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History of AV

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Revision as of 17:47, 10 September 2007 by Lostinlodos (Talk | contribs)
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My interest here is, simply put, to both open the eyes of the West (primarily the residents of the US and UK), to what media formats exist for audio and video around the world, and eventually create a permanent wiki-db that can stay current. There are many formats available to world-wide consumers. Many equal, some superior, to the more standard CDDA and DVD formats widely known in the West. For completeness, I'll cover them all, but the formats in current wide-spread use are CDDA, DVD, SVCD, and HVD. The CVD has wide support in china, with far more releases available on it than average non-residents are aware of; China Today News reports that video releases on CVD have surpassed 2:1 to DVD. That said, the format is literally non-existent outside of China, and would have remained a "state secret" if not for the push to sell the format in Hong Kong to residents, it's the sole export source of the media, as they are bared from export from main-land China, but no such laws prohibit foreigners from leaving with them from Hong Kong. An expanded section will be added at a later point covering magnetic and optical-film formats, including VHS, HDMVT (HD VHS), and the X mm film and a third update added with information on earlier audio formats, including DAT, AC, and Phono-blank systems.


Barrel Pianola Paper Roll

Birth 1829/1830 Media forms: 2

An 8 inch or 13.4 inch wide paper roll that had a sequence of varying sized/shaped circular holes cut into it. Each hole would catch a pin in another cylinder which would pull a corresponding hammer to strike a chime, or later a piano or harpsichord string. The Player Roll, as it later became known, was first developed for musical clocks, and later became known best as the main tool used in a player piano. While the history of this device is rich and extensive, there is little documented factual information about the item's early days. The mystery, and history of this device stretches well beyond the reach of this document, but as it's the first recorded automated recording device, it's worth the inclusion in this guide. It is also wildly held as the precursor to the digital age as a whole, technically being classified as the first punch-card (an early form of digital storage, a data drive of sorts).

Compact Disc(k) Digital Audio (CDDA)

Birth 1978 Media Forms: 2 ' .5 ' or ½ disc 22.5 minutes audio CDDA Disc 86.9 minutes of audio (CD±R only allow 82.1 minutes)

The Media: The disk itself is comprised of a layer of aluminium, gold, silver, or titanium covered in a polycarbonate plastic.

Read method: Single linear method, from the centre out.

File Format and Audio Specification: Red Book file system, Stereo 16-bit PCM encoding at 44.1kHz. Red Book file system, Quad-channel 16-Bit encoding at 44.1kHz.

Compact Disc+Graphics (CD+G) (CD+EG)

Identical to CDDA discs, but contain a 16bit raster-graphical data track for visual effects, timed to the music by special software in compatible players. The format was primarily used to push the 24bit and 32bit era in the video-game industry. Compatible players were the PCFX, PC Engine, Sega MegaCD, Sega Saturn, Commodore Amiga CD32, Atari JagCD, and the 3D0. Sega was the only company to release a stand-alone CD+G player that was available in Japan, Hong Kong, and Korea for a very limited time-frame. The Sega Music System, as it was billed, originally sold for, approximately, ¥60000,00. The staggering price limited the format, which all but died, and only recently has seen a resurgence, for an entirely different use: Karaoke systems.


Identical to CD+G, but the data track is used for computer or game-system content instead of graphics data. CD+E discs tend to be far shorter, often singles, with not more than 3-5 tracks of audio. The rest of the data space is used for computer content. The two popular current uses are found in Asian singles including one or two music videos, and an interactive TV or IPTV mall-shop. Please see IPTV on for more information on that aspect of the data. Another recent development in Japan is to release Game Soundtrack sets with a bonus disk, including a short, one-level demo and some bonus audio tracks on the specific system, or, with the PS2 releases, add-ons and plug-ins for the PlayStation-Linux Desktop system.

MiniDisc, Mini Disc, MD, ...

Proprietary Sony-specific system, seeing a modified Joliet file system dubbed MDSO, and later ATC.

Birth: 1991

Format: Audio is encoded in the ATRAC, ATRAC3, or LPCM format, at 44, 64, 66, 105, 132, 146, 256, 292, or 1411.2 Kbs. The discs themselves are MD 160 MB, HiMD 305MB, and most recently HiMD-G 1Gb.

