Technical Info about DVDs - dvdorchard - Region 2/4 PAL DVDs Online
  • There is so much to learn about DVD and often your question will relate to a situation individual to your particular home theatre setup or the DVD you are watching. If you can't find what you need below we suggest you search the web or see your local Hi-Fi dealer.

    Customers outside of Australia - Please note that outside of specifying the Region(s) and System for a particular title we are unable to offer any advice on the compatibility of our discs for your player. See your local Hi-Fi expert if you are in any doubt.

    What is DVD ?

    What is Regional Coding and why does it matter ?

    Audio Performance Issues

    Video Performance Issues

    Compatibility Issues

    Region Coding

    Special Options

    DVD Audio

    Superbit DVDs

    UMDs for PSP


    Blu-Ray Discs

    3D Blu-Ray Discs

    4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Discs

    Digital Copy's




    DVD Glossary


    What DVD Is

    A DVD looks like a CD but is a much more powerful medium, packing in 25 times the information that a CD does. A DVD can hold up to 17 gigabytes of data that typically includes a full-length motion picture on just one of its four available tracks, multichannel surround sound as well as a dubbed soundtrack for several languages. DVD's use an entirely new disc structure and a new compression standard, MPEG II. DVDs are a future-proofed medium, using advanced technology that takes advantage of the performance of features of high-resolution televisions, theatre-quality sound systems and advanced 3-D arcade-quality game consoles.

    Most of the DVDs that we carry are coded for Region 4 and are not intended (and unsuitable) for sale outside of Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean.

    Q: What's the big deal about digital technology?
    A: Digital technology reduces vast amounts of information to a single bitstream that requires much less storage space. That's the big deal.

    Q: What is a Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) and what are the benefits over videotape and Laserdisc?
    A: A DVD is a CD-sized disc that's capable of storing almost five gigabytes
    of information per side. Most full-length movies will fit on one side of a DVD, with up to 500 lines of resolution (compared to VHS' 250) and multichannel audio, plus a host of features like interactive menus, subtitles, additional language tracks and director's commentary.

    Q: How are DVDs able to store so much more information than a compact disc (CD)?
    A: Information is recorded on both CDs and DVDs through a series of pits embedded in the disc. Because the pits on a DVD are so much smaller, it can hold up to seven times as much information as a CD.

    Q: What is a dual-layer disc, and what are the benefits?
    A: One of the great benefits that DVD offers is its ability to store information on both sides of the disc and in two layers on each side of the disc. Although no one has been able to practically create a dual-layer, dual-sided disc yet, many studios have used single-sided dual-layer discs for movies that won't fit on one side of a single-layer DVD. The movie is stored on two layers sandwiched on one side of the disc, both of which your DVD player reads seamlessly. This way, you don't have to flip the disc over to continue watching the movie. For movies that aren't too long to fit on one side of a disc, some studios have chosen to put the pan & scan and letterbox versions on two layers on one side. On these discs, as soon as you put the DVD in the player, it will ask you which format you want to see the movie in, then read that layer.

    Q: Why are some DVD players so much more expensive than others?
    A: The more expensive players offer faster processing, which gives you smooth fast-forward and reverse search, and faster menu response. You'll also see component video outputs on the back of these high-end players. Some even have separate optical pickups for playing DVDs and CDs, which are supposed to give you better sound. According to the DVD spec, all NTSC DVD players have an internal Dolby Digital decoder, but in most cases this decoder only outputs stereo (two-channel) audio. If you want multichannel sound, you can plug a digital connector into an external decoder to get 5.1 channels. Some of the more expensive players have a full internal 5.1-channel Dolby Digital decoder, too. If you have one of these players, you don't need to invest in a Dolby Digital processor, but you do need a processor that will accept multichannel inputs. However, keep in mind that you won't want your DVD player's internal decoder to be the only Dolby Digital in your system. Somewhere down the line you'll want a Dolby Digital receiver to take care of processing for other digital sources, such as HDTV.


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    Audio & Video Performance

    Q: What is the difference between Dolby Pro-Logic and Dolby Digital?
    A: The Pro Logic, or Dolby Surround, sound you've heard on videotapes and laserdiscs in the past is what's called a "matrixed" soundtrack. The left, center, right and surround tracks are combined into two channels in the studio, then decoded by your Pro Logic receiver out to the original four in your home theater. But Pro Logic doesn't give you stereo surrounds like Dolby Digital, and sometimes the channels leak into each other.

