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DVD Terms and Glossary

AAC - Advanced audio coder. An audio-encoding standard for MPEG-2 that is not backward-compatible with MPEG-1 audio.

AC-3 - The former name of the Dolby Digital audio-coding system, which is still technically referred to as AC-3 in standards documents. AC-3 is the successor to Dolby's AC-1 and AC-2 audio coding techniques.

Artifact - A video defect that occurs due to the digital conversion and/or compression process. Artifacts can be caused by video compression, transfers, data errors, and analog signal noise.

Aspect Ratio – The ratio of width to height of a video image. A 4:3 aspect ratio means the horizontal size is a third again wider than the vertical size. Standard television ratio is 4:3 (or 1.33:1). Widescreen DVD and HTDV aspect ratio is 16:9 (or 1.78:1). Common film aspect ratios are 1.85:1 and 2.35:1. Aspect ratios normalized to a height of 1 are often abbreviated by leaving off the :1.

Authoring - The process of designing and creating the content of a DVD.

AVI - Audio Video Interleave. A data format developed by Microsoft for digital video. Compressed picture and sound data are interleaved in such a way that they proceed synchronous to one another.

Bit rate - A bit rate is the amount of information (or bits) that is transferred per second (bits per second or bps).

Book A - DVD Physical format

Book B - DVD Video format

Book C - DVD Audio format

Book D – DVD-R format

Book E – DVD-RAM format

Burn - To record or copy information onto a rewritable disc such as a CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R or DVD+RW.

CD - Compact Disk. A media that uses a single track, like phongraph records. This layout of data makes random access of data take longer, this is commonly referred to as a long seek time. CD's have a capacity of 700MB (depending upon the disc).

CD-DA - Compact disc digital audio. The original music CD format, storing audio information as digital PCM data. Defined by the Red Book standard.

CD Recordable (CD-R) - A recordable technology that allows you to be write to an inexpensive blank CD once.  CD capacity of CD-R media is measured in minutes (this technology was adapted from the same as audio recordings) as well as data capacity. There are two main CD capacities: 74 min (650MB), and 80 min (700MB).

CD-ROM - A Compact Disc-Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) is designed to store data in the form of text, graphics and audio. CD-ROMs use the Yellow Book standard as published by Philips.  They cannot be recorded onto.

CD Re-Writable (CD-RW) - A CD-RW disc can be rewritten over a thousand times and read on MultiRead CD-ROM drives or CD-RW compatible Audio CD players. CD-RWs support UDF (Universal Disc Format), which allows for read-write interoperability between all the major operating systems as well as compatibility between rewritable and write-once media.

Constant Bit Rate (CBR) - Constant Bit Rate is an encoding method that maintains the same bit rate across the entire audio or video file.

Codec (COmpression/DECompression) - Any technology that is used for compressing and decompressing data such as audio (MP3) or video (MPEG).

Compression - The process of removing redundancies in digital data to reduce the amount that must be stored or transmitted. Lossless compression removes only enough redundancy so that the original data can be recreated exactly as it was. Lossy compression sacrifices additional data to achieve greater compression.

Decode - The process of decompressing audio or video.

Dolby Digital - An audio coding system used in the DVD Video format to create mono, stereo, and surround sounds.

DAE - Digital audio extraction. Reading digital audio data directly from a CD audio disc.

Digital signal processor (DSP) - A digital circuit that can be programmed to perform digital data manipulation tasks such as decoding or audio effects.

Directory structure - For the video specification (Book B), this defines a common set of files that must be present on all DVD discs. Components include Root and VIDEO_TS.

Disc menu - The main menu of a DVD-Video disc, from which titles are selected. Also called the system menu or title selection menu. Sometimes confusingly called the title menu, which more accurately refers to the menu within a title from which audio, subpicture, chapters, and so forth can be selected.

