Standard Media Formats
Blu-ray Disc (also known as Blu-ray or BD) is an optical disc storage medium designed by Sony to supersede the standard DVD format. Its main uses are high-definition video and data storage with 50GB per disc. The disc has the same physical dimensions as standard DVDs and CDs.
The name Blu-ray Disc derives from the blue laser used to read the disc. While a standard DVD uses a 650 nanometre red laser, Blu-ray uses a shorter wavelength, a 405 nm blue laser, and allows for almost six times more data storage than on a DVD.
BD9 / BD5 Blu-ray Disc
BD9 and BD5 are lower capacity variants of the Blu-ray Disc that contain Blu-ray Disc compatible video and audio streams contained on a conventional DVD disc. Such discs offer the use of the same advanced compression technologies available to Blu-ray Discs (including H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, VC-1 and MPEG-2) while using lower cost legacy media. BD9 uses a standard dual-layer disc while BD5 uses a standard single-layer disc.
Mini Blu-ray Disc
The Mini Blu-ray Disc (also, Mini-BD and Mini Blu-ray) is a compact 8 cm (~3in) diameter variant of the Blu-ray Disc that can store approximately 7.5 GB of data. It is similar in concept to the MiniDVD and MiniCD. Recordable (BD-R) and rewritable (BD-RE) versions of Mini Blu-ray Disc have been developed specifically for compact camcorders and other compact recording devices.
Blu-ray Discs may be encoded with a region code, intended to restrict the area of the world in which they can be played, similar in principle to the DVD region codes, although the used geographical regions differ. Blu-ray Disc players sold in a certain region may only play discs encoded for that region. This is primarily used for market segmentation, or price discrimination, but it also allows motion picture studios to control the various aspects of a release (including content and release date) according to the region. Discs may also be produced without region coding, so they can be played on all devices.
The Blu-ray Disc Association created a task force made up of executives from the film industry and the consumer electronics and IT sectors to help define standards for putting 3D film and 3D television content on a Blu-ray Disc.
"The Blu-ray 3D specification calls for encoding 3D video using the "Stereo High" profile defined by Multiview Video Coding (MVC), an extension to the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported by all Blu-ray Disc players. MPEG4-MVC compresses both left and right eye views with a typical 50% overhead compared to equivalent 2D content, and can provide full 1080p resolution backward compatibility with current 2D Blu-ray Disc players."
DVD, also known as "Digital Versatile Disc" or "Digital Video Disc," is an optical disc storage media format. Its main uses are video and data storage. DVDs are of the same dimensions as compact discs (CDs) but store more than six times as much data.
Most common capacities:
DVD-Video is a standard for storing video content on DVD media. In the U.S., mass retailer sales of DVD-Video titles and players began in late 1997. By June 2003, weekly DVD-Video rentals began out-numbering weekly VHS cassette rentals, reflecting the rapid adoption rate of the technology in the U.S. marketplace. Currently DVD-Video is the dominant form of home video distribution worldwide.
Although many resolutions and formats are supported, most consumer DVD-Video discs use either 4:3 or anamorphic 16:9 aspect ratio MPEG-2 video, stored at a resolution of 720×480 (NTSC) or 720×576 (PAL) at 29.97, 25, or 23.976 FPS. Audio is commonly stored using the Dolby Digital (AC-3) or Digital Theater System (DTS) formats, ranging from 16-bits/48 kHz to 24-bits/96 kHz format with monaural to 7.1 channel "Surround Sound" presentation, and/or MPEG-1 Layer 2. Although the specifications for video and audio requirements vary by global region and television system, many DVD players support all possible formats. DVD-Video also supports features such as menus, selectable subtitles, multiple camera angles, and multiple audio tracks.
DVD-Audio is a format for delivering high-fidelity audio content on a DVD. It offers many channel configuration options (from mono to 7.1 surround sound) at various sampling frequencies (up to 24-bits/192 kHz versus CDDA's 16-bits/44.1 kHz). Compared with the CD format, the much higher capacity DVD format enables the inclusion of considerably more music (with respect to total running time and quantity of songs) and/or far higher audio quality (reflected by higher sampling rates and greater bit-depth, and/or additional channels for spatial sound reproduction).
Despite DVD-Audio's superior technical specifications, there is debate as to whether the resulting audio enhancements are distinguishable in typical listening environments. DVD-Audio currently forms a niche market, probably due to the very sort of format war with rival standard SACD that DVD-Video avoided.
