Help me make someone happy with semi-legal tv shows.
October 26, 2011 8:11 PM   Subscribe

How do I burn a DVD that will play in a standard US DVD player?

It seems incomprehensible that this has not been asked before, but I can't find it. What format do I need to convert my movies to where I can make them play? I know Handbrake and iTunes but I don't know how to make them do this either. So, hayalp?
posted by norm to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
DVD-Video is not just an audio-video format but a navigation and presentation format as well.

There are a number of free tools with which you can format movie files for DVD. Are you on Mac or PC?
posted by infinitewindow at 8:30 PM on October 26, 2011

Do you have the video files already on your computer, or are you asking how to copy DVDs? I assume your computer is equipped with a DVD burner, or that you have a separate one.

You need a program that burns DVDs.

If you don't have one, I believe this one is free.

As is this one

And this one

And this one.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:31 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I also use ConvertXtoDVD, because it's super easy, and lets you make semi-pretty menus, but DVD Flick is also very easy to use and free. You just add your files and it converts and burns for you.
posted by katyggls at 10:42 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's also worth burning two copies of whatever DVD you author, one to a DVR-R disc and another to DVD+R. Even in 2011, there are still some DVD players around that will play one but not the other.
posted by flabdablet at 11:21 PM on October 26, 2011

for the video to put on the DVDs you need to:
1) rip other DVDs. Illegal, yes. some like anydvd. Once ripped, you can use handbrake to change it to other formats (which is not what you said you wanted).
2) convert other video types to DVD. Basically, you need DVD authoring software. Which one depends mostly on what you are trying to convert from...see suggestions by others.

Now then, how to get it onto the DVD? Ripped DVDs are 2x the size of the cheap DVDs in the stores. To get one onto the disk, the favorite of almost all people is dvdshrink. It will take any ripped DVD and get it to fit on a DVD. How? Lowering the quality of the video...or removing content. You can, for instance, re-author the DVD and only get the movie, no extras, menus, etc. That usually will fit. The result should be saved as an iso on the hard drive which Windows 7 can burn onto a DVD for you just by opening the iso file.
posted by CodeMonkey at 5:12 AM on October 27, 2011

1- DVD-R is the standard DVD format. DVD+R is a competing format that may not be compatible.

2- DVD Video is mpeg2, and has some pretty narrow standards as to how it needs to be encoded. If you are using a DVD authoring program, it may have to reencode the video into an acceptable standard.

3- DVD players expect the video to be presented in a specific way. You can make DVD-Video disks that don't have any menus, but I *think* there still needs to be a a file of some kind on the disk that says "no menus".

4- When you are burning your disks, burn them at the slowest speed.

5- CodeMonkey is right about the size. You can avoid this by using dual-layer disks to burn onto.

6- Some DVD players don't care about any of this, and will play almost anything.
posted by gjc at 5:52 AM on October 27, 2011

iMovie has a one-step feature to burn a movie file to a DVD. Or so I hear.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:40 AM on October 27, 2011

A lot of DVD players will play common formats and you may be able to simple burn an AVI file to a data DVD. If this works in your own player then you are set for watching at home.

If you want to be guranteed that it will play on 95% of dvd players, then you need to do the things people are suggesting above to actually convert and author a dvd video.
posted by utsutsu at 7:50 AM on October 27, 2011

For what it's worth, I'm:

a) on a PC
b) wanting to write files I already have in AVI/MP4 format to a playable DVD and
c) in possession of a regulation athletic supporter DVD burner. I will try this DVD Flick thing first and go from there. Thanks!
posted by norm at 9:35 AM on October 27, 2011

DVD Flick is quick and easy. DVDStyler is a competent, cross-platform freebie that gives you more control over your DVD menus than you can achieve with Flick.

DVD-R is the standard DVD format. DVD+R is a competing format that may not be compatible.

No. Pressed DVDs are the standard DVD format. Every DVD player will play those. DVD-R and DVD+R are two competing formats for one-time-recordable DVDs. Most of today's players will work fine with all three, but I have encountered one player that wouldn't play DVD+R and two that wouldn't play DVD-R.
posted by flabdablet at 10:22 AM on October 27, 2011

I can't remember whether either DVD Flick or DVDStyler has an actual burner built in (I think at least one of them does) or whether they're pure authoring tools that just make ready-to-burn ISO image files. If the latter, InfraRecorder and ImgBurn are good, no-fuss free burners.

Windows 7 can burn DVD-sized ISO files to disc from Windows Explorer without help from additional software.

Don't install Nero unless you actually enjoy bloat and tentacles.
posted by flabdablet at 10:30 AM on October 27, 2011

On a Mac, people generally use Apple's iDVD (part of the very cheap iLife suite, and already on most Macs). You can also use Roxio Toast.
posted by w0mbat at 12:10 PM on October 27, 2011

Quibble: DVD-R was created by the same people who created the DVD, DVD Forum. DVD-R carries the "DVD" logo, DVD+R does not.
posted by gjc at 3:58 PM on October 27, 2011

I've had good luck with DeVeDe, which takes avi/mp4 files, and allows you to turn them into a DVD image to be burned. It offers a fairly simple menu, nothing fancy, allows tailoring of things like bit rate, file size, deinterlacing, etc. Free. I use it on a Win machine and on a Ubuntu machine.

Creating DVD images tends to take a good amount of computer power, and can take several hours depending on a variety of factors. It's good to free up the computer so that it can work on this task. There are sometimes all kinds of little, hard to track down gremlins that can throw a monkey wrench into the process. Sometimes the avi/mp4/whatