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Video Product Information

We offer a tremendous selection of today's newest and hottest video products including almost 100,000 motion pictures, thousands of music videos, DVD Audio titles and more. We also carry a complete catalog of hard-to-find and specialty video products.

DVD Encoding
The majority of DVD titles that we carry are NTSC Region 1 coded. However, those DVDs marked as “all regions” are also formatted for NTSC television systems and may not play properly on PAL and SECAM systems (See the Television Formats section below). Region coding is displayed on almost every DVD webpage under the "Detailed Information" section. If this notation is missing, then the DVD is presumed to be NTSC Region 1 coded. Please consult your DVD player’s documentation or manufacturer for DVD disc compatibility.

The following list is a general overview of the regions:
REGION 2Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East, Greenland
REGION 3S. Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Parts of South East Asia
REGION 4Australia, New Zealand, Latin America (including Mexico)
REGION 5Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Africa
REGION 7Reserved for broadcasting
REGION 8Special international venues (airplanes, cruise ships, etc.)
REGION 0 or REGION ALLDiscs are non-coded and can be played Worldwide, however, PAL discs must be played in a PAL-compatible unit and NTSC discs must be played in an NTSC-compatible unit. Most discs labeled "All Region" that we carry are NTSC Region 0.

Why are there different regions?
In order to control the release of movies worldwide, motion picture studios in the USA created DVD region codes. Movies are released on DVD at different times around the world, typically North America first, Australia and Japan 6 months later, and Europe 12 months after the US release. In some instances, DVD movies are available for purchase in America and Canada before they hit the box office in Europe. For this reason, Region 1 DVDs cannot play on Region 2-6 DVD players.

Television Formats
There are basically three types of television systems around the world. The following list shows the country/continent association with each format:

NTSC - North America, Japan and parts of South America.
PAL - Europe (excluding France), Scandinavia, Australia, and India.
SECAM - Eastern Europe and France.

Almost all DVDs sold at CD Universe are formatted for NTSC systems. They will not play properly on other television systems unless you have a multi-player DVD player, which converts NTSC to PAL or SECAM. Please check your DVD player’s documentation for this special feature.

All VHS tapes we carry are NTSC formatted.

Blu-ray Disc Encoding
In contrast to DVDs, there are only 3 coding regions for Blu-ray discs: Region A, Region B, and Region C (some studios use Region 1, Region 2, and Region 3). The option of coding a Blu-ray disc depends on the preferences of the production studio. Like DVDs, a Blu-ray disc formatted for one region will not play in another region.

The following list is a general overview of the Blu-ray regions:

REGION A/1North America, Central America, South America, Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia
REGION B/2Europe, Greenland, French Territories, Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand
REGION C/3India, Nepal, Mainland China, Russia, Central and South Asia

Video Format Definitions   
Below is a glossary of terms used to describe and differentiate certain video products.

Anamorphic Widescreen: A standard television set is 1.33 times wide as it is tall, and is usually referred to as 4:3 since it's width is 4/3 of it's height. However, widescreen televisions are now available and are 1.78 times wide as they are tall, or 16:9. Anamorphic DVDs are specially mastered to stretch the picture 33% wider and 33% taller to fit the entire screen of the 16:9 television. The black bars on the top and bottom of the picture will still be present because the widescreen television set dimensions are still short of the 1.85 or 2.35 aspect ratios of widescreen DVDs. Nevertheless, the picture will appear larger and in finer detail. Anamorphic DVDs are playable on standard 4:3 sets, but will display the same way as standard 1.85 and 2.35 DVDs. For additional information on the widescreen format, please see the widescreen listing below.

Aspect Ratio: The aspect ratio refers to the comparative width and height of a video image. A standard television set is 1.33 times wide as it is tall, or 4:3, since its width is 4/3 of its height. Widescreen televisions are 1.78 times wide as they are tall, or 16:9. Typical video aspect ratios are 1.33:1 (full frame/pan & scan); 1.66:1 (older widescreen/letterbox format) 1.85:1 (widescreen/letterbox) and 2:35:1 (widescreen/letterbox). Please see the definitions for full frame, pan & scan, and widescreen/letterbox for complete information on these terms. For a visual representation of common aspect ratios please refer to the diagram at the bottom of this page.

