Sonic
Topic Author
Posts: 1505
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2000 3:10 am

Some DVD Questions

Fri Jan 02, 2004 12:36 am

I have a DVD-ROM in my computer several years already but only recently started to use it to play movies, because only recently DVDs became more widely available in Lithuania.
So I have a few questions about this format:
1.Does the video quality differs from DVD to DVD? I mean not the differences of screen proportions, but differences in resolution. If there are such differences, could they be found somewhere on DVD case?
2.Another question: does DVD video quality/resolution differs from VHS (TV) one? If so, could anybody tell exact numbers. Also, if movie was made for video/TV only, does that means that it's quality will be like TV one and not like DVD one?
3.DVD prices here are very varying. You can get a new (legal) DVD for as low as 20 Litas (5,7 Euros; 6,6 $ ) and others costs way over 100 Litas (30 Euros; 33,3 $ ). What causes such cost differences? Is it only the movie you are buying or also some characteristics, e.g. video quality?
4.Does video quality depends on DVD player software? Once I had downloaded a free DVD software, it was in French and thus I had hard time understanding it. The program was lost when hard drive was formatted. So now I have Leadtek WinFast DVD player. However, it seems for me that the video quality is worse when using this program, resolution is lower... Probably because now I use 2048x1536 resolution ussually, while previously I had 1600x1200 on my Windows. But still I am asking this.
5.Are DVD regions important anyhow if I am playing DVDs on my computer, not a DVD player? If so, could I "overcome" them by just changing my regional settings (e.g. write that computer is in USA or China, depending on region), downloadng a different DVD playing software (associated with other region), etc.?

Thanks in advance for answers,
Sonic.
 
Jaws707
Posts: 667
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2001 10:45 am

RE: Some DVD Questions

Fri Jan 02, 2004 1:55 am

Sonic,
The area I can help you out with is with the prices. The prices are determined by customer demand. For example I have been able to purchases some great movies like Rambo first blood part 2 and Wall Street for $5 apiece from Wal Mart in their $5 DVD bin. New movie like Terminator 3 generally come out at $20 and then they work their way down to $15, and eventually end up between $10-$15 depending where the sale is that particular week. One more thing is that some old movies that are too good for the $5 bin, but wont get any interest at $15 can be bought for $8-$10, for example Patton which I think is a great movie generally sells for $9.
 
JeffM
Posts: 7569
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 3:32 am

RE: Some DVD Questions

Fri Jan 02, 2004 2:18 am

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Popularity/demand
4. Yes, hardware or software rendering is the difference.
5. Changing regions can be limited in both hardware and software.

Jeff
 
Klaus
Posts: 20578
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

Sonic

Fri Jan 02, 2004 2:19 am

Sonic: 1.Does the video quality differs from DVD to DVD?

Yes, it does. There are multiple factors behind the difference (selected data rate and quality of film-to-digital transfer), and they´re not advertised on the package. Nobody will tell you voluntarily he´s selling you a crappy DVD...  Wink/being sarcastic Just look for DVD reviews on the Web, they usually say a word about that, too.


Sonic: 2.Another question: does DVD video quality/resolution differs from VHS (TV) one? If so, could anybody tell exact numbers.

VHS as an anlog format has substantial limitations compared to DVD; The actual resolution is the same... just the image quality is a lot lower on VHS.


Sonic: 3.DVD prices here are very varying. You can get a new (legal) DVD for as low as 20 Litas (5,7 Euros; 6,6 $ ) and others costs way over 100 Litas (30 Euros; 33,3 $ ). What causes such cost differences? Is it only the movie you are buying or also some characteristics, e.g. video quality?

Not necessarily. It mainly depends on the licensing situation with the original studio, though I can´t give you details.


Sonic: 4.Does video quality depends on DVD player software?

I don´t know the Windows situation, but if the DVD application also contains the decoding and rendering engine, quality differences should be expected.


Sonic: 5.Are DVD regions important anyhow if I am playing DVDs on my computer, not a DVD player?