DVD - DVD, introduced in 1996, was originally known as Digital Video Disc but soon became known as Digital Versatile Disc. It is the next generation of optical disc storage technology. which shares the same overall dimensions of a CD, but have significantly higher capacities - holding from 4 to 28 times as much data.  Single sided DVDs can store 4.7GB for single layer and 8.5GB for dual-layer disks. Double sided DVDs can store 9.4GB for single layer and 17GB for dual-layer disks.

DVD-5 - Single-sided/single-layer DVD with 4.7 GB storage capability.

DVD-9 - Single-sided/dual-layer DVD with 8.5 GB storage capability.

DVD-10 - Double-sided/single-layer DVD with 9.4 GB storage capability.

DVD-18 - Double-sided/dual-layer DVD with 17 GB storage capability.

DVD-Audio - Launched in mid-2000, this audio-only storage format similar to CD-Audio, however offers higher quality sound from 16, 20 and 24-bit samples at a variety of sampling rates from 44.1 to 192KHz, compared to 16 bits and 44.1KHz for CDs. DVD-Audio can also contain music videos and graphics.

DVD Burner - A piece of hardware (i.e. a physical device) that creates a DVD disc using a laser that “burns” the information onto the disc.

DVD Burner Software – Software that communicates with the DVD burner.  It provides instructions and information to the hardware device that tells the drive what to burn and how to burn.

DVD Converter – A program that is able to switch or convert between different video formats (ie. DVD to VCD, DVD to CD, DVD to AVI, etc).

DVD Forum - An international association of hardware and media manufacturers that developed the DVD definition. Members include Hitachi Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Pioneer Electric Corporation, Sony Corporation, Thomson Multimedia, Time Warner, Inc., Toshiba Corporation, and Victor Company of Japan Ltd. This group wants to promote broad acceptance of the DVD-RAM and DVD+RW formats.

DVD Random Access Memory (DVD-RAM) - A rewritable DVD disc endorsed by Panasonic, Hitachi and Toshiba. DVD-RAM discs with 4.7GB of storage were released in 1999, and double-sided 9.4GB discs in 2000. DVD-RAM drives typically read DVD-Video, DVD-ROM and CD media. The current installed base of DVD-ROM drives and DVD-Video players cannot read DVD-RAM media. 

DVD Recordable (DVD-R ) - Introduced by Pioneer in 1998, DVD-R offers a write-once, read-many storage format similar to CD-R and is used to master DVD-Video and DVD-ROM discs.

DVD Ripper – Software that is able to digitally extract data from a DVD disc and saves the data to the computer’s hard drive which can then be burnt onto DVD or CD.

DVD-ROM Read Only Memory (DVD-ROM) - Introduced in 1997, this read-only DVD disc is used for storing data as well as audio and video. DVD-ROMs run in DVD-ROM or DVD-RAM drives, but not DVD video players.  However, most DVD-ROM drives will play DVD-Video movies.

DVD Re-Writable (DVD-RW) - Introduced by Pioneer, this rewritable DVD format is similar to DVD+RW. It has a read-write capacity of 4.7 GB.

DVD+Re-Writable (DVD+RW) - This format was developed in cooperation by Hewlett-Packard, Mitsubishi Chemical, Philips, Ricoh, Sony and Yamaha.  It's a rewritable format that provides full, non-cartridge, compatibility with existing DVD-Video players and DVD-ROM drives.

DVD-Video - Popular MPEG2 video format  that is designed to be used to store movies on a DVD and can be played on most DVD players.

Encode - The process of compressing audio or video.

File set - A collection of files and directories.

FPS - rames per second. A measure of the rate at which pictures are shown for a motion video image. In NTSC and PAL video, each frame is made up of two interlaced fields.

Frame rate - The frequency of discrete images. Usually measured in frames per second (fps). Film has a rate of 24 frames per second, but usually must be adjusted to match the display rate of a video system.

HDTV - High-definition television. A video format with a resolution approximately twice that of conventional television in both the horizontal and vertical dimensions, and a picture aspect ratio of 16:9. Used loosely to refer to the U.S. DTV System. Contrast with EDTV and IDTV.