    Dolby Digital provides "discrete" channels of information that aren't combined then extracted again like Pro Logic. Though the original channels are combined into a bitstream, the information is compressed instead of "matrixed." For this reason, 5.1 channel Dolby Digital soundtracks provide stereo surrounds, and the channels don't bleed into one another. A seperate ".1" subwoofer track provides more well-defined bass, too.

    Here's a blow by blow definition of many of the popular sound formats you'll see:

    Dolby Digital Mono This program features a mono soundtrack encoded to AC-3 bitstream. When played through Dolby Digital equipment, sound will be heard from the center channel speaker only. If no center channel is available, both the left and right front speakers will play the same monophonic sound.

    Dolby Digital Stereo This program features a stereo soundtrack encoded to AC-3 bitstream. When played through Dolby Digital equipment, sound will be heard from the front left and front right speakers only.

    Dolby Digital Surround This program features a matrixed surround soundtrack encoded to an AC-3 bitstream. When played through Dolby Digital equipment, sound will be heard from all five system speakers. The surround information will be monophonic.

    Dolby Digital 4.0 This program features a discrete four channel soundtrack encoded to an AC-3 bitstream. When played through Dolby Digital equipment, sound will be heard from all five system speakers. The surround information will be discrete monophonic.

    Dolby Digital 5.0 This program features a discrete five channel soundtrack encoded to an AC-3 bitstream. When played through Dolby Digital equipment, discrete sound will be heard from all five system speakers.

    Dolby Digital 5.1 This program features a discrete 5.1 (5 speakers + subwoofer) channel soundtrack encoded to an AC-3 bitstream. When played through Dolby Digital equipment, discrete sound will be heard from all five system speakers and the subwoofer.

    PCM This program features an uncompressed digital stereo soundtrack for improved fidelity. When played, discrete stereo sound will be heard from the front right and front left speakers.

    DTS This program features a discrete 5.1 (5 speakers + subwoofer) channel soundtrack and must be played through DTS-capable equipment. When played through DTS equipment, sound will be heard from all five system speakers and the subwoofer.

    DTS-ES The DTS-ES program includes the introduction of the new DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 format, which employs a new, proprietary technology for the playback of discrete, 6.1-channel content from DVDs and CDs. This latest innovation from DTS is the first of its kind, and it elevates the performance standard for playback of the DTS 6.1-channel Extended Surround format introduced in motion picture theaters last year.

    Dolby Digital EX Dolby Digital EX is an enhancement to the very popular Dolby Digital. Dolby Digital contains a 5.1 sound format with 3 speakers in the front, 2 in the back/rear (called the surround), and a single bass unit. The EX adds a third channel to the surround giving a listener a 3 in the front, 3 in the back, and 1 sub listening experience. EX/ES sound formats are better than their 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS relatives. Dolby Digital EX is also often referred to as Surround EX, Dolby Digital Surround EX, EX, DD-EX, DDEX, and Dolby Digital 6.1, which are all synonyms. Just the same, DTS ES is also DTS-ES.


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    Q: Why Are All DVD Disks Labeled "Dolby Digital" But Some Do Not Play in 5.1 Channel Surround?
    A: Some DVDs play back in 5.1 channel surround, some in Dolby Surround, and some in mono or stereo. All DVD discs, however, are labeled Dolby Digital because Dolby Digital was selected as the primary encoding system for the DVD standard. But Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital 5.1 do not mean the same thing. In this case, Dolby Digital is the "carrier" or vehicle that contains the sound track. The sound track can be anything from mono to 5.1 channel sound, but it is always encoded in Dolby Digital on a DVD disc. Some disc packages identify the sound track contained on the disc, some do not. Dolby Digital is capable of downmixing a sound track. For example, if the DVD has a 5.1 channel sound track, it will also be able to play in Dolby Surround, stereo or mono. But if the disc only has Dolby Surround, it cannot "upmix" to 5.1 channels.

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    Q: Why isn't dts logo working?
    A: To enjoy DTS sound, make sure of the following:

    DISCS: The discs you are playing must be encoded with DTS. The DTS logo will appear on the box. dts logo

    DVD PLAYER: The DTS logo will appear on the front of the DVD player if it is capable of decoding DTS discs. The DVD player must also be connected to the receiver with a digital cable (coaxial or optical)

    DVD PLAYER - DIGITAL AUDIO OUTPUT SETTING: The Digital Audio Output setting of the DVD player must be set to "DTS On/Yes".


