Technical Details About Digital DVD Players

By: Victor Epand

Have you ever wondered why the DVD is so popular a medium? Moreover, it is interesting to note that in the recent times the sale of Digital DVD players have increased manifold.

The reason for such widespread popularity is awesome quality both in video and in audio. A DVD movie is compressed in a high bit rate video and audio. If one compares the encoding format of a DVD and CD, the previous generation movie storing device, then it would be found that the two encoding formats are entirely different from each other.

A CD movie is compressed using the MPEG 1 compression technique. If the bit rate is increased, it gives a higher quality video file. Due to constraints in resolution, a MPEG 1 file cannot go over 352 x 288 pixels in a CD. The CD player also does not support playing a CD which is compressed using a higher resolution.

To play a DVD, we need Digital DVD players. The term "DVD" is an acronym of Digital Video Disk. Digital DVD Players play disks made using two technical standards of DVD video and DVD audio. The player hardware has to be connected to output hardware, preferably a Television set. There are some portable players with a small LCD screen attached, but they fail to play the DVD to its full potential due to hardware portability restrictions.

Digital DVD players have to perform some basic tasks like reading a DVD in ISO or UDF 1.2 format. It can optionally decrypt the packed data using CSS and/or Macrovision. Every DVD has a protection code called the Regional Lockout Code. It limits the DVD manufactured in a certain portion of the world to be played in that part of the world only. The DVD player has the capability of changing the regional code, but it is only limited to 5 changes and no more. After that, the player will not play DVDs from other regions.

Digital DVD players have the ability to decode MPEG 2 video streams with maximum 10 Mbit/s of data. It is the peak range; for a continuous output, the data rate is 8 Mbit/s. Sound is decoded from the MP2, PCM or AC3 format. The video resolution that can be obtained from this high quality data is quite high. The maximum video resolution is 720x576.

Apart from playing DVDs, digital DVD players can play some other formats as well. They can play audio CDs, with formats such as CDDA, mp3, etc. They can also play the earlier generation CDs, that is the Video CD format. They also have the capability to play DTS, the Dolby Digital Theater System. The home cinema decoder is one of the main features of a digital DVD player. Apart from the formats mentioned above, some newer formats are coming to bolster the video scene.

All the formats are variants of MPEG, as the x264 is the MPEG 4, layer 10. Another popular compression method is the MPEG 4 ASP compression, more popularly known as DivX. PC DVD ROM players can play almost all the formats out there.

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