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Chapter 11. Device Advice: Dealing with ... > DVD: Welcome to the Next Level

DVD: Welcome to the Next Level

Although CD-ROMs will be around for a long time, the writing is on the wall, and it says DVD. DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc (or sometimes Digital Video Disc), and it's the end result of a long battle to settle on the new standard for digital media. Supported by all the major players in the electronics industry, DVD promises previously unheard-of levels of performance, storage, and compatibility. The first units began shipping in the spring of 1997. They play not only the new consumer video titles in DVD format (hundreds of movies will be released throughout 1997), but also today's audio CDs, CD-ROMs, laserdiscs, and the new DVD-ROM format (which supports MPEG-2 digital video). The latter promises up to 4.7GB (yes, gigabytes) of the same kind of data that we see on regular CD-ROMs, with the performance of an eight-speed CD-ROM drive. This technology also supports “double-layered” discs that can pack a walloping 8.5GB, which is the equivalent of about 13 of today's CD-ROMs. When the DVD format hits its full stride in 1998, discs will be able to store 17GB and will be writable and erasable.

Windows 98 supports DVD drives via an update in the CD-ROM driver. In fact, Windows 98 lists DVD drives under Device Manager's CD-ROM hardware class, as shown in Figure 11.4. Note, however, that you won't be able to install a Windows 98 DVD driver or the DVD Player unless Windows detects that you have a DVD decoder card that is supported by Windows 98. Note, too, that Windows 98 also implements a new file system called the Universal Disk Filesystem, or UDF. This is the file system used by DVD movies.



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