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DVDs & Blu-ray

DVD Frequently Asked Questions

General

How should I clean a DVD?
If your DVD is not playing properly, it could be the result of fingerprints or dirt on the disc. Before you try any of these methods to clean it, remember that the disc media is very delicate and you may unintentionally damage the shiny reflective surface if you are not careful.
  • If dust particles are sticking to the CD surface, use a piece of soft cloth to wipe off the dust. To hold the CD, insert a finger or thumb inside the centre hole of the CD or handle it by the edges but never touch the shiny surface.
  • If there are fingerprint marks on the CD surface, dip a soft cloth in Isopropyl Alcohol/Ethanol/Methanol and gently wipe the surface. Never use a petroleum-based solvent like Acetone as that will permanently damage the disc surface.
  • When none of the above alcohol-based products are available, use a bottle of Mineral water to clean the dirty CD surface. Normal tap water has higher concentration of salts that may leave white marks on the disc surface.
  • Always wipe the disc surface in a non-radial back-and-forth motion (from the centre hole to the outer edge). Don't follow the concentric circles while cleaning.


Region Coding

How can I be sure a disc will play on my equipment?
All DVD players bought within Australia and New Zealand (prior to any modification) will have Region 4 set as the default region and many are able to play DVDs from any region.

Therefore, any R4 disc available on Booktopia should be compatible with your player.

All Region 4 discs use the PAL broadcast standard.
What is region coding?
Region coding is designed to ensure discs will only play in certain geographical locations:
  • Region 1: The US, US territories, Canada
  • Region 2: Europe, Japan, Middle East, Egypt, South Africa, Greenland
  • Region 3: Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong
  • Region 4: Mexico, South America, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Caribbean
  • Region 5: Russia (former USSR), Eastern Europe, India, most of Africa, North Korea, Mongolia
  • Region 6: China
What is Region 0?
Also known as 'Region All' or 'Region Free', Region 0 discs are compatible with any DVD player as they are specifically enabled for all geographical areas.
Why are Region 1 runtimes longer than their Region 4 equivalent?
Due to the nature of PAL and NTSC broadcast standards (see below), PAL titles run approximately 4% quicker than their NTSC counterparts. The longer a film the greater the difference in duration between the two formats, even though the content of the movie may be exactly the same. (You will need an NTSC-compatible TV to view NTSC discs.)
Can I watch DVDs on my PC, Mac or laptop?
All DVD-ROM drives are manufactured with region restrictions, known as Region Protection Control (RPC2). Like DVD players purchased within Australia and New Zealand, local law dictates that DVD-ROM drives available are set to play Region 4 discs as default.

Most computer monitors are easily able to display PAL or NTSC output, but if you use a 'TV-Out' port on your graphics card to pass the signal to a TV set you'll need an NTSC-compatible TV for stable colour playback of NTSC discs.
How do I watch DVDs on my PS2?
You should have no difficulties viewing Region 4 discs with your PS2. Like DVD players purchased within Australia and New Zealand, PS2 consoles purchased here are set to play Region 4 discs as default.
How do I watch DVDs on my Xbox?
To view DVDs on your Xbox console you'll need the Microsoft DVD Movie Playback Kit. Like DVD players purchased within Australia and New Zealand, Xbox consoles purchased here are set to play Region 4 discs as default.


NTSC and PAL

What is NTSC/PAL?
There are three different methods for picture decoding standards: Australia and New Zealand use the PAL system; North America (Region 1) uses the NTSC system and Eastern Europe and France use SECAM.
What will I need to view NTSC discs?
In order for stable colour reproduction during playback, you'll require a NTSC compatible TV, often referred to as a 'multi-standard' or 'world' specification.
How are NTSC and PAL different?
First, NTSC and PAL differ in the number of scan lines available in the vertical axis of the screen; NTSC has 480, PAL has 576.

Secondly, there is a slight variation between NTSC and PAL running speeds. Where conventional film runs at 24 frames per second (fps), a TV signal runs at 30 fps (60 fields) for NTSC, or 25 fps (50 fields) for PAL.

For a PAL display, the simple method when transferring film is to present the film frames at 25 a second instead of 24 (the 4% speedup as mentioned above) and speed up the image to be synchronous with the images. The speedup raises the pitch of available audio tracks by one half of one tone although it's questionable as to whether this is distinguishable by the human ear.

The solution for an NTSC display is to spread the 24 film frames across the 60 video fields by alternating the display of the first film frame for 2 video fields and the next film frame for 3 video fields. This process is referred to as 2-3 pull-down and, again, it's questionable whether this process is noticeable to the human eye.