Blu-Ray: A Blu-ray disc (BD) is an optical disc format that was developed to enable recording, rewriting, and playback of high-definition video. With Blu-ray discs, consumers can expect crystal-clear 1080p video resolution (if viewed on an HDTV) and as many as 7.1 channels of uncompressed surround sound. Unlike standard CDs and DVDs, BDs are read by a shorter, more precise blue wavelength laser. They also have the capacity to store up to 25GB of data on a single-layer disc, and up to 50GB of data on a dual-layer disc.

Blu-ray discs are only playable on Blu-ray compatible players and devices. An HDTV and a surround sound audio system (5.1 or above) are recommended for optimal playback, but are not required.

Clamshell: This type of packaging is a hard plastic case that opens from the side, like a book. It is most commonly found among Disney and children's titles.

Closed Caption: This is an option that allows dialogue and sound effects to be printed out at the bottom of the television screen. A TV set would have to be Closed Caption enabled in order to take advantage of this feature.

Digital Copy: A digital copy of the movie embedded in the DVD or delivered as a Web download for playback on computers and portable video devices. You can read more about digital copy and how it works here.

DVD Audio (DVD-A): DVD-Audio is a high definition audio format that has 24-bit/192 stereo or 96kHz (5.1 surround) sound. This format features sharp transient response, with clear reproduction of high frequency instruments such as cymbals and rich, authentic timbre in the mid and low frequencies. Rapid high-frequency passages show excellent definition of individual notes, while stereo imaging presents a precise sound stage with great depth and solidity. DVD-Audio discs are also capable of carrying video, like DVD-Video titles, and include limited interactivity. DVD-A discs are best played on DVD-Audio players and newer DVD-Video players that are compatible with the DVD-Audio format. Some DVA titles will feature a Dolby Digital stereo track, making the disc compatible with most DVD-Video players. You cannot play this format on conventional CD players.

EZ-D: EZ-D™ is a new convenience based DVD format that plays a full length feature movie in any player, drive or gaming system designed to accept standard DVDs. Once removed from its packaging, the movie can be viewed as many times as desired within the 48 hour window. After the 48 hours elapses, the disc becomes unreadable by the DVD player.

Dolby: Dolby revolutionized tape recording in the late 1960s and early 1970s with Dolby A-type (for professional applications) and Dolby B-type (for consumer applications) noise reduction. Later in the 1970s Dolby revolutionized film sound with the Dolby Stereo analog sound system. Dolby Stereo brought 4-channel sound to the movie theater with three channels of sound in the front (left and right for music and effects and center for dialog) and a surround channel for effects and atmospheres. Then in the 1980s both tape recording and film sound saw significant improvements through the use of Dolby SR ("Spectral Recording").

Dolby Digital and AC-3: Dolby Digital provides up to 5.1 channels of crystal clear digital surround sound. This includes left, center and right channels in front of you to provide precise, clear positioning of dialogue. Separate or "discrete" left and right surround channels on the side and in the rear immerse you in the film with atmospherics and ambient sounds. A subwoofer/bass effects channel (referred to as a .1 channel due to the smaller number of bits needed for the information) contributes extra punch to action and special effects sequences. Dolby Digital 5.1 utilizes all channels. However, there are several variations such as Dolby Digital 1.0 and Dolby Surround 2.0, 3.0 or 5.0. The numbers indicate the amount of channels used.

The first name for the Dolby Digital sound format and comes from Audio Coding revision 3 (AC-3), the system used to encode and decode Dolby Digital soundtracks.

Digital Theater Systems (DTS): DTS is an audio encoding format similar to Dolby Digital. It was designed to encode the 5.1 channels of 20-bit audio onto any CD or DVD, with considerably less data-compression than any other competing system. Lesser data-compression yields greater audio fidelity. In order to take full advantage of a DTS-encoded DVD, a DVD player with a DTS encoder and a 5.1 speaker system is needed. However, the DVD itself will play normally on all standard DVD players.

Dual Layer: In order to provide over 4 hours of information on a single side of a DVD, a second semi-transparent recording layer is present in dual layered DVDs. When the player acknowledges the shift from one layer to the next, the layer change may cause a momentary pause in the playback of the film ranging from an instant to several seconds.

