As I’ve documented well on this blog I run all my TV through a server and Windows Media Center. Occasionally I want to archive some recorded TV to DVD. Not a DVD of data-files, but a standards-compliant video DVD that will play in set top players. This isn’t always straight forward as proper DVDs have to conform to various standards, including being encoded in MPEG2 and having a PAL or NTSC resolution (480p or 576p). Most of what I have recorded is 1080p and I also have some 720p, and most of this is encoded using H.264. So turning these files into a standard DVD video means both recoding and resizing the videos.
After extensive research I settled on a program called AVStoDVD, another free program which is being actively developed. This isn’t quite as streamlined and simple to use as DVD-Flick but its not too far off. Whilst it utilises lots of other third party tools to work, this is all done automatically behind the scenes. Simply dragging the required files into a list, editing their “titles” and then using the wizard to generate a menu took under a minute. You have the option to create standard single layer 4.5Gb DVDs or dual-layer 9Gb DVDs. I’ve tested both successfully and found that even on my rather aging Core2Duo PC I could carry out the whole process, including burning to disk, in a little bit under the playback time. So — for example, archiving 3 episodes of a TV series which are each 1 hour long took about 2 hours and 40 minutes. I was also impressed that I could fit 3 hours of content onto a single-layer standard DVD at quite impressive quality. Last but not least, I was very pleased to see that I could select audio streams, and choose to have AC3 and DTS streams automatically passed through unmodified (AC3 and DTS are DVD-compliant).
If you need to archive video content to compliant DVD’s, especially HD content or content encoded in newer MPEG-4 formats, I highly recommend giving AVStoDVD a try.
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