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    Q: What is an anamorphic DVD?
    A: When a widescreen movie is transferred to home video, the black bars at the top and bottom of the picture are usually encoded along with the movie. But when a film is anamorphically transferred, the picture is squeezed to fit into a 4:3 frame, then unsqueezed by your DVD player. This way, instead of lines of resolution being used on the letterbox area during the encoding process, the unsqueezed picture uses the full resolution of the entire screen because the player generates the black bars. If you're fortunate enough to have a 16:9 TV, the TV will stretch out the picture to fill your screen so there are no bars. However, if you tell your DVD player that you have a 4:3 TV, the DVD player will format the picture for letterbox display on your screen.


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    Q: What are the benefits of having a DVD player with S-video and/or component video outputs?
    A: Laserdiscs and videotapes are encoded as composite video, which combines the color and brightness information into one signal, while DVDs are encoded as component video, which keeps the color information separate, like the RGB signal of your computer. By keeping the color separate, it allows your DVD player to deliver a purer signal to your TV, resulting in richer color definition and a sharper picture. Although some of the latest TVs to hit stores feature component inputs, if your TV is a few years old, you'll still get a good picture by using the S-video inputs on your TV and DVD player. (S-video features separate color and brightness.) If you're planning to upgrade to HDTV, make sure your DVD player has component-video outputs.


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    Q: What's the difference between pan & scan, full-frame, widescreen and letterbox movies?
    A: All of these terms refer to the aspect ratio of a movie, which is defined as its width-to-height relationship. Your television has an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (4:3), but many movies are 1.85:1 and even 2.35:1. If you're watching these "wider" movies in their original aspect ratio, which doesn't match that of the TV you're watching it on, you'll see black bars at the top and bottom of the picture. How tall the bars are depends on how wide the movie is: a 1.85:1 movie will have much shorter black bars than a 2.35:1. This format is referred to as "letterbox." Some people call 2.35:1 or wider movies "widescreen," then call the narrower movies "letterbox." Unfortunately, there's no standard for how these two terms are used. But when you see them on DVD packaging, know that you'll see the black bars at the top and bottom of the picture.

    Both "pan & scan" and "full-frame" refer to movies that fill up your TV's 4:3 screen, but there's a very distinct difference between the two kinds of pictures. Pan & scan movies are wide movies that have been modified to fit into the 4:3 aspect ratio. This is achieved by sometimes cutting off the edges of a certain scene or panning across a scene to include actors that wouldn't fit into the narrower frame. If you have a choice between a pan & scan movie and its widescreen counterpart, buy the widescreen version because you'll experience the movie as it was intended to be seen. On the other hand, full-frame movies were originally shot 4:3 then "matted", meaning the extra material at the top and bottom of the frame was masked off in theaters. When these movies hit home video, you're actually seeing more of the frame than was meant to be seen. However (like widescreen and letterbox) pan & scan and full-frame are often used interchangeably, so pay close attention to the box to make sure you're getting the picture you think you're buying.


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    Compatibility Issues

    Q: Why do I have problems playing current titles on my DVD-ROM drive?
    A: Certain titles have conflict problems with particular drives. This is more of an issue with the drive manufacturer than with the company that makes the title. Usually, the problem comes from a driver, which is the programming that recognizes the disk in the drive and transfers the data to your computer. Drive manufacturers are constantly discovering driver problems and frequently post updated drivers on their Web sites. These are easily downloaded and installed on your computer. If not, contact your drive manufacturer and alert them to the problem. Chances are, they will have an updated driver created to correct the problem in very little time.


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    Q: What is DTS ? I already have a DVD player; what do I do? dts logo
    A: DTS stands for Digital Theater Systems, a sound format already very prevalent in movie theaters. DTS soundtracks are also now available for the home on DVDs. In order to hear the DTS soundtrack, you'll need a DVD player with a DTS digital output and a DTS processor. Many new receivers have a six-channel input that will allow you to hook up a stand-alone DTS decoder.


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    Q: Will current DVDs be able to play on HDTV?
    A: Current DVDs are the state of the art in today's television technology, offering the best-quality picture available on modern TV sets. High-definition TV sets will offer backward-compatibility with today's TV signals and, therefore, will give high-quality reproduction of today's standard-definition DVDs.


