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Superbit DVD Information Superbit DVD Information
Superbit What is a Superbit DVD?

Physically, a Superbit DVD is the same as any other standard movie DVD. They are dual layer and can hold up to 8.5GB of data. The difference is in the data that is written to a Superbit DVD. When a movie is transferred onto DVD it under goes a complex form of compression to reduce the amount of space used in order for the movie to fit on a DVD.

When you include special features, extras, different sound formats, languages and so on, the amount of space available for the movie on a DVD is reduced even more. The compression used is a lossy compression algorithm, which simply means that information is lost as the movie is compressed. This results in some colour and detail information being thrown away as the movie is compressed. The same goes for the sound compression. On a Superbit DVD a movie is compressed much less then on a standard DVD. This results in less information being lost, which means the picture and sound quality is much better on a Superbit DVD then on a standard movie DVD. In order for the movie to still fit on a Superbit DVD the special features and extras are left out. Typically, a Superbit DVD has only one or two sound formats (including DTS), and the movie only.

Superbit DVD's really stand out when the picture is displayed on a big screen, like a big LCD screen or a projector. The detail and colour is jaw dropping and so to is the sound, especially the DTS sound.

When a movie DVD is played back on your Home Theatre PC, it must be uncompressed or decoded in order to see a picture. The amount of data that needs to be processed is called a Bit Rate. The higher the Bit Rate, the more information is being decoded. On a standard movie DVD the Bit Rate is 3.5 to 4. On a Superbit DVD the Bit Rate is 8 :-

Standard vs superbit DVD

HD-DVD and Blu-ray What about HD-DVD and Blu-ray?

Both HD-DVD and Blu-ray will hold much more data then a standard DVD. They use a blue laser which has a shorter wave length then a red laser and therefore can write much more data in the same space that a red laser can. A dual Layer HD-DVD holds 30GB and a dual layer Blu-ray DVD holds 50GB. In the end, this means a movie is compressed less which results in better picture and sound quality. Unfortunately, movies on HD-DVD or Blu-ray are not yet available in Australia, which means Superbit DVD's are currently the best quality available.

Is my Home Theatre PC future proof?

Yes, very much so, since a Home Theatre PC is technically a high quality PC, it will be a simple exercise to either replace a red laser DVD drive in your Home Theatre PC with a blue laser DVD drive or connect a separate blue laser DVD drive externally using either a USB or Firewire port. Blue laser DVD drives are backward compatible with red laser DVDs and still allow you to read and write all the current DVDs available today. Many manufactures have already released blue laser DVD drives which should be available in Australia soon.

Blu-ray DVD Drive

What's coming in the future?

Your guess is as good as ours, but there is already talk of a Holographic Versatile Disk (HVD) which combines both the blue and red lasers into a single beam and results in a DVD that can hold up to 1TB of data. That's 200 times more data then a standard single layer DVD. All this with a transfer speed of 1GB per second or 40 times the speed of a standard DVD.

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