DVDs that have commercial movies and television content recorded on them are subject to copyright. The rise of filesharing and 'piracy', has prompted many copyright owner to display notices on DVD packaging or displayed on screen when the content is played that warn consumers of the illegality of certain uses of the DVD.
DVD Region Codes
HD DVD (short for High-Definition/Density DVD) is a discontinued high-density optical disc format for storing data and high-definition video. HD DVD was supported principally by Toshiba, and was envisaged to be the successor to the standard DVD format. However, in February 2008, Toshiba abandoned the format, announcing it would no longer develop or manufacture HD DVD players or drives.
The final HD DVD releases in the United States from a major studio were Warner's P.S. I Love You and Twister, on May 27, 2008. In June, the final HD DVD to be released was Freedom: 6 from Bandai Visual. Disco Pigs was, however, postponed, with no new date announced for release. Bandai Visual acknowledges the demise of HD DVD, but says that it wants to complete the release of the seven-part Freedom Project of which six parts have already been released as of June 2008. The sixth part was released in August 2008.
HD DVD video can be encoded using VC-1, AVC, or MPEG-2. A wide variety of resolutions are supported, from low-resolution CIF, all SDTV resolutions supported by DVD-Video, and of course the HDTV formats: 720p, 1080i, and 1080p. All studio-released movie titles have featured video in a 1080-line format, with companion supplements in 480i or 480p. The vast majority of releases were encoded with VC-1, and most of the remaining titles encoded with AVC.
HD DVD Region Codes
All HD DVDs are region free
Versatile Multilayer Disc (VMD or HD VMD) is a high-capacity red laser optical disc technology designed by New Medium Enterprises, Inc.. VMD is intended to compete with the blue laser Blu-ray Disc format and has an initial capacity of up to 30GB per side.
The HD VMD format is capable of HD resolutions up to 1080p which is comparable with Blu-ray and HD DVD. Video is encoded in MPEG-2 and VC-1 formats at a maximum bitrate of 40 Megabits per second. This falls between the maximum bitrates of HD DVD (36 Mbit/s) and Blu-ray (48 Mbit/s). There is the possibility that VMD discs may be encoded with the H.264 format in the future.
The HD VMD format supports up to 7.1-channel Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS audio output, though it will not offer Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound codecs.
HD VMD Region Codes
Currently all HD VMDs are region free
AVCHD is a format for the recording and playback of high definition video. Video is compressed in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format, and audio is recorded in Dolby Digital.
AVCHD (AVC-HD, AVC HD) video is recorded using the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video compression codec. Audio is stored in compressed form (Dolby AC-3). Uncompressed linear PCM audio is not supported in any consumer devices. Aside from recorded audio and video, AVCHD includes features to improve media presentation: menu navigation, slide shows and subtitles. The menu navigation system is similar to DVD-video, allowing access to individual videos from a common intro screen. Slide shows are prepared from a sequence of AVC still frames, and can be accompanied by a background audio track. Subtitles are used in some camcorders to timestamp the recordings.
AVCHD recordings can be transferred to a computer by connecting the camcorder via the USB connection. Many camcorders can record to removable media like SDHC and Memory Stick cards or DVD discs, which can be directly read on a computer. Copying files from an AVCHD camcorder can be performed much faster than from a tape-based camcorder, because it does not have to be done in realtime.
AVCHD specification allows using several kinds of recording media, in particular recordable DVD discs, memory cards, non-removable solid-state memory and hard disk drives.
Supported video formats: 480i, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p
As the creators of AVCHD, Sony and Panasonic are keen to support AVCHD discs in their Blu-ray players. In particular, the Sony BDP-S1, Sony BDP-S300, the Panasonic DMP-BD10, the Panasonic DMP-BD30, the Panasonic DMP-BD35, and the PLAYSTATION 3 can play AVCHD discs. Other manufacturers do not always provide reliable AVCHD support in their products. For example, the Samsung BD-P1200 Blu-ray disc player has lost AVCHD capability in the firmware update 2.3. The Samsung BD-P1400 player is able to play back AVCHD content, at least as of firmware release 1.6.
HDTV broadcast systems are identified with three major parameters:
If all three parameters are used, they are specified in the following form: [frame size][scanning system][frame rate]. Often, one parameter can be dropped if its value is implied from context. In this case the remaining numeric parameter is specified first, followed by the scanning system.