Super Audio CD (SACD)

Birth 1998/9 Media Form: 1 SACD

The Media: SACDs are printed on DVD discs, see DVD for further information.

Read Method: Plurality linear.

File Format: Delta Sigma file system, 5.0 or 5.1 and 2.0 or 2.1 channel dual audio tracks. Recorded at 2.8224MHz. Some rare variants, such as Oldfield's Tubular Bells and Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Adventure contain a third audio track in 4.0 or 4.1 channel format as well.


Hybrid CD Format utilizing 5.1 surround sound audio recorded in the DTS audio format. Also called 5.1 Music Disc. Can only be played back on supporting players; audio CD players with S/PDIF output, or SACD/DVD players, as well as DTSCD players found in China and Hong Kong. DTSCD discs and players are barred from export out of China and Hong Kong, and Korea.

DVD-Audio (DVDA)

Birth 1999/2000 Media Form: 4 DVDA 1, 3, 4, 5 (5+)

Read Method: Plurality linear

The Media: DVD-Audio discs are standard DVD disks, using DVD1, DVD5, and DVD9 formats. See DVD for further information.

File Format: DVD-Audio File Table (DAFT); a variant of the UDF system format. 16bit, 20bit, and 24bit audio, recorded at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176kHz, or 192kHz. The number extender on the format type is not commonly used on the media, or media packing itself, and was an early sorting terminology for defining the number of audio channels available. DVDA1 1.0 mono, or 2.0/2.1 Stereo DVDA3 3.0/3.1 Stereo + mono surround or 3.0/3.1 stereo DVDA4 4.0/4.1 quad, or 4.0/4.1 3-stereo + mono surround DVDA5 5.0/5.1 surround

DVDA5+ 5.0-7.1 + audio surround sequencing,

Is open to any new technologies as they become available. Most recently, Demons & Wizards had released the Saga Opera DVDA set, using the DVDA5+ form factor which included 2 identical 7.1 tracks per single file track. The method allows for use on DVDA compatible computer drives with “stackable card format” audio cards, separating the dual-tracks during playback, and sending one to each of two cards, creating true 14.2 surround sound with left and right base channels. Symphony X's Mythological Journey collector's set used 3 audio tracks per file, creating the “availability” of 21.3 audio with left right and centre base channels (HD Theatre Sound), though the only know set-up is available to play it at this point is in a few new digital theatres in Asia and Europe. Whilst this practice is not yet common or widely used, it remains the sole current selling point for DVDA as the adaptable format over it's rival SACD.


Laserdisc (LD)

Birth: 1969 Public release 1978 Originally titled the Reflective optical Video-disk system, the first public release came more than 8 years after the manufacturing process first began. According to recent surveys by the Optical Media Foundation, about 10% of Japanese homes, and less than 2% of US homes, still have active working Laserdisc players.

The Media: nearly identical to compact discs, a Laserdisc is simply larger. Two aluminium (or gold) layers are pressed into a poly-plastic casing.

Format: Constant... Linear, or angular acceleration.

Laserdisc video and audio is completely uncompressed, creating a superior AV experience on newer discs and newer equipment, than even DVDs. The size of the disc is the largest issue as they take up far more storage space than any other format. The vast majority of the time, any video or audio problems are caused by faulty, or miscalibrated equipment, not the disk or the format. Modern releases contain DVD/SVCD style menu structures, multiple audio/subtitle tracks, and beginning with StarWars, Episode 1, full 6.1 or 7.1 sound. Many newer releases contain three audio tracks, a stereo, a surround (4.1-7.1) and a second surround or DTS track. Whilst remaining popular across Asia for its superior uncompressed video and audio quality, the format has dropped off the sales lists in Europe and the US. Many computer-based readers/writers are still sold, making backing up and preserving the format relatively easy.

