dvd compatibility oliver slattery nist gipwog march 9 th 2005 n.
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DVD Compatibility Oliver Slattery (NIST) GIPWoG March 9 th , 2005

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DVD Compatibility Oliver Slattery (NIST) GIPWoG March 9 th , 2005. Objectives. Need testing from consumer point of view Test ‘ Phases ’ keeps pace with technology Phase 1: results established a baseline, primarily with DVD ROM drives

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Need testing from consumer point of view

Test ‘Phases’ keeps pace with technology

Phase 1: results established a baseline, primarily with DVD ROM drives

Phase 2: obtain results with latest technology and include DVD burners;

Phase 3: Continue with higher speed media;

Phase 4: Continue with set-top DVD recorders and test compatibility with players and drives

Phase 5: Dual layer media.

Encourage dialog between different sectors within the industry

what is good compatibility
What is good compatibility?
  • Goal: DVDs recorded on one device, will play back flawlessly on other devices
  • Definition: a recordable DVD is “compatible” if its playback is equivalent to the playback of a pressed disc with identical content
  • Not testing specifications!
dvd compatibility is critical
DVD compatibility is critical
  • DVD Recorders are a fast growing segment of the industry
    • Can DVD Recorders replace the VCR and become universal without high compatibility?
  • The factors involved with recordable DVDs are complex
    • Hard to find objective information
    • Will consumers purchase players that are on Internet incompatibility lists?
  • Will consumers archive data on DVDs without high compatibility?
rapidly evolving market
Rapidly evolving market
  • High speed burners
  • High speed media
  • Source: Santa Clara Consulting Group
rapidly decreasing prices
Rapidly decreasing prices
  • High speed burners
  • High speed media
  • Tremendous downward pricing pressure
  • Source: Santa Clara Consulting Group
  • Committee Description
  • Test phases ‘roadmap’
  • Product selection
  • Overview of test (Phase 1 and 2)
  • Results
  • Observations
  • Conclusions
what is the osta dvd compatibility committee
What is the “OSTA DVD Compatibility Committee?”
  • A joint effort by 3 organizations:
    • OSTA (Optical Storage Technology Association) www.osta.org
    • NIST (Natl. Inst. of Standards & Technology – US Department of Commerce) www.nist.gov
    • DVDA (International DVD Association) www.dvda.org
committee goals
Committee Goals
  • The OSTA DVD Compatibility committee
    • Is format and vendor neutral
    • Writes and publishes test plans
    • Chooses products based on market data
    • Publishes anonymous results
    • Provides general guidelines for consumers
    • Provides detailed technical results to OSTA members (media and drive manufacturers)
  • We test compatibility from a consumer and market standpoint
  • We do not test specifications or standards compliance
core committee members
Core Committee Members
  • Subutai Ahmad (YesVideo, Committee Chair)
  • Oliver Slattery, Fred Byers (NIST)
  • Bob Zollo & Lee Prewitt (Software Architects)
  • Jim Taylor (Sonic Solutions, Chairman DVDA)
  • Dave Bunzel (Santa Clara Consulting, President OSTA)


  • Active input from OSTA member companies (media and drive manufacturers)
test roadmap
Test Roadmap
  • Phase 1 (2002 – 2003):
    • Created objective test plans
    • Assess compatibility of 1X media and DVD-ROM drives
  • Phase 2 (2003-2004):
    • Tested DVD burners, ROM drives and 4X media
  • Phase 3 (2005):
    • Testing higher speed (8X) media
  • Phase 4, 5 (2005):
    • Will test DVD Recorders, dual layer discs
product selection phase 2
Product selection (Phase 2)
  • Key goal is to provide a snapshot of the US market
    • Select media and drives based on US market share data
  • DVD-ROM drives represent 60% market share manufactured during 2000-2003
  • Burners represent 75% of US market share as of end 2003
  • Media brands represent 65% (-R) and 85% (+R) market share
  • Thanks to Santa Clara Consulting Group and Fujiwara-Rothschild for market data
test methodology
Test Methodology
  • Record discs using a master ROM-disc as source
    • Disc image uses over 97% of the disc capacity
    • All discs recorded at max speed, with verify on
    • Phase 1 used 1X discs, Phase 2 used 4X discs
  • DVD Drive playback test
    • Install each drive in test PC
    • Compare data in recorded disc against control ROM disc
    • “Pass” requires 100% score on a byte to byte comparison basis against control disc
    • Check 1% of the data spread out across disc
  • Test plan published by NIST
dvd drive test plan
DVD Drive Test Plan

Two drives required:

  • Reference drive

Contains DVD-ROM title* of test disc

  • Test drive

Contains the writable test disc

Four parts to the test-

  • Disc detection (spin-up)
  • Byte to byte comparison
  • Data rate drop
  • Video and audio quality

*(‘Saint Saens and Bizet’ for DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW)

*(‘The Call’ for DVD-RAM test discs)

dvd drive test plan1
DVD Drive Test Plan

All passed = good compatibility

test plan phase 1 and 2
Test Plan (Phase 1 and 2)
  • Test plan distributed as a NIST special publication


compatibility has improved
Compatibility has improved








  • Specific media-burner combinations have problems
    • Indicated by red rows
  • Important to update firmware on burners
  • Burner mfrs should ideally list media that work with their drives

Phase 2

edge effect
Edge Effect


  • Edge effect clearly seen
  • In Phase 2, 38 out of 50 failures were in the outer edge of the disc
  • “Edge” begins to appear around 10% from end of the disc and becomes significant around 5% from the end
  • Ignoring errors outside the edge, compatibility rises to 98%


Phase 2

media quality
Media Quality


  • There is a significant spread in media quality
  • Worst media brand scored 80.5%
  • Best media brand scored 100%



Phase 2

other observations
Other observations
  • No significant difference between formats
    • –R vs +R, or R vs RW
    • Media quality and edge effect are bigger factors
  • Burning was reliable
    • Only 1 disc failed to verify (4X media)
    • Write times consistent with rated speed
      • Avg 15 minutes to burn 4.6GB on 4X drives
  • Independent test validation was consistent

Phase 2

  • Overall results improving over time
  • Edge effect in failures is very clear
    • Accounted for the vast majority of playback problems
    • When recording, avoid filling up the disc for best compatibility
  • Media quality matters:
    • Significant variation in media quality
  • Media-Burner combinations matter
    • Consumer should update firmware on burners
    • Underscores importance in media/drive mfr relations
  • Updated firmware important.
thank you
Thank You

Did you fill the GIPWoG digital media life time survey?

How long do you want your digital storage media to last?

Take the survey: www.dvda.org/nist/survey

Deadline: May 31st 2005.