What Are the Features of DVD-Video?

The most important features of DVD are as follows:

  • Over 2 hours of high-quality digital video (A double-sided, dual-layer disc can hold about 8 hours of high-quality video, or 30 hours of VHSquality video.)
  • Support for widescreen movies on standard or widescreen TVs (4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios)
  • Up to eight tracks of digital audio (for multiple languages, commentaries, and so on) that each have as many as eight channels
  • Up to 32 subtitle/karaoke tracks
  • Automatic, seamless video branching (for multiple story lines or ratings on one disc)
  • Up to nine camera angles (different viewpoints can be selected during playback)
  • Onscreen menus and simple interactive features (for games, quizzes, and so on)
  • Multilingual identifying text for title name, album name, song name, cast, crew, and so on
  • Instant rewind and fast forward (no “be kind, rewind” stickers on rental discs)
  • Instant search to title, chapter, music track, and timecode
  • Durable (no wear from playing, only from physical damage)
  • Not susceptible to magnetic fields, resistant to heat
  • Compact size (discs are easy to handle, store, and ship, and players can be portable; replication is cheaper than tapes or laserdiscs.)
  • Noncomedogenic

NOTE: Most discs do not contain all features (multiple audio/ subtitle tracks, seamless branching, and parental control) because each feature must be specially authored. Some discs may not allow searching or skipping.

Most players support a standard set of features:

  • Language choice (for the automatic selection of video scenes, audio tracks, subtitle tracks, and menus)
  • Special effects playback: freeze, step, slow, fast, and scan
  • Parental lock (for denying playback of an entire disc or particular scenes of objectionable material)
  • Programmability (playing selected sections in a desired sequence)
  • Random play and repeat play
  • Digital audio output PCM stereo and Dolby Digital
  • Recognition and output of Digital Theater Systems (DTS) Digital Surround audio tracks
  • Playback of audio CDs

Some players include additional features:

  • Component video output (YUV or RGB) for a higher-quality picture
  • Progressive-scan component output (YUV or RGB) for highest-quality analog picture
  • Digital video output (SDI, 1394, or DVI] for perfect digital picture
  • Six-channel analog output from internal audio decoder
  • Playback of Video CDs or Super Video CDs, MP3 CDs, Picture CDs and Photo CDs, laserdiscs, and CDVs
  • Reverse single-frame stepping
  • Reverse play (normal speed)
  • RF output (for TVs with no direct video input)
  • Multilingual onscreen display
  • Multiple-disc capacity
  • Digital zoom (2x or 4x enlargement of a section of the picture. This is a player feature, not a DVD disc feature.)