Neither format is inherently better than the other.


Screen ratios

What is aspect ratio?
Aspect ratio refers to the relative dimensions of the film image (the width-to-height ratio) - there are two standard ratios: fullscreen and widescreen.
What is fullscreen?
This is the typical 'square' image favoured (until recently) by television presentations. This aspect ratio is expressed as 4:3 or 1.33:1, which means that the frame is 1.33 times as wide as it is tall.

Fullscreen presentations fill the entire screen of standard 'square' televisions. If a fullscreen image is viewed on a widescreen television, the screen will be wider than image and black bars will be visible on the right and left sides.
What is widescreen?
Widescreen is the characteristic 'rectangular' image favoured by in most film presentations. There are several aspect ratios that may be called 'widescreen' but the most common are (in order of increasing width) 1.66:1, 1.78:1 (also referred to as 16:9), 1.85:1 and 2.35:1.

If a widescreen image is viewed in on a standard television, the screen will be taller than the image and black bars visible at the top and bottom. The thickness of these bars will depend on the aspect ratio of the widescreen presentation: the wider the aspect ration, the thicker the black bars.
What is letterbox widescreen?
Letterbox widescreen is a method of preserving the rectangular image of a widescreen presentation. Unfortunately, letterboxed presentations (depending on the aspect ratio) do not always reach the sides (left and right) of viewable screen on a widescreen TV set, prompting the need for viewers to use the 16:9 or 'Zoom' feature of their DVD player or TV to expand the image causing a loss of resolution. This issue relates only to widescreen TVs.
What is anamorphic widescreen?
Anamorphic enhancement is a process for widescreen TVs where the original image is compressed by 33% in the vertical axis during encoding. When the player decodes the image, the vertical axis is decompressed giving a higher resolution and greater clarity.

Anamorphically enhanced DVDs can be viewed just as easily on fullscreen TVs as widescreen ones although the process is usually not discernible. PC monitors, despite almost universally being 4:3, have a higher resolution than TV sets and so can display the widescreen image in a window 854x480 pixels or higher for NTSC, 1024x576 or higher for PAL).

Despite a common misunderstanding, the term 'anamorphic' does not ensure that the image will entirely fill the screen of a widescreen TV set.
Why do I still see black bars on my widescreen TV?
Widescreen TVs have an aspect ratio of 1.77:1; the same ratio can be expressed as 16:9. Widescreen presentations with aspect ratios higher than this (i.e. 1.85:1 or 2.35:1, for example) will still show black bars at the top and bottom but will be much smaller than those on a standard 4:3 'square' TV set.


Audio

What is Dolby Digital as a sound format?
Dolby Digital is a system capable of multi channel digital audio, coded using technology previously known as AC-3, often abbreviated as DD.
What is Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono?
A single channel of digital audio. On a surround sound system, the audio stream will be directed through the front centre speaker.
What is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono?
Somewhat confusingly, this is actually also a single channel of digital audio. The same audio stream is directed to the front left and front right speakers. Very few discs use this format.
What is Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo?
Two channels of digital audio. One stream will be directed to the front left speaker, the other to the front right speaker.
What is Dolby Digital Surround?
Initially known as simply Dolby Surround, this is an audio mixing technique that bolts on a rear channel and a centre channel onto a standard two-channel signal. With a two speaker sound system, these extra channels will be automatically mixed into the audio streams for the left and right speaker
What is Dolby Digital 4.0?
Four channels of digital audio. On a surround sound system the audio streams will be directed to the front left, front right, rear left and rear right speakers.
What is Dolby Digital 4.1?
Four channels of digital audio incorporating an additional low frequency effects channel (denoted by the '.1', this channel is otherwise known as LFE). On a surround sound system the audio streams will be directed to the front left, front right, rear left and rear right speakers with the LFE channel directed to the subwoofer.
What is Dolby Digital 5.1?
Five channels of digital audio incorporating a LFE channel. On a surround sound system the audio streams will be directed to the front left, front right, rear left and rear right speakers, the low frequency channel directed to the subwoofer with dialogue generally confined to the front centre speaker.
What is Dolby Digital 5.1 EX?
Five channels of digital audio incorporating a LFE channel, including support for a rear centre speaker by mixing across sound from the rear left and rear right speakers.
What is Dolby Digital 6.1?
Six channels of digital audio incorporating a LFE channel. This format differs from DD5.1 EX as it provides dedicated support for a rear centre speaker. This format is fully compatible for owners of a traditional 5.1 surround sound system.
What is DTS?
An abbreviation of Digital Theatre Systems, DTS is a rival audio format to Dolby Digital 5.1 and also involves five channels of digital audio incorporating a LFE channel. It differs slightly from DD5.1 by utilising a slightly narrower dynamic range and higher bit-rate audio encoding.
What is DTS ES?
Five channels of DTS digital audio incorporating a LFE channel, including support for a rear centre speaker by mixing across sound from the rear left and rear right speakers.
Can I view a DVD with a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track if I don't have a surround sound system?
Absolutely. Dolby Digital will automatically downmix the audio streams depending on how many speaker channels are available.
Can I view a DVD with a DTS audio track without a DTS decoder?
Unfortunately not. To benefit from DTS audio you'll require a dedicated decoder in your DVD player, your home cinema amp/receiver, or your TV.


