article last updated on
1.28.2003 | printer-friendly
So you've heard a little bit about
DVD and you're wondering what the fuss is all about. Perhaps we
DVD (or sometimes known as
Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is the new digital medium
for video, audio, and data. It looks very much like an audio CD
disc, about 4 3/4 inches (12.0 cm) in diameter. DVD actually comprises of a number
of formats: DVD-Video, DVD-Audio,
DVD-ROM, and a number of recordable
Since DVD-Video is the most prevalent format, let's limit our
discussion to this format in this overview. (We will save the discussion
regarding the other formats in our DVD
The DVD-Video format is doing for movies what the
Compact Disc (CD) did for music. The major advantages are:
Pure Digital Format
The video and audio
information stored on a DVD-Video are pure digital for a crystal clear picture and
CD-quality sound. It is the ideal format for movie viewing and
Improved Picture Quality and Color
The DVD format
provides up to 480 horizontal lines of resolution. This is a
significant improvement over 260 horizontal lines of resolution of standard VHS. The color is brilliant, rich, and saturated,
accurately rendering skin tones. With the right equipment and
set-up, you can enjoy a picture that approaches the quality of film.
State-of-the-Art Surround Sound
All DVD-Video discs include Dolby Digital surround
sound, consisting of up to six and seven channels of surround sound
(i.e., Dolby Digital 5.1-channel and 6.1-channel surround sound).
Additionally, some DVDs
contain an additional alternative surround sound format, called DTS
Digital Surround. Click
here to read more about the different surround
Language Dialogues and Soundtracks
movies are distributed with multiple language options (e.g., English,
Spanish, French), each with its own dialogue. With up to eight (8)
languages or soundtracks, DVD-Video offer a unique opportunity to expose
children to other languages. Closed captioning and/or subtitles
are also supported, with up to 32 separate closed caption and/or
subtitle tracks encoded into the DVD-Video disc. This feature is
activated by using the DVD-Video disc's menu or the DVD-Video player's menu.
DVD-Video can support the
director's use of simultaneous multiple camera angles to put a new
spin on the plot. Though not many DVD titles offer this option,
the "Tomorrow Never Dies: Special Edition"
DVD-Video uses the
multi-angle feature to cross reference the current scene with
associated storyboard designs and
The DVD-Video format offers parents the
ability to lock out viewing of certain materials by their children.
Furthermore, different versions of the same movie with different MPAA
ratings (e.g., G, PG, PG-13, R) can be stored on the same DVD-Video
Many DVD-Video movie releases
come with bonus materials (that are normally not included in the VHS version),
such as: "the making-of" featurette, cast and crew
interviews, theatrical trailers, TV spots, director's audio
commentary, music videos, cast and crew biographies and filmographies.
Random Access To Scenes
Movies on DVD-Video are
organized into chapters, similar to how songs are on tracks of an
You can jump to your favorite scenes directly using the "skip
chapter" button on the DVD player, entering the chapter number, or
using the DVD-Video disc's menu feature.
And, there is no more rewinding of videotapes.
Durable Disc Format
The DVD format offers
durability and longevity similar to that of audio CDs. With
proper handling and care, the DVD disc should last a very long
time. There is no wear and tear to worry about, since there is
no contact between the laser pickup and the DVD disc. There is
virtually no deterioration with repeated use, unlike VHS videotapes. With its
durability and small size, DVD-Video is a great format to collect movies and
other video titles.
Selection of DVD Movies
There are over 15,000
titles available on DVD-Video as of April 2002. Many
national and local video rental chains and independents are renting
DVDs today. There are even on-line merchants that rent DVDs,
NetFlix.com. DVDs are here to stay and has become the new medium
of choice for home viewing and movie collecting.
DVD-Video Players Are
The adoption rate for
DVD-Video players surpasses that of any consumer electronics device to date and has
long since passed the "early adopter" stage. With
prices now well under $100 for a solid performing, brand name, entry-level stand-alone DVD-Video player, DVD-Video is
now a mainstream format.
Are You Ready For DVD?
Are you ready to enjoy movies in
the DVD-Video format? It's really only a question of time... Now is as good
a time as any to take the plunge into DVD-Video. If you're ready, we
can help you find the right DVD-Video player for your needs and budget...
What do you want to do next?
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