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    Region Coding

    Many of the DVDs that we carry (sell from our stock) are coded for Region 4 and are not intended (and unsuitable) for sale outside of Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean.

    Q: What is regional coding, and what does it do? Is it possible to change the regional coding of my DVD player?

    A: Regional coding limits which countries a disc can be used in. A disc coded for North America (region 1) will not generally play back on a player sold in Australia (Region 4), and vice-versa. Often this situation can be remedied via a few keystokes on your remote control - has a lot of interesting information along those lines.

    Right now the world is divided into eight regions as below:

    1. Canada, U.S., U.S. Territories
    2. Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East (including Egypt)
    3. Southeast Asia, East Asia (including Hong Kong)
    4. Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, Caribbean
    5. Former Soviet Union, Indian Subcontinent, Africa (also North Korea, Mongolia)
    6. China
    7. Unspecified - Reserved for special use
    8. Reserved for cruise ships and airlines
    dvd regions map

    A player's region code is set by the manufacturer according to where it will be sold. This disc coding cannot be changed by the consumer. Manufacturers can opt to program a disc to play in any combination of the world's regions. Some DVD players may have been altered unlawfully by consumers or companies to play DVDs coded for more than one region. However, some new DVDs are now employing RCE (Regional Code Enhancement), a more robust technology designed to halt this unauthorised practice. A disc's regional coding is listed on its product page. dvdorchard will not accept returns if your player is altered and unable to play a RCE disc.

    The majority of the DVDs that we carry (and on-sell to you) are coded for Region 4 and are not intended (and unsuitable) for sale outside of Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean.

    In order to play these discs you would need to have either a Region 4 DVD player or a player modified to read such discs. Note that modifications to DVD players differ from player to player and that there are two basic methods. The first method is that the player is modified to become a Region 0 player, or a player that effectively ignores the region coding - note that movie studio's are starting to cater for this modification in their protection methods. The second method, and perhaps more long-term, is that the player is modified so that the user can instruct it to behave like a player from the region required to play an individual disc. Often the instruction to the dvd player is via a security code entered by the remote control. With this method the coding on the disc sees the player as being of the correct region.

    You can determine the region number of your disc or player by looking for a small, standardized globe icon with the region number superimposed on it. If a disc plays in more than one region it will have more than one number on the globe. If a disc does not have any regional coding it will say "ALL" for all regions.

    Q: Why are there eight regions ?

    A. Coding allows disc manufacturers to control the release pattern of movies on DVD. This means that movies from Region 1 (USA & Canada) WILL NOT play on an unmodified DVD player coded for regions 2 through to 6. Effectively, Region 1 discs play only on Region 1 unmodified DVD players, Region 4 discs play only on Region 4 unmodified DVD players and so on.

    Hollywood movies are released on DVD at different times around the world, typically America and Canada first, Australia and Japan 6 months later, and Europe 12 months after US release. (This is similar to the worldwide release pattern of major U.S.-made motion pictures.) In some instances, DVD movies are available for purchase in America and Canada before they are released in European and Australian cinemas. Due to the high quality of DVD and the movie release system used by Hollywood, 8 regions were established to prevent people from watching Region 1 movies before they were released in Regions 2 to 8.

    The websites and are useful resources for DVD player Region adjustments.

    The Illinois US based website of Bombay Electronics, at, offers low-cost brand-name DVD Players that will play DVDs from anywhere in the world on any TV.


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    Video Performance

    Q: What is the difference between PAL and NTSC ?
    A: PAL is the format used in Australia, parts of Asia, and some European countries. PAL stands for Phase Alternation Lines (625 lines) and offers more picture detail and wider luminance (color signal) bandwidth. PAL has been adopted by almost all 50 Hz countries in the world.

    NTSC is the format used in the United States and Canada. NTSC stands for National Television Standard Committee which established the American TV broadcast TV standard as a 525 line broadcast. The NTSC system has higher frame rate (60 Hz) which reduces visible flicker and picture noise.

    PAL delivers a scanning/frame rate of 25 fps (frames per second) with 625 lines, while NTSC delivers a scanning/frame rate of 29.97 fps using 525 lines. A TV signal is made from interlaced half-frames, hence the 25 fps in 50 Hz countries, and 30 fps in 60 Hz countries. The color information of the signal is also encoded differently. Although most TVs have the ability to display both 50 and 60 Hz signals, without proper decoding of the PAL or NTSC signal the color information will be lost and the picture appears black and white. These technical differences are the reason for an intrinsic incompatibility of PAL and NTSC DVDs/DVD Players/TVs/Games/Games consoles.

