0AVStoDVDHow to burn files to compliant DVD-Video

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.

In the past I have used the excel­lent (and free) DVD-Flick for author­ing video clips to stand­ard DVD.  This easy to use soft­ware is great for quickly and eas­ily mak­ing prop­er DVDs with menu struc­tures etc.  How­ever, when it comes to transcod­ing and res­iz­ing DVD-Flick is incred­ibly slow.  I also found that occa­sion­ally author­ing these types of shows with DVD-Flick can res­ult in some audio/video sync issues, and with DVD-Flick no longer being act­ively developed these issues are unlikely to be fixed.

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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