DVD Power Ltd. , New Zealand, announced that it is releasing the first of a series of SDI video products related to the DVD format. The first product to be released is a modified high performance Pioneer 626D DVD player, which is modified with exclusive SDI output technology, allowing pure digital video direct from the laser head to the display device. An electronics laser decoding system now enables DVD enthusiasts to watch the astonishingly high-quality pictures that till now have stayed locked inside DVD movie discs.
DVD movies store video as digital code, compressed to the MPEG-2 standard used for digital TV. The data rate varies continually between 3 and 10 megabits per second, depending on whether the system is coding moving detail or static scenery. Flat-panel plasma screens and digital video projectors work best if they are fed a pure digital signal. Most have an input socket called a serial digital interface (SDI). This is an interface used by broadcasters to carry video at data rates up to the 270 megabits per second needed for uncompressed studio-quality pictures. Until now, DVD players only have had analog video outputs, which has made it impossible to connect them to the high-resolution display screen’s SDI input. However, the Function modification adds a custom chipset that bypasses the analog conversion process and taps directly into the high-quality digital bit stream of MPEG2 video.
David Garrett, a former engineer with Britain’s Ministry of Defense, has developed the SDI technology. Garrett admits that his technology has been made possible by loopholes in Hollywood’s contracts with DVD makers. ‘All the manufacturers of DVD players have signed an agreement not to provide a Firewire digital output. But there is no mention of SDI,’ he says. Firewire feeds high-quality video into computers.
The SDI DVD decoding technology was first shown at a DVD conference in Dublin in May 2000. At the public debut DVD-Video players, made by Pioneer and Wharfedale, were connected directly to the SDI inputs of a Hitachi-Fujitsu plasma screen and an NEC digital projector with 1024-by-768-pixel resolution. MGM and Technicolor provided a DVD of the James Bond movie The World is Not Enough. ‘The picture quality is absolutely incredible,’ said Garrett. ‘It’s pretty amazing. It looks as good as films that are projected.’
DVD Power Ltd. is now putting together several ultimate home cinema systems including state of the art Digital Projectors and Plasma displays for the well-heeled and quality demanding home cinema enthusiasts.
Customers will be able to buy a modified Pioneer DVD player and a 107-centimeter (42-inch) plasma screen.
Hmmm. Something else to start saving our pennies for…