    The chart below shows the video standard division around the globe:

    video standards world map

    Most DVDs and ALL games sold by dvdorchard are designed for PAL systems and will not work with NTSC systems (unless you have a PAL converter). Most if not all DVD Players sold in Australia are PAL/NTSC compatible - check with your manufacturer; Most TVs sold recently in Australia are Multi System - PAL/NTSC compatible - but once again check with your manufacturer. All Games and Games Consoles sold in Australia are PAL only.

    A problem that is indirectly related to PAL and NTSC is the power supply. Countries that use the PAL standard usually have AC current of 50 Hz, with voltages of 220 V or more. In contrast, countries that use the NTSC system use AC current of 60 Hz, with voltages of around 100-120 V. This means that if you intend to buy a peice of electrical equipment from a different country, you may need a voltage converter (a step-up or step-down transformer, respectively).

    The Illinois US based website of Bombay Electronics, at, offers low-cost brand-name DVD Players that will play DVDs from anywhere in the world on any TV.


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    Special Options

    Q: How can I access the parental controls on DVDs that offer this feature?
    A: Region 4 DVDs are coded by the manufacturer with a rating system that corresponds to the Australian movie ratings system. In other regions of the world, similar systems, native to that area, are used. DVD players allow parents to limit what version of a movie the player will show, and manufacturers can code the DVDs to allow playback only on players set to allow that rating level. The rating setting on the player is accessed from the player's internal setup menu, which is usually called "setup" on your remote control.

    Q: How do I change the camera angles on DVDs that offer this feature?
    A: DVDs that offer multiangle capability will usually indicate this feature on the packaging or in the onscreen menu. When a multiangle segment is available on the DVD, you can change the view by pressing the angle button on the remote control.


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    DVD Audio

    dvd audio logo

    What is DVD Audio ?
    Do all DVD players play DVD Audio Discs ?
    What is DVD Music ?
    What is the difference between DVD-A vs. other forms of DVD ?
    How is a DVD-V (visual) different than a DVD-A (audio) ?
    What makes a DVD sound better than a regular CD ?
    Why is DVD-Audio uncompressed rather than compressed ?
    Can I play DVD-Audio discs on a CD player ?
    Can I play DVD-Audio discs on a current DVD-Video player ?
    Can I listen to CDs on a DVD-Audio player ?
    Can I play DVD-Video discs on a DVD-Audio player ?
    What other kinds of DVD-Audio players will be available ?
    What kinds of music will be available on DVD-Audio ?
    What new interactive features are possible with DVD-Audio ?
    Do I need a full home theater set-up to enjoy DVD-Audio ?
    Will my DVD-Audio player require me to add new equipment to my current system ?


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    Q: What is DVD Audio ?
    A: DVD Audio is a new high quality sound format which features higher dynamic range and higher sampling rate than standard CD(PCM) audio.

    Q: Do all DVD players play DVD Audio Discs ?
    A: No. The DVD Video player must be DVD Audio capable. This format is newer than the DVD video format.

    Q: What is DVD Music?
    A: DVD Music is an audio revolution! If you think that the stereo compact disc is still the clearest musical listening experience available, you need to experience the difference that six channels make. It's as dramatic as the
    difference between black and white to color, or mono to stereo. With DVD music, you can experience true six-channel surround sound with a quality that's far superior to today's CD. DVD Music allows you to get inside the
    music as if you are in the recording studio, or on stage, with your favorite artists.

    The term "DVD Music" was coined by the 5.1 Entertainment Group to represent their line of audio DVD titles on the Silverline and immergent labels. These DVDs contain three audio layers: Dolby Digital AC3, DTS and the DVD Audio (DVD-A) that will be added when the format becomes available.

    DVD Music products include the following features:

    • Plays on all DVD players and DVD-ROM drives
    • Stunning six-channel "surround sound" audio
    • More than twice the quality of today's CD using two speaker stereo or six-channel "surround"
    • A wide variety of value-added content possibilities including video, photos, lyrics, artist commentary, discographies, etc.
    • Can be enjoyed as an audio experience alone, or in conjunction with a TV to access the visual arrays.


