DVDs: A Brief History Into The Great Phenomenon

Posted by Ian Stewart on

Have you ever wondered, where and when did the DVD begin, when was it established? Why is it the design it is? Well, have no fear, I am about to explain to you a brief history of the DVD. So, sit back, grab a cup of tea and enjoy…

DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc and was invented and developed in 1995, and shortly released in 1996. But what about before then? Well, there were a lot of formats developed on optical discs before DVD which date back to the 60s. A disc data format called LaserDisc was established in the USA and launched in 1978. It was a large version of the DVD, but these were so expensive to create and buy so consumer adoption was mainly in the USA and Europe.

CD Video (VCD) was released almost a decade later in 1987 and was the size of audio CDs. In 1993, this became the first formats that contained digitally encoded films in them. In the same year, another two-disc storage format was developed. One was Multimedia Compact Disc (MMCD) and the other was Super Density (SD) Disc. As these were being lunched officially in January 1995, the MMCD was dropped and Philips and Sony referred to their DVD format.

MMCD and SD groups agreed to create an SD9 which was going to have a two-sided disc that users could turn over when viewing films. However, this wasn’t adopted as the DVD specification provided only a single-sided disc and 8.5 GB for a dual-layered, single-sided disc.

In September 1995, Samsung announced that it will begin mass-producing the DVD and it will be launched in 1996. In November 1996, Japan released music videos on DVD. The first large release was from Warner Home Video, which arrived in December 1996.

Soon after, home entertainment and movies adopted the DVD to replace the VHS tape. DVD had better quality video and sound. LaserDisc dropped prices of discs which opened the market for mass consumption. Subsequently, DVDs became the standard for video game consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox as well as computer games for Windows computers.

And years later, here we are in 2020 with DVDs still a driving force in the film and gaming industry. Some may say that they are being replaced by streaming and downloads, but I do not think DVD’s will ever die, they have a great history and nostalgia to them that streaming could never override.


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