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History of AV

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Brief Revision History and Notes

Version .99: posted on International Film Forums Guides and FAQ board Version 1.0: Copied and updated; first DD DigiWiki post Version 1a: Expanded to basic book outline Version 1.5: Expanded to include some older non-digital formats Version 2.0: Full book outline Version 2.xx.1: Expanding sections for pratical reasons


Digital Digest, and in relation digiwiki, do no condone illegal activities nor will they allow the discussion of copying/backup issues related to optical media. This article makes occasional reference to such copying related issues in NON-AUDIO/VIDEO related headings under DVD related media only; and only where the issue is well documented in standard (meaning non-internet and non-"underground") sources. For general adherence to the rules of all Digital Digest pages please do not post any further information regarding the subjects related to copying. ONLY THE OA AND ADMINISTRATOR should post such information (here, or anywhere) so as to be sure of compliance to site policy.


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.

The difference between S and K (Disk vs Disc)

Many users of the Laserdisc format will find that the early versions have a K at the end and not a C. Many will also remember early audio CDs with a K. Today, many countries will use the C or K interchangeably, though in reality a disc is an optical format and a disk is a magnetic format. So; why the difference? In 1986 Iomega (now well known for their Zip cartage format) released a 1 inch x 1 inch miniature disk format in limited numbers in Switzerland and Singapore called the Compact Disk. This format was nearly identical to the hard-cased and well known 3.5" disk though it was considerably smaller and held considerably more information, as much as approximately 2.1 Megabytes of data. Though the release was limited, confusion occurred non-the-less and the ISO settled on the permanent change to disc for all things optical, though that never fanned out entirely either; as evidenced by the Universal DISK Format, or UDF.

As a total side note; the Mini Disk design was the template used for two now popular formats, the "thumb disc" hard drive, which is a more stable version of the Mini Disk, and the M flash drive, that used the exact same shell case (purchased from Iomega) but housed a Flash chip rather than magnetic discs. The M drive, or M disc, was the precursor in the mid-to-late 90's to the current flash cards.


Barrel Pianola Paper Roll

A Modern Player Roll (where symmetrical circles are used

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).


Birth: March 25, 1857 This old precursor to the Phonograph was the original recording method that became the standard (via records) for music from the late 1880s to the early 1980s. The horn would capture and amplify sound (much like a sea shell) and channel it down across a piece of tendon that had a hog's hair attached to the end. The bristle hair would inscribe the particular sound waves into a glass plate, and later, into plastic plates; which became know as records.


Birth: November 21, 1877 The machine used to play back the recordings made with a Phonautograph. Invented by Edison, it later became known simply as a record player.

Reel-to-reel audio

Birth: 1931

Audio Cassette Encasement

Birth: 1953

Studio 4 and Studio 6 Cartrage

Birth: 1961 Developed by: Ampex, Ford, Motorola and RCA Victor Unending continuous loop magnetic recording

Sterio 8 (8-Track)

Birth: 1963 Developed by: Bill Lear, Ampex, Ford, Motorola and RCA Victor Unending continuous loop magnetic recording with stereo sound

Compact Audio Cassette Tape (Audio Cassette)

Birth: 1963 Developed by: Philips, (HiFi by Sony) A miniature version of the Audio Cassette Encasement that is the common and well known variant of compact reel-to-reel analogue recording.


Birth 1967 Developed by: Olympus


Birth: 1969


Birth: 1976 Developed by: Sony Primarily know for it's use in the 1980s as the tape format for the original Teddy Ruxpin, as well as some electronic Robotic Buddies systems and, in the late 1980s a series of Rainbow Brite toys. After a design change in the early 1980s, the Elcaset went from a bi-directional (flippable) tape to a single continuous stereo track tape.


Birth: 1986 Developed by: Sony A slightly smaller and considerably longer variant of the compact cassette tape. It was usable in any Sony cassette recorder, though the slightly smaller form factor made 3rd party compatibility some what hit-or-miss.

Digital Audio Tape

Birth: 1986 Developed by: Sony

Digital Compact Cassette (DCC)

Birth: 1992 Developed by: Philips and Matsushita

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.

Ultra Density Optical (UDO)

Birth: June 2000 Developed by: Sony

There is an extremely detailed chart here, [1] so there is no sense in me re-writing it for this guide.

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 death of the Windows platform in the region 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.

