Section 10.11. Specialty Disc Formats

10.11. Specialty Disc Formats

Several other odd disc formats appear in record stores: DualDisc, DVD-Audio, and Hybrid SACD. All three contain better sound than regular CDs or DVDs. PCs can't create any of them easily, and can play only one of the three formats. And although they're market failures so far, the industry still pushes the discs for several reasons.

Most of these specialty discs contain releases of older, classic material, making the serious fan part with his money a second (or third) time. To play them at their highest fidelity, most specialty discs require their own players, making more money for player manufacturers. Perhaps most important of all, the discs are much more difficult to copy.

  • DualDisc . The friendliest of the bunch, DualDiscs have a regular DVD on one side, and a normal CD glued to the other. They work just like a regular CD or DVD; simply flip it over to play the other side. (Each side is labeled.) Most PCs can handle both sides, although a few drives can't handle the extra thickness .

  • Hybrid SACD (Super Audio CD) . These work much like a DualDisc, but instead of gluing two discs together, SACDs place both layers on one side. A CD player (or a PC's CD drive) can read the first layer to play back CD sound. But it takes a dedicated SACD player to read the extra, hi-fidelity layer hidden underneath the first.

  • DVD Audio . These work in most (but not all) DVD players, but not on CD players or PCs. But to hear the extra, high-fidelity sound, you need a dedicated DVD Audio player. (Or, if you can find one, a player that supports both Hybrid SACD and DVD Audio.)

Many new DVD players now support both SACD and DVD Audio, but PC drive manufacturers have been slow to support them. (Besides, you'd need some pretty expensive speakers to be able to hear the difference.)

PCs: The Missing Manual
ISBN: 0596100930
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 206
Authors: Andy Rathbone

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