What DVD players are

What they are

DVD-Audio is a new format to deliver high-fidelity audio content on a DVD. It offers many channels (from mono to 5.1 surround sound) at various sampling frequencies and sample sizes. Audio on a disc can be 16, 20, or 24 bit and can be at sampling rates of 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, or 192 kHz (the highest sampling rates of 176.4 and 192 kHz are limited to stereo only). In addition, different sampling sizes and frequencies can be used on a single disc. Audio is stored on the disc in LPCM format or is losslessly compressed with Meridian Lossless Packing. The DVD-Audio player may downmix surround sound to stereo if the listener does not have surround sound. DVD-Audio may also feature menus, still images, slideshows, and video. Also, DVD-Audio discs usually contain Dolby Digital or DTS versions of the audio (with lossy compression, usually downsampled to lower sampling sizes and frequencies) in the DVD-Video section. This is done to ensure compatibility with DVD-Video players.

The introduction of the DVD-Audio format angered many early-adopters of the DVD format. While the DVD-Audio discs do have higher fidelity, there is debate as to whether or not the difference is distinguishable to typical human ears. DVD-Audio currently forms a niche market, probably due to requiring new and rather expensive equipment. DVD-Audio is currently (as of 2003) in a format war with SACD. Most market observers believe the winner of the war will eventually supplant the Compact Disc due to its superior playback capabilities, unless a new and superior format takes over from either.

Modern recorders often support additional formats, including DVD+/-R/RW, CD-R/RW, MP3, SVCD, JPEG, PNG, SVG, KAR and MPEG4 (DIVX/XviD). Some also include USB ports or flash memory readers. Many are priced at under $100.