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DVD-Audio 'compatibility' (1 Viewer)

Jack Kelsey

Agent
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
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49
There are a number of DVD-Audio disks out there - such as:
SilverLine - Big Phat Band
Warner Bros. Bela Fleck/Blue Grass Sections
Warner Bros. Joni Mitchell/Both Sides Now
All disks claim EXPLICITLY that they are designed to play on ANY DVD player - but will give the advanced resolution only if the player is a DVD-Audio player.
Has anyone had trouble with these disks not playing AT ALL on a REGULAR DVD player?
 

KeithH

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2000
Messages
9,413
Jack, I have one Silverline DVD-Audio disc, and it plays just fine on my DVD-Video player (Sony DVP-C670D changer). I can readily access the Dolby Digital and DTS tracks on the 'C670D.
 

Eugene Hsieh

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
550
These discs should include content in both the AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS directories. A "pure" DVD-Video disc has an empty AUDIO_TS directory. Similarly, a "pure" DVD-A disc would have an empty VIDEO_TS directory.

VIDEO_TS is what is seen by a normal DVD player. AUDIO_TS is what is seen by a DVD-Audio player, but is completely ignored by a standard DVD-Video player.

Thus, a standard DVD-Video player will just see the disc as a standard DVD-Video disc. It should work fine as long as the disc has been properly authored. My Bjork one does.
 

Craig F

Second Unit
Joined
Jul 5, 2001
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276
Real Name
Craig
I have the Big Phat Band and the Bela Fleck discs. Both play fine on my Toshiba 2108 player.
 

Mike Veroukis

Second Unit
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May 8, 2001
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455
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Canada
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Michael
Here's a question...

Let's say I'm trying to listen to one of those DVD-A discs that has been authored to run on your typical DVD players. If for example the DVD in question has both DD and DTS tracks, do you need to turn on the TV and select which one you want via menus? Or does the DVD automatically start playing in one of the two formats. You could then just switch between PCM, DD and DTS with the audio button on the remote.

The reason I ask is because I'd hate having to switch on the TV to select the sound format and then hit play when I just want to listen to music.

- Mike
 

Eugene Hsieh

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
550
Depends on the disc I guess, just like with DVD-Video discs with music (ie. DVDs with music video compilations).
If they have authored it to play automatically, it will. If they have not authored it to play automatically, it won't. For instance, my Sarah McLachlan music video compilation DVD-Video will play automatically, whereas my Moby disc will not. My Bjork Vespertine DVD-Audio disc in DVD-Video mode defaults to the menu and sits there for a while. If it receives no input it starts playing from the beginning.
By the way, I have confirmed an incompatibility with the Bjork Vespertine DVD-Audio disc on a non-DVD-A DVD player.
It plays fine as DVD-A on my Panasonic RP91. It also plays fine as DVD-Video on my Window XP box and my Apple iBook. However, on my Apex AD-600A it locks up on the menu. This is with both the Region 1 and the all-Region firmware. (My Apex has a dual boot firmware.) However, Apex machines are not known to follow the specs to the letter, so it is probably the machine's fault.
 

Jason Kent

Grip
Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Messages
17
So is the presumption then that if any of these 'special' DVD's play on some DVD players and yet do not play on a particular DVD player - then THAT DVD player is either defective and/or not made to accepted DVD 'specs?'
 

Eugene Hsieh

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
550
No, I suppose it could be either the disc or the player. In my case I blame the player because Apex's have a reputation for being buggy.
 

Sihan Goi

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 2, 2001
Messages
442
If these DVD-A discs are played on normal DVD-V players, will the audio be stereo only or 5.1? Will it be uncompressed PCM or compressed DD/DTS/DPL?
 

Philip Hamm

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 23, 1999
Messages
6,874
If these DVD-A discs are played on normal DVD-V players, will the audio be stereo only or 5.1? Will it be uncompressed PCM or compressed DD/DTS/DPL
Typically the audio is DD5.1 only on the DVD-V compatability mode. Some people without DVD-A players think this track sounds OK, but in my experience it sounds fairly dreadful when compared to the DVD-A track. Now when there is a DTS track that's a different story. DTS seems to handle music nicely.
 

Jason Kent

Grip
Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Messages
17
EH:

I meant that if OTHER non-DVD-A players will play particular DVD-A discs, wouldn't that mean the DVD player that doesn't play particular DVD-A discs (reads 'no disc') is either defective or built to the wrong standard? (the DVD-Forum has stated that ALL DVD disks should at least PLAY - whether the DVD player is DVD-Video or DVD-Audio - and they are the ones that make the 'standards')
 

Eugene Hsieh

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
550
I can't answer your question. I'm just an end user. ;)
However, I do note that the Apex machines have lots of weird bugs on discs which seem to work fine on 98% of other players. The firmware updates I've installed have solved the vast majority of these bugs, but it looks like I've discovered another.
In an ideal world all discs would work to a specific standard and all players would work with that standard, but it doesn't seem to be the case.
 