ISO - International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a non-governmental global organization established in 1947 that works to develop standards across goods and services.

ISO 9660 - A widely used data interchange format adopted in 1987. CDs created in this format can be read by Unix, Macintosh and Windows computers. ISO 9660 is inadequate for the higher capacity recordable and erasable DVDs. An index marks a starting point in a single audio track. Indexes can be used to mark additional starting points in the track. Not all audio CD players support indexes. Index markers are written in the Q-subchannel and sequentially incremented by 1. An international logical file format for CD-ROMs originally developed by the High Sierra Group. All data on a CD is addressed using logical block numbers.

Layer 0 - In a dual-layer disc, this is the layer closest to the optical pickup beam and surface of the disc, and the first to be read when scanning from the beginning of the disc's data. Dual-layer discs are 10% less dense than single layer discs due to crosstalk between the layers.

Layer 1 - In a dual-layer disc, this is the deeper of the two layers, and the second one to be read when scanning from the beginning of the disc's data.

Letterbox filter - Circuitry in a DVD player that reduces the vertical size of anamorphic widescreen video (combining every 4 lines into 3) and adds black mattes at the top and bottom. Also see filter.

Letterbox - The process or form of video where black horizontal mattes are added to the top and bottom of the display area in order to create a frame in which to display video using an aspect ratio different than that of the display. The letterbox method preserves the entire video picture, as opposed to pan & scan. DVD-Video players can automatically letterbox a widescreen picture for display on a standard 4:3 TV.

Lossless compression - Compression techniques that allow the original data to be recreated without loss. Contrast with lossy compression.

Lossy compression - Compression techniques that achieve very high compression ratios by permanently removing data while preserving as much significant information as possible. Lossy compression includes perceptual coding techniques that attempt to limit the data loss to that which is least likely to be noticed by human perception.

Macrovision - An anti-taping process that modifies a signal so that it appears unchanged on most televisions but is distorted and unwatchable when played back from a videotape recording. Macrovision takes advantage of characteristics of AGC circuits and burst decoder circuits in VCRs to interfere with the recording process.

Menu - In DVD-Video there are two kinds of menus, System Menus and Interactive Menus. There are six types of System Menus: Title Menu, Root Menu, Audio Menu, Sub-picture Menu, Angle Menu and PTT or Chapter Menu.

MPEG - The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) is a working group under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that sets the standards for encoding audio and video in digital format.

MPEG audio - Audio compressed according to the MPEG perceptual encoding system. MPEG-1 audio provides two channels, which can be in Dolby Surround format. MPEG-2 audio adds data to provide discrete multichannel audio. Stereo MPEG audio is the mandatory audio compression system for 625/50 (PAL/SECAM) DVD-Video.

MPEG-1 video - Video encoded in accordance with the ISO/IEC 11172 specification.

MPEG2 - MPEG2 is a second set of flexible compression standards created by the MPEG group. This set of standards takes advantage of the fact that over 95% of digital video is redundant, however some portions are much less redundant. MPEG2 handles this by using higher bit rates (i.e. higher quality) for more complex pictures and lower bit rates for simple pictures.

MPEG video - Video compressed according to the MPEG encoding system. MPEG-1 is typically used for low data rate video such as on a Video CD. MPEG-2 is used for higher-quality video, especially interlaced video, such as on DVD or HDTV.

NTSC - National Television Systems Committee. A committee organized by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) that developed commercial television broadcast standards for the United States. The group first established black-and-white TV standards in 1941, using a scanning system of 525 lines at 60 fields per second. The second committee standardized color enhancements using 525 lines at 59.94 fields per second. NTSC refers to the composite color-encoding system. The 525/59.94 scanning system (with a 3.58-MHz color subcarrier) is identified by the letter M, and is often incorrectly referred to as NTSC. The NTSC standard is also used in Canada, Japan, and other parts of the world. NTSC is facetiously referred to as meaning "Never The Same Color" because of the system's difficulty in maintaining color consistency.

