Is "Interactive DVD" really interactive?
More and more clients are asking us about "Interactive DVD". But what is it? Current video DVD technology cannot achieve the same degree of interactivity that can be found with CD-ROM, DVD-ROM or e-learning via the intranet. We are about at the stage of the old Philips format CD-i (CD-interactive) which, after early promise, died over a decade ago.
Essentially a DVD player is a video display machine. Clicking on a menu button or hotspot will simply display another video clip or still image.
This menu function can be used to create an interactive video DVD with very simple multi-choice quizzes, eg “In order to do X, should you do A, B, C or D?” If B is the right answer, clicking on this will show a screen saying “Yes, well done.” Clicking on A, C or D show a screen saying “Sorry, the answer is …”
However it is possible to extend this functionality. Behind the menu function is a small amount of accessible memory in the DVD player itself – 16 x 4-unit cells, each capable of holding one of 15 values.
This means, for example, that the user’s answers to a series of questions can be stored, so that an overall score or evaluation can be given, eg “In that test you scored 60%. Your understanding of the XYZ technology seems weak. Would you like to view that section again?”
It also means that interactive video DVD can simulate the operation of equipment to a certain degree, depending on its complexity.
The contents of this memory will remain so long as the DVD player is switched on.
The memory can also be wiped if someone, eg a new user, starts the programme again from the beginning.
The advantages of interactive video DVD include:
Things interactive video DVD cannot yet do include:
If you want to compare the features of DVD-i with a media rich interactive multimedia CD-ROM, see our interactive CD-ROM and DVD-ROM page.
Also still images and text are less defined than on a PC, due to the lower resolution, although this will be less of an issue with the introduction of High Definition DVD. For High Definition there were originally two competing technical standards - Blu-ray, supported by Sony, Philips, Panasonic and many of the other big boys, and HD-DVD, supported by Toshiba, NEC and Sanyo. This contest has now been won by Blu-Ray, even though HD-DVD had a number of strong points. Sony decided to build a Blu-ray player into their PS3 games machine, of which they have sold over 10 million, and now the Hollywood producers have gone for Blu-ray. This is a reversal of the former contest between VHS and Sony's superior Betamax format, which Sony lost. You are very unlikely to be able to spot any difference in picture quality between Blu-ray and HD-DVD. A Blu-ray disk can carry 25GB if single layer, 50GB if dual layer.
If you would like to consider Interactive DVD for your next project, please contact us and we'll be delighted to give you some ideas and costs.
Training on the move - about portable DVD players
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