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What are all the available media formats?
DATE[ 2007/12/2 ]    HIT [ 9906 ]
It's easy to be bewildered by all the buzz words. CD-i, Video CD, Photo CD, CD-ROM XA, CD-i Bridge, DVD-5, DVD-9, DVD-10, DVD-18, etc. Unless you want to make a career in developing hardware to play all different kinds of digital media, you don't really have to know too much about the technical details on all these formats. It's always easier to understand the media formats through their logical usage, i.e. what they are used for. But if you really want to dig deeply into the details, there are a whole set of color coded standard books (Yellow Book, Red Book, Orange Book, etc) for your enjoyment. You can find all these from Philips website at

1.CD-ROM (cd-rom includes enhanced audio which is music + computer files or video clips)
In 1984, Philips and Sony released the Compact Disc Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) specification, known as the Yellow Book. This defines the necessary additions to the Red Book for the storage of computer data. The physical parameters of CD-ROMs are identical to those defined in the Red Book. Data stored on a CD-ROM disc are divided into sectors which are equivalent to the audio frames for a CD audio disc, addition of header data and error correction codes which are included in every sector.
2.Audio CD (music only)
The Madonna and Britney Spears CDs you buy from Wal-Mart or Target are Audio CDs. The official name for Audio CD is CD-DA which stands for CD-Digital Audio. Red Book is the standard book for CD-DA.
3.Audio CD with Data
Also known as Enhanced Music CD (or CD-Extra by others), this is essentially an Audio CD with an additional session for data to be used by computers with CD-ROM drives. When such a CD is put into a regular CD player, it will behave just like a normal music CD. When put into the CD-ROM drive of a computer, the computer can see both the audio tracks and the data track. You can use this format to design your Audio CD such that when put into a computer, it will present more information about the CD rather than simply playing the audio tracks. Blue book is the standard book for Enhanced Music CD.
4.Video CD (VCD) , Super VCD (SVCD)
VCD is all the rage in China and VCD player there is just as common as a VCR in America. A VCD can have up to 74 minutes of full motion video accompanied by a CD quality sound track. The video quality of a VCD is about the same as VHS but because of the compression algorithm it is not very good for fast motion actions. The resolution of VCD is 352x240 for NTSC and 352x288 for PAL. The good thing about VCD is that it not only can be played on VCD players, but DVD players and computer as well. A lot of promotional discs originally on a DVD were deliberately downgraded to VCD to take advantage of this broader coverage. White book is the standard book for VCD.
Another emerging standard is called Super VCD, or simply SVCD. SVCD was originally developed by the government-backed China Recording Standards Committee as an enhancement to VCD format. The format is now adopted by Philips, Sony, Matsushita, and JVC. SVCD can also be played on most DVD players, although there is still compatibility issue with some older players. SVCD resolution is 480x480 for NTSC and 480x576 for PAL.
5.Video CD with Data
Similar to the Audio CD with Data, Video CD can also be formatted in such a way to include a data session. Normal VCD players and DVD players still access the video information on the first session. Computers can access data on both sessions making it possible to include a different way to present information to the computer users. For example, you can design a CD that will play the video if it is put in a DVD player, but will provide a menu for the user to play the video or print some product catalogs in PDF when you put it into the computer.
CD-R is short for "CD-Recordable". It is the abbreviation for compact disc write once. It is a polycarbonate disc which consists of a pre-grooved spiral track coated with a dye polymer coating and a thin reflective layer. The dye polymer coating is burned which changes the reflection characteristics of the polymer. This reflection modulation allows the player to distinguish between the areas of the polymer that have been burned and those which have not.
7. DVD Introduction
The final DVD disc can be a DVD-5, DVD-10 or DVD-9 depending on the data size and whether a double-sided disc is acceptable. DVD-9 and DVD-10 discs will require two DLTs, one for each side/layer
Diameter of the disk
120 mm
120 mm
120 mm
Thickness of the disk
1.2 mm
1.2 mm
1.2 mm
Number of sides
Number of layers
Diameter of center hole
4.7 Gb
8.5 Gb
9.4 Gb
Storage (min. of video)
approx. 133
approx. 242
approx. 266
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