You may notice something different about Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki tonight -- the video quality should tell you that This Is Not a Fansub, in letters the size of an AV-98. Tonight marks the first showing of a DVD at an official CJAS meeting (the first DVD use at any CJAS meeting was Kaze no na wa Amnesia, which was shown during the summer).
You'll notice this because DVD is the highest-quality format available at the consumer level. It provides approximately 500 lines of resolution, which is 1.3 times that of a laserdisc and 2.1 times that of VHS (if the source material is widescreen and anamorphic, resolution is 1.7 times that of an LD, or roughly aleph-null times that of VHS). The image is stored in component form; i.e., the red, green, and blue channels are separate. If the component outputs of the player are used, there will be no moire effect, as can occur with LD or VHS. Discs can contain lots of nifty features, such as eight audio tracks, 32 subtitle tracks, an interactive menu system, and DVD-ROM content. Since all of this stuff takes up space, a DVD holds up to nine gigabytes on a side, which is sufficient for three hours or more of video at high quality. Finally, the cost to master a disc is comparable to that of a CD, which means that DVDs can be sold for the same price (or less) as VHS.
In today's world, something with all these features has to have drawbacks, and DVD is no exception. The main problem is that Hollywood divided the world into six regions (US/Canada = 1, Japan/Europe = 2...), and all players are required to respect the region, if any, encoded on a disc. If this restriction applied in practice, a second player would be required for Japanese imports -- and Keanu would take acting lessons. In reality, the solution is somewhat easier. Computer-based DVD players can generally be fixed via software alone, while standalone units generally require the user to either purchase a pre-modified player or buy an IC and have it installed. Either way, region coding is more of an annoyance than an actual problem.
The other potential problem is compression. As a 12 cm DVD holds far more information than a 30 cm LD, compression is an integral part of the format. The algorithm used, MPEG-2, uses a variable bit rate, so mastering a disc of maximum quality requires a sentient operator. Most discs are mastered by one; some are not. Pretty much any recent title should fall into the former category.
TM! will be the only title shown on DVD this semester, but look for more during the marathon and after winter break. For more information, you can visit the following websites:
Like the URL says. Everything you ever wanted to know about anime on DVD but
were afraid to ask.