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Jargon Buster Part 3 – Audio & Video Files: 12th August 2019

Monday, August 12th, 2019

This is the third and final article by Mark Smith our Director of Technology here at Duplication Centre; helping you to understand some of the terminology and abbreviations used in the industry.

Audio Files:

Unlike the disc image formats above, these are just individual audio files used by computers. They require ‘Authoring’ to a disc. Authoring a CD means taking the audio (in any of the formats) and writing it into a format and structure a simple CD player can understand and play

WAV

These are high quality audio files, very similar to standard CD-Audio. This is a very common format used in recording studios .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WAV

AIFF

AIFF is practically identical to WAV, but this format was developed by Apple in the late 80’s. Another very common format in recording studios.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_Interchange_File_Format

MP3

This is a digital music format created for sending audio over the internet. The great attraction of the MP3 format is its ability to compress files, allowing them to use much less space. Technically lower quality than the above audio formats, but not really in any noticeable way

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3

FLAC

The Free Lossless Audio Codec. This is a newer format which is able to compress audio to take up space just like an MP3, but does so in a ‘lossless’ way. This means the audio quality should not be degraded  in any way, but the file size will be noticeably smaller. A useful format that has only seen uptake in technical and audiophile community.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLAC

Video Files:

This section may appear a bit short, but I had to draw the line somewhere.  There are a very large number of video formats that have existed over the years, far too many to discuss here. In practice there are 2 very common ones.

All video formats will require ‘Authoring’ to make a standard DVD-Video disc (OR a Blu-Ray-Video disc) to be player in a standard player.  Simply burning a video file on a disc will not necessarily allow it to play in a standard player.

MP4

A modern high quality video format widely used in consumer and professional markets.

MOV

Another modern high quality video format widely used in consumer and professional markets. Developed by Apple.

 

 

Jargon Buster Part 1 – Master Discs:8th July 2019

Monday, July 8th, 2019

As in most Industries there are many terms and abbreviations which are used in duplication, that have become part of our ordinary language. For the uninitiated these terms can sometimes appear complicated and a bit daunting. This is especially true of file formats as some terms are used to define different entity’s even when working in the same markets!

 

Our Director of Technology Mark Smith has written a series for articles that we will publish over the next 3 weeks explaining  some of the most used terms,in relation the the optical media (CD, DVD and Blu-Ray) market. With links for more detailed explanations:

 

Physical Masters:

This simply means a hard copy CD or DVD which we can use to duplicate from.

 

Disc Image Formats:

The type of images here are not photographic images. The term relates to a ‘snapshot’ of the contents of a disc, the format and the exact layout.

The most important thing when working with disc images is you are sure you have formatted them correctly. Failing to do this will result in any discs made from them to be faulty. If there is any doubt, or you are new to this area, ask for help and advice. We have a team here who are always available for email, phone or online chat and will be very happy to help and advise you.

 

ISOnrg

An .iso image is a computer file that is an exact copy of an existing file system. ISO files are typically created through a software application that will extract the contents of a CD or DVD, and then write then as an exact electronic copy of the original disc to a file (a .iso file). This allows us to burn to burn an exact copy of the original onto CD or DVD.

Iso files are perfectly acceptable for CD-Rom and DVD-Video, but should not be used for CD-Audio due to technical restrictions

 

IMG

This format is very similar to a .ISO image with a few subtle changes and features which are beyond the scope of this article. For our purpose they can be used the same as an ISO, but more in depth information can be found in this article should you wish to learn more.

Like ISO files, .img should not be used for CD-Audio discs.

 

NRG

These files are a relatively new proprietary optical disc image file format. NRG files are used in the same way as other image formats, but are a more advanced and very versatile.

NRG files can be used for any type and format of disc, CD-ROM, CD-Audio, DVD-Video, Blu-Ray, etc.

NRG files on Wikipedia

 

DDP

This stands for Disc Description Protocol and is commonly used for delivery of disc pre-masters for commercial Glass Master Replication. The DDP format is compatible with all CD and DVD discs and is the industry professional format used in mass manufacture of discs. Although becoming more common, its a relatively unknown format used mainly within the optical media industry for transporting discs electronically between production facility’s and mastering houses.

