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Whether you are starting to create our own DVDs or are just naturally inquisitive, software DVD-player applications are wonderful tools for playing DVDs on your desktop and for looking under the hood to explore their structure. We are used to accessing DVDs from their menus, but hidden under the hood lies a deeper structure and advanced capabilities.
Yes, DVD software players have all kinds of cool features for enhancing your video and audio viewing experience; they also can do more to help you explore the content and organization of the discs. As you get deeper into DVD authoring, these player applications allow you to explore commercial movies on DVD to learn how the Hollywood designers structure their discs. And, as you author your own discs, you can use these tools to test and check your own creations.
DVD Structure: Chapter And Streams
DVDs can have a rather complex structure--it includes video and audio clips, interactive menus, and links between the menus and clips. But, the DVD-Video format provides much more flexibility by dividing clips into Chapters, grouping Chapters into Titles, and providing alternate streams of video, audio, and subtitles.
Chapters can organize menus for long video segments like a two-hour movie, allowing you to mark important scenes within the clip. For a long video segment, such as a two-hour movie, chapter points can be used to mark important scenes. While you generally watch movies from beginning to end, the chapter points let you skip rapidly through the movie between key scenes by pressing the Previous and Next Chapter buttons on the remote control. They also allow the use of a scene index menu, which can provide thumbnail images of each scene so you can jump directly to a favorite part. But, notice that the chapters are just marked points in the longer segment. As you play the movie, the playback continues from the chapter point to the end, flowing through the chapter points.
The other way of using menus is to organize individual clips, as is typically done with consumer DVD-authoring tools (including Apple iDVD, Media-Stream NeoDVD, Pinnacle …