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    Q: What is the difference between DVD-A vs. other forms of DVD?
    A: When the specification was originally made, the term DVD represented a Digital Video Disc. However, once it was discovered that the DVD medium could store more information than was necessary to show movies, the name was changed to Digital Versatile Disc. Following are some common terms and their meanings:

    CD = Compact Disc
    DVD = Digital Versatile Disc (formerly: Digital Video Disc)
    DVD-V = DVD-Video (Sub-specification of DVD)
    DVD-A = DVD-Audio (Sub-specification of DVD)

    Q: How is a DVD-V (visual) different than a DVD-A (audio)?
    A: The DVD-V specification was technically designed and engineered for superior visuals and the DVD-A specification was technically designed and engineered for superior audio. The video possibilities are greater on the DVD-Video discs, but the audio on DVD-A discs far surpasses the audio on the DVD-V discs.


    Q: What makes a DVD sound better than a regular CD?
    A: Both a CD and a DVD store digital information. The "Red-Book" specification is the standard for CDs, however, it was created years ago when sound experts could not foresee the advances in sound technology. When the DVD-V (Video) Specification was created, it allowed for a discreet 6-channel sound at a higher sample and bit rate (making it sound superior to a CD). Because the specification is still compressed audio (AC-3 and DTS), a little fidelity is lost in the process and the end product is far from the quality that engineers experience in the actual studio where music and sound is created. DVD-A (Audio), the most recent specification, allows for fewer graphics but allows for more of the sound experience within the music. The sound of DVD-A is more advanced than most music/sound studios can offer because the audio is not compressed in the traditional sense, but instead is compressed by MLP (Meridian Lossless Compression).

    MLP is a technical term that refers to the data on the DVD-A disc being "compressed" so information off the disc can be physically extracted quickly. The MLP process is far superior to DTS and AC-3. Though technically incorrect, a good comparison is the example of zip-packing information on a PC. A program on a computer that has been zip-compressed, will be exactly the same after it is decompressed. The same goes for the audio on a DVD-A disc.


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    Q: Why is DVD-Audio uncompressed rather than compressed?
    A: The DVD-Audio format is designed to deliver the highest fidelity possible. No lossy compression is used on any primary audio content. However, uncompressed audio files tend to be large, and they require more storage capacity. Because of these constraints, as an option to the content provider, the DVD-Audio format features a special form of lossless coding called Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP). The key difference between lossy coding and lossless coding, is that MLP does not discard any audio information. All of the audio content is completely and accurately reconstructed from an MLP file, achieving the ultimate in fidelity.

    By utilizing MLP lossless coding, a DVD-Audio disc can deliver up to 6-channels of 96kHz/24-bit surround sound. (top)

    Q: Can I play DVD-Audio discs on a CD player?
    A: No, DVD-Audio discs cannot be played on a conventional CD player.


    Q: Can I play DVD-Audio discs on a current DVD-Video player?
    A: The DVD-Audio disc package will indicate if a particular release includes an optional audio mix that will play on existing DVD-Video players. This is in addition to the DVD-Audio recordings contained on the same disc.

    Q: Can I listen to CDs on a DVD-Audio player?
    A: Yes, CDs will play on DVD-Audio players just as they do on practically all DVD-Video players. Listeners can continue to enjoy their CD library while adding DVD-Audio discs to their music collection.

    Q: Can I play DVD-Video discs on a DVD-Audio player?
    A: Yes, if it is a "combination" player that is compatible with DVD-Video. Models with this capability will carry the DVD-Video or the DVD-Audio/Video logo.

    Q: What other kinds of DVD-Audio players will be available?
    A: As the format continues to mature, a wide variety of DVD-Audio home, car and portable players are being introduced.

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    Q: What kinds of music will be available on DVD-Audio?
    A: All genres of music are currently being released, which included popular catalog titles that have been remixed and remastered to bring the listener closer than ever to the master recording. New titles will emerge that have been recorded with DVD-Audio's capabilities in mind.


    Q: What new interactive features are possible with DVD-Audio?
    A:DVD-Audio allows for a variety of playback options including simply pushing the play button to go right to music playback. Users may also choose the on-screen menus to navigate to such options as artist biographies, lyrics, photo galleries, catalog or discographies and video clips. Some titles may also link to related websites when used on a DVD-Audio capable DVD-ROM drive.


