New members to the site often have questions that are frequent topics on the forum. We encourage you to start your DVDTalk experience with this thread and check back frequently as information changes often. If you are new to setting up a Home Theater, a good place to start is THX Hometheater 101
For DVDTalk information we urge people to please
check out a few threads first. This will help keep a wider range of topics current on the front page. The search
feature is very effective for current comments on a topic. As always we are looking for a new perspective on any topic but many are answered right here.
When is xxxx title coming out?
I'm having trouble with xxxx title, what now?
What is a HD DVD and Blu Ray?
What will happen to my TV next year?
Where do I buy....?
What are commentaries?
Where is the best deal on....?
My movies have a slight pause in the middle?
What are aspect ratios/why the black bars?
What are the different kinds of cases and where can I buy replacements?
What does "xxxx" mean?
What is/where do I find Easter Eggs?
What are the different names assigned to members and how do they change?
: Unlike 10 years ago when DVD was in it's infancy, there are numerous ways to find out when your favorite title, special edition, re-release, Hi-def version etc. will be released. All the major retail sites have search features which for the most part are kept pretty well up to date. There are literally dozens of sites devoted to DVD. One of the original is www.thedigitalbits.com
they also have a nice selection of releases and reviews.
TV Shows: www.tvshowsondvd.com
DVDTalk release list http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/bargain.php
Still Waiting For:
The good news is that when I started this thread almost 10 years ago, requested titles included Back To The Future, The Godfather Jurassic Park, Men In Black, and Star Wars to name just a few. Now we are waiting again for the Hi-def versions
We now have the SD releases down to the following:
The Rest of Disney, Incredible Shrinking Woman, Legend Of Billie Jean, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Song of the South, Under The Rainbow, Wuthering Heights: SE.
I'm Having Trouble
I'm having trouble with xxxx title, who else, what now, what about...?
Usually after a title is released and a defect arises, a "one and only" problem thread will be created. There are numerous reasons for problems ranging from defective authoring to player issues. If you have a Blu-ray player make sure your firmware is up to date. Details can be found in the HD talk section or on the manufacturers website.
I have the following question regarding Hi-definition?
There is an entire segment of the forum devoted to hi definition. In a nutshell, standard DVD delivered 480 lines of resolution. Hi Definition delivers up to 1080 lines of resolution. The numbers you'll see most often are 720p and 1080p each representing the number of lines of resolution. In order to enjoy Hi Definition you will need a Blu Ray DVD player and a TV capable of 1080 lines of resolution. For further information, please visit our HD Talk forum
I upgraded to Blu-ray but don't notice much of a difference?
You will find several threads on this topic in HD Talk. If you aren't noticing much of a difference between your standard DVD's and the Blu-ray discs, first make sure you are using a Blu-ray player hooked up to a TV capable of 720p or 1080p via HDMI. Make sure the output of the player is set to 1080p (or 720p) and the TV is calibrated for optimum picture www.tweaktv.com
. Quite frankly there are a few Blu-ray discs that are not much of an improvement over standard DVD (Total Recall) and there are some standard DVD's that look stunning when upconverted (Titanic SE). Sometimes the size of the TV will limit the ability to notice an improvement. With the right equipment, settings and disc 80 - 90% of hi-definition media will kick standard DVD's ass.
What are the best movies to demonstrate or try out my new Blu-ray setup?
Movie quality, picture quality, audio quality are all highly subjective. The following movies are among the members' favorites to show off their Home Theater to visitors: Baraka, Blade Runner, Cars, Casino Royale, Curse of The Golden Flower, Into The Blue, No Country For Old Men, The Other Boleyn Girl, Pirates of The Caribbean, Planet Earth, Ratatouille, Spiderman 3, Transformers
. This list is by no means everything but it offers some different audio formats, genres and aspect ratios in which to show off your stuff.
Blu-rays with the best PQ
Most and Least impressive HD release you've seen
What's your demo disc
Can you recommend the 10 best BR's to get
Do I go with 720p or 1080p. Will I notice a difference?
You'll find numerous threads in HD talk devoted to this subject. Although you'll find as many opinions as threads, the general concensus is that depending on how far away you sit from the TV, anything less than a 40" will be unable to notice a discernable difference between 720p and 1080p. In many cases people feel that even up to a 50" the extra money may not be worth it.
What is an HDMI cable and where do I get one?
HDMI stands for Hi Definition Multimedia Interface. The quickest and easiest way to get all the benefits of your Blu-ray player including upconverting standard material and the latest HD sound is to have a HDMI v1.3 compatible receiver and player connected via an HDMI cable. Without a doubt the best place is www.monoprice.com
What do all the different types of audio mean on my Blu-ray (or HD-DVD)? Which is better?
In the old days it was pretty simple, there was Dolby Digital 2.0, 5.1 or DTS usually 5.1. DTS was generally accepted as the better sounding format however space on the disc often required having fewer special features. Now enter the hi-def formats, with more space on the disc for better video, it makes sense that better audio formats were to follow. You will see the terms Dolby Digital, DD plus, DTS-HD, PCM, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, Lossless and Uncompressed used to describe the included audio tracks. To get the full benefit of these enhanced audio tracks you generally need a Blu-ray
) and a receiver hooked up via HDMI cable capable of playing said formats. It is way too complicated to go in to which players, receiver, hookups, discs, etc, play which formats and how. For those desiring details regarding the formats our own Josh Z has authored a couple articles regarding the sound formats. Please check out Uncompressed vs. Lossless audio
and Hi-Def audio explained
Can I copy DVD's to DVD-r's or VHS to DVD-r?
There is software available on the internet which allows you to rip the information from a DVD and burn it to a copy. Although it is not technically illegal to own such software, using it is. There are combo VHS/DVD players allowing you to copy non-protected material to a DVD. Any discussion, questions, or promotion of such copywrite bypassing software or procedures is prohibited from the site.
I have an HDTV but not everything looks better
Although the terms have been used interchangeably by the media, digital is not necessarily hi-def. Some channels will be hi-definition however not all will be. Just because they are digital doesn't mean they'll be hi-def. Whether you are working from an antenna, cable or Dish, there will be some hi-def and some standard def broadcasts.
What are the different kinds of cases and where can I buy replacements?
The most common SD case is the Amaray Keepcase
. Most studios including Paramount, Universal and Columbia utilize this case. It is made of solid plastic with a printed insert for the cover. The second style is a Snapper
. This is an early case utilized by WB and is made of printed cardboard with a plastic snap across the front. Not used on new releases any more. Some IMAX and some bargain titles use a deluxe jewel
case. Much the same as a CD jewel case but taller like a DVD case. Hi Definition
have their own thinner version of the Amaray case. Replacements are available through various sources such as bagsunlimited.com. DVDTalk cases, covers and inserts thread
My movies seem to have a slight pause or freeze frame near the middle.
Put simply, in order to fit all the information on one side of the DVD, the technology utilizes two layers of information. That delay is the laser reaching the end of layer 1 and finding layer 2. Not as big of a deal any more but was very noticeable with early players
What about commentaries?:
Commentaries are additional audio tracks that can be listened to while viewing the movie. Instead of hearing the dialogue you'll hear from the actors, directors, production staff, in some cases historians or other experts. They range from extremely entertaining and informative to downright boring. Before you waste 2 hours of your life listening to the wrong commentary, check out http://www.ratethatcommentary.com
What about Easter Eggs?
Easter Eggs are extra features that are not apparent when first viewing the menu. They are accessed by highlighting something on the menu or entering a code. They can range anywhere from outakes to another version of the film. Many are quite interesting, some are more trouble than they're worth. Check out:
(courtesy of Wizdar and Todd B.))
Aspect Ratios, Widescreen, 16x9
What does 2.35:1 and 1.85:1 mean? Why do I have Black Bars on my TV? I have a widescreen TV and I still have black bars, what gives? What is Anamorphic, Widescreen, Pan and Scan or 16 x 9?
DVD is meant to be "Home Theater", not video. Aspects of that "Home Theater" are; superior sound delivered in PCM, Dolby Digital, or DTS and superior picture presented as it was in the theaters
; ie. widescreen. Aspect ratio is the width by the height. So 2.35:1 is roughly 2 1/3" wider than every inch tall. The most common movie ratio is 1.85:1. Your traditional TV is 4:3 or 1.33:1. In order to fit a rectangle into a square, information has to be removed from each side in the form of Pan and Scan, added to the top and bottom called "open matte or full frame", or reduced and "letterboxed" to see the whole picture, hence the Black Bars. Although the picture itself is smaller, more of the information is being presented. New Widescreen TV's are 16:9 or 1.78:1. So some movies will still have black bars however they will be greatly reduced. By the way, most movies made before 1953 were in a 1.33:1 ratio. It was at this point that movies trying to compete with television decided wider was better. Gone With The Wind
and Wizard of Oz
are supposed to be square.
What are the different names I see for DVDTalkers and how do they change?
They'll change automatically as your post total increases.
New Member - 0
Cool New Member - 20
Member - 50
Senior Member - 250
DVD Talk Special Edition - 1000
DVD Talk Gold Edition - 2000
DVD Talk Platinum Edition - 3000
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition - 4000
DVD Talk Limited Edition - 5000
DVD Talk Hall of Fame - 7500
DVD Talk Legend - 10000
DVD Talk Hero - 25000
DVD Talk Godfather - 50000
DVD Talk God - 100000
Where do I buy...?
DVDTalk DVD Bargains Forum
DVD Price search
ZDNet article for first time shoppers
DVDTalk web site for price comparison
Information on hardware deals and feedback:
DVDTalk Hardware section
Online Equipment Reviews
Palebluedot's Hardware FAQ
Anamorphic Widescreen or Enhanced for Widescreen presentations
. - The process of including more lines of resolution into a presentation
- Unusual or unwanted effects caused by the technology and processes used to display motion pictures.
= Brick and Mortar Store or retail location
= Criterion is an independant video company that licenses movies from other movie studios and produces special editions from them.
= Dolby Surround, L/R stereo, Center, Mono Rears, aka Pro-Logic
= Dolby Digital, 5.1 (AC-3) Above plus stereo rear channels and .1 LFE bass channel
Digital Theater Sound, also 5.1 but specially mixed to enhance sound.
DD Tru HD
- Dolby Digital in Hi Def
- Equivalent of cranking up the sharpness control.
- Hi Definition Multimedia Interface. One cable does it all.
= Original Aspect Ratio
= Out of Print
The portion of the movie blocked by the edges of your TV screen
Interlaced- Interlaced scanning doubles the rate of images displayed by first scanning all the odd numbered lines and then scanning all the even numbered lines - or vice-versa depending on the equipment. Each of these half-images are called fields. Two fields comprise the original image and are called a frame. This gets rid of the flicker, but it also does not display frames as clearly and solidly as progressive does.
- Little square pixels become noticeable, looks like it's melting
Progressive scanning attempts to mimic film by scanning the complete image, line after line, consecutively. However, this takes some time for each frame, and introduces an effect known as flicker. To get rid of flicker, most progressive scan devices double the frame rate to 60 fps - which is the same as the field rate of interlaced video. However, to do that if converting interlaced into progressive, means replicating info (see conversion methods below). The following image is a simplification of a one progressive scanned frame. The tiny white lines are placed there only to allow you to see the separate scan lines, but are not part of the actual progressive image:
A provision that players will accept DVD discs that are authored and encoded for use in one of six designated world regions. This technique was developed to enable Motion Picture companies to release movies at different times in different regions.
- 720p has a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9, a vertical resolution of 720 pixels and a horizontal resolution of 1280 pixels for a total of 921,600 pixels. Opinions differ however all will agree that on smaller screens 720p will suffice instead of 1080p
- 1080p can be referred to as full HD or full high definition to differentiate it from other HDTV video modes. This creates a frame resolution of 1920×1080, or 2,073,600 pixels in total.
= Someone who signs on to a forum with the express purpose of causing trouble. Usually starts a thread announcing a hatred for something the forum approves or embraces.
= What the F***?
For more definitions, check out:
The Big Picture
DVD Price Search
DVD reviews list of P&S, Flippers, DTS, anamorphic, etc.
Movie Information Database
Online Tracking of DVD lists:
When in doubt on any subject, utilize the search feature. It never hurts to resurrect a thread with additional input or a question.
For the definitive list of FAQ's which will answer everything anyone ever wanted to know, please consult the DVD Demystified Complete FAQ