DVD

DVD FAQ

  • What Is DVD?

    DVD is the current generation of video/audio disc storage technology, a bigger, faster CD that can hold cinema-like quality video, better-than-CD audio, photos and computer data. DVD uses a single digital format and is mainly used by consumers for home entertainment such as watching movies and music videos on their televisions. DVD discs are also used for accessing multi media data including business information, educational resources, games etc on computers and other devices. Confusingly DVD stands for both Digital Versatile Disc and Digital Video Disc with no agreement from manufacturers about which one is the norm. Although the most popular use for DVD is watching films though the term Digital Versatile Disc is actually more accurate as DVD has a variety of uses. DVDs are usually 120 mm and resemble compact dscs but they are encoded in a different format and at a much higher density. All the major film studios support and release on DVD.

  • When Did DVD Come About?

    In the early 1990s two high-density optical storage standards were developed - MultiMedia Compact Disc (MMCD) backed by Philips and Sony; and Super Density disc (SD), supported by Toshiba, Time-Warner, Matsushita Electric, Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electric, Pioneer, Thomson and JVC. Toshiba SD format won. The result was the DVD specification which continues to have widespread usage today.

  • Are There Successors To DVD?

    There are several possible successors to DVD including Sony/Panasonic's Blu-ray Disc (BD), Toshiba's HD DVD and Maxell's Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD). Others have included the Chinese government-sponsored Enhanced Versatile Disc (EVD). In 2004 Sony successfully developed a paper disc, made out of 51 per cent paper with about five times more than standard storage. The disc is recyclable and offers better data security. Hard Drive technology is another development. It is likely though that DVD is here to stay for the long-term. Despite improvements in quality and volume of data storage consumers appear reluctant to change technologies so quickly after abandoning video for DVD, investing in DVD Recorders, amassing DVD libraries etc. The convenience AND flexibility of DVD and its high quality sound and video appears to be good enough for most consumers. This resistance to mass change will ensure that if a replacement for DVD comes along it will be some time off and will have to be a far better technology than some of the current alternatives.

  • How Do I Maintain My DVD Player?

    DVDs are read by a laser and are resistant to most general handling however surface contaminants and scratches can and do cause data problems resulting in frame skipping and DVDs becoming unplayable. Despite predictions DVDs are indestructible this is not the case and it is best to store them carefully at normal room temperatures. Also try to avoid scratching or smudging them. Be warned that cracked or damaged DVDs may also damage your player. Try not to leave DVDs in your player over night. It is also advisable to use a cleaning disc specifically designed for your DVD player to maintain it in good condition.

  • How Do You Look After DVDs?

    Handle them with care. Only hold them at the hub or outer edge. Do not touch the shiny surface with greasy fingers. Store them in a protective case when not in use and avoid scratching them and/or bending them. Be careful not to scratch the disc when placing it in the case or in the player tray. Make sure the disc is properly positioned in the player tray before you close it. Keep discs away from radiators, heaters, hot equipment surfaces, direct sunlight, pets, small children, and other potential hazards. Exposure to bright sunlight may affect recordable DVDs. Magnetic fields are believed to have no effect on DVDs so it should be ok to leave them sitting near your speakers. You should be able to write with a magic marker on your DVD without any problems. A bit of dye which is minuscule does not interfere with the laser technology which is operating million of times further away.

  • Can I Fix Broken DVDs?

    Often simple cleaning will do the trick. Just by removing dust or grease you can restore jumping DVDs back to normal. Remember, do not use strong cleaners, abrasives, solvents, or acids when cleaning DVDs. Use a soft, lint-free cloth and wipe very gently from inward to outward. This is because the data is arranged circularly on the disc and this form of cleaning causes less damage to the way the data is stored. Never use compressed air. For severe dirt use water with a mild soap. There are also commercial products available that clean discs and provide some protection from dust etc.

    Scratches can also be repaired. You can fill the scratch with an optical material or polish it down. Again there are products on the market to do this. Toothpaste is a readily available mildy abrasive alternative material. Again this needs to be done in a radial manner. There are also commercial polishing machines available. Do not overdo cleaning because you risk creating more damage.

    Are There Good DVDs To Test New Players/TVs?

    Yes. You need films with good spatial action going on. Films with good or varied sound quality will also test your player. It's also good to check the ability of your gear to handle low light and darker shades. Often a sign of good image quality is the ability of equipment to handle low light. An old melodrama or film noir, a film like The Third Man say, may be a good choice to play when choosing a DVD player or flatscreen TV. Films like The Fifth Element, Lawrence Of Arabia, The Matrix and Gladiator offer good effects and audio. Toy Story 2 is a perfect digital transfer which means it has superb sharp images, rich colours and good 3D effects.

  • What's Mini DVD?

    The term MiniDVD refers to both 8-cm DVDs and CDs with DVD-Video content on them. It was developed for use in camcorders, but like its full-sized 120-mm counterpart, it can be played back in most DVD players]. Small Mini DVDs will play on almost all DVD players and drives but often they do not work slot-loading systems such as in cars. Mini DVD-Video content stored on a CD or CD-R/RW is less ambiguously called cDVD.

  • Can I Watch DVDs On My Computer?

    Yes. You should be able to if your computer is compatible. Almost all Windows and Mac OS computers come with DVD drives installed to play DVDs. You may also need software that can read the DVDs. You don't need special drivers for Windows or Mac OS since the existing CD-ROM drivers work fine with DVD. You can get hardware upgrade kits for older computers.

  • What DVD Formats Are There?

