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The Authoritative HD DVD FAQ: VI. Compatibility
Posted Jul 19, 2006 Print Version     Page 1of 1
  

VI. Compatibility
     a. Are HD DVD devices compatible with CDs and DVDs?
     b. Are Blu-ray Disc (BD) and HD DVD compatible with each other?
     c. What is "book type" or "disk category"?
     d. What computer operating system is required to play HD DVD movies?
     e. What type of computer software is required to play HD DVD movies?
     f. How much computer system memory is required to play HD DVD movies?
     g. What type of computer CPU is required to play HD DVD movies?
     h. What type of graphics card is required to play HD DVD movies?
     i. What firmware updates are available for HD DVD players, drives and recorders?
     j. What types of HD DVD-Video discs can be played on HD DVD players?

Are HD DVD devices compatible with CDs and DVD?
Product requirements and guidelines set by the DVD Forum require HD DVD devices to be backward compatible with DVD-ROMs (prerecorded) while CDs and other types of DVDs are a matter of choice for each individual hardware manufacturer. In practice, of course, it is possible to design HD DVD devices that can read and write all existing CD and DVD formats. So far, manufacturers have only announced or released products with various degrees of backward compatibility. For example, while one computer drive reads and writes almost all disc formats another HD DVD consumer electronics (CE) video recorder reads and writes DVD-R/RW/RAM but not DVD+R/RW.

Physically, CDs, DVDs and HD DVDs are distinctly different from one another so supporting all of them in a single device is a considerable challenge. Each employs different sized pits, lands and tracks and even a different substrate thickness for CDs. Each is composed of disparate materials and is written or read using lasers of various wavelengths through lenses of assorted numerical apertures. Each format's optical response is also carefully tuned so discs are not panchromatic.

Thus achieving physical compatibility requires HD DVD players, drives and recorders to incorporate involved optical pickups employing multiple lasers (780 nm for CD, 650 nm for DVD and 405 nm for HD DVD) plus numerous other clever solutions. DVD-RAM's unique nature and optional cartridge requires still further hardware and programming modifications.

Beyond physical compatibility, hardware and/or playback software must be programmed to decode and interpret the contents of a disc. This can be a further complex matter given the tremendous variety and colorful history of available logical and application formats:

  • Physical formats: CD-ROM/R/RW, DVD-ROM/±R/±RW/±R DL/±RW DL/RAM
  • File systems: ISO 9660, UDF 1.02/1.5/2.5, HFS/HFS+, UFS, etc.
  • Data modes: single and multi-session/border, packet, etc.
  • Application formats: CD-DA, CD-Text, VCD, SVCD, CD-i, CD+G/M, MP3/WMA, JPEG/TIF/GIF, DivX/XviD/WMV/MPEG-4, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, DVD-VR, DVD+VR, etc.
  • Content protection systems: CPRM, VCPS, S-VIEW, etc.

A bewildering array of device permutations on the market may thus be expected.

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Are Blu-ray Disc (BD) and HD DVD compatible with each other?
Blu-ray Disc (BD) and HD DVD technologies originate from directly competing commercial interests and although they share some common physical characteristics both disc families are significantly different from one another and thus mutually incompatible. It is, however, possible to design a player, drive or recorder to read and write BD and HD DVD discs by making the appropriate accommodations. In fact, several manufacturers (LG, Samsung) offer or have announced consumer electronics players and computer recorders that read BD and HD DVD discs but it is unclear at this early stage if such units are practical, desirable or even necessary.

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What is "book type" or "disk category"?
Contained within the Lead-In Area of an HD DVD or DVD disc is information about is physical format including its "book type" (a.k.a. "disk category"). This refers to the kind of disc it is as defined by one of the many DVD Forum or DVD+RW Alliance specification books (see chart).

HD DVD and DVD Disc Book Types

Physical Disc Format

Book Type

Disc Specification Source

DVD-ROM

0000b

DVD Forum

DVD-RAM

0001b

DVD Forum

DVD-R

0010b

DVD Forum

DVD-RW

0011b

DVD Forum

HD DVD-ROM

0100b

DVD Forum

HD DVD-RAM

0101b

DVD Forum

HD DVD-R

0110b

DVD Forum

HD DVD-RW

0111b

DVD Forum

DVD+RW SL

1001b

DVD+RW Alliance

DVD+R SL

1010b

DVD+RW Alliance

DVD+RW DL

1101b

DVD+RW Alliance

DVD+RW DL

1110b

DVD+RW Alliance

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What computer operating system is required to play HD DVD movies?
According to recommendations from CyberLink, InterVideo and Nero, to play HD DVD movies a PC system must have either Windows XP SP2 or Vista installed. No Mac OS or Linux support is yet available.

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What type of computer software is required to play HD DVD movies?
As with traditional DVD, playback software is required to view HD DVD movies on a computer. It can be purchased separately, as part of a larger package or bundled with a drive or recorder. Like consumer electronics (CE) players, various programs support different HD DVD features and capabilities. Be aware that Internet access is necessary to periodically renew the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) encryption key required by commercial movies. As of June 2007, CyberLink, InterVideo, Nero and ArcSoft offer playback software for PC systems but no Mac OS and Linux versions are yet available.

[Top of page] [HD DVD FAQ home][EMedialive home]

How much computer system memory is required to play HD DVD movies?
According to recommendations from CyberLink, InterVideo, and Nero, to play HD DVD movies a PC system must realistically be equipped with at least 1 GB of RAM.

[Top of page] [HD DVD FAQ home][EMedialive home]

What type of computer CPU is required to play HD DVD movies?
According to recommendations from CyberLink, InterVideo, Nero and NVIDA, to satisfy the significant processing demands of playing HD DVD movies a PC system must realistically be equipped with a high performance dual-core CPU (see chart). Also note that playing VC-1 and MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 titles may require additional horsepower over those encoded with MPEG-2. Mac system guidelines have yet to be published.