The DVD drives usually have a "region change counter" which lets you change the region only a finite number of times (ca. 6 times usually). After that, the last region selection is "stuck". Firmware utilities may be able to unlock the drive again, but this can be a bit risky - in the worst case, they can kill your drive.
 
jwenting
Posts: 9973
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2001 10:12 pm

RE: Some DVD Questions

Fri Jan 02, 2004 5:30 am

2) possibly.
I know that's not the answer you want but there can be no other answer.
If the original material from which the DVD and VHS were made was not of better quality than that which can be recorded on VHS it won't be better when put on DVD.
I wish I were flying
 
Sonic
Topic Author
Posts: 1505
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2000 3:10 am

RE: Some DVD Questions

Fri Jan 02, 2004 6:05 am

Thanks everybody for answers, however some of them raises more questions:
6.As I understand from Klaus's reply, each DVD drive (I mean DVD drives in computers, not DVD players) has a pre-designed region. How to find out what that region is? I am asking this because I am living on a borderzone of two regions, Region 2 (Europe) and Region 5 (CIS). Currently all 4 DVDs I have can be used in both regions (they have symbols of regions 2 and 5 at backside), however I've seen in shops some DVDs which are either only region 2 or only region 5.
7.Klaus said that resolution is the same for VHS and DVDs... However I noticed that resolution for DVDs, at least when I used former software, was much larger, smaller details were visible than it would be on TV screen (my monitor is 19" and thus smaller than my TV set). I heard that TV maximum resolution is even lower than 640x480 (and because of this reason resolution is fixed and always very small in console games where it could be much bigger in PC variants of same games, for example), and it seems on PC DVDs plays on 1024xSOMETHING resolution (or is it a wrong impression?).
8.Also, what could be said about VCD (Video CD) format? I never used it, but how is it quality-wise compared to DVD and VHS?
9.JeffM, I asked not exacly "does DVD played by DVD player and PC differs in quality", but "could DVD played on one software differ in quality from same DVD played on other software (both on PC)". Thanks for answer anyways, and also one more question then: what is better to play DVD on - DVD player or PC (I have 5.1 sound system and 19" monitor on my PC)?
 
Klaus
Posts: 20578
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

Sonic

Fri Jan 02, 2004 6:29 am

Sonic: 6.As I understand from Klaus's reply, each DVD drive (I mean DVD drives in computers, not DVD players) has a pre-designed region. How to find out what that region is? I am asking this because I am living on a borderzone of two regions, Region 2 (Europe) and Region 5 (CIS). Currently all 4 DVDs I have can be used in both regions (they have symbols of regions 2 and 5 at backside), however I've seen in shops some DVDs which are either only region 2 or only region 5.

That might be a problem... The drive will come with a certain region (or no region) preselected and you will be asked whether you want to change the region if necessary ("only ... times left"). When the change counter has expired, you´re stuck at the region that was selected last (unless you "unlock" it again - but as I said, that can be risky).

You might want to ask someone in the shop what the region situation is...


Sonic: 7.Klaus said that resolution is the same for VHS and DVDs... However I noticed that resolution for DVDs, at least when I used former software, was much larger, smaller details were visible than it would be on TV screen (my monitor is 19" and thus smaller than my TV set). I heard that TV maximum resolution is even lower than 640x480 (and because of this reason resolution is fixed and always very small in console games where it could be much bigger in PC variants of same games, for example), and it seems on PC DVDs plays on 1024xSOMETHING resolution (or is it a wrong impression?).

A DVD can in principle contain data in a higher resolution than your TV could show you ... although I doubt that this is normally the case. During playback on a higher-resolution monitor, the pixel structure will be filtered by basically blurring the image. Subjectively, this "smoother" impression may look like a higher resolution than on the TV, even if it isn´t really.


Sonic: 8.Also, what could be said about VCD (Video CD) format? I never used it, but how is it quality-wise compared to DVD and VHS?

It depends on the encoding... But generally, the quality is lower. Often much lower.

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