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by Zach B.
You may not know these off the back of your hand, or know
them as well as your SAT vocabulary list. Either way, here
are some important DVD words and terms you should know.
STUDY THEM HARD!
Anamorphic - Also known as 16x9 enhanced,
Anamorphic simply means that the picture is formatted to fit
your screen if you own one of those widescreen TVs. Though
widescreen TVs are a small market as of now (a lot of people
use the standard square 4:3 shape televisions), Anamorphic
discs are very important if you own one. It also beneficial
because they give higher resolution (up to 33% more). If a
DVD is not anamorphic and you are watching it on a
widescreen television, it will be letterboxed in a 16x9
ratio and create a squished and somewhat distorted image.
This can be very annoying when watching. Still, square (4:3)
TV owners beware, make sure your DVD player is set to 4:3
letterbox mode when watching a DVD that is Anamorphic, or
the entire image will be fit into your box and it won't look
right. By setting it on 4:3 letterbox, the image will have
the proper letterboxing.
Dolby Digital - Dolby Digital is also used in
theaters, and every DVD player (I am pretty sure on that
one) has this decoding for you to get up to 5.1 channels of
sound, for the best home theater expierence possible. Still,
new recievers have 6.1, which was recently introduced in
theaters with "Star Wars Episode 1". A good majority of
movies have 5.1 (or hidden 6.1 "EX" mixes), but some DVDs
due retain the new EX mixes. If the movie is older or is a
TV show, it will most likely have 2.0 stereo or Surround
(see below), or mono. Some discs also have Digital in 2.0
and mono mixes.
Dolby Surround - Another good sound option,
Dolby Surround was the best and choice theater listening
option when it was introduced, before Dolby Digital came
along and you got a whole theater expierence. Either way,
Dolby Surround is still very good, and usually uses only two
speakers, but creates a "surround" effect. If you can't
afford a major sound system, Dolby Surround is a good
choice. A good majority of DVDs include 5.1 mixes and 2.0
(Surround) too, but some only 5.1 mixes. Usually for foreign
language tracks Surround is used. There are also Dolby
Surround 5.1 or 5.0 tracks, but usually it will be Dolby
Digital. Surround mixeds are more limited, but a lot better
DTS - Which is better? Dolby Digital or DTS?
Another sound option, more recent players have DTS and Dolby
Digital decoding. (A good majority of older players have
only Dolby Digital). Meaning Digital Theater Sound (this
sound is also used in theaters), the debate has always been
there which sounds better, and everyone has their opinions.
DTS also uses a few speakers and .1 LFE usually. Universal,
New Line, Artisan, Dreamworks Warner Bros., Fox, Disney and
a few other studios include both Dolby Digital and DTS on
some of their discs. Some Universal and Dreamworks discs are
released seperate, but others have both tracks. But because
DTS requires a higher bitrate which requires more space,
usually DVD supplements are scarce on DTS discs.
Easter Eggs - Not all DVDs have them, but
Easter Eggs are quite a joy to treasure (somewhat).
Basically, they are features, but they are hidden. Some
discs will tell you if they have them, some won't. But the
whole idea is that they don't tell you where, so you have to
start searching. Some notable DVDs that have Easter Eggs are
"Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" and "The Matrix".
Features - Also known as Supplements, Extras,
etc. Something that really sets DVD apart from VHS are extra
things included with movies. Though some Laserdiscs had
these, they were at a much steeper price, but DVD offers
great features with more superior picture and sound quality.
DVDs range from having nothing on them, to full blown our
special editions. Some features you may find on DVD are the
theatrical trailers, documentaries, featurettes (much
shorter behind the scenes making, but more promo like),
deleted scenes, TV spots, games and websites (if you have
DVD-ROM) and commentaries by people involved in the
production, just to name a few things DVD does offer.
Pan and Scan - Tons of DVD lovers and film fans
truly HATE this form of viewing. Pan and Scan (or "Pan and
Scam") can really ruin a movie when viewed on video format.
When videos are released for sale or rental, you usually can
only get them in a form of viewing to fit square TVs, a
ratio of 1:33:1. However, when titles are released as
sell-through or sometimes a couple of months later with
mass-market video, you can get them in widescreen. Still,
for the most part, a good majority of DVDs have widescreen
transfers. If you are watching a movie that was originally
shown is the ratio of 2:35:1 on a square TV, and it fills
the screen, you are losing 48% of the picture, and if you
notice in a lot movies, you lose a lot and gets annoying.
How does it get annoying? Well, for one thing, you don't
even see part of the scene, and if it's cut at the wrong
place, you may only see half of someone's body. But what
really annoys people is that sometimes it slowly (or if you
watch HBO, they do it fast, that gets on my nerves
tremendously) pans, so you see the whole widescreen image.
You see one part first, then it pans to the other part.
Still, if you are watching a show or special or whatever on
DVD, it makes no difference, because the original aspect
ratio was 4:3. "Open Matte" means you actually see more, a
top and bottom than the widescreen, and that it was matted
for widescreen during the theatrical run. "Full Frame" or
"Full Screen" is not Pan and Scan, there is no panning and
scanning, but you do lose the picture still. Basically a
movie stays in one place of the frame.
Widescreen - People get annoyed with the black
bars (except if you own a widescreen TV and the disc is
Anamorphic, where it fills the whole viewing area), but it's
easy to see why so many love Widescreen. You truly see the
original vision, nothing is lost and everything can be seen.
No scans, no chopping, no cropping, no nothing. A lot of
people like DVD because movies are offered in the widescreen
format, which I prefer. Widescreen ratios usually come in
1.78:1, 1:85:1, 2:35:1 or 2.40:1 (but they sure can