Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)

Originally introduced as the Digital Video Disc, the DVD was renamed to Digital Versatile Disc when it became evident that its potential could be used for much more than video.

The DVD is a small plastic disc used for the storage of digital data. The successor media to the compact disc (CD), a DVD can have as much as 26 times the storage capacity of a CD. When compared to CD technology, DVD also allows for better graphics and greater resolution. In the case of an audio recording, where the data to be stored is in analog rather than digital form, the sound signal is sampled at a rate of 48,000 or 96,000 times a second, then each sample is measured and digitally encoded on the 43/4-in. (12-cm) disc as a series of microscopic pits on an otherwise polished surface. The disc is covered with a protective, transparent coating so that it can be read by a laser beam. As with other optical disks nothing touches the encoded portion, and the DVD is not worn out by the playing process. Because DVD players are backward compatible to existing technologies, they can play CD and CD-ROM discs; however, CD players cannot play DVD and DVD-ROM discs.

DVD formats include DVD-Video (often simply called DVD), DVD-ROM, and DVD-Audio. DVD-Video discs hold digitized movies or video programs encoded using the MPEG-2 specification, and are played using a DVD player hooked up to a standard television receiver. In a sense, DVD-Video players are the successors to the videocasette recorders (VCRs) that play VHS tapes. DVD-ROM [Read Only Memory] discs hold computer data and are read by a DVD-ROM drive hooked up to a computer. These disks can only be read; the disks are impressed with data at the factory but once written cannot be erased and rewritten with new data. DVD-ROM also includes recordable variations. DVD-R [Recordable] discs can be written to sequentially but only once. DVD-RAM [Random Access Memory], DVD-RW, and DVD+RW [ReWritable] discs can be written to thousands of times; they differ in their technical standards and, as a result, in the amount of information they can hold. When DVD was released in 1996 there was no DVD-Audio format, although the audio capabilities of DVD-Video far surpassed those available from a CD; the DVD-Audio format was introduced in 1999.

In the year 2000 sales of DVDs surpassed the sales of VHS tapes, and have become the standard for home video viewing. VHS tapes maintained the lion's share of the rental market for several years, as more people owned VCRs than DVD players. However every year the number of VHS rentals diminishes significantly as more people buy DVD players.

Anime fans seem to have adopted DVD technology much faster than the mainstream market. This is no doubt in no small part due to DVD solving the age-old dilemma of sub vs. dub by allowing both versions to be stored on the same media.

Bandai Entertainment was the first company to release an Anime title on DVD only, and shortly after AnimEigo became the first company to release all their titles exclusively on DVD.

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