CPU Guidelines
(PC system)

Manufacturer

Model

Intel

Pentium Extreme Edition — 955 (3.46 GHz) or higher

 

Pentium D 900 sequence — 945 (3.4 GHz) or higher

 

Core Duo — T2500 (2.0 GHz) or higher

 

Core 2 Duo — E6300 (1.86 GHz) or higher

 

Core 2 Extreme — X6800 (2.93 GHz) or higher

AMD

Athlon 64 FX — FX-60 (2.6 GHz) or higher

 

Athlon 64 X2 — 4200+ (2.2 GHz) or higher

 

Turion 64 X2 — TL-60 (2.0 GHz) or higher

[Top of page] [HD DVD FAQ home][EMedialive home]

What type of graphics card is required to play HD DVD movies?
According to recommendations from CyberLink, InterVideo, Nero and NVIDA, to play HD DVD movies a PC system must realistically be equipped with a graphics card employing a PCI Express (PCIe) interface, at least 256 MB video RAM and a HDCP-enabled GPU (see chart). The latest graphics drivers, incorporating support for Certified Output Protection Protocol (COPP), must also be installed (see chart). Mac system guidelines have yet to be published.

Graphics Card/Integrated Graphics Processor Guidelines
(PC system)

Manufacturer

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)/Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP)

AMD

780G (Radeon HD 3200)

ATI

Radeon X1600 series, X1650 series, X1800 series, X1900 series, X1950 series, HD 2400 series, HD 2600 series, HD 2900 series, HD 3400 series, HD 3600 series, HD 3800 series, HD 4350 series, HD 4550 series, HD 4600 series, HD 4800 series, All-in-Wonder HD or newer

Intel

Desktop: G45 Express (GMA X4500HD)
Mobile: GM45 Express (GMA 4500MHD)

NVIDIA

GeForce 7600 (GT), 7800 (GTX 512), 7900 (GS, GT, GTX) 7950 (GT, GX2), 8400 (GS), 8500 (GT), 8600 (GT, GTS), 8800 (GT, GTS, GTX, Ultra), 9500 (GT), 9600 (GT, GSO), 9800 (GT, GTX, GTX+, GX2), GTX (260, 280) or newer

Graphics Card Drivers Guidelines
(PC system)

Manufacturer

Version

ATI

Catalyst 7.2 or higher

NVIDIA

ForceWare 93.71 (Windows XP), 97.92 (Windows XP GeForce 8800), 100.65 (Vista) or higher

[Top of page] [HD DVD FAQ home][EMedialive home]

What firmware updates are available for HD DVD players, drives and recorders?
To add new features, improve compatibility, address security concerns and correct internal programming issues, manufacturers periodically issue firmware updates to HD DVD players, drives and recorders. Generally speaking, it is advisable to use the latest available version.

Typically, updates can be downloaded from the web (see chart) or ordered on disc directly from the various manufacturers. Installing incorrect firmware can damage a device so it is imperative to obtain the correct version for its specific make and model as well as region of the world in which it was sold. Manufacturer instructions should always be followed.

HD DVD Consumer Electronics (CE) Player Firmware Updates
(Jan. 2009 — North America)

Manufacturer

Model

Firmware Version

Firmware Date

Download Location

Integra

DHS-8.8

2.8

 

download

LG

BH100

080229a

 

download

LG

BH200

BH02081205A

 

download

Microsoft

Xbox 360 w/ HD DVD player

 

Dec. 2007

download

Onyko

DV-HD805

2.8

 

download

RCA

HDV5000

2.0

10/23/2006

download

Samsung

BD-UP5000

1.4

11/6/2008

download

Toshiba

HD-A1

4.0

 

download

Toshiba

HD-A2

4.0

 

download

Toshiba

HD-A2C

4.0

 

download

Toshiba

HD-A2W

4.0

 

download

Toshiba

HD-D1

4.0

 

download

Toshiba

HD-D2

4.0

 

download

Toshiba

HD-XA1

4.0

 

download

Toshiba

HD-XA2

4.0

 

download

Toshiba

HD-A20

4.0

 

download

Toshiba

HD-A3

4.0

 

download

Toshiba

HD-A30

4.0

 

download

Toshiba

HD-A35

4.0

 

download

Toshiba

HD-D3

4.0

 

download

[Top of page] [HD DVD FAQ home][EMedialive home]

What types of HD DVD-Video discs can be played on HD DVD players?
Currently, product requirements and guidelines set by the DVD Forum require HD DVD-Video consumer electronics (CE) players and computer playback software to play HD DVD-Video content from prerecorded HD DVD-ROM, HD DVD-ROM/DVD-ROM Twin (two-layer) and 3x DVD-ROM discs. Other types of HD DVDs and DVDs are a matter of choice for each individual hardware manufacturer.

HD DVD-Video Disc CE Player Compatibility
(as of Jan. 2008)

Disc Type

Required

Recommended

Optional

HD DVD-ROM

X

 

 

HD DVD-ROM/DVD-ROM Twin (two-layer)

X

 

 

3x DVD-ROM

X

 

 

HD DVD-R

on or after July 1, 2009

before July 1, 2009

 

HD DVD-R DL

on or after July 1, 2009

before July 1, 2009

 

DVD-R (G)

on or after July 1, 2009

before July 1, 2009

 

DVD-R DL

on or after July 1, 2009

before July 1, 2009

 

HD DVD-RAM

 

 

X

HD DVD-RW

 

 

X

HD DVD-RW DL

 

 

X

DVD-RAM

 

 

X

DVD-RW

 

 

X

DVD-RW DL

 

 

X

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