The Compact Disc is now 20 years old and, while it is likely to continue
for many more years, new formats are now available offering higher quality
and additional features, but still on the familiar 12 cm optical disc.
DVD-Audio adds very high quality, surround sound
to the Digital Versatile Disc and complements DVD-Video.
- The CD is still the format of choice for most people. It is
compact; the quality is high enough for most and it is most suitable
for use in cars and on the move. Enhanced CDs offer additional multimedia
content such as videos for playing on a PC.
- DVD-Video is becoming more popular for music videos, which
offer not just high quality video but also surround sound, neither
of which is available on a CD. DVD-Video, however, cannot match the
quality available from DVD-Audio or SACD.
- DVD-Audio offers at least 74 minutes of very high quality,
surround sound, plus additional features (such as video and limited
interactivity) that are not available on CDs. Capacity of a single
layer DVD-Audio is of high quality full surround sound audio.
In addition the disc can accommodate the same audio encoded as Dolby
Digital for playing on existing DVD-Video players. During 2003 a double-sided
'hybrid' version is likely to become available with a CD compatible
- SACD (Super Audio CD) also offers high quality audio and optional
surround sound but no images, video or interactivity. SACD discs can
be hybrid and include a CD audio layer which will play on normal CD
players, albeit at CD quality. SACD discs will not play on DVD-Video
players unless they are designed to play SACD.
With the increase in penetration of surround sound systems in homes,
stimulated by the growth in DVD, more and more consumers will want their
music in this format. DVD and SACD offer surround sound, but only
DVD offers multimedia content.
The DVD Forum working group WG4 developed the DVD-Audio specification,
which was originally released in March 1999 but it took another year
to add copy protection and watermarking. DVD-Audio players have been
available in the USA since July 2000 and several of the major music companies
and many independents have released several hundred DVD-Audio titles.
Most players are also DVD-Video capable and nearly all DVD-Audio discs
will also play on DVD-Video players, in full surround sound but using
DVD-Audio is not just a niche format for audiophiles, but could grow
into a mass-market, surround sound format suitable for all music genres.
The main features of the DVD-Audio specification include:
- High quality multi-channel audio with copy protection
- DVD-Audio players will play CDs
- A wide range of quality levels and channels allowing flexibility
for the content owner
- Extensible to include new technology when available
- Additional added value content including video, stills, text and
- User friendly navigation system
- Connection to the Internet for the latest information for that title
|In this page:
"DVD-Audio is not just a niche format for audiophiles,
but could grow into a mass-market, surround sound format suitable for all music