Tagged: 12cm

Superbit (2001 – 2007)

Superbit was a variant on standard DVD-Video introduced in 2001 by the Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment division of Sony.

Superbit DVDs used a higher bit rate transfer process to optimise video quality, and always contained both a 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS soundtrack. The actual increase in bit rate varied according to the space available on the disc, and the bit rate of the standard DVD version (which itself could vary). They were compatible with standard DVD players and so could carry the DVD logo. Due to the extra space required for video and audio data, bonus material is kept to a minimum or not included at all, though there were a handful of ‘Superbit Deluxe’ releases which carried the bonus material on a second disk. The menus were different to those on the standard DVD release, and were kept simple to save space.

Fewer than 60 titles were released in Superbit format, and Superbit releases typically only sold 2% of the amount of the standard DVD version.

By 2007, Sony was promoting Blu-ray and the Superbit line was dropped.

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Photo CD (1992 – 2004)

Photo CD was an optical disc system based on the Compact Disc that allowed the storage of up to 100 high quality images in a proprietary format. It was introduced by Kodak in 1992, and the format is defined in the Biege Book standard (one of the Rainbow Books covering Compact Disc standards). Kodak’s Photo CD system also included the scanners for photo processing labs that could take scans from film negatives or slides. Photographers could take exposed film to a Photo CD processing lab, where the film would be developed and scanned to a Photo CD, or they could have previously developed film scanned to Photo CD.

Photo CDs were designed to be played on a dedicated standalone Photo CD player connected to a domestic television, but they could also be played in a CD-i player. It was possible to play them on a computer with suitable software, but at the time CD-ROM drives were still uncommon.

The system was not popular with consumers, though it was more accepted by professional photographers.  Although there were around 140 Photo CD processing labs in the US alone by 2000, by this time domestic scanners enabled consumers to scan their own photographs. In 1999, Kodak had also introduced the more affordable Picture CD system, with images in JPEG format burned onto a recordable CD that also held the software required to the view and edit the images on a computer.

Kodak had completely abandoned the Photo CD business by 2004, but never released the image specifications. However, it has been reverse-engineered so it is possible to convert images to other formats.

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XRCD (1995 – )

XRCD (eXtended Resolution Compact Disc) was introduced by JVC in 1995. XRCD discs conform to Red Book standards and will play on any Compact Disc player, but claim to use much higher quality mastering and manufacturing processes to produce a sound as close as possible to the original master tape.

Subsequent versions of XRCD are called XRCD2 and XRCD24.

All versions of XRCD disc are encoded at 16 bits; the 24 in XRCD24 refers to the use of 24 bit encoding when digitising the original analogue source (XRCD and XRCD2 used 20 bit encoding of the original source).

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Video Single Disc (1990 – 1991)

Video Single Disc (VSD) was a short-lived optical disc format for video. It was a variation of the CD-Video format, except the Video Single Disc carried only video and no Compact Disc audio tracks.

Video Single Disc carried analogue video and was compatible with newer LaserDisc players that could handle the smaller (12 cm) discs. It was only popular in some Asian markets and was not marketed elsewhere.

Of the 132 releases listed on the LDDB, most were single music videos, but there were a number of releases of Formula 1 racing-related videos.

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Sony Professional Disc for DATA (2004 – 2007)

Professional Disc for DATA (also known as ProDATA) was an optical disc format introduced in 2004 by Sony. It was intended for creating backups of data, and had a capacity of 23GB per side.

It is virtually identical to (but incompatible with) Professional Disc, used for the XDCAM digital video system. However, both formats used blue lasers, and both discs came in protective caddies.

Both write-once and rewritable versions were available.

In 2006, recordable Blu-ray discs (BD-R and BD-RE) became available, and in 2007, Professional Disc for DATA was declared ‘end of life’ by Sony. Since 2009, Sony has also introduced the ability to store data on Professional Discs for the XDCAM system, in a dedicated ‘User Data’ folder.

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Blu-ray Disc Recordable Erasable (BD-RE) (2006 – )

Blu-ray Disc Recordable Erasable (BD-RE) is a high-capacity optical disc that can be erased and re-recorded multiple times, and is a type of Blu-ray Disc that can be read in all Blu-ray Disc drives. The similar BD-R discs can only be written to once.

BD-RE drives can be found in computers and personal video recorders (PVRs).

Disc capacities are 25 GB for single-layer discs, 50 GB for double-layer discs, 100 GB for triple-layer, and 128 GB for quadruple-layer.

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DVD-ROM (1997 – )

DVD-ROM (Digital Versatile Disc – Read-Only Memory) is a read-only high-capacity optical disc format. DVD-Video is a form of DVD-ROM, but DVD-ROM usually refers to DVD discs for data storage. Microsoft were the first major corporation to release software on DVD-ROM in 1997.

Capacities range from 4.7GB (for a single-sided, single-layer disc) to 17GB (for a double-sided, dual-layer disc).

DVD-ROM drives are backwards compatible with CD-ROM discs, and can read rewritable DVD media such as DVD-R/DVD+R and DVD-RW/DVD+RW.

Since around 2007, DVD drives (along with optical disc drives generally) have been disappearing from laptops and of course were never available in tablets. Despite this, a lot of computer software is still available on DVD-ROM.

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Preservation / Migration

VinylDisc (2007 – )

VinylDisc (also known as vinyl CD) is a hybrid Compact Disc and vinyl phonograph record, developed in Germany by Optical Media Production and first released in 2007.

The CD side is a standard full-length CD, and the vinyl side is a 33⅓ rpm record that can play up to 3.5 minutes of audio on a regular phonograph, although the small size means the vinyl side won’t play on automatic or semi-automatic turntables.

Around 50 or so singles and albums have been released on VinylDisc.

VinylDiscs come with a small centre spindle adapter that can is removed to play the disc in a Compact Disc player.

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Blu-ray Disc Recordable (BD-R) (2006 – )

Blu-ray Disc Recordable (BD-R) is a write-once high-capacity optical disc, and a type of Blu-ray Disc that can be read in all Blu-ray Disc drives. The similar BD-RE is a rewritable version.

BD-R drives can be found in computers and personal video recorders (PVRs).

Disc capacities are 25 GB for single-layer discs, 50 GB for double-layer discs, 100 GB for triple-layer, and 128 GB for quadruple-layer.

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DVD-R (1997 – )

DVD-R is a recordable optical disc format based on DVD and developed by Pioneer in 1997. It is supported by most DVD players and is approved by the DVD Forum. It is similar to, but incompatible with, the newer DVD+R standard

A double-sided DVD-R typically has a storage capacity of 4.7 GB but a dual-layer double-sided version with a capacity of 8.5 GB, DVD-R DL, was released in 2005. DVD-R is generally used for non-volatile data storage or video applications. A smaller 8cm version of DVD-R (miniDVD-R) is also available for use in camcorders.

Double-sided DVD-R discs are composed of two 0.6 mm acrylic discs bonded to each other, one containing the laser guiding groove and coated with the recording dye and a silver alloy or gold reflector. On single-sided discs, the unused side is simply a blank to make up the thickness to 1.2mm.

Many DVD drives are hybrid drives (normally labeled ‘DVD±RW’) and can read and write to both DVD-R and DVD+R. However, because the DVD-R format has been in use since 1997, it has had a five-year lead on DVD+R which wasn’t introduced until 2002. As such, older DVD players are more likely to favour the DVD-R standard exclusively.

Unlike DVD+R, DVD-R discs do not need to be formatted before being recorded by a compatible DVD video recorder.

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Preservation / Migration