Universal Media Disc (UMD)

High Definition Digital Versatile Disc (HD-DVD)

Blu-Ray Disc (BR) (BD)

Holographic Versatile Disc

Birth: 2008/2009 Variations: 7 There are currently seven different forms of media claiming the title Holographic Versatile Disc. Each uses a form of 3-dimensional storage using the bending of light to record data. all seven variants have been proven to work, at least in the short term, but none have yet shown any reliability beyond the first demonstration, per disc. All have shown amazing promise and hope for life beyond the magnetic era (the hard disc era we are currently in), however among other issues, all formats have a major disability in that they are destroyed by prolonged exposure to any light, and they can not handle even minor (± 20° F) temperature shifts (as in from a warm car to a cold outside, and into a warm house) without partial or full corruption of data.

At the moment five of the seven parties are seeking partnership and sponsorship with various educational, scientific/medical and technological organizations who could maintain the extreme stability that is required for the media, and also find a practical application for it size to price ratio. As of the Tokyo Technology Show 2008, one format has shown to be able to hold up to 10 terabytes and a potential of 100Tb+. Initial pricing is said to be targeted between 9000 and 50000 yen, or $100 to $500 USD.

Other Storage (not all specific to AV)

Over the years, advancements in computers have brought us many, often strange, and almost always short-lived, storage recording formats. From time to time a new format would pop up that had video or audio related abilities, especially in the 80s and 90s. This is a short and brief history of the various storage mediums that have come along over the years. Any AV related uses will be noted but most of these have only data-specific uses. This list is extreme in that many of these formats lasted less than a year and only in one or two countries. However, each time a new format is created, someone else will come along to build on it. For that reason, and for general interest, it's worth mentioning them atleast in short. The is by no means in chronological order.


Magneto-optical drive (MOD)


Digital Multilayer Disc (DMD)

DataPlay (DPMI)

Fluorescent Multilayer Disc (FMD)

Phase-change Dual (PD)

Digital Linear Tape (DLT)

Enhanced Versatile Disc (EVD)

Professional Disc for DATA (PD-DATA)

Total Hi Def (THD)

Versatile Multilayer Disc (VMD)

Layer-Selection-Type Recordable Optical Disk (LS-R) (LSR)

Forward Versatile Disc (FVD)

Universal Media Disc (UMD)

Tapestry Media

Tape-based Rapid Access Afforable Mass Storage (TRAAMS)

Laser Optical Tape Storage (LOTS)

Microform (MFT) (MFD)

Laser turntable player (LTP)


Protein-Coated Disc (PCD)

Ultra Density Optical (UDO)

Nintendo Disc


Wii Disc

3D optical data storage

Landauer media

Call/Recall Media

Mempile TeraDisc (MTD)


Microholas media (MMD)

Av drive


Fluorescent multilayer card (FMC)


Jaz drive


Hybrid Data CD

IBM Millipede

Linear Tape-Open (LTO)

Mass Storage for Digital Cameras (MSDC)


2 inch Quadruplex videotape

1 inch type A videotape

1/4 inch Akai







IVC 2 inch Helical scan

1 inch type B videotape

1 inch type C videotape



Video 2000
















Digital-S (D9)

Digital Betacam













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 is primarily IMAX films and Discovery Entertainment films. Notable films are; IMAX: Africa, and IMAX: Space as well as the joint IMAX/NASA Home Video production Beyond The Moon. From Discovery Entertainment; Amazon, Life, and some Walking With: films. 'Though totally useless; many IPTV services offer their service menus (like that on your cable or satellite box) and the programming guide in 1860p.

Other Formats of interest And List Of All Known Disc-based Formats

These are formats that were not specifically designed for an audio or or video format but were popular enough to be utilized locally and/or regionally for one form or another of a/v storage. This list will also include every know and rumoured disc format through-out history that was verified in some way shape or form. One example of what I am looking at here is the holographic disc. It doesn't have to exist to be of interest. If someone made a drawing, a prototype, a work-up, filed a detailed patent, or submitted a marked standardized specification it will be listed here. I will do my best to keep this in chronological order. While many of these are not specifically Audio or Video formats, they have the potential to drive audio/video technology. Specific examples that are included and expanded on below are the Nintendo -D format who's cartridged floppy disc eventually became the original CD-Recordable format and Sega's GD-ROM which became the HVD high-definition disc.