    Q: Do I need a full home theater set-up to enjoy DVD-Audio?
    A: No, you do not need a home theater system to enjoy the high-quality stereo music of a DVD-Audio disc. However, you will need a 5.1 channel surround sound system to take full advantage of DVD-Audio discs that feature surround sound music.


    Q: Will my DVD-Audio player require me to add new equipment to my current system?
    A: If you are interested only in hearing music in two-channel stereo, your current system will work just fine. However, a television monitor will be needed to see the visual features that are available on DVD-Audio discs.

    For multi-channel DVD-Audio discs, current DVD-Audio players require a surround sound receiver, preamplifier or decoder with six discrete analog inputs, each corresponding to the various channels in the surround sound field (LF, CTR, RF, LR, RR, LFE).

    Surround sound music frequently uses the rear surround sound channels in a way that is different from movie soundtracks. If you have small rear speakers or speakers that are not matched sonically to your front mains and center speaker, you may want to upgrade them so all of your speakers are matched sonically.

    And if you want to hear the best quality possible, you may want to consider upgrading your home theater system to new components that are specially designed to reproduce the full bandwidth that is available from DVD-Audio discs.


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    Superbit™ DVDs

    Q: What are they ?
    A: Superbit™ DVDs are more technologically advanced than your normal DVD. Data normally used for value-added content is reallocated. Superbit™ DVDs can be encoded at double their normal bit rate while maintaining full compatibility with the DVD-Video format. The result is picture quality that provides outstanding detail and is the closest to the original master available on DVD to date. Superbit™ DVDs play on all DVD players.

    Q: What happened to all the special features ?
    A: Currently DVDs are encoded to optimize space for the feature plus added value (special features) and audio streams. The Superbit™ collection converts the physical space devoted to added value to higher bit rate video transfer and both Dolby Digitial 5.1 and DTS audio. So you're giving up your special features for increased quality on the feature.

    Standard DVD
    Superbit™ DVD
    Bit Rate Bit Rate


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    UMD™ (Universal Media Disc)

    Q: What are they ?
    A: The purported features/perceived benefits of UMDs are:

  • New global format
  • Large capacity (3x CD-ROM)
  • Media for games, music, movies, publishing
  • Lower manufacturing cost vs. cartridge
  • Parental lock system
  • Copy protection

    UMD™ are playable in Sony's PSP (Portable Playstation) consoles and access is controlled by Region coding in a manner similar to DVDs. Whilst region coding has been applied to most UMD movies however, this restriction mechanism is not enabled for the PSP game releases.


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    10. HD-DVD (High-Definition DVD)

    Q: What are they ?
    A: HD-DVD (High Density DVD, High-Definition DVD or High Definition Digital Video Disc) is a high-density optical disc format designed for the storage of high-definition video and data. It is currently in a format war against the Blu-ray disc.

    By definition, the HD-DVD is a high-definition extension of the DVD optical disc format. An HD-DVD disc can store substantially more data than a standard DVD, because of the shorter wavelength (405 nm) of the blue-violet laser (DVDs use a 650-nm-wavelength red laser and CDs an infrared 780 nm laser), which allows more information to be stored digitally in the same amount of physical space.

    In comparison to the Blu-ray Disc, which also uses a blue laser, HD-DVD has less information capacity per layer (15 gigabytes instead of 25).

    HD-DVD Region Coding: - none at the time of writing.

    Source: Toshiba

    For more info regarding this new and exciting progression in DVDs read this PDF, a document produced in 2005 by the DVD Forum.


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    Blu-Ray Discs

    Q: What are they ?
    A: The Blu-ray Disc or BD is a high-density optical disc format designed for storage of high-definition video and data. The name Blu-ray Disc (BD) is derived from the blue-violet laser it uses to read and write to the disc. A Blu-ray Disc can store substantially more data than the common DVD format, because of the shorter wavelength (405 nm) of the blue-violet laser (DVDs use a 650-nm-wavelength red laser and CDs use an infrared 780 nm laser), which allows more information to be stored digitally in the same amount of space.

    In comparison to HD-DVD, which also uses a blue laser, Blu-ray Disc has more information capacity per layer (currently 25GB, but test media is up to 200GB).

