DVD Forum Chooses AAC Format For Digital Files Included On DVD-Audio Discs

DVD-Audio, one of the two formats (the other being Super Audio CD, or SACD) vying to be the next-generation music format, will not be freely rippable like CDs are today. However, some discs will include a "DVD-ROM Zone" that is playable in a regular DVD player or DVD-ROM drive. This zone can be used to store a low-resolution, lossy copy of the music present on the rest of the disc, which can be used on a computer, copied to a compatible portable music player, or played in portable DVD-Audio players.

What format are the files in? After comparing AAC, Sonyis ATRAC, MP3, and Microsoftis WMA, the DVD Forum chose AAC as the only approved codec, according to an article at High Fidelity Review.

Note, however, that it will still be the labelis choice whether or not to include such content, but if they choose to do so, AAC is the only format approved to be used for low-resolution, lossy music files in the DVD-ROM Zone on DVD-Audio discs. From High Fidelity Review:

The DVD Forum has chosen AAC for the DVD-ROM zone of DVD-Audio discs ? the inclusion of a low-resolution (lossy) track suitable for solid-state and portable devices has long been championed by DVD-Audio figureheads such as Dolby?s John Kellogg as a way of enhancing the value of the format to all listeners, not just those interested in its high-resolution potential.

The selection of AAC came after a number of competing formats were proposed; they included MP3, ATRAC and Microsoft?s WMA. Additional formats, such as Vorbis Ogg for example, were not put forward for consideration.

High Fidelity Review has learnt that AAC was chosen for a number of reasons, a Forum member told us that it was clear from the outset that it was "...sounded much better than the others," although WMA was not included in the early stages of testing. No details of the subjective (or objective) testing methods were forthcoming, nor any information about the bitrates evaluated. AAC can also deliver multi-channel content.

Another positive factor was that AAC is perceived favourably by the music industry because of its associated copyright protection measures and a history of use by legitimate, paid download organisations such as Apple. Conversely, content providers shudder at the very mention of MP3, it is seen as being the root of all evils where piracy activities are concerned. But as reader Mitchell Burt pointed out to us, AAC itself does not provide any rights management functions; the Apple iTunes implementation via their on-line store uses a proprietary DRM package named FairPlay.

You can read the full article at High Fidelity Review.