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DVD Formats FAQ



Frequently Asked Questions about the DVD format, including DVD-ROM and DVD-Video.

This is the February 9, 2000 revision of the official Internet DVD FAQ for the rec.video.dvd Usenet newsgroups. (See below for what's new.) Please send corrections, additions, and new questions to Jim Taylor .

Copyright 1996-2000 by Jim Taylor. This document may be redistributed only in its entirety with version date, authorship notice, and acknowledgements intact. No part of it may be sold for profit or incorporated in a commercial document without the permission of the copyright holder. Permission will be granted for complete electronic copies to be made available as an archive or mirror service on the condition that the author be notified and that the copy be kept up to date. This document is provided as is without any express or implied warranty.

-0 Where can I get the DVD FAQ?
* The most current version is on the Web ...
-0.1 Has the DVD FAQ been translated into other languages?
Various translations of the DVD FAQ are available:...
-0.2 This FAQ is too long and technical. Is there a simpler version?
Try Earl's Famous DVD Technology Exposition Web Page Extravaganza ...
-0.3 Is this FAQ any good? How do I know it's accurate?
Here are a few user comments on the DVD FAQ. It's the most accurate ...
-1.1 What is DVD?
DVD, which once stood for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc, ...
-1.2 What are the features of DVD-Video?
* Over 2 hours of high-quality digital video (over 8 on a double-sided,...
-1.3 What's the quality of DVD-Video?
DVD has the capability to produce near-studio-quality video ...
-1.4 What are the disadvantages of DVD?
* It will take years for movies, TV shows, other video programming, ...
-1.5 What DVD players and drives are available?
Some manufacturers originally announced that DVD players would be ...
-1.5.1 Which player should I buy?
There are many good players available. Video and audio performance in ...
-1.6 What DVD titles are available?
As with hardware, rosy predictions of hundreds of movie titles ...
-1.7 How much do players and drives cost?
Mass-market DVD movie players currently list for $300 and up. (See 1.5 ...
-1.8 How much do discs cost?
It varies, but most DVD movies list for $20 to $30 with street ...
-1.9 How quickly will DVD become established?
Not as fast as generally predicted, but faster than videotape, laserdisc,...
-1.10 What are "regional codes," "country codes," or "zone locks"?
Motion picture studios want to control the home release of movies ...
-1.11 What are the copy protection issues?
There are four forms of copy protection used by DVD:...
-1.12 What about DVD-Audio or Music DVD?
When DVD was released in 1996 there was no DVD-Audio format, although ...
-1.13 Which studios are supporting DVD?
When DVD players became available in early 1997, Warner and Polygram ...
-1.14 Can DVD record from VCR/TV/etc?
Short Answer: Not yet, but soon. Pioneer and Philips have announced ...
-1.15 What happens if I scratch the disc? Aren't discs too fragile to berented?
Most scratches will cause minor channel data errors that are ...
-1.16 VHS is good enough, why should I care about DVD?
The primary advantages of DVD are quality and extra features (see 1.2). ...
-1.17 Is the packaging different from CD?
Manufacturers are worried about customers assuming DVDs will play in ...
-1.18 What's a dual-layer disc? Will it work in all players?
A dual-layer disc has two layers of data, one of them semi-transparent ...
-1.19 Is DVD-Video a worldwide standard? Does it work with NTSC, PAL, andSECAM?
DVD-V has the same NTSC vs. PAL problem as videotape and laserdisc. ...
-1.20 What about animation on DVD? Doesn't it compress poorly?
Some people claim that animation, especially hand-drawn cell animation ...
-1.21 Why do some discs require side flipping? Can't DVDs hold four hoursper side?
Even though DVD's dual-layer technology (see 3.3) allows over four hours ...
-1.22 Why is the picture squished, making things look too skinny?
Answer: RTFM. You are watching an anamorphic picture intended for ...
-1.23 Do all videos use Dolby Digital (AC-3)? Do they all have 5.1channels?
Most DVD-Video discs contain Dolby Digital soundtracks. However, it's ...
-1.24 Can DVDs have laser rot?
Laserdiscs are subject to what's commonly called laser rot: ...
-1.25 Which titles are pan & scan only? Why?
Some titles are available only in pan & scan because there was no ...
-1.26 How do I make the subtitles on my Pioneer player go away?
On the remote control, press Subtitle, then either Clear or 0 (zero). ...
-1.27 What is a layer change? Where is it on specific discs?
