The PC-DVD Guide -> DVD-Video Basics

What is DVD-Video ?
DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc. DVD-Video is it's default video/movie format. There is also DVD-Data, for computer related files and the soon to be released DVD-Audio, that can have nearly 500 minutes of CD quality audio on one disc. DVD is a format that will replace CD (compact discs) in the near future. DVD-Video is primarily designed to be able to carry an entire movie in broadcast quality video and audio - all on one shiny disc.

The now pretty much defunct (at least in western countries) VCD (Video-CD) format also allowed movies to be put onto usually 2 discs, and VHS is so popular, so why is DVD needed? Below is a comparison between VHS/VCD and DVD :

Video Resolution ~ 250-300 horizontal lines Analog 352x240 (NTSC) or 352x288 (PAL) 720x480 (NTSC) or 720x576 (PAL)
Video Quality Similiar to VCD VCD Video Quality DVD Video Quality
Audio Analog, 22kHz, 8bit
Dolby Pro-Logic
Digital, 44kHz, 16bit
Dolby Pro-Logic
Digital, 48kHz, 16bit
Dolby Digital AC-3
DTS Surround
Media Analog, magnetic tape : up to 4 Hr
Digital, laser optics : up to 55min per CD
Digital, laser optics :
Single sided, single-layer : more than 2 Hrs
Single sided, dual-layer : more than 4 Hr
Double sided, single-layer : more than 4 Hr
Double sided, dual-layer : more than 8 Hr

DVD-Video formats and extra features ...

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