DVD burning on-the-fly. What's the best software?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Dave Poehlman, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I've got an old ATI All-in-wonder VE card that I managed to fit into my new HP desktop.

    Anyway.. I was looking at getting a DVD writer for it and connecting my cable TV and using my PC as a PVR.

    I don't mind watching the occasional show on my PC, but some I would like to burn to DVD/VCD to watch on my livingroom TV. Rather than deal with bulky AVI capture files... what's the best software out there for on-the-fly DVD/VCD writing?

    I just realized my Roxio 6 doesn't even offer VCD or DVD video burning period(!?!?).

    (admin note - rest of post excised)
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    You're going to need a MPEG-2 encoder card to speed up the encoding (otherwise, crunching up large AVI files is time-consuming and just not really worth porting over to MPEG-2 => DVD, if it's just disposable entertainment material), or just get a standalone DVD recorder with a hard drive built-in.
     
  3. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Which Roxio product? They offered Easy CD & DVD Creator 6, which sounds like it would do DVDs. (I was surprised to find out that Roxio, which was originally spun off from Adaptec, is now owned by Sonic Solutions.)

    The specs for the VE mention that you need 500MHz minimum for MPEG capture, which means that (a) it does MPEG (the card may provide some limited hardware assist), and (b) your new HP should be fast enough. The manual mentions a Personal Video Recorder, where you can choose to capture as MPEG. You will want to make sure that the video is DVD-compliant, in terms of frame size and bitrate.

    If you can get that to work, there should be programs that will take that and make a DVD with minimum hassle -- i.e. without re-encoding -- although maybe not quite "on-the-fly". Your Roxio might even be one of them.
     
  4. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    WHOOPS! I made a mistake.. :b I don't have the "All-in-wonder VE"... I have the ATI TV-Wonder VE which is basically just a video input device with a built in TV Tuner.

    The specs say: "MPEG-2 real-time video compression". So, that should work, right? I'm going to experiment with some of my analog home movies and see how they capture on this new machine. I had tried making some home-video VCD's on my old machine (pent 2) and the picture quality was "okay". I don't think I ever got SVCD to work. I don't know if I was missing some sort of codec. And the file sizes were pretty cumbersome for my poor machine. It got a little frustrating spending hours crunching files to a VCD only to have it not work or look like crap. So, I pretty much gave up on it.

    Maybe someone here can explain how to get the most out of this thing. [​IMG]


    It is Easy CD/DVD creator 6. But, I notice now it's the "Basic Edition" which, if I want to creat VCD's or video DVD's I'd have to spend the $30 for an upgrade. [​IMG] Gotta love capitalism.
     
  5. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Well there's no getting around that. If you fill most of a DVD, that's 4GB. If you do real-time capture directly to MPEG, that at least saves you from the potentially much larger capture files that need to be transcoded to MPEG. At a minimum, you have 4GB of the MPEGs you captured, which get turned into another 4GB of DVD .vob files to burn onto disc.

    If you want to put TV shows on DVD, you'll want to have software that can use the MPEG capture card to automatically record the shows when they're on -- unless you're OK with starting and stopping the recordings manually.

    The video portion of the MPEG capture must be DVD-compliant, or the MPEGs will have to be re-encoded just like any other AVI. Most captures do this by default, but you should check. For NTSC, the resolution must be 720x480, 704x480, or 352x480. The bitrate should be under 8Mbit/sec, although it will have to be even less if you want to get more time on the disc. 6Mb/s is typical for decent quality.

    The audio portion will probably be MPEG Audio. Your DVD player may play it -- and again, PC player programs probably will, but set-top players may not -- but a "real" NTSC DVD requires either a LPCM or AC-3 (Dolby Digital) audio track. LPCM takes more room, which will reduce the total program time you can fit on a disc. You'll want to use a DVD authoring program that will automatically transcode the MPEG Audio to LPCM (sometimes called just PCM by programs) or AC-3 during the building process. This is a fairly common feature, although AC-3 is often an add-on.

    So you've got your real-time captured DVD-compliant MPEGs. You fire up the DVD authoring program, do some clicking and dragging to put each MPEG on its own title/track. A menu automatically gets created. You push a button, audio gets transcoded, .vob files get multiplexed onto the hard drive, and then burned from there onto a blank DVD. That's about as smooth as you can get, doing it piecemeal with different programs.

    It's only a matter of time before someone will mix the PVR and DVD burning. In fact, I believe that's a capability of MythTV on Linux. Of course, how well they do it is another matter.
     
  6. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I had a lot of "blocking" artifacts. Being a HT geek, I probably notice them more, though.

    Thanks for the info, Ken. Hopefully someday soon, I'll have an afternoon to sit and tinker with the thing.
     

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