Some movies, especially those over two hours long or encoded at a high ...
-1.28 The disc says Dolby Digital. Why do I get 2-channel surround audio?
Some discs (many from Columbia TriStar) have 2-channel Dolby Surround ...
-1.29 Why doesn't the repeat A-B feature work on some discs?
Almost all features of DVD such as search, pause, and scan can be ...
-1.30 What's the difference between first, second, and third generationDVD?
There is no good answer to this question, since you'll get a ...
-1.31 What's a hybrid DVD?
Do you really want the answer to this one? Ok, you asked for it......
-1.32 What's the deal with DTS and DVD?
Digital Theater Systems Digital Surround is an audio encoding ...
-1.33 Why is the picture black and white?
You are probably trying to play an NTSC disc in a PAL player, but your ...
-1.34 Why are both sides fullscreen when one side is supposed to bewidescreen?
Many DVD's are labeled as having widescreen (16:9) format video on one ...
-1.35 Why are the audio and video out of sync?
There have been numerous reports of
-1.36 Why does the picture alternate between light and dark?
You are seeing the effects of Macrovision copy protection (see 1.11),...
-1.37 How do I find "Easter eggs" and other hidden features?
Some DVD movies contain hidden features, often called
-1.38 How do I get rid of the black bars at the top and bottom?
The black bars are part of the letterbox process (see 3.5), and in ...
-1.39 How should I clean and care for DVDs?
Since DVDs are read by a laser, they are resistant-to ...
-1.40 What's a progressive DVD player?
A progressive-scan DVD player converts the interlaced (480i) video from ...
-1.41 Why doesn't disc X work in player Y?
[Note: this is a new section with a small list of compatibility problems ...
-1.42 How do the parental control and multi-rating features work?
DVD includes parental management features for blocking playback and ...
-1.43 Which discs include multiple camera angles?
There's actually a euphemism in the DVD industry, where
-2.1 Will DVD replace VCRs?
Not any time soon. Recordable DVD is for computer data only, not ...
-2.2 Will DVD replace CD-ROM?
Yes. Some CD-ROM drive manufacturers plan to cease CD-ROM drive ...
-2.3 Can CD-R writers create DVDs?
No. DVD uses a smaller wavelength of laser to allow smaller pits in ...
-2.4 Is CD compatible with DVD?
This is actually many questions with many answers, covered in the ...
-2.4.1 Is CD audio (CD-DA) compatible with DVD?
Yes. All DVD players and drives will read audio CDs (Red Book). This is ...
-2.4.2 Is CD-ROM compatible with DVD-ROM?
Yes. All DVD-ROM drives will read CD-ROMs (Yellow Book). Software on ...
-2.4.3 Is CD-R compatible with DVD-ROM?
Sometimes. The problem is that CD-Rs (Orange Book Part II) are
-2.4.4 Is CD-RW compatible with DVD?
Usually. CD-Rewritable (Orange Book Part III) has a lower ...
-2.4.5 Is Video CD compatible with DVD?
Sometimes. It's not required by the DVD spec, but it's trivial to ...
-2.4.6 Is Super Video CD compatible with DVD?
Not generally. Super Video CD (SVCD) is an enhancement to Video CD that ...
-2.4.7 Is Photo CD compatible with DVD?
Not yet. Since Photo CDs are usually on CD-R media, they may suffer ...
-2.4.8 Is CD-i compatible with DVD?
In general, no. Current DVD players do not play CD-i (Green Book) discs....
-2.4.9 Is Enhanced CD compatible with DVD?
Yes. DVD players will play music from Enhanced Music CDs (Blue Book, ...
-2.4.10 Is CD+G compatible with DVD?
Only the Pioneer DVL-9 player and Pioneer karaoke DVD models DV-K800 ...
-2.4.11 Is CDV compatible with DVD?
Sort of. CDV, sometimes called Video Single, is actually a ...
-2.4.12 Is MP3 compatible with DVD?
Mostly no. MP3 is the MPEG-1 Layer 3 audio compression format. (MP3 is ...
-2.4.13 Is HDCD compatible with DVD?
Yes. Pacific Microsonics' HDCD (high-definition compatible digital) is ...
-2.5 Is laserdisc compatible with DVD?
No. Standard DVD players will not play laserdiscs, and you can't play a ...
-2.6 Will DVD replace laserdisc?
When this question was first entered in the FAQ, before DVD was ...
-2.7 How does DVD compare to laserdisc?
* Features: DVD has the same basic features as CLV LD (scan, pause,...
-2.8 Can I modify or upgrade my laserdisc player to play DVD?
It's not likely. DVD circuitry is completely different, the pickup laser ...
-2.9 Does DVD support HDTV (DTV)? Will HDTV make DVD obsolete?
Short answers: Partially. No....
-2.10 What was Divx?
Depending on whom you ask, Divx (once known as ZoomTV) was either ...
-2.11 How can I record from DVD to videotape?
Why in the world would you want to degrade DVD's beautiful digital ...
-2.12 Will high-definition DVD or 720p DVD make current players and discsobsolete?
