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Home > Hardware Reviews > Consumer Electronics

Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Sony NS955 DVD Player

2. Definitions

-SACD AND DIVX, IN SHORT

The two most important features of the SONY DVP-NS955V are its ability to reproduce these two formats, so let's take a brief look at them.

SACD is the common abbreviation for Super Audio Compact Disk and it is a format that was invented by Sony and Philips in an attempt to create the next generation digital music format.

Unlike CD’s and other digital media, the sound is not stored in PCM format but in a lossless 1bit format that is refered to as Direct Stream Digital (DSD). DSD is the technology used to record and produce audio content on the SACD. DSD is a 1-bit representation of the audio waveform with a sampling rate of 2.8224Mhz. This allows SACD to achieve its unprecedented audio quality, reproducing audio better than any other digital or analog technology.

The sound quality from DSD is considerably better than PCM.

SACD is a two layer Hybrid disk, with the one layer containing the traditional Red Book Audio (16bit / 44.1kHz) CD standard, so that it maintains compatibility with standard CD players, while the second High Density layer, which can be played only by SACD players, offers the ultimate quality in 2 channel stereo and multi channel with a frequency response of DC to 100kHz and a dynamic range greater than 120 dB.

This High Density layer can also be used to store text, graphics and video information creating a complete multimedia experience during playback.

In 2005, sales of music-related DVDs are predicted to top 40 milliion. Two thirds are to be made up of DVD-Video and the rest of DVD-A and SACD formats, with SACD accounting for 15% of European music sales by 2010.

Divx is a format that is becoming increasingly more and more popular every day.

The story of Divx began in 1998 from an initiative called Digital Video Express and was invented by Circuit City and a Los Angeles based entertainment law firm. The original idea at that time was that you could rent special disposable DVD / Divx disks which could only be played in a player connected to a phone line. When this Divx movie was played, it was monitored by an online database so if you paid for a one day rental, the movie wouldn’t play on the second day.

That was the original concept but the Divx codec we know today was actually derived from some Windows Media Player code that existed in beta version. In 1999 a French hacker named Jerome Rota found a codec embedded in the Microsoft product that was actually an MPEG -4 compatible process, so he extracted it from the code and it soon started circulating around the internet as DivX.

Almost immediately, it became fairly obvious to everyone that this was the perfect way to transfer movie material throughout the internet easily and most importantly, without any considerable loss in quality Jerome Rota himself formed a company called DivxNetworks and everything started spreading like wildfire, with different developers offering different codec's and versions and the compression quality getting better and better every day.

In contrast with the problems the MP3 format was facing from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America, has been working with and not against the Divx format. This "peaceful" co-existence is the reason that lately we see more and more consumer DVD players capable of playing Divx movies on the market .

Until now, it was necessary to use a PC that allowed playback in conjuction with a software codec (DivX3x, 4x, 5x, Xvid, 3ivx etc).

Since the vast majority of users still prefer to view their movies on a conventional TV set rather than sitting in front of a monitor, the introduction to the consumer market of DVD players that can play DivX material was inevitable.




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