Dubbed: The audio track on this movie includes a spoken translation from the film's original language into the language indicated.

HD DVD: An HD DVD is an optical disc format that offers recording, rewriting, and playback of high-definition video. With HD DVDs, consumers can expect crystal-clear 1080p video resolution (if viewed on an HDTV) and as many as 7.1 channels of uncompressed surround sound. Like Blu-ray discs, HD DVDs are read by a short blue wavelength laser. However, HD DVDs hold less data and have a thicker surface layer. This does not mean that they are inferior to Blu-ray discs in terms of picture and audio quality. There is much debate as to whether HD DVDs or Blu-rays will be the major successor to the standard DVD format.

HD DVD discs are only playable on HD DVD compatible players and devices. An HDTV and a surround sound audio system (5.1 or above) are recommended for optimal playback, but are not required.

Keep Case: A keep case is a plastic DVD cover that opens like a book. The majority of DVDs are manufactured with this type of packaging.

Letterbox: See widescreen.

MPAA Ratings: The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries. Their voluntary rating system is as follows:

G - General Audiences. Suitable for all ages.
PG - Parental Guidance Suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
PG-13 - Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
R - Restricted. Not recommended for children under 17 without an accompanying parent or guardian.
NC-17 - Not suitable for viewers under 17.

A movie labeled "not rated" has not been submitted to the MPAA for a rating. An "unrated" movie usually contains additional footage that was not present in the MPAA-approved edition of the film. Sometimes this additional footage contains material that is not suitable for young viewers.

Music Video Interactive (MVI): A Music Video Interactive (MVI) disc is a DVD-based format that consists of music tracks, video content, and interactive features that are accessible via computer. It also contains digital files of each audio track on the disc that can be transferred to portable digital music players. MVIs are of higher audio quality than standard CDs and have the capability of offering high-definition video. The interactive features on the disc include an exclusive online interface from which you can access bonus content and a variety of computer applications.

A DVD playable device is required for playback of an MVI disc. In order to take advantage of all features on the disc, an Internet accessible device with a DVD-Rom drive is recommended. Standard CD players are not able to read MVI discs.

Pan & Scan (Full Frame): Pan and scan is a method of adjusting widescreen film images so that they can be shown within the proportions of an ordinary television screen. Usually, when an important piece of the image drops out of the visible screen, the picture is panned to the side to show this piece. The aspect ratio of Pan & Scan and Full Frame is 1:33. Please see the diagram below.

Scene Access: The ability to select the different "chapters" of a movie on a DVD.

Slip Sleeve: This type of packaging is a thin cardboard sleeve that fits over the VHS cassette. The majority of VHS titles utilize this packaging.

Snap Case: This type of DVD packaging consists of cardboard with a hinged plastic lock. The cover art is directly printed on the cardboard and is not detachable like a keep case.

Subtitled: These films have their original language audio tracks but also include a text translation on the screen in the indicated language.

THX: THX was established in 1983 by George Lucas to ensure that the entertainment consumer experienced films as the director intended. Today, THX Certification assures the finest picture and sound quality for cinemas, mixing studios, home theatres, DVDs, multimedia products, and luxury automotive vehicles. All THX Certified DVD titles are guaranteed to meet strict performance criteria and to be compatible with all video and audio playback systems. THX may be used in conjunction with the Dolby Digital or DTS audio formats to provide even better sound effects.

Widescreen (Letterbox): The majority of motion pictures are filmed in either the 1:85 or 2:35 aspect ratios. Since these ratios are wider than standard 4:3 (1:33 ratio) television sets, DVDs and VHS tapes must be formatted to fit the screen. To accomplish this, studios use the pan & scan or letterbox method. Letterboxing scales down the original widescreen image and inputs black bars at the top and bottom of the screen in the unused picture space. With this format, no parts of the original picture are omitted. In contrast, full frame/pan & scan media have parts of the image cut at the sides and "scans" back and forth when necessary to catch important information. Please see the illustrations below.

Pan & Scan vs Widescreen Ratio

2:55 to 1 Aspect Ratio
1:85 to 1 Aspect Ratio

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