    For more info regarding the competition for HD-DVD visit

    Blu-Ray Disc Region Coding:

    Region Code Area
    A North America, South America, Central America, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and S.E. Asia except for China
    B Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand
    C Russia, China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Central and South Asia


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    3D Blu-Ray Discs

    Q: What are they ?
    A: A 3D Blu-ray Disc is a normal Blu-Ray disc as above. It contains 3D content viewable in its intended form only by using a 3D Blu-Ray player AND a 3D TV. Such a disc will also play in a standard 2D Blu-Ray player without any loss of quality, color, frame rate, or resolution.


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    4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Discs

    Q: What are they ?
    A: 4K Ultra HD, or Ultra High Definition, is the next big step in HDTV resolution. An Ultra HD television is one that displays at least 8 million active pixels, with a lower resolution boundary of at least 3,840 by 2,160.

    In order to take advantage of the 4K Ultra HD content you will need both a 4K compatible player and a 4K TV. 4K discs will however play in a standard Blu-ray player.

    Q: How Does Ultra HD Differ to 1080p?
    A: Depending on the variety, Ultra HD generally offers four times the resolution of standard 1080p (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) HDTVs.

    HDMI 4K Comparison

    Photo credit:


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    Q: What is it ?
    A: UltraViolet is a free, cloud-based digital rights collection that gives you greater flexibility with how and where you watch the movies and TV shows that you purchase. It is/will replace Digital Copies/Downloads.

    At dvdorchard we sell physical products. As such, if the presence of Ultraviolet is mentioned on an item then it means the purchase of that item includes Ultraviolet download and streaming rights.


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    Q: What are they ?
    A: DualDiscs are a type of double-sided optical disc product developed by a group of record companies. They feature an audio layer similar to a CD (but not following the Red Book CD Specifications) on one side and a standard DVD layer on the other.

    DualDiscs appear to be based on double-sided DVD technology such as DVD-10, DVD-14 and DVD-18 except that DualDisc technology replaces one of the DVD sides with a CD. The discs are made by fusing together a standard 0.6 mm-thick DVD layer (4.7-gigabyte storage capacity) to a 0.9 mm-thick CD layer (60-minute or 525-megabyte storage capacity), resulting in a 1.5 mm-thick double-sided hybrid disc that contains CD content on one side and DVD content on the other.

    How a DualDisc works

    Because the DualDisc CD layer does not conform to Red Book specifications, Philips and Sony have refused to allow DualDisc titles to carry the CD logo and most DualDiscs contain one of two warnings:

  • "This disc is intended to play on standard DVD and CD players. May not play on certain car, slot load players and mega-disc changers."
  • "The audio side of this disc does not conform to CD specifications and therefore not all DVD and CD players will play the audio side of this disc."

    The DVD side of a DualDisc completely conforms to the specifications set forth by the DVD Forum and DualDiscs have been cleared to use the DVD logo.


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    SACD (Super Audio CD)

    Q: What are they ?
    A: Super Audio CD (SACD) is a read-only optical audio disc aimed at providing much higher fidelity digital audio reproduction than the compact disc. SACD uses a very different technology from CD and DVD-Audio to encode its audio data, a 1-bit delta-sigma modulation process known as Direct Stream Digital at the very high sampling rate of 2.8224 MegaHertz — with the typical sampling rate present on audio CDs currently being 44.1kHz.

    SACDs must always contain a 2-channel stereo mix and may optionally contain a surround mix (usually the 5.1 layout) as well - the correct designation of which is "multi-channel", and usually has a "Multi-Ch" logo on the back cover.

    There are three types of SACDs:

  • Hybrid: The most popular of the three types, hybrid discs include an audio CD "Red Book" layer compatible with Compact Disc players, dubbed the "CD layer," and a 4.7 GB SACD layer, dubbed the "HD layer."
  • Single layer: Physically a DVD-5 DVD, a single layer SACD includes a 4.7 GB SACD layer with no CD layer (i.e. one HD layer only). This type was often used by Sony Music Entertainment.
  • Dual layer: Physically a DVD-9 DVD, a dual layer SACD includes two SACD layers with no CD layer (i.e. two HD layers). This type is rarely used.

    For more info regarding the this format visit Sony Music SACD FAQ's.


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    Digital Copies

    Q: What are they ?
    A: Digital Copies are DVDs that are compatible with iTunes and/or Windows Media - check the individual discs. A Digital Copy can be easily transferred to your computer, Video iPod, iPhone, and other portable media players.


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