    When DVD technology first appeared DVD discs played only but like compact disc technology DVD technology evolved to include re-rerecord disks. Formats include DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-ROM. The main difference is that DVD+R and DVD+RW formats are supported by Philips, Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Ricoh, Yamaha and others. DVD+R is a recordable DVD format similar to CD-R. A DVD+R can record data only once and then the data becomes permanent on the disc. The disc can not be recorded onto a second time. DVD+RW is a re-recordable format similar to CD-RW. The data on a DVD+RW disc can be erased and recorded over numerous times without damaging the medium. DVDs created by a +R/+RW device can be read by most commercial DVD-ROM players. DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM are supported by Panasonic, Toshiba, Apple Computer, Hitachi, NEC, Pioneer, Samsung and Sharp. DVD-R is a recordable DVD format similar to CD-R and DVD+R. A DVD-R can record data only once and then the data becomes permanent on the disc. There also are two additional standards for DVD-R disks - DVD-RG for general use and DVD-RA for authoring, which is used for mastering DVD video or data. DVD-RW is a re-recordable format similar to CD-RW or DVD+RW. The data on a DVD-RW disc can be erased and recorded over numerous times without damaging the medium. DVDs created by a -R/-RW device can be read by most commercial DVD-ROM players. DVD-RAM discs can be recorded and erased repeatedly but are compatible only with devices manufactured by the companies that support the DVD-RAM format. HP initially developed recordable DVD media from the need to store data for back-up and transport. DVD recordables are now also used for consumer audio and video recording.

  • What Is Dual Layer Recording?

    Dual Layer recording allows DVD-R and DVD+R discs to store significantly more data. A Dual Layer disc differs from its usual DVD counterpart by employing a second physical layer within the disc itself. The drive with Dual Layer capability accesses the second layer by shining the laser through the first semi-transparent layer. Many current DVD recorders support dual-layer technology, and the price point is comparable to that of single-layer drives, though the blank media remains significantly more expensive. Dual layer technology is supported by a range of manufacturers including Dell, HP, Philips, Sony, etc. As the name suggests, dual layer technology provides two individual recordable layers on a single-sided DVD disc. Dual Layer is more commonly called Double Layer in the consumer market and can be seen written as DVD+R DL or DVD-R DL.

  • What's HD-DVD?

    Short for high definition DVD, a generic term for the technology of recording high definition video on a DVD. In general, HD-DVD is capable of storing between two and four times as much data as standard DVD. The two most prominent competing technologies are Blu-ray and AOD.

  • What Are DVD-ROM?

    DVD-ROM was the first DVD standard to hit the market and is a read-only format. The video or game content is burned onto the DVD once and the DVD will run on any DVD-ROM-equipped device.

  • What's DVD Video?

    DVD-Video is a standard for storing video content on DVD media. As of 2003, DVD-Video has become the dominant form of consumer video formats in the United States, Europe, and Australia.

    Though many resolutions and formats are supported, most consumer DVD-Video disks utilize either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio MPEG-2 video. Audio is commonly stored using the Dolby Digital and/or Digital Theater System (DTS) formats, ranging from MonauraL to Surround Sound presentations. DVD-Video also supports features like selectable subtitles, multiple camera angles and multiple audio tracks.

  • What Is DVD Audio?

    DVD-Audio is a format for delivering high-fidelity audio content on a DVD. It offers many channel configuration options from mono to 5.1 surround sound at various sampling frequencies and sample rates. Compared with the CD format, the much higher capacity DVD format enables the inclusion of either considerably more music (with respect to total running time and quantity of songs) or far higher audio quality (reflected by higher linear sampling rates and higher vertical bit rates, and/or additional channels for spatial sound reproduction).

    How Long Does It Take To Make A DVD Recording?

    The time it takes to burn a DVD depends on the speed of your recorder and the amount of data. Playing time of the video may have little to do with recording time, since a half hour at high data rates can take more space than an hour at low data rates. A 2x recorder will be slower than a 4x recorder mode.

  • How Can I Copy A DVD?

    Copying a commercial DVD may be illegal so make sure you are within the law in terms of copying DVD content. The rules on this vary from country to country but as a general rule copying video for your own personal use is probably legal but making copies of copyrighted discs for anyone else is probably illegal. Most DVD movies are protected from casual copying. If you have a legitimate need to copy a DVD, such as a family home video recording then the most easiest way is probably via your PC. A variety of programs allow CD-R technology via your PC. Alternatively you can set a DVD player to a set-top DVD video recorder.

    How Many Times Can A DVDRW, DVD+RW and DVD-RAM Disc Be Rewritten?

    It is estimated that a DVD-RW or DVD+RW disc can be rewritten approximately 1000 times and a DVD-RAM 100,000 times. How Long Will Data Recorded On Writable DVD Discs Remain Readable?

    Manufacturers claim life spans ranging from 30 to 100 years for the different types of disks but all of this is difficult to verify. The life span of a written disc also depends upon a lot of factors including such things as the different properties of the materials used in the disc's construction, the quality of its manufacture and how well it is recorded and with what equipment and also the way it has handled and stored.

    How Can I Find A Good DVD Player?

    Read Review Centre reviews for tips on reliable players. There are many good ones available. Consider your budget and experiences with previous brands that you have been happy with. Make a list of features that are important to you before you buy, such as ability to play CD-Rs. There are many basic recorders that are very satisfactory so you do not have to spend a lot of money if you do not wish to. Have a good play with the recorder before you buy. Have a play with the remote control and read the instructions.

Share this page?