CD-V or CD Video

CD-V disks first came on to the market in the early 1980s. Originally an American/UK marketing ploy to push LD Player sales by offering music audio discs with a music video as well. The disks contained up to 20 minutes of recorded audio and up to 12 minutes of video. The short-lived format was replaced by the VCD, see below, in the early 1990s. In the later years of it's life, the format switched from a consumer product sold in stores to an instructional gimmick used by auto-makers who offered options to include the new auto-CD systems. Chrysler is one of the few marketing masters who offered this format. The CDs would contain around 6 minutes of audio instruction, followed by some music choices (in Chrysler's case, 4 or 5 selections, including rock, adult-easy, arena rock aka metal, and classical). The video included was playable in home LD players or the new CD based Video Computer Systems, and was a visual depiction of each function of the CD player, or other auto-options.


Birth: debated, but generally pegged as being developed through the late 1980s and bearing it's public birth in the marketplace in 1993. It is the first optical disc format used for video presentation.

Media form: All VCD variants use the Standard Compact Disk, see CDDA, 'though none use aluminium, only silver, gold, and titanium metals are used as the interior core.

Read method: Plurality linear

File Format: ISO 9660, Mode 2, form 2

Specifications, broadcast resolution, up-scalable, 352X240 NTSC and 352X288 PAL. Video is encoded in MPEG Layer 1 format at 1150Kbs. Audio is MPEG Layer 2 (MP2) recorded at 224Kbs. The quality of the picture matches, and often exceeds standard definition VHS taps. They are, however, extremely susceptible to scratches and fingerprint damage as the format does not use the same 100mb error correction level used on CDDAs. (a standard blank CDDA/VCD disc has approximately 800Mb of space, however the audio and CDR file systems use approximately 100mb for error-correction buffering redundancy. While VCDs never became commonplace in the more ego-centric West, which has always been opposed to change and advancement, they out-sold VHS tapes since their dawn in the Asian and East/North-East European markets. The original VCD format only supports a single video track and a single audio track, with a single removable subtitle track. Many later VCDs include menus equal to DVDs.


Birth: The exact date of public release is unknown. SVCD format was developed within China to be a royalty free variant of VCDs at a superior quality.

File Format ISO 9660 Mode 2 Form 2

Specifications: 480X480 NTSC and 480X576 PAL/SECAM Resolution. Video is typically recorded at 2.0Mbs to 2.6Mbs, equal to most average Asian region DVDs, which range from 2.0Mbs to 3.0Mbs on average. The format however, allows for encoding from about 250Kbs to 2.9Mbs, and no true standard is enforced so quality ranges from disc to disc. Moves are typically divided across many discs and sold in thick boxes. SVCDs currently sell about equally to DVDs in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and other Asian and East European regions.


Nearly Identical to SVCD/VCD but using a MUCH higher bitrate, up to as much as 3.55Mbs. Average play-length of a single disc is 31 minutes or less, making movies span across four or more discs. The format is growing in popularity now in Korea and some US markets as many Korean TV shows run 20-40 minutes in length and are subtitled in English. This format allows for High Resolution (HR) TV quality videos placing each episode on it's own (or 2) discs and allowing them to be sold by-episode or as a collector's box-set.


A truly rare standard that is compatible with all DVD/HVD and most 2nd generation HD/BR players with DVD support. SXVCDs are capable of storing audio in standard rates far higher than the standard DVD rates going up to 9.8Mbs, however very little can be placed on a single disc. SXVCDs are only found, in general, at game/electronics conventions to show a single, short demo clip of a video. Some film release parties in Hong Kong and Korea have also had supporting staff hand out SXVCDs of a future project, as a teaser. In Australia some local News Papers use the format for including discs with Sunday issues showing teasers from advertisers for the weeks evening TV programs.

China Video Disc CVD

CVDs are nearly identical to MiniDVDs in every regard except resolution, and are playable in {almost} any DVD player. Frame rates run at 23.976 or 29.97 for NTSC and 25fps for SECAM. Bitrate is available from 800Kbs to 2.6Mbs, and average CVDs commercially produced are at 2.2Mbs. Video and audio encoding is identical to Asian DVDs, using MPEG2 video and MPEG1 audio codecs. The lower resolution video encoding for CVDs are at 352X480 or 352X576, though the average consumer will not notice the difference on analog (tube-based) televisions. The video resolution is identical to analogue SD broadcast. Converting multiple CVDs to a single DVD is a quick 1-step process using any of dozens of available software packages, including DVD-Rebuilder with the CVD add-in or NeroSuite. As with most CD based formats, Moves are spread across multiple discs. A word of warning when further seeking information on the format, Non-Chinese residents are generally misinformed regarding the format, as exporting them from Mainland China requires special permits, of which only a limited number are granted per year.