Subtitles

Where can I find which subtitles are available on a DVD?
In the Product Details section of the page for each listing is a field highlighted as 'Subtitles'; here you should find listed all the available subtitles for that DVD.

Please note that for many pre-release products few details regarding subtitles are confirmed by the studio until the release date is very close. Booktopia displays this information on the site as soon as it becomes available.
Subtitles in the language I want are not listed. Why not?
The number and nature of subtitles vary from disc to disc and are entirely the choice of the studio producing that particular DVD. If you can't find the subtitles you're looking for in the 'Subtitles' field of the 'Technical Details' section, chances are they've not been included on the disc.
What are subtitles for the hard of hearing/hearing impaired?
These are subtitles specifically designed for viewers who may have trouble clearly defining particular dialogue or sound when viewing a DVD.

Such subtitles streams not only reproduce dialogue in text on the screen but also give visual clues to sonic events taking place on the screen. For example, if the sound of a telephone can be heard then '[phone rings]' or similar text will be displayed.
What is audio description?
Audio description is the narration of visual representations included on some DVDs to make them accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. During gaps in dialogue, it describes visual elements such as scenes, settings, actions and costumes.

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Blu-ray Frequently Asked Questions

What is Blu-ray Disc?
Blu-ray Disc is a next generation optical media format. Each disc, the same size as a regular DVD, can produce a progressive video image resolution of up to 1920 x 1080 (known as 1080p) for truly stunning visuals. Blu-ray also offers a significantly higher data transfer rate than television HD broadcasts for an improved picture presentation

Currently Blu-ray can store 25GB of data on a single layer, which means that dual layer discs can harbour a potential 50GB of HD content. Regular dual layer DVD is only able to present 9GB of SD content.
What audio formats are available on Blu-ray Disc?
Linear PCM (LPCM): this format offers up to 8 channels of uncompressed audio.

Dolby Digital (DD): this format (formerly known as AC3) is currently used on existing DVDs and offers up to 5.1 channel digital surround sound.

Dolby Digital Plus (DD+): an extension of DD, this format offers increased bitrates and 7.1 channel surround sound.

Dolby TrueHD: this format offers lossless audio encoding of up to 8 discrete channels.

DTS Digital Surround: this format, currently used for some existing DVDs, offers 5.1-channel surround sound at an increased bitrate to Dolby Digital (DD).

DTS-HD: an extension of DTS, this format offers increased bitrates and up to 8 discrete channels.

Please note: although Blu-ray Disc supports all the above formats, it is dependent on the content manufacturer to decide which are included on the release of a particular disc and you may require an additional hardware decoder to access some formats.
Does Blu-ray Disc have Region Coding?
Yes. Blu-ray regions are different to those for DVD and are outlined below.

Introduced by the film studios due to the staggered theatrical release of movies worldwide and to protect exclusive markets, region coding is intended as a method of ensuring discs would be playable only in certain geographical locations.

