Do LDs sound better than DVDs?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tim Kline, Mar 26, 2002.

  1. Tim Kline

    Tim Kline Stunt Coordinator

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    A buddy of mine has been into this high tech movie stuff for many, many years. Today, he told me that his Dolby Digital Laserdiscs sould better than the same thing on DVD.. because the discs are better and the info/data is spread out more, or something like that. He loves DVDs, but he thinks LDs tend to sound better a lot of times...

    Is this true?
     
  2. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    No it won't sound better based on any technical merits,[your friend's is quiet funny though]but there are people who sides with LD and claim it as superrior,but none have definitive technical explanation,as why.
     
  3. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Technically DD LDs should sound no better than DVD, but some do (Saving Private Ryan is a good example). Who knows why, there's lots of supposition. For stereo or ProLogic PCM stereo LaserDiscs sound much better than DD stereo DVDs.
     
  4. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Could it be different Mixes??

    I rember i heard ppl saying that the DTS Laserdisc of Jurassic park was superior to the DD and the old (Screwed up) DTS version...

    IS the new DTS version just as good as the old LD one?
     
  5. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Here are some FAQ from the below site:
    http://www.dvd.com.br/dvd_faq.htm#2.7
    2.7] How does DVD compare to laserdisc?
    This is a dangerous question to answer, given the legions of laserdisc fanatics who would rather have their laserdiscs pried from their cold dead fingers than switch! But I'm a bit fanatical myself: I've used laserdiscs since 1979 and I work for a company whose major product is laserdiscs; so I'll give it a shot.
    Features: DVD has the same basic features as CLV LD (scan, pause, search) and CAV LD (freeze, slow) and adds branching, multiple camera angles, parental control, video menus, interactivity, etc. Some of these features will not be widely available, especially at first. Unlike CAV LD, DVD can't play backwards, single-step backwards, or do bi-directional multispeed (until the players get more video memory).
    Capacity: Single-layer DVD holds over 2 hours, dual-layer holds over 4 hours. CLV LD holds one hour per side, CAV holds half an hour. DVD can also hold hundreds of still pictures accompanied by over 20 hours of audio and text.
    Convenience: An entire movie fits on one side of a DVD, so there's no need to flip the disc or wait for the player to do it. DVDs are smaller and easier to handle. DVD players can be portable, similar to CD players. Discs can be easily and cheaply sent through the mail. On the other hand, laserdiscs have larger covers for better art and text.
    Noise: Most LD players make a whirring noise that can be heard during quiet segments of a movie. Some DVD players are as quiet as CD players, others are noisier.
    Audio: LD has better quality on Dolby Surround soundtracks. DVD has better quality on Dolby Digital or music only. LD has 2 audio tracks: analog and digital. DVD has up to 8 audio tracks. LD uses PCM audio sampled with 16 bits at 44 kHz. DVD LPCM audio can use 16, 20, or 24 bit samples at 48 or 96 kHz (although PCM won't be used with most movies). LD has surround audio in Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital (AC-3), and DTS formats. 5.1-channel surround sound is available by using one channel of the analog track for AC-3 or both channels of the digital track for DTS. DVD uses the same Dolby Digital surround sound, usually at the same data rate (384 kbps) but can go up to 448 kbps for better quality, and can optionally include DTS (at data rates up to 1536 kbps compared to LD's 1411 kbps, but in practice DTS data rates will probably be lower on DVD than on LD). DVD players convert Dolby Digital to Dolby Surround. This conversion (downmix) process can reduce dynamic range. Combined with the effects of compression, this usually results in lower-quality sound than from LD Dolby Surround tracks.
    Video: DVD usually has better video. LD suffers from degradation inherent in analog storage and in the composite NTSC or PAL video signal. DVD uses digital video, and even though it's heavily compressed, most professionals agree that when properly and carefully encoded it's virtually indistinguishable from studio masters. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean that the video quality of DVD, especially at first, WILL be better than LD. Only that it CAN be better. Also keep in mind that the average television is of insufficient quality to show much difference between LD and DVD. Home theater systems or HDTVs are needed to take full advantage of the improved quality. The arguments about DVD quality vs. LD quality will rage for a long time. The only final answer is to compare them side by side and form your own opinion.
    Resolution: In numerical terms DVD has 345,600 pixels (720x480), which is 1.3 times LD's approximately 272,160 pixels (567x480). Widescreen DVD has 1.7 times the pixels of letterboxed LD (or 1.3 times anamorphic LD). As for lines of horizontal resolution, DVD ~= 500, LD ~= 425, and VHS ~= 240. (All figures are for NTSC, not PAL.)
    Support: There are many more laserdisc players and discs. But there are already more announced DVD players than there are LD players. Many new computers will also be able to play DVD-Videos.
    Price: DVD players are not yet cheaper than the cheapest LD player, but the success of DVD-ROM will inevitably drive the price to level of CD players. Most movies on DVD cost less than on LD, except when priced for rental.
    Restrictions: For those outside the US, regional coding (see 1.10) is a definite drawback of DVD. For some people Macrovision copy protection (see 1.11) is an annoyance. Laserdisc has no copy protection and does not have regional differences other than PAL vs. NTSC.
    Again, it will take years for DVD to reach the number of titles, installed base, and even quality of production that laserdisc has. DVD and laserdisc will coexist for at least another decade. But the potential of DVD can't be ignored -- it's the most likely long-term successor to laserdisc.
    For more laserdisc info, see the Laserdisc FAQ at .
    [2.8] Can I modify or upgrade my laserdisc player to play DVD?
    It's not likely. DVD circuitry is completely different, the pickup laser is a different wavelength, the tracking control is more precise, etc. No hardware upgrades have been announced, and in any case they would probably be more expensive than buying a DVD player to put next to the laserdisc player.
     