Computer Data Cartridge

1969; Released in 1971/1972 as the format for the Magnavox Odyssey

Laser-Audio Disc format

1972. A parallel concept project developed alongside the Laser Disc.

Nintendo -D format

Nintendo's Floptical format

crc 1981 The initial release in the mid-'80s was an encased magnetic disc. One of the prototype disk formats developed for the Super Famicom in the late 1980s, however, was an encased Optical disk in the same shell. That design later, in the early 1990s became the design base for the writeable Compact Disk Recordable, or CD-R. Nintendo had filed a limited-duration patent on the format and had failed to renew it since the system design was dropped when development for the Super Famicom/SNES disc system was off-loaded to Sony. Their format for Nintendo later became the storied PlayStation Disc System, or PSX. And the



Turbo Disk

The Turbo Disk (TDR) was developed by NEC for the PC Engine and TurboGrafx-16 in the mid-to-late 1980s. The format was later updated in the late 1990s to included full VCD compatibility for the PC-FX, a system released in Europe and Asia in 1993 and 1994 respectively and held on to a small, but loyal, market share well into the 2000s. A DVD-based format has been rumoured for the system since the late 1990s but nothing has come of it to date. The Turbo Disc, itself, comes in two formats: single layer and dual layer, both using near-standard CD media. The difference between the TDR media and a standard CD-Rom/CD-R is that the TDR disc used a longer, wider recording serfice. The disc data starts at the inner circle hub (rather than leaving a pre-recorded data point as with CDs), and extends to nearly the extreme outer edge. A TDR dual layer disc added a second semi-transparent layer of die (much like the DVD-R media of today) from the centre outward below the metalic data layer.

The total storage area of the TDR single layer is 850Mb and the dual layer is 1.02Gb. This is the reason for the difficulty of creating reliable backups/copies of TDR media from the source disc. Most DVD-ROM/DVD-R drives could read the media but no blank CD media exists in the right size to burn the result, nor could any existing software figure out what to do with the second layer's data. Single layer discs are made from standard media stock plastics with an aluminium layer for PCE/TG16 media and silver or gold for PC-FX discs. Dual layer discs can be differentiated from single layer media by the greenish appearance of the disc.

Split DVD

An early transitional format seen in Asia at the early years of the DVD format. This format served a dual purpose. First, the disc had a DVD version of the film on one side and the VCD version on the other side. Second, because the use of the VCD format required two discs; it encouraged the release of a second bonus DVD for the second disc. The format was popular primarily in the former Soviet territories; with limited releases in Japan, China, and Hong Kong.


Gigabyte Disc--Read Only Memory

Also know as the Gigabyte Disc, Gigidisc and Gigadisc.

Format History

The once proprietary Sega Computer Group (Sega Japan/Sega of America Technology LLC) media format that was originally used as the recording format for Sega DreamCast games. The format was later ported to the SEGA NAOMI and Nintendo TriForce arcade systems. In 2002 Sega released the operating standards sheet for the format to an independent group (never named) and the format was submitted for ISO standards qualification and documentation. In 2005 sub-branded GDR-Writable recorders for PCs and media hit store shelves in Japan, Korea, and Singapore; 'though they were pulled in mid-2006 from all regions. In 2007, a series of drivers for the original equipment were released across the internet allowing the players to be transferred from the original DreamCast into PCs and to be used on Windows x16, Windows x32 and (in beta stage) Windows x64 OSs, various Linux OSs and Unix. A series of firmware updates exist on the internet as well as spec sheets to allow the modification of standard CD burners and DVD burners to burn GDR discs on standard 800Mb CD-R media.


Standard 820Mb (800Mb claimed) media. Recorded at .5X ISO Standard speed using Constant Angular Velocity with a much tighter bit stationing than higher speed recording. Capacity is extended to 1.228Gb per 800/820Mb disc. Pressed media uses a silver or gold layer for the data. Recordable media is on standard CD-R discs, simply rebranded.


The .5X recording standards and the related tighter bit packing was the foundation for the short-lived DVD±R-10 media standard. It is also part of the HVD standard and part of the reason for the required software, driver, firmware package needed for HVD playback on PCs.

Split HD-DVD/Split Blu-Ray

These discs hold an HD or Blu-Ray disc on one side and a standard DVD disc on the other.

Sega Disk

Sony Video Format

HD-DVD Multi-Disc

A Hybrid format having both the HD-DVD format on one side and a standard DVD on the opposite. It is identical to the Split HD-DVD disc other than having an new official name.

High Definition Flipper

A hybrid disc format having both HD-DVD and BluRay formats on a single disc. The format is extremely rare and was only seen on the first few months of the final formats release. All known examples: Kickboxer, Lethal Angels, Hercules In New York, Rack, Pole Fighter (Shaw Brothers Film), Pit Fighter, and a few adult films from Freaky Flix. The legality of such films is still of contention from both licensing groups; each claiming fraud on the part of the other and the distributor.