Region A: North America, South America, East Asia except for China
Region B: Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Africa
Region C: China, Russia and other countries
Can I play Blu-ray Disc on my existing DVD player?
No. To ensure playback you'll need a dedicated Blu-ray player, Sony PlayStation 3 or a BD-Rom drive in your computer.
Can I play DVDs on a Blu-ray player?
Yes. Blu-ray players have been designed to be backwards compatible with regular DVDs so you can continue to enjoy your existing collection. In addition, Blu-ray equipment will allow up-scaling of a DVD image up to a resolution 1080i/1080p so DVDs actually look better on a Blu-ray player than on a DVD player.
Can I play Blu-ray Disc in a HD DVD player?
No. Blu-ray Discs are not compatible with HD DVD machines. Playback of Blu-ray Discs is limited to equipment bearing the Blu-ray Disc logo.
Do I need a new high definition TV to use Blu-ray Disc?
No. Pre-recorded Blu-ray Disc titles will play on any standard definition TV set, even if the video was encoded in High Definition.
How should I clean a Blu-ray disc?
If your Blu-ray disc is not playing properly, it could be the result of fingerprints or dirt on the disc. Before you try any of these methods to clean it, remember that the disc media is very delicate and you may unintentionally damage the shiny reflective surface if you are not careful.
  • If dust particles are sticking to the CD surface, use a piece of soft cloth to wipe off the dust. To hold the CD, insert a finger or thumb inside the centre hole of the CD or handle it by the edges but never touch the shiny surface.
  • If there are fingerprint marks on the CD surface, dip a soft cloth in Isopropyl Alcohol/Ethanol/Methanol and gently wipe the surface. Never use a petroleum-based solvent like Acetone as that will permanently damage the disc surface.
  • When none of the above alcohol-based products are available, use a bottle of Mineral water to clean the dirty CD surface. Normal tap water has higher concentration of salts that may leave white marks on the disc surface.
  • Always wipe the disc surface in a non-radial back-and-forth motion (from the centre hole to the outer edge). Don't follow the concentric circles while cleaning.

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DVD & Blu-ray Classifications

Generally, all DVDs and Blu-rays released in Australia will be classified. Only a narrow range of films may be exempt from classification. These titles may be marked as exempt.

G is an advisory classification The content is very mild in impact. G films are for general viewing. While many G films are for children, not all will be of interest to them.

PG is an advisory classification The content is mild in impact. PG films contain material that a parent or carer might need to explain to younger children.

M is an advisory classification The content is moderate in impact. M films are not recommended for people aged under 15 as a level of maturity is required.

MA 15+ is a legally restricted classification The content is strong in impact. MA 15+ films are not suitable for people aged under 15. A person aged under 15 cannot purchase an MA 15+ film.

What is the difference between M and MA 15+? There is no legal restriction on who can see an M film. The content for M films are moderate and a mature perspective is required. M films are recommended for people aged 15 or older. A person needs to be 15 or older to purchase an MA 15+ film. The content is strong and unsuitable for people aged under 15.

R 18+ is a legally restricted classification The content is high in impact. R 18+ films are not suitable for people aged under 18. People aged under 18 cannot purchase an R 18+ film.

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DVD & Blu-ray Returns

I have changed my mind or I made a mistake with my order
We are happy to exchange any unopened (still shrink-wrapped) DVD or Blu-ray within 14 days, provided the goods are returned in PRISTINE condition.

Booktopia will not pay for postage if you are returning an item because you have changed your mind, or made a mistake in your ordering.

Booktopia will provide instructions for returning the item. If the product is damaged upon receipt in our warehouse, we are unable to accept the return and the item will be mailed back to you.
The item I ordered arrived damaged
Booktopia does pack every parcel with care to ensure it arrives at its destination in the same condition it left our warehouse. Unfortunately a small percentage of packages do arrive damaged due to mishandling by Australia Post employees and contractors as part of their standard parcel delivery program. As Australia Post offers Booktopia customers the most cost-effective and comprehensive delivery program we acknowledge that some parcels may arrive damaged and require replacing.

If your item was damaged between leaving our warehouse and arriving at your delivery address, you must message Booktopia with your order number and the condition of your item/s within 2 days of the recorded delivery date.

Booktopia will replace the DVD or Blu-ray, depending on availability once the original disc is received back. Booktopia will provide instructions for returning the item. Refunds will not be processed unless a replacement cannot be provided.
The item I ordered arrived faulty or didn't work as intended
If your item is found to be faulty, you must message Booktopia with your order number and the fault or problem of your item/s within 2 days of the recorded delivery date.

Booktopia will replace the DVD or Blu-ray, depending on availability once the original disc is received back. Booktopia will provide instructions for returning the item. Refunds will not be processed unless a replacement cannot be provided.
The item I received is not the item I ordered
If you receive an item that is not what you ordered, you must message Booktopia with your order number and the missing title and received title within 2 days of the recorded delivery date.

Booktopia will replace the DVD or Blu-ray, depending on availability once the original disc is received back. Booktopia will provide instructions for returning the item. Refunds will not be processed unless a replacement cannot be provided.

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