Micahel C

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 29, 2001
Messages
205
Jason, In most cases, if a disc is defective, then it won't play in any player. The fact that it won't play in a particular player, doesn't mean the player is necessarily defective however. There are a number of discs, the special Boz Skaggs-Dig dvd-a comes to mind that will play in some players and not in others. In this case, it had something to do with how the disc was mastered. Usually a firmware upgrade of the player will solve the problem. I have the Pioneer 47a and have yet to find any disc in any format that won't play on it, including several titles that were mentioned on this forum as not working on a number of players. I can't recall them all but if memory serves me correctly, the Grateful Dead-American Beauty, Clapton & King-Riding With The King and the Emerson, Lake & Palmer-Brain Salad Surgery, along with the previously mentioned Skaggs-Dig dvd-a's were the ones most often mentioned as not playing in a variety of different players.
 

Jason Kent

Grip
Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Messages
17
OK - well all these 'no disc' results have been in an 'Apex' player - including the discs mentioned at the very beginning. (And yet they all play in many other regular DVD players tried).

And EH says that this seems to be expected from Apex - 'non-standard' - to me that means a defective model/player.

Just amazing that this can happen when the DVD Forum supposedly sets down clear specs.
 

Eugene Hsieh

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
550
Hehe,

Apex is notorious for not following the rules, so this ain't a surprise.

By the way, the big guns don't follow the rules either all the time.

When I was in China I noticed that the Panasonic and Pioneer machines were also region free straight from the factory, something which is clearly against the DVD Forum's rules.

Even when companies do try to follow the rules glitches are bound to happen. For instance, problems with early Toshiba machines esp. with branched discs, etc. Toshiba rejigged their firmwares for later machines, and the authoring companies actually remastered some of the discs.
 

Robert Woods

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 22, 2001
Messages
51
I can understand a factory not following 'standards' and thus widening their market - as per the 'region-free' production that EH mentions.

But what 'advantage' accrues to Apex by producing DVD players that will not play DVD discs that the disc itself says should play on ALL DVD players - DVD-Audio, DVD-Video - whatever.

This would seem to me to be just 'bad/defective design' - ??
 

Eugene Hsieh

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
550
From your posts it seems you guys think that creating a "perfect" DVD player is an easy thing. I know nothing about the technical side of this, but I'm sure it's quite difficult to create a good quality machine that follows the specs perfectly.
The thing about Apex is they make their sales not on maximizing quality with strict adherence to specs. Quite the contrary: they make their money by creating players that have a bazillion features (many of which that are not part of the DVD 1.0 Spec), at an ultra-low price. Quality be damned, and people will still buy them for these reasons. (Indeed, lately there has been a mad rush to buy a specific model of the Apex, because it can play MP3 off of DVD-R, something that basically no other player can do.)
Hell, I even have an Apex for its features as everyone in this thread knows. See my hacked dual boot Apex AD-600A here. However, I use my Panasonic RP91 for 98% of my viewing (and lately to test my own home DVDs authored on DVD-RAM on my iBook).
 

Micahel C

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 29, 2001
Messages
205
Another thing that needs to be noted about Apex is that until just recently, they were not paying any licensing fees to anyone for their dvd-v or dvd-a players. This means that they can undersell all of the competition and they can basically build their units without any restrictions what-so-ever. The fact that so many of their players have problems should not come as a surprise to anyone.
 

Jason Kent

Grip
Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Messages
17
From your posts it seems you guys think that creating a "perfect" DVD player is an easy thing. I know nothing about the technical side of this, but I'm sure it's quite difficult to create a good quality machine that follows the specs perfectly
Well, it would certainly seem if mainstream DVD disc manufacturers like Silverline and Warner Brothers write ALL OVER the discs that they are playable on ALL DVD players if they have EITHER a DVD-Video OR DVD-Audio logo, that this is not 'rocket science' and fits into 'normal specs.'
 

Adam Barratt

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Oct 16, 1998
Messages
2,345
Real Name
Adam
Well, it would certainly seem if mainstream DVD disc manufacturers like Silverline and Warner Brothers write ALL OVER the discs that they are playable on ALL DVD players if they have EITHER a DVD-Video OR DVD-Audio logo, that this is not 'rocket science' and fits into 'normal specs.'
These discs should certainly playable on all DVD players, but not all DVD disc players are 'official' DVD players.
To carry the official DVD logo, a player's manufacturer must be a paid-up member of the DVD Forum. Their licence fee includes full disclosure of the format books (the format's technical foundations and the technology required to make a DVD player) and use of the official DVD logo. Any DVD player manufactured by a Forum licensee must also undergo a mandatory verification process by the Forum to ensure it complies with format specifications.
However, many manufacturers don't want to pay the $20k charged for the licence, or to spend the money needed to develop a player that meets format specifications, or to have their players examined and tested. They have instead created the playback software in their players 'on the cheap' without access to the official format specifications. These players could be sold legitimately anywhere as they are, but these manufacturers have gone one step further and illegally plastered the official DVD logo on their players. This helps them sell, but is misleading and makes these machines 'pirate' or rogue players.
Manufacturers that have sold these badged players include Apex (who have only recently begun paying royalties after being sued by Sony in April). Because of these shortcuts players from these manufacturers can be sold extremely cheaply, but compatibility problems are inevitable.
The DVD Forum and several of the major players behind the format have recently begun to take action against these practices (with good results in Europe). But with demand for cheap DVD players high from both consumers and retailers, lax Chinese intellectual property laws and interception/identification a low priority for customs, it may be some time before these sorts of 'rogue' players are totally eliminated.
Read these articles for related information: Apex settle with Sony; DVD Player Pirate Crackdown
Adam
 

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