PAL - Phase Alternate Line. A video standard used in Europe and other parts of the world for composite color encoding. Various version of PAL use different scanning systems and color subcarrier frequencies (identified with letters B, D, G, H, I, M, and N), the most common being 625 lines at 50 fields per second, with a color subcarrier of 4.43 MHz. PAL is also said to mean "picture always lousy" or "perfect at last," depending on which side of the ocean the speaker comes from.

Pan & Scan - The technique of reframing a picture to conform to a different aspect ratio by cropping parts of the picture. DVD-Video players can automatically create a 4:3 pan & scan version from widescreen video by using a horizontal offset encoded with the video, which allows the focus of attention to always be visible.

PCM - An uncompressed, digitally coded representation of an analog signal. The waveform is sampled at regular intervals and a series of pulses in coded form (usually quantized) are generated to represent the amplitude.

Progressive scan - A video scanning system that displays all lines of a frame in one pass. Contrast with interlaced scan.

QuickTime - A digital video software standard developed by Apple Computer for Macintosh (Mac OS) and Windows operating systems. QuickTime is used to support audio and video from a DVD.

Region code - A code identifying one of the world regions for restricting DVD-Video playback.

Region management - A mandatory feature of DVD-Video to restrict the playback of a disc to a specific geographical region. Each player and DVD-ROM drive includes a single regional code, and each disc side can specify in which regions it is allowed to be played. Regional coding is optional-a disc without regional codes will play in all players in all regions.

Resolution - 1) A measurement of relative detail of a digital display, typically given in pixels of width and height; 2) the ability of an imaging system to make clearly distinguishable or resolvable the details of an image. This includes spatial resolution (the clarity of a single image), temporal resolution (the clarity of a moving image or moving object), and perceived resolution (the apparent resolution of a display from the observer's point of view). Analog video is often measured as a number of lines of horizontal resolution over the number of scan lines. Digital video is typically measured as a number of horizontal pixels by vertical pixels. Film is typically measured as a number of line pairs per millimeter; 3) the relative detail of any signal, such as an audio or video signal. Also see lines of horizontal resolution.

S-Video - A video interface standard that carries separate luma and chroma signals, usually on a four-pin mini-DIN connector. Also called Y/C. The quality of s-video is significantly better than composite video since it does not require a comb filter to separate the signals, but it's not quite as good as component video. Most high-end televisions have s-video inputs. S-video is often erroneously called S-VHS.

Seek Time - This refers to the amount of time it takes to find the correct position on storage media so that data can start to be read.

Title key - A value used to encrypt and decrypt (scramble) user data on DVD-Video discs.

Title - The largest unit of a DVD-Video disc (other than the entire volume or side). Usually a movie, TV program, music album, or so on. A disc can hold up to 99 titles, which can be selected from the disc menu. Entire DVD volumes are also commonly called titles.

Track - 1) A distinct element of audiovisual information, such as the picture, a sound track for a specific language, or the like. DVD-Video allows one track of video (with multiple angles), up to 8 tracks of audio, and up to 32 tracks of subpicture; 2) one revolution of the continuous spiral channel of information recorded on a disc.

UDF - Universal Disc Format. Nearly all “drag-and-drop” CD/DVD burning software uses this format.

Video Title Set (VTS) - In DVD-Video, a collection of Titles and Video Title Set Menu (VTSM) to control 1 to 99 Titles. It is composed of the Video Title Set Information (VTSI), the Video Object Set for the Menu (VTSM_VOBS), the Video Object Set for the Title (VTST_VOBS), and a backup of the VTSI (VTSI_BUP).

VIDEO_TS - UDF file name used for video directory on disc volume. Files under this directory name contain pointers to the sectors on the disc which hold the program streams.

Video Object File (VOB) - A data file used in the DVD Video format to deliver video, audio, and graphics.


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