HVD High-Definition Versatile Disc

HVD is an Asian standard of advanced high-definition technology originally developed in China by AMLogic Inc., for high-definition video. The format resolutions support 720p, 1080i, or 1080p on version 1 discs. Version 2 of the format added high-resolution beyond the standard fare of HD for use on non-TV monitors that support higher resolutions, up to 1880p.

A modified MPEG-2 MP@HL video-codec is used and the format supports audio encoded in Dolby AC3, DTS, Dolby EX, DTS ES, and Prologic 2 audio formats.

All HVDs use standard DVD discs. There are only a few DVD players which support this format, the most notable was HDElectronic's "Mega" player and a prototype from LG that has been made limitedly avalable in Japan and Korea. PowerDVD, VLC Player (in some cases), and Nero-Showtime are the only known software packages to handle the format as the MPEG files are non-standard.

Though popular in China, the format, much like VCD, has had little acceptance outside of Asia. Discs are rarely found for sale outside of Asia. HVD Discs are currently widely avalable in the Asian Region; especially in China/Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. While the format is referred to as HVD it has no relation to the Holographic Versatile Disc format that came along later and used the same acronym.

Forward Versatile Disc FVD

FVD discs use the same VOB directory-structure layout but instead of MPEG encoding formats, they utilize Microsoft Windows Media 10 codecs. Discs are capable of storing up to 15 GB of space, and a tri-layer format. FVD is a another true-HD format, storing video at 720p OR 1080i/p however because of the Windows-only codecs, it is unlikely to ever take off fully with the slow-but-steady decline in Microsoft Windows computers across Asia, now making up less than 65% of total systems, and less 25% of new systems sold. The eventual and eminent death of the Windows platform will spell a simultaneous death of the FVD format unless Microsoft is willing to open the development of support software for other formats, including Open-Base and SLin, the underlying software platform used in most current cable-boxes-DVR/DVD units and BluRay/DVD Players. FVDs are generally playable on newer DVD/HVD players with a simple firmware update.

Standard Digital Video Broadcast form-factors.

Analog 405/819

The original broadcast format for television dating back to the birth of broadcast TV. Analog TV is set to be replaced in most countries by 2012, and is likely to be dropped all together at that point. With most countries having laws or impending laws and regulations that will require the carry and broadcast of ED and HD signals, the bandwidth now used for Analog broadcast will likely be used to broadcast the ED signal. See below.


Variants are broadcast at 24, 30 and 59.94 (480p60) Hertz. 480p60 will become the minimum standard television broadcast from in 2007 in Japan, February 2nd 2008 in the USA, and June 2008 in the UK when analog television is dropped. All over-air, and by-cable providers in said countries will be required to broadcast at signal in 480p60, also called Enhanced Definition or ED, by that countries conversion date. The United States will require 100% HD and ED parallel broadcast by January 1st 2010, as per the Digital Conversion Act of 2002.


The current buffer in straight-to-HD countries, including Australia, which adopted HD mandates early on. The resolution of 704X576 is not used outside of broadcast/cable television.


The da facto standard for over-air high definition broadcast and IPTV signals. It is 100% compatible with all digital monitors (TVs) carrying the HD or ED logo as well as most flat-panel monitors. The signal is, however, not compatible with analog tube-televisions as they are interlaced video systems, and the signal must first be converted.


True HD, at resolution form of 1080p and up (currently 1860p is the cap achieved). There is little to say beyond just enjoy the picture.

1680p (4:3) and 1860p (16:10)

High-Resolution or HR. The current selling point for IPTV is its “Better than HD” resolutions on selected subscription channels. However the only videos to take advantage of the HR format are Chinese movies that were filmed in that resolution originally; intended for HVDv2 release. The remainder of HR content

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This document falls under International Copyright Laws. The Rights Of Sale are held by Lostinlodos Services Ltd, and JohnRobert Clark, as registered in Norway. This document has been re-registered for use exclusively at the discretion of said holder and for the strict use in electronic form on Digital Digest.