-RW is an extension of the DVD-R format
with a read-write capacity of 4.7GB per side. It can be
re-written up to about 1,000 times. Like DVD-R, DVD-RW
disks can be played back in most DVD players and
Developed in co-operation by
Hewlett-Packard, Mitsubishi Chemical, Philips, Ricoh,
Sony, Dell, Compaq and Yamaha, DVD+RW is the only re-writable
format that provides full compatibility with existing
DVD-Video players and DVD-ROM drives. Does not read or
write DVD-RAM discs but will continue to write CD-Rs
This technology is based on the CD-R/RW
format and has a read-write capacity of 4.7GB per side
which can be re-written up to 1,000 times. A single
write version of this technology called DVD+R is expected
Confused? Don't worry about it because even the
most seasoned professional is trying to get their heads around
this. In due time, a standard will evolve and it will be easier
to understand and use the technology. If you are interested in
learning more, visit the
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