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What's DVD / FAQ
What is DVD?
What's So Good About DVD?
DVD vs Video Tape
What is Region Coding?
What is Region Code Enhancement (RCE)?
DVD stands for "Digital Versatile Disk" and it's name
really describes it!
Firstly, it is Digital and brings all the benefits that suggests, the
best quality digital picture, far superior to video tape, and digital
sound such as Dolby Theatre Surround (dts) soundtrack, first used in
Secondly, it is Versatile - it can be used for films in the DVD-Video
format, for music with DVD-Audio, computer games in DVD-ROM format. In
fact the DVD is expected to replace both video tape and the CD in these
And lastly, yes it is a disk very similar to a Compact Disk.
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So Good About DVD?
Literally everything! DVD's can hold up to 26 TIMES the
amount of information that a Compact Disk (CD) can which is why they
are now being backed by Hollywood as a replacement for the video tape,
and by the music industry to replace the CD's due to unbelievably
better sound quality.
DVD's have all the advantages of a CD, such as durability, and almost
instant moving from track to track (or "chapters" as they are called in
Their large storage capacity means that films can also have "extras"
with them, such as,
- Soundtracks and Subtitles in multiple languages,
- Cast - Director - Crew profiles,
- Optional commentary throughout the film by the
- Alternative endings / Deleted scenes
- "The Making of..." featurettes, Interviews, or
- Music Videos
This list is not exhaustive and not all DVD-Videos have all or any of
these extras - see our individual film description "disk features"
section for details of the film you want.
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vs Video Tape
For top quality picture and sound here is no contest -
DVD wins hands down!
- Superior digital picture and cinema sound quality.
- No loss of quality of picture over time as with video
- DVD does not stretch, rip, tear, or get stuck in the
machine as tape does.
- You can move direct to your favorite part of a film,
- Clear freeze-frame and searches (also zoom and
multi-angle camera angles - with a compatible DVD titles and player)
- DVD supports full Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Theatre
Sound (dts) formats, for that cinema sound experience in your own home
(with the right equipment)
- Some new blockbuster films are being retailed on DVD
before video, usually at the same time as the rental video release.
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is Region Coding?
Region coding was introduced by the big Hollywood film
companies for the DVD-Video format, and basically they have divided the
world up into 6 country regions (coded 1 to 6) and two specialist
'regions'. Some disks are uncode or Region 0 and play anywhere.
- Region 0: All areas of the world. (* depending on
video standard compatability)
- Region 1: Canada and U.S.
- Region 2: Europe, South Africa, Middle East (PAL)
& Japan (NTSC).
- Region 3: East & Southeast Asia, Hong Kong.
- Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, South America,
Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, Caribbean.
- Region 5: Former Soviet Union, Africa, Indian
Subcontinent, North Korea, Mongolia.
- Region 6: China.
- Region 7: Reserved (Currently Unused).
- Region 8: Special 'International' venues (e.g.
DVD players (including computer DVD-ROM drives) sold in any region are
normally set to only play disks with their region code (e.g. a Region 2
player should only play Region 2 DVD-Video disks). However, there are
many multi-region players available and most players can be altered,
usually by adding a 'chip' or a few through their remote controls (eg.
Check out the dvd.reviewer.co.uk
website for a list of player "hacks" for your player (Region 1 or 2).
Some titles have two or more region codings and can be
played on players from a number of regions - our disk descriptions give
details of the discs region codes.
The coding only applies to major films and the reason
behind it is simple - to match the staggered release dates for each
film around the world.
Many disks, such as, concerts, educational, older films, documentaries,
and adult films are not region coded.
Besides the region code, discs are in different video formats mainly
PAL (Europe) or NTSC (USA), however most Players are built for several
world markets are are usually able to handle and convert different
formats for TV output, BUT this is something to be checked in your
players manual - before purchasing a disc with a different format than
ALL OUR DISKS ARE REGION 2 ENCODED & IN
PAL FORMAT, UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED.
It is illegal for us to sell
non-UK films, because they have not been certified by the British Board
of Film Censorship (BBFC), although Region 1 imports (from the USA)
were popular due to an earlier release dates and as many did have
superior 'extras', because less disk was used for multiple
languages/subtitles, however things have improved on Region 2 disks so
that their is often little difference from the Region 1 release.
Note: Imported films are unlikely to be in the
PAL video format and are subject to VAT (20%) and a Post Office VAT
collection charge (£3.85 at time of writing), on entry to the UK if the
total order value exceeds £18.00.
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is Region Code Enhancement (RCE)?
Region Code Enhancement (RCE) is an attempt (one of
several) by the manufacturers of DVDs (so far - Warner Bros, New Line,
Columbia and a few MGM titles) to stop importing of other region DVDs
by preventing a disc being played on multi-Region DVD players. The code
checks to see if a player will play more than one region (i.e. multi
region capable) and if it is - it will not play, however like most of
the other attempts, it normally fails to work with most 'manual'
region-switching players and also with many auto-switching 'chip'
modified players, HOWEVER, this is something you should check for your
player if you intend to buy a RCE title.
Website DVDTalk.com gives
a list of known RCE titles and Player hacks to overcome RCE.
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Because the cinema screen dimensions do not match our TV
screen sizes, DVD-Video disks come in a variety of screen formats:
- Pan & Scan (ratio: 4:3):
this is the format for a normal TV screen size that we are used to. Due
to the difference in the full cinema screen and a TV screen the camera
is 'panned' and 'scanned' to get the best part in shot.
- Letterbox: this is the full cinema
format for a normal TV screen, but it results in the familiar black
bars on the top and bottom of the screen.
- Widescreen (ratio: 1.85:1): this
is the 'normal' cinema screen ratio best viewed on a widescreen TV.
which has a ratio of 16:9 or about 1.78:1
- Widescreen (ratio: 2.35:1 or 2.40:1)
ultra wide cinema format that is 'letterboxed' even on a widescreen TV.
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You will also see in our Online Shop DVD film
descriptions, references to Anamorphically
Enhanced film formats. Without getting too
technical, this means that the film has been encoded on to the DVD disk
to get the best possible 16:9 ratio picture on a Widescreen TV. and
reduce the letterbox effect (black bars) of 1.85:1 and 1.25:1 ratio
Widescreen presentations. This helps improve the resolution on a full
16:9 widescreen TV. playback because the data on the disk does not have
to be converted by the player from 1.85:1 into 1.78:1 (i.e. 16:9)
ratio. This can result in the squashed, tall and thin look if viewed on
a normal TV. (4:3 ratio), but this is corrected if the DVD player is
set to 4:3 ratio or 'letterbox' playback in its Options screen, so
don't worry if you don't have Widescreen TV....yet.
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Q: Who's directed the
Godfather films ?
A: Francis Ford Coppola