Earls TV and Appliance Repair Web Site Extravaganza Supreme Deluxe
Earl's Famous DVD Technology Exposition Web Page Extravaganza Supreme Deluxe
For those of you who aren't early adopters on the cutting edge like me, I've put together this page to help explain the hottest new thing in TV Technology: DVD!!!
So, what is DVD anyways?
Okay, so here's the story. There's this new technology that's really new, and, if you're as techno-savvy as I am, maybe you've heard about it. It's called DVD which stands for Digital TV Disk, and it's as good as being in the theater! Really! It looks just like one of those silver music CD disks, except it has moving pictures on it. How do they fit all those moving pictures on that tiny disk? Well, I'll tell ya, it's digital. (Thats the Digital part of DVD.) And by digital, I don't mean numbers that count up and down when you turn the knob to change the channel, no sir. By digital, I mean not analog. Look at it this way. Let's say you go to a museum to photograph the Mona Lisa (photography is analog, you know), but they won't let you take a picture of it. No problem! Just digitize it! Take a hole punch and start in the upper left corner, and start punching away. Every piece you punch out will be a certain overall color, and you have to assign every color a number. So green could be 1, blue could be 2, red could be three, dark green could be four, light red could be five, and so on. Once you've punched out the entire painting and written down all the numbers, you've digitized the Mona Lisa! And if the curator starts to get mad at you for destroying one of humanity's greatest masterpieces, alls you gots to do is get a blank canvas and recreate it just by painting by number! You can make as many as you want, and since it's digital, one copy is as good as the next.
But hey, you might say, all these numbers I wrote down take up more space than the original painting! Well, sure, but a computer stores numbers really tiny (computers are digital, too, you know) and can have lots of room for other stuff, like, well, other numbers. Not only that, but here's the really cool part. When you hole punch a bunch of dots in a row that are the same color, you just write down the number of the color one time, followed by the number of dots in a row that were the same color. There! You've just done MPEG2 compression! (MPEG2 stands for, um... compression.) With a painting like the Mona Lisa (which has what, maybe eight colors, max?) you can MPEG2 compress the heck out of it! So with a bunch of numbers on a single piece of paper, you've got a masterpiece! Believe it or not!
Great! But you're not done yet. Remember, we're talking about movies, and you've compressed only one picture. You've got to do this 24/30 times for every second of movie. That's 1800 digitized pictures a minute, or 216,000 pictures for a two hour movie! But MPEG2 makes it easier once again. Let's say in our "Mona Lisa Movie" that she's frowning in the second frame. (A frame is an individual picture thingy in movie lingo.) Alls you gots to do is digitize just the frown, recreate the previous frame, and just put the frown on top of the smile. Nothing could be simpler! (I wish I'd thought of this forty years ago!) Now here's the beauty part: All those MPEG2 compressed numbers for an entire movie are stored on a disk the size of your hand. That's digital!
So how do you watch it?
Well, you gots to convert those numbers back into a movie. To do that, alls you need is a DVD player, and a TV set. I've got a great Home Theater setup for equipment evaluation in my tool shed out back. To do a proper evaluation of this new technology, I had to have the very bestest equipment. So I borrowed a Sony DVP7700 DVD player from Carl (Sorry about spilling beer in the disk drawer, Carl. I'll have it fixed for you in no time, in just seven working days!) and hooked it up to my Sylvania BurnBrite1900 Color Console TV set. This baby is circa 1969 and is in pristine condition. All the tubes still glow, so I'm talking reference quality here, folks.
There was one problem with the TV set, however. TV sets of such a rare vintage have only flat antenna lead terminals for video input, so I had to combobulate a piecemeal contraption to convert the component outputs of the DVD player to a modulated channel 3 waveform. It was pretty complicated to do, so I won't go into how I did it here. Suffice to say that it was worth it, because my BurnBrite1900 never looked so good!
So, how does DVD look?
It looks amazing! The picture is incredibly realistic, with bright colors everywhere, all the time! Way better than VHS! Once I fine-tuned the set and adjusted the color for good flesh tones, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. (For the record, there is actually a DVD that helps you adjust your TV set better than the "flesh-tone-is-okay" approach. As a TV repairman/technician repeating my fourth year of ISF certification training, I should probably look into this.)
And the sound is just as amazing! My Sylvania's twin speaker console cabinet has never sounded so good. (Not every console TV has twin speakers, you know.) I swear on my life, even after being processed through my combobulator and modulated to a mono channel 3 waveform, the 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack sounded almost like stereo! Really!
So, is that it, just great picture and sound?
Heck, no! DVD's have what's called extras. They gots things like subtitles, different languages tracks, trailers (and not the kind you live in), interviews, commentary tracks, videos, featurettes, production stills, missing/deleted scenes, special effects trial footage, screen tests, isolated sound tracks, games, trivia, scripts, and most amazingly important of all, 16x9 Enhanced Cinemonscope Panerific Deluxe Anamorphic Widescreen!!!! This one feature more than any other is what makes DVD so terrific, because you get the whole widescreen picture at the very highest resolution!
But there's one problem: You gots to have a 16x9 TV set to take advantage of this feature, and those won't be out for about another 10 years!
So what good is that, you ask? Plenty! Even though DVD is designed for the future, you can take advantage of all its advantages today! Here's how: If you go into your DVD player's setup menu, you can tell it that you've gots a 16x9 TV set already. Go ahead and select this option, even though you don't have a 16x9 TV set. (It's okay, you won't blow nothin up or nothin like that. I've already tried this, and I'm a professional!) Then when you play 16x9 enhanced DVDs, everything will look squished and tall. Don't panic! That's just your DVD player giving you the whole world wide picture squeezed to fit into your square TV set. All the picture is there, you just have to undistort it. To undistort the anamorphic picture on your square TV, alls you gots to do is put on a pair of my Special 16x9 Enhanced Cinemonscope Panerific Deluxe Anamorphic Widescreen Glasses to restore the picture to its original glorious widescreen presentation! I invented the glasses myself! And trust me, they're a lot cheaper than those 16x9 TV sets are going to be!
Wow! That sounds terrific! How can I get a pair of those glasses so I can experience the future of TV today?
Click HERE to get your own pair of Earl's Special 16x9 Enhanced Cinemonscope Panerific Deluxe Anamorphic Widescreen Glasses and you'll be enjoying TV of tomorrow in no time, in just seven working days!
So, what's the conclusion?
I'm telling you, this technology is a keeper. Oh yeah, one more thing -- remember how I said that the DVDs are like CDs? Well, DVD players can play CDs too! No foolin'! Since it's all just numbers anyways, it's nothin' for the DVD player to switch from one to the other. So if it's a five inch silver disk with numbers on it, your DVD player will play it, no problem!
So now you know everything there is to know about DVD. My recommendation is to go out and buy a DVD player right now, and don't forget to get a pair of my Special 16x9 Enhanced Cinemonscope Panerific Deluxe Anamorphic Widescreen Glasses. Even if you don't have a 1969 Sylvania BurnBrite1900 Color Console TV set, I bet you'll still be able to see the picture improvements over VHS. And I'm sure you'll grow to love the nuances of dynamically compressed 5.1 Dolby Digital sound modulated into mono, even if you don't have a twin speaker setup like mine.
And don't forget that all this information comes from the authoritative experience of a TV set expert (that's me) and that I now have professional experience watching DVD movies. So if your DVD player ever needs adjustment or repair, just give me a call!