The DVD Forum has approved the first version of its next-generation High Definition DVD (HD-DVD) spe

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Allan, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. Allan

    Allan Guest

    The DVD Forum has approved the first version of its next-generation
    High Definition DVD (HD-DVD) specification. The organisation, which
    controls the DVD format, has also approved the mandatory use of the
    Apple-favoured AAC for audio tracks stored in the DVD-ROM partition of
    future DVD Audio discs.

    Approval of HD DVD 1.0 follows the approval last November of version
    0.9 of the spec. The specification covers the physical construction of
    an HD-DVD, either as a 15GB single-layer disc or a 30GB dual-layer
    product. An early version of HD-DVD-RW was approved last February.

    Approval of the spec. paves the way for disc makers and drive
    suppliers to build products around the technology. The Forum has
    already begun promoting the format to such companies. HD-DVD provides
    a higher capacity that DVD by the use of a blue laser. The optical
    systems shorter wavelength (405nm to DVD's 650nm) essentially means
    the laser can read smaller pits on the discs surface. Smaller pits
    mean a greater pits in a given area and thus a higher data capacity.

    HD-DVD was developed by NEC and Toshiba and uses discs of the same
    thickness and size as today's DVD products. That should make it much
    easier for disc manufacturers to re-tool production lines to churn out
    the new discs.

    That contrasts with Blu-ray, HD-DVD's biggest rival, which has
    different layer widths, and requires new production lines to be
    installed. Blu-ray products are already available from the likes of
    Sony, one of the format's main backers. The 23.3GB format is expected
    to be succeeded by a 50GB second-generation, consumer-oriented product
    later this year.

    Meanwhile, the Forum also approved the use of Advanced Audio Codec
    (AAC) in DVD Audio discs. The DVD Audio specification already includes
    a much higher quality music storage format than AAC. However, the
    Forum wants to add a DVD-ROM 'zone' to the spec. to allow music
    companies to embedded lower resolution versions of the content for
    computer users. To meet the requirements of the DVD Forum's licensing
    Ts&Cs, such audio content will need to be encoded using AAC.

    Specifically, the Forum calls for the use of High Efficiency (HE) AAC
    improves on vanilla AAC - part of the MPEG 4 standard - with better
    audio quality at higher compression rates. In practice, that means
    decent sound at 48kbps and 5.1 surround sound at 128kbps - the rate
    regular stereo AACs are usually encoded at. HE AAC also adds a 96kHz
    sampling rate.

    It emerged last March that the Forum's ROM zone working group had
    selected AAC. However, at that time, the organisation would not
    confirm the approval since it had not yet been ratified by its
    Steering Committee. That ratification has now been given.

    "Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game
    because they almost always turn out to be -- or to be indistinguishable from
    -- self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time."
    - Neil Stephenson, _Cryptonomicon_
    Allan, Jun 15, 2004
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