DVD is the newest and hottest thing to hit the home theater industry since the laserdisc player and Dolby Digital. DVD, or Digital Versatile Disc, is the newest video format since laserdiscs. It offers many advantages over laserdisc (actually, it improves almost every aspect of a laserdisc). If you thought that it couldn’t get much better than laserdisc, think again. DVD is one of the most innovative new home theater products in a long time. It offers the home theater world many new dimensions including sophisticated sound (5.1, Dolby Digital) and superior video (more than two times the horizontal lines of resolution of a laserdisc player). DVD players are a much smaller than laserdisc players and in many instances half the thickness of a laserdisc player. This allows you to place it over your receiver or right on top of a VCR or C.D. player. Here are some comparison facts of a DVD player to CD’s and laserdiscs as well as some new things that DVD offers:

* DVD’s and c.d.’s are both 120 mm in diameter and 1.2 mm thick
* DVD’s are highly durable and can withstand abuse better than a C.D.
* One DVD disc is said to have the storage capacity of 4.7 gigabytes of data … on average … about three times the normal computers hard drive storage
* DVD’s can be double sided to allow more data storage
* DVD’s can be double bonded for greater strength
* One side of a DVD can hold up to 133 minutes of video. Compare this to a laserdisc where a usual 133 minute movie would take up three sides of the bulky and awkward discs.
* DVD has over 500 lines of resolution which is about five times that of a VCR and two to three times that of a laserdisc player
* DVD has named Dolby Digital as its primary sound format
* With DVD, you have the option of watching movies in three different views: -Letterbox -Pan and Scan -16 X 9

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Here are some more examples how DVD can corner the video market everywhere.

* DVD gives you the ability to watch a movie in up to eight different languages (dubbed over existing voices)
* DVD can also provide subtitles in up to 32 different languages

Some other things that are new:

* In the future, DVD will offer the viewer multiple camera shots so you can view a scene from different angles and levels
* DVD’s will be recordable, rewritable, and reusable … a big plus for the computer industry

DVD offers a lot to the home theater market. We are finally getting a new video format that can surpass the experience of visiting a downtown theater.

Will DVD replace the VCR? No … it is not intended for this to happen. I don’t think that anyone will want to replace every movie on cassette with one on a DVD. Your VCR’s will still be good, but with the new movies coming out (and some blockbusters from the past like Casablanca, The Godfather, some ‘80’s movies, and musicals), you will probably want to start a new collection of DVD’s. There are more than 200 new and old movies coming out on DVD with many more in the mix. It is still a debate whether or not DVD’s will be rented (like at your local Blockbuster).

Companies like Panasonic, Sony, Pioneer, Theta Digital, RCA, Proscan, Samsung, and Toshiba are all in the DVD player business. Some companies like Sony already have second generation DVD players out. Panasonic even has one with a built in Dolby Digital decoder (umm…). More companies are likely to jump on the DVD bandwagon and follow suit. I think that DVD will catch on. You can compare this video revolution to that of the C.D. replacing cassettes as the dominant listening device. DVD will be slow to catch on but in 1998 (and the closer HDTV comes) we will see DVD really take off. Don’t throw away your other stuff. Your grandchildren and their children might want to take a VHS cassette into show and tell in the year 2010.

Here is a list of links to DVD manufacturers:

* www.sony.com
* www.samsung.com
* www.pioneerusa.com
* www.rca.com
* www.panasonic.com
* www.toshiba.com