DDP files can be accepted the same as all other listed image formats for duplication, but are not a specific requirement in any way. Further more detailed information on this format is available here.

 

Bin/Cue

This is a versatile image file format particularly useful for CD-Audio. The consist of two files,

  1. a binary data file (.bin file), This is the raw data of a disc, a solid block of information with no organisation.
  2. a Cue sheet (.cue file). This is a descriptive file, used to give structure and organisation to the raw binary (.bin) file.

Each of the Bin & Cue files are meaningless on their own, and must be provided together with their specific and matching partner, never mixed or edited. Further information of this file type can be found here.

 

 

The Blu-Ray

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

The Blu-ray Disc founder group was started in 2002 by MIT and nine leading Electronics Companies: Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer, Phillips, Thomson, LG Electronics, Hitachi, Sharp and Samsung Electronics.

 

The name is taken from the blue laser that is used to read from and record to a Blu ray disc, the blue laser allows for a much higher density and hence a larger storage capacity and so the Blu-Ray disc is a digital optical disc data storage format.

It was designed to supersede the DVD format, and is capable of storing several hours of video in high definition (HDTV 720p & 1080p) and Ultra High Definition Resolution (2160p).

Although the Blu-Ray disc looks exactly the same as a DVD in size and shape there are many differences between media including storage capacity,laser technology and disc construction,image resolution and player compatibility.

The Blu-Rays storage capacity is measured in gigabytes (GB), like computers and ipods.

Storage Comparison:

DVD Single Layer: Can store about 4.7GB data which is about two hours worth of movie at Standard Definition…these are commonly referred to as DVD 5’s.

DVD Dual Layer: Can store twice the amount of data at 8.7 GB which equals about four hours of movie at Standard Definition ….these are commonly referred to as DVD 9 ‘s.

Blu-Ray Single layer: Can store approximately 25Gb data, this equals about 2 hours of High Definition Information or 13 hours of Standard Definition Information.

Dual Layer Blu-Ray :can store about 50GB data which is about 4 hours of High Definition Information or 26 hours of Standard Definition.

Laser Technology

Lasers are used in both DVD and Blu-ray technology .As the disc spins the laser reads the information stored on the discs and transfers both the picture and the sound to the television.

DVD: DVD players use a red laser at 650nm wave length to read DVD discs

Blu-Ray : Blu-Ray players use a Blue laser to read the stored information; the wave lenghts are shorter than the red at 405nm and are smaller in diameter, this allows for a closer and more precise reading of the information on the disc.

Disc Construction:

Physically DVD and Blu-Ray discs are the same in appearance:both have circular tracks on their bottom layer that enables the laser to read information stored on the spinning disc.

The tracks on a DVD are much further apart than on the Blu-Ray; you will see that it follows from this that the amount of information that can be stored on each type of disc is different; the Blu-Ray having the far greater storage capacity.In short a Blu-ray can squeeze about 5 times as many tracks onto the same size disc as a DVD.

Both DVD and Blu-Ray have a protective layer designed to resist scratching; the Blu-Ray in addition has a hard coating that makes it more scratch resistant.

Image Resolution

This is measured by the number of vertical lines times the number of horizontal lines of light in a picture.It is represented by the number of horizontal lines going across the screen like 480, 720 or 1080.The higher the number, the higher the resolution the more detailed the picture you see.

DVD: Almost all DVD’s have standard definition of 480 or enhanced definition of 520.This look ok on a standard television,utilising all the available pixels on the screen. If however this is blown up to a large HDTV the picture may look grainy.

Blu-Ray: The Blu-Ray was designed for the high definition 1080 display….since they can store 25 GB data you can fit a whole High Definition movie on a single layer. Blu-Ray currently has the best image resolution on the market and looks amazing on HDTV, they are one of the only sources that display in 1080.

Player Compatibility:

Happily Blu-ray Players support DVD’s and the image will be decent but obviously not the high definition quality of a Blu-ray.

Due to the  larger lasers used in DVD players they it cannot read the tiny grooves on a Blu-ray disc.

In short you can play a DVD in a Blu-ray player but you cannot play a Blu-ray in a DVD player.

 

Lastly and very importantly Blu-Ray can handle 4K (Ultra HD)...we don’t need an new type of disc for our new TV’s; you can have it all with the Blu-Ray !

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