Not for a long time. HD-DVD
-3.1 What are the outputs of a DVD player?
Most DVD players have the following output connections:...
-3.2 How do I hook up a DVD player?
It depends on your audio/video system and your DVD player. Most DVD ...
-3.2.1 Will I have problems connecting my VCR between my TV and my DVDplayer?
It's not a good idea to route the video from your DVD player through ...
-3.3 What are the sizes and capacities of DVD?
There are many variations on the DVD theme. There are two physical sizes:...
-3.3.1 When will double-sided, dual-layer discs (DVD-18) be available?
The first commercial DVD-18 title, The Stand, was released in October 1999....
-3.4 What are the video details?
DVD-Video is an application of DVD-ROM. DVD-Video is also an application ...
-3.5 What's widescreen? How do the aspect ratios work?
Video can be stored on a DVD in 4:3 format (standard TV shape) or 16:...
-3.6 What are the audio details?
There are two home-entertainment flavors of DVD: DVD-Video and DVD-Audio....
-3.6.1 DVD-Audio details
LPCM is mandatory, with up to 6 channels at sample rates of 48/96/192 ...
-3.6.2 Audio details of DVD-Video
The following details are for audio tracks on DVD-Video. Some ...
-3.7 How do the interactive features work?
DVD-Video players (and software DVD-Video navigators) support a command ...
-3.8 What is the difference between interlaced and progressive video?
There are basically two ways to display video: interlaced scan ...
-3.9 What is edge enhancement?
When films are transferred to video in preparation for DVD encoding, ...
-3.10 Does DVD work with barcodes?
If your humble FAQ author and other long-time developers of laserdisc ...
-4.1 Can I play DVD movies on my computer?
Yes, if your computer has the right stuff. The computer operating system ...
-4.2 What are the features and speeds of DVD-ROM drives?
Unlike CD-ROM drives, which took years to move up to 2x, 3x, and ...
-4.3 What about recordable DVD: DVD-R, DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW?
There are five recordable versions of DVD-ROM: DVD-R/authoring,...
-4.4 Why can't I take a screenshot of DVD video? Why do I get a pink orblack square?
Most DVD PCs, even those with software decoders, use video overlay ...
-4.5 Why can't I play movies copied to my hard drive?
Almost all movies are encrypted with CSS copy protection (see 1.11)....
-4.6 Why do I have problems playing DVDs on my computer?
There are thousands of answers to this question, but here are some ...
-4.7 Can I stream DVD over a network or the Internet?
Short answer: usually not....
-4.8 What is DeCSS?
CSS (Content Scrambling System) is an encryption and authentication ...
-4.9 How do I play DVD video in HTML, PowerPoint, Director, VB, etc.?
A variety of multimedia development/authoring programs can be extended ...
-4.10 What are .IFO, .VOB, and .AOB files? How can I play them?
The DVD-Video and DVD-Audio specifications define how audio and video ...
-5 DVD production
DVD production has two basic phases: development and replication....
-5.1 How much does it cost to produce a DVD? Isn't it more expensive thanvideotape, laserdisc, and CD-ROM?
Videotape, laserdisc, and CD-ROM can't be compared to DVD in ...
-5.2 What DVD-ROM formatting tools are available?
*
-5.3 What video and audio encoding tools are available?
Video encoding ...
-5.4 What DVD-Video authoring systems are available?
*
-5.5 Who can produce a DVD for me?
[A] = authoring (including encoding, DVD-R copies, and premastering)....
-5.6 What testing/verification services and tools are available?
* Audio Development AB (Sweden, USA, Hong Kong), +46 40 690 49 00....
-5.7 Can I put DVD-Video content on a CD-R or CD-RW?
[Note: This section refers to creating original DVD-Video content, ...
-5.8 How do I copy my home videos/movies/slides to DVD?
If you're rich enough, put together a system with the following ...
-5.9 How do I get a job making DVDs?
Read this FAQ through a few times. For extra credit, read my book, ...
-6.1 Who invented DVD and who owns it? Whom to contact for specificationsand licensing?
DVD is the work of many companies and many people. There were ...
-6.2 Who is making or supporting DVD products?
Consumer electronics:...
-6.3 Where can I buy (or rent) DVDs and players?
* 800.
-6.4 Where can I get more information about DVD?
Here are a few of the top DVD info sites....
-7.1 Unanswered questions
(If you know the answer to any of these, please speak up!)...
-7.2 Notation and units
There's an unfortunate confusion of units of measurement in the DVD world....
-7.3 Acknowledgments
This FAQ is written and maintained by Jim Taylor. The following people ...









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