For example, 1920x1080p25 identifies progressive scanning format with 25 frames per second, each frame being 1920 pixels wide and 1080 pixels high. The 1080i25 or 1080i50 notation identifies interlaced scanning format with 50 fields(25 frames) per second, each frame being 1920 pixels wide and 1080 pixels high. The 1080i30 or 1080i60 notation identifies interlaced scanning format with 60 fields (30 frames) per second, each frame being 1920 pixels wide and 1080 pixels high. The 720p60 notation identifies progressive scanning format with 60 frames per second, each frame being 720 pixels high, 1280 pixels horizontally are implied.
While 50Hz systems have only three scanning rates: 25i, 25p and 50p, 60Hz systems operate with much wider set of frame rates: 23.98p, 24p, 29.97i/59.94i, 29.97p, 30p, 59.94p and 60p. In the days of standard definition television, the fractional rates were often rounded up to whole numbers, like 23.98p was often called 24p, or 59.94i was often called 60i. High definition television allows using both fractional and whole rates, therefore strict usage of notation is required. Nevertheless, 29.97i/59.94i is almost universally called 60i, likewise 23.98p is called 24p.
WMV HD is not a standalone video codec nor a special modification of the WMV9 codec. As of April 2006, all existing WMV HD titles are encoded using the VC-1 compliant Windows Media Video 9 (FourCC: WMV3) codec conforming to VC-1 Main Profile @ High Level specification.
A number of WMV9-encoded high definition movie titles have been made commercially available on DVD-ROM discs, either as standalone discs or supplements to the regular DVD-Video titles. The technology was considered a stepping stone to true high definition optical disc formats (HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc) and Microsoft never intended the discs to be played on anything but personal computers. Most commercially sold WMV HD titles are copy protected using Microsoft Windows Media DRM technology. The licensing terms of DRM protected titles are determined by the content providers and not Microsoft Corporation. The soundtracks are commonly encoded using the Windows Media Audio Professional codec, often featuring 5.1 or 7.1 multichannel sound. The video and audio streams are encapsulated in Advanced Systems Format files.
DivX HD, DivX
DivX is a brand name of products created by DivX, Inc. (formerly DivXNetworks, Inc.), including the DivX Codec which has become popular due to its ability to compress lengthy video segments into small sizes while maintaining relatively high visual quality. The DivX codec uses lossy MPEG-4 compression, where quality is balanced against file size for utility. It is one of several codecs commonly associated with "ripping", whereby audio and video multimedia are transferred to a hard disk and transcoded.
The DivX codec and DivX Player are available for free at the DivX website. Paying customers can access additional features of the DivX codec in the registered version, known as DivX Pro, and can also use DivX Converter, a one-click encoding application as a revamp of Dr.DivX and associated encoding tools (such as the Electrokompressiongraph, or EKG, which helped increase the viewability of highly compressed high-motion scenes).
Xvid (formerly "XviD") is a video codec library following the MPEG-4 standard, specifically MPEG-4 Part 2 Advanced Simple Profile (ASP).
In January 2001, DivXNetworks founded OpenDivX as part of Project Mayo which was intended to be a home for open source multimedia projects. OpenDivX was an open-source MPEG-4 video codec based on a stripped down version of the MoMuSys reference MPEG-4 encoder. The source code, however, was placed under a restrictive license and only members of the DivX Advanced Research Centre (DARC) had write access to the project CVS. In early 2001, DARC member Sparky wrote an improved version of the encoding core called encore2. This was updated several times before, in April, it was removed from CVS without warning. The explanation given by Sparky was "We (our bosses) decided that we are not ready to have it in public yet."
The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) was formed by the ISO to set standards for audio and video compression and transmission
The MPEG compression methodology is considered asymmetric in that the encoder is more complex than the decoder. The encoder needs to be algorithmic or adaptive whereas the decoder is 'dumb' and carries out fixed actions. This is considered advantageous in applications such as broadcasting where the number of expensive complex encoders are small but the number of simple inexpensive decoders is large. This approach of the ISO to standardization in MPEG is considered novel because it is not the encoder which is standardized; instead, the way in which a decoder shall interpret the bitstream is defined. A decoder which can successfully interpret the bitstream is said to be compliant.
The MPEG standards consist of different Parts. Each part covers a certain aspect of the whole specification. The standards also specify Profiles and Levels. Profiles are intended to define a set of tools that are available, and Levels define the range of appropriate values for the properties associated with them. MPEG has standardized the following compression formats and ancillary standards: