Video media formats

These fall into 3 main categories - DVD, Video tape (VHS in UK), and multimedia (CD-ROM, video phone, iPod, Web etc).

Latest manufacture & duplication prices.

Advantage Disadvantage
DVD Easy and quick to navigate, through menus and chapter points. Resilient Not everyone has access to a DVD player - despite low cost of players
Very good picture/sound quality. Easy to freeze-frame & navigate fast forward/backward Boffins predict slight degradation after 5 years may lead to non-playablility.
Playable on set-top player, portable DVD player and many computers
Small & light for postal distribution
Options for custom-built menus, Multilingual & sub-titles
Video Tape Wide use in U.K. in both home and office Bulky for post/storage and prone to damage
No technical issues (in UK) Cannot 'jump' chapters
Reasonable to good quality picture Slow to navigate fast forward/rewind
Video quality may degrade slightly over the years, but is still watchable. DVD degradation can lead to it not being playable. Consumer sales favour DVD. Mainstream suppliers have now discontinued video and is fast becoming obsolete (2007)
CD Wide acceptability in UK amongst computer users. Compatibility is dependent upon age of users PC and software loaded
Low unit cost Small capacity (700mb)
Multimedia An increasing number of communication tools to reach target audiences / colleagues Requires hardware / software to gain access.
Access via Web / Internet, PDA, iPod, Video Phone, LAN / WAN... Viewing device often has small screen and audio speakers / earphones tend to be low quality.
Once on a distrbution platform/server it is instantly accessible to the world - no postal delays. Updates to media at single storage point avoids viewers watching out of date content (unlike DVD's in circulation)
No stock to maintain or become redundant.
HD DVD / Blu-Ray Higher image quality.
About 4 times greater resolution than 'Standard Definition' TV.

HD format now commonly used on social media sites such as YouTube. More information on
High Definition

Not yet widely adopted by the consumer, though Blu-Ray seems to have beaten it's 'HD DVD' competitor format.
High unit cost for media can be expected until the format becomes widely adopted

Over the last year the use of DVD has rocketed and the cost of 'blank' media has plummeted.
Manufacture - Productions over 500 units
A process of manufacture known as 'mirror pressing' ensures maximum compatibility on users DVD players. This is the same process as used by mass produced movies such as The Matrix, Harry Potter etc.
Productions under 500 units
The DVD duplication process may present technical problems on certain DVD players. This is due several factors
  • The number of different DVD formats (-R, -RW, +R and +RW).
  • The copying process, which is simpler than the above 'mirror' process.
  • The resulting reflectivity of the DVD
Industry feedback suggests this incompatibility is less than 5% and typically on DVD players over 2 years old.

Related topics you may find helpful:

DVD Menus and Authoring



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