Universal Media Disc

Universal Media Disc

Infobox media
name = UMD (Universal Media Disc)
logo =


type = Optical disc
encoding =
capacity = 900 MB (single layer), 1.8 GB (dual layer)
read =
write =
standard =
owner = Sony
use = Games, movies, music
extended from =
extended to =
The Universal Media Disc (UMD) is an optical disc medium developed by Sony for use on the PlayStation Portable. It can hold up to 1.8 gigabytes of data. It is the first optical disc format to be used for a handheld video game system.

Overview

pecifications

ECMA-365: Data Interchange on 60 mm Read-Only ODC – Capacity: 1.8 GB (UMD)cite web
url = http://www.ecma-international.org/publications/files/ECMA-ST/ECMA-365.pdf | title = Data Interchange on 60 mm Read-Only ODC—Capacity: 1,8 Gbytes (UMD) | author = Ecma International | year = 2005 | month = June | format = PDF
]
* Dimensions: approx. 64 mm (W) × 64 mm (D) × 4.2 mm (H)
* Maximum capacity: 1.80 GB (dual layer), 900 MB (single-layer)
* Laser wavelength: 660 nm (red laser)
* Encryption: AES 128-bit

Regions

DVD region coding has been applied to most UMD movies and music, although all games, with the exception of Battlezone, do not enforce regional lockout, making them, in effect, region free.

*Region 0: Worldwide (in-flight-movies, cinemas, ferries, etc.)
*Region 1: United States, Canada, U.S. territories, Latin America
*Region 2: European Union, Japan, Middle East, Egypt, South Africa, Greenland, French territories
*Region 3: Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong,
*Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Brazil
*Region 5: Russia, Eastern Europe, Pakistan, India, the majority of Africa, North Korea, Mongolia
*Region 6: Mainland China

Applications

The primary application for UMD discs is as a storage medium for PSP games, although the format is also used for the storage of motion pictures, and to a lesser degree, television shows for playback on the PSP. The video is encoded in the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format, with the audio in ATRAC3plus. The BBC released a number of its TV titles on UMD in the UK, including "The Office", "The Mighty Boosh", "Doctor Who" and "Little Britain".

Some adult films have been released on UMD in Japan. [cite web
url = http://au.gamespot.com/news/2005/06/02/news_6126863.html?sid=6126863 | title = PSP procures porn in Japan | publisher = GameSpot.com | date=June 2, 2005 |accessdate=2007-07-20
] Sony does not officially approve of such content. A top level Sony executive called this development as being "highly undesirable".

Circumvention

Despite Sony's efforts, the UMD format has been cracked. Using a combination of insecure firmware and reverse engineering, the Sony PSP will run a variety of homebrew games, and backup ISO images. Each disc uses a file system whose format follows the ISO 9660 standard. The ISO image can then be stored on a Memory Stick, and run via a special disc emulator program, such as Devhook, or launched in the XMB with a custom firmware.

Future provisions

According to the official ECMA specification Sony designed the UMD to support two possible future enhancements and products.

1. Protective Shutter: Similar to the MiniDisc and 3 1/2" floppy disc, this protective shutter will shield the inner disc from accidental contact. These disks if ever produced will still be compatible with some legacy UMD devices, including the PSP-1000 series. However, they would not be compatible with the PSP-2000 series.

2. Auto-Loading: UMDs were designed for possible future slot loading devices with Auto-Loading mechanisms. These would be very similar to the auto-loading mechanism used in slot loading MiniDisc home and car decks. It would also be similar to the VHS U-Matic auto-loading mechanism. Unlike the current clamshell loading design the PSP uses, a slot loading device using an Auto-Loading mechanism would be motorized and completely automatic. You would insert the disc into the device slot, similar to the way you insert a VHS cassette into a VCR, and as you begin to insert it, the motorized mechanism would then take over and completely draw the disc inside the drive, and complete the loading process. The disc would also be ejected fully automatically by the motorized mechanism, like a VCR. This would also mean that power would be required in order to insert or eject a disc.

Criticism

Although the UMD discs offer large capacity and the capability to store quality audio/video content, the format's proprietary nature and the lack of writers and blank media have spawned criticisms. Comparisons to Sony's MiniDisc format have brought forth further criticisms; for instance, the sliding shield which prevents direct disc contact on MiniDiscs is absent from all UMDs released to date, though it is an option according to the ECMA specification.

The smaller capacity of the UMD discs necessitates that bonus content from DVD releases be removed in large part or entirely before the movie is released on UMD for PSP playback. This has made the UMD movie releases a difficult sell in the face of affordable portable DVD players that can output to TV sets and can play the full-featured DVD releases. UMD movie pricing was also originally higher than DVD pricing, although UMDs have largely fallen to a more reasonable price. Due to the slow sales of UMD movies, some retailers, such as Tower Records, began offering incentives on UMD purchases, such as “buy one, get one free” deals.

A few months after release, PSP users started complaining that the protective case around the disc would develop cracks with normal use. Sony has not considered this a defect under warranty. In response, [http://www.multimediarecovery.com Multimedia Recovery] , a third party company, has produced replacement casings in order for consumers to continue to use the discs and save their investments in the games.

ee Also

List of movies and television shows released on UMD

References

External links

* [http://www.umdcase.com Multimedia Recovery] Manufacturers of the UMD Replacement Cases
* [http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articles/umdguide/ The Digital Bits Guide to UMD Movies] including a list of movies available on UMD
* [http://www.umdtalk.co.uk UMD Talk] contains UMD articles, news, resources & technical details.
* [http://www.mp3newswire.net/stories/5002/umd.html Sony PSP Movie Sales Strong] Article on the early success of movie sales on UMD from MP3 Newswire
* [http://www.engadget.com/2006/02/16/breaking-news-sonys-umds-arent-selling-well Breaking news: Sony's UMDs aren't selling well] News story about the disappointing UMD sales.
* [http://www.umddb.net UMD Movie Database]
* [http://www.24-7dvd.co.uk/umd.php UMD Authoring]


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