DVDs Are Driving the Next Technological Wave

A decade ago CD-ROMs ushered in a new era in computer entertainment and ultimately fostered many technological innovations. Their massive storage capacity gave savvy game developers opportunities to enhance their offerings with video, deep graphics, and CD-quality sound. After enough gaming pioneers demonstrated the viability of this formerly unproven technology, there was no turning back. When's the last time you bought computer software on floppy disks?

Until now, games have driven the PC technology boom. CD-ROM drives, 3D graphic cards, and high-end sound cards are standard equipment because of PC games.

That a nonlinear video editor such as Premiere can even function on a consumer-level PC or Mac is due largely to this rapid, game-driven growth. Now, however, something else is driving personal computer technology: DVDs.

Like in the early days of CD-ROM drives, computer buyers have had the opportunity to include DVD-ROM drives in their new boxes but until now have had no compelling reason to do so. The massive storage offered by DVDs has not been enough of a selling point?nor has watching DVD movies on a PC been much of a thrill.

But making DVD movies on a computer is.

Unlike VHS tape, DVDs use higher-quality digital media and allow you to create an interactive experience. DVDs are more compact and more durable than videotapes. Once you make your first DVD you'll never want to use videocassettes again. Consider the following:

DVD is the fastest-growing consumer electronics product in history. There are more than 30 million DVD set-top players and more than 25 million DVD-equipped PCs in the U.S. market today. One in four U.S. homes has a DVD machine. DVD movie and video sales and rentals are skyrocketing?up 75%, year over year, in the latest quarterly report. At least one major retailer has stopped carrying VHS versions of motion picture films. From now on, it's DVDs only.

DVD will soon replace videotape as the video-publishing format of choice for video professionals and video enthusiasts. The production possibilities are endless:

  • Home video makers now easily can create full multimedia productions, combining videos, photos, text, narration, and music?from interactive family vacation videos to family history projects.

  • Businesses can develop compelling product demos, point-of-sale video displays, corporate backgrounders, and interactive training materials with no concerns about platform-compatibility issues or a need for high-priced playback devices.

  • For commercial filmmakers, putting movies on DVDs offers consumers a convincing reason to buy movies rather than simply rent them. The extra offerings?director's comments, outtakes, multiple languages, subtitles, and scripts?create a rich viewing experience.

    Part II: Enhancing Your Video