Television/Monitor formats

What's the difference between a Television (TV) and a Monitor

In short; "Television" is a monitor with a built in tuner that picks up, often decodes, and converts television signals to a viable on screen output. A monitor is anything that displays a visual signal. More specifically a monitor is often able to display a larger range of signal frequencies in more various resolutions. In some countries, including the United States) the term television (by regulation) refers to a monitor with or without a tuner that is capable of displaying the standard broadcast signals in the standard broadcast resolutions. Many of the more 'high-end' High Definition "television" monitors are able to display everything in the spectrum from 180I all the way to 2200P. The keys to choosing a Television/Monitor that is right for you depends on what you wish to do with it. In the simplest terms a Television will always have a TV tuner and a monitor may or may not have a tuner.

The Screen Format

Older VHS and DVD movies as well as many Low Power and Class A broadcast stations broadcast in 4:3 but the vast majority of everything else is in 16:9 or 16:10 screen format. Most movies are broadcast in 16:9 format as are all 'original run', meaning produced after 2007, digital television broadcasts in most of the world from stations that use Full Power or High Power broadcast levels. 16:9 is the same layout as a movie theatre screen. Much of the High Definition content avalable for download on the internet, as well as National Geographic and IMAX content are often transmitted in 16:10 format, as will be all IPTV content as of 2010. Some Cable stations including BBC World (US/ASIA), CNN, CNN World (Asia, South America, East Europe), and Bloomberg/Blomberg International (World Wide) broadcast in 16:10 with a scroll bar at the bottom of the screen. 16:10 transmissions will show up as slightly letterboxed on 16:9 displays produced after 2006 and may be cropped on displays produced prior to that year. 16:9 and 16:10 signals are often displayed in postage stamp form on analogue 4:3 televisions, with the entire picture surrounded by black bars, with the appearances that the picture is floating in space.

The Resolution

See standard broadcast signals in the standard broadcast resolutions. A monitor can display anything below its highest range per side, often at a faster refresh rate (also see FPS). Choices for high-end monitors are avalable from LG, Dell, Sony, and BenQ among others. Such monitors that have resolutions displays outside of the standard broadcast range are required or preferred for some HD formats including HVD, IPTV HD broadcast and some computer games. The easiest way to describe resolution issues is the higher the resolution output of the monitor/TV on its own, the better the quality of the picture. when high resolution signals are displayed on lower resolution monitors, it will either down-scale the picture, postage stamp the picture (in the case of cable TV broadcasts), or simply not show up at all (including rolling the image).

Buying a Monitor

The best way to chose a monitor is to start with a colour and style that you prefer. From there, you should pick the highest resolution of the choices in that style. Finally, you should always chose a 16:10 monitor if it is avalable. Although 16:9 display is the norm now, 16:10 is growing as more cable companies switch to IP broadcasts. As IP transmissions are cheaper to deliver on copper and FiOs lines than converting a digital signal to analogue and back, many cable companies are switching to full digital IP systems which can transmit upwards of 3 times the signal in the same amount of bandwidth they used for the old signal and add interactivity and internet based features for less money. There is no reason to stiff yourself now when an upgrade will become a necessity in the coming years.

High Definition vs High Resolution (HD vs HR)

HD Ready vs HDTV

An HD Ready television, monitor, or any viewing screen capable of displaying High Definition, 1920X1080 screen resolution in progressive scan mode (1080p) at a minimum frame rate of 25Fps. First of note is that by its standardization definition HD, or High Definition, only exists in one form, 1080p. Common vernacular in the west includes the lower resolution of 720P as well as 1080i (interlaced) in the "High Definition" category 'though this is technologically incorrect. An HD READY screen does not contain a "tuner" or "receiver" capable to pick up broadcast signals from over the air. An HDTV includes this receiver and does not require a separate antenna; 'though do to the wide wave used to broadcast HD content, an extra antenna or amplifier may be necessary to pick up some stations even if the tuner is built into the monitor.

In making a selection, unless the buyer's only source of television is over-the-air reception, there is no need for a built in TV tuner. All current cable and satellite tuners contain all required equipment nessissary to pickup and display HDTV when it is available, though many charge extra for this feature. Many providers will, however, require extra fees (or deposits) for equipment that can output HD content in HD resolutions. Here also a built-in tuner is of no help as the signal from the company is not being outputted at full resolution. IPTV by its very nature is in HD and all IPTV equipment outputs in full HD resolution (or higher). In general practice (aside from the mentioned over-the-air only situation) there is no real need for an HDTV over the often far-less expensive HD-Ready models. When purchasing a television in the west it is best to seek out one that states "TrueHD", or the symbol 1080P inside an oval, to insure the monitor can display the actual HD resolution and not the downscaled 720i/p or 1080i picture.

Analogue vs Digital HD

Tube based sets

LCD based sets

Plasma based sets

LED based sets based sets

DLP sets and other advances

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