SD and HD on same disc
Is it currently possible to have both SD and HD video on the same DVD disc with menus and have the discs play on both stand alone DVD players and PC based players? I realize the HD video portion wouldn't play on current standard def stand alone DVD players. But I would want both HD and SD video to play in the PC based DVD player. Possible?
Well it depends how you expect it to work. You could make an HD-DVD using DVDSP and put some SD content in there or you could make an SD DVD with an HD movie file for computer users. Bottom line- there are really very little HD DVDs out there- not even any HD-DVD or BlueRay burners yet so this sort of thing is a little premature. Maybe 6 months down the road.
This is sort of those in betweener type answers. You can have both content on a single disc, and because there really isn't a way to play HD discs on anything but a computer, it's probably best to author a SD dvd video, and add your HD files as ROM content.
It really depends on how much work you want or need to put into it. You can author a dvd video with SD and have it play on set top players and computers. You can use an application like eDVD 4 to add ROM content and the ability for the viewer to use somewhat of a menu structure to launch the HD files. For example, you can have a photomontage in SD that the viewer can access via a menu and watch on their dvd player or computer. You can also have an HD version of the same, and use a menu to launch the ROM content file if the viewer is using a PC. Of course it would require the particular computer to be able to handle HD content (with an appropriate player and codec), but assuming that's the case, it can be done.
I have made HD films for companies who want to show them off at tradeshows but also be able to give them away to potential clients. So I do the standards DVD and add a WMV-HD file as ROM-content, but remember a DVD disc will only read at around 9meg bits a second, I make my HD files at 20000kbs so they have to copy them to a hard drive first. HD-DVD etc will read at 32mbs when it arrives, although the h.264 codec might be good enough for under 9meg (I am now rambling)
Depends on the computer and dvd drive, some play HD files just fine at high bitrates. With higher compressed formats (wmv, divx, h264), you can play most of them just fine, and with a little tweaking (balencing bitrate high enough for quality vs too high for smooth playback), they look and play great.
Of course, you can simply put the HD file in a folder (or as a file by itself), and with eDVD 4 have a button on your menu that will launch the folder to make it easy for your client/viewer to find the specific file and copy to the HD. In fact, you can have a button launch a SD version of it (so the viewer can tell exactly what the file contains) and launch the folder off to the side so if they want to copy and play a HD version of it, they can (and they know what it is).
There are several ways to mix SD and HD on the same DVD. Certinly enhanced DVD-ROM tricks are one such, but given that playback is CODEC dependent anyway, I've been making such hybrid discs for over a year now in a simpler way.
Basically, you author the DVD-SD content as usual, and probably include some note abotu HD support in computers. I will probably look into one of the DVD enhancement tools to see about integrating ROM content here somehow. But for now, I build the disc with a standard Windows autoboot menu, using the normal init file and a basic menu generation utility. The PC menu typically offers the option of running HD, running the DVD, or installing a CODEC. Using WMV9 or DivX encoding, today, it's reasonable to put an hour of SD and HD on one DVD. For video, I generally use 1080/60i; for photo slideshows, 1080/24p.
H.264 is probably the future, but it's a bit much for many PCs right now.
The only fly in the ointment right now is that, while I have one of the very few red-laser DVD players that'll handle HD (MPEG-2, WMV9, or DivX/MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile), there's so far no way I've discovered to author a disc that'll work bi-modal on such players (JVC's OEMing a version of this IOData player, so this may get a little more visible before long... right now, it's mostly just known to HDV users). Obviously, standards for this will come with Blu-Ray/HD-DVD, but it would be sure nice to have a little more today.
The DivX folks have specific standardization marks for such "applicance" players, including certified profiles for cross compatibility on SD and HD/720p. WMV9 is also certified to work, but I don't think they get into specific bitrates and resolutions as a part of that process.
PCs and such enhanced DVD players aren't limited to the 1x speed of normal DVD STBs. But you probably want to stick in those ranges anyway, using red laser DVDs. My IOData will play 25Mb/s MPEG-2 TS straight out of the camera, but you can't put useful amounts on a disc.
I agree with much of what you posted. One needs to use one of the more compressed HD formats (that you nicely outlined) to have a chance of the file playing from a standard dvd disc drive. One has to work a bit with the file compression and data bitrates to balence between high quality, and stuttering or failed playback. Some systems will just be too slow or old to handle the content, and having a 'disclaimer' stating as such (or minimum system requirements) helps. Some systems won't have the codec installed or latest version of a specific application to let them watch the content (again, giving the viewer the knowledge up front to let them know if their system will or won't handle the content helps).
With that said, you can launch HD content while viewing a SD dvd video title using eDVD 4. You can have links to your on disc HD rom content that can be launched while someone is watching the dvd video. If the system is fast enough to handle your content but lacks the codec or updated player, you can include button links with URL's to specific sites where the viewer can download the appropriate player/codec (ie DIVX, Microsoft Media Player, etc)all while watching the dvd video.