DVD: The Next Generation

DV by David O. Weissman hd dvd A look at the terminology and authoring workflow of the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats After years of hearing about next-generation DVD, it's finally here. Players based on the two competing high-definition disc formats, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, have arrived at your favorite retail or Internet store. The first titles are shipping. For about $15, consumers can buy HD DVD discs such as Million Dollar Baby, or an IMAX film called Chronos, and such Blu-ray Disc titles as The Last Waltz, and yes, The Terminator. Unfortunately, we'll have to live with format competition for the foreseeable future, so should you jump in and start making hi-def discs? Before continuing, let's make clear what next-generation DVD means. It's the politically correct term for HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Why put both under the same umbrella? Both formats are HD-capable and both utilize a blue laser. Both formats use the same HD video and audio codecs. Both employ a common copy protection system. Undoubtedly, all of that is going to confuse a lot of consumers. This article will attempt to clarify the formats' similarities and differences. We'll take a close look at their software and hardware components, and imagine their potential. However, I won't describe encoding techniques or go into any depth about audio. That's the subject of another article. I will focus on authoring and workflow concerns. That said, not all of the specs for the next-gen formats have been settled. Therefore, some of the data presented here could change. read more...

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