  6. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    At the Widescreen review openhouse about 6 months back, they showed TPM on DVD (Not yet out at the time). The night before I had watched the LD and was frankly disappointed in the sound of the DVD (even if they were on $70,000 of speakers). When I talked to the WS review sound man, he sided with me on the disappointing sound of the DVD.

    The half as much bit rate of a DTS DVD really makes them sound castrated compared to DTS LDs
     
  7. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    Things have changed a bit since the FAQ cited above was created. Dolby Digital on DVD is usually 448kbps nowadays, which allows better performance than LaserDisc's 384kbps (the higher bit-rate permitting greater frequency response among other things). This is a purely technical difference, and no guarantee that DVDs will actually sound better.

    DTS on LaserDisc ran at 1235kbps, and although the first DTS DVDs used 1509kbps, most these days use 754kbps. At this bit-rate DTS is arguably worse than Dolby Digital at 448kbps.

    When comparing conventional stereo soundtracks, it's normally 192kbps Dolby Digital on DVD vs. 1411kbps PCM on LaserDisc. In this case it's usually no contest: LaserDisc wins.

    Adam
     
  8. SHAWN SZILEZY

    SHAWN SZILEZY Stunt Coordinator

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    Tim,

    I must second Philip's remarks. Some LD's do indeed sound better. Blade DTS LD definitely sounds better than its DVD counterpart.
     
  9. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    What about future higher density HD DVD? Although there's a lot more crap involved before we get there, isn't it safe to say that HD DVD will not sound worse than LD based on bitrate alone? It all depends on the mastering etc etc, but HD DVD's should technically have audio bitrates at least equal to what the best LD's had, right?
     
  10. Mattias_ka

    Mattias_ka Supporting Actor

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  11. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  12. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Geezz..I see. So its like I'm watching a DVD with MP3 sound? OK, not quite, but you know what I mean.

    So will HD DVD have enough bitrate and density to avoid compression of the lousy (lossy) kind?
     
  13. Andrew_Ballew

    Andrew_Ballew Second Unit

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  14. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    It's all supposition. I prefer Vince Maskeeper's theory about mastering differences that DVDs come out of multi-use computer systems whereas LD DD tracks used hi-fi dedicated purpose-built mastering technology for DD mastering. Who knows what the real reason is.
     
  15. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  16. Nick_Scott

    Nick_Scott Second Unit

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    I remember reading here a while back that alot of DVD DD tracks are dynamically compressed at the studio so not to damage cheap TV speakers. So that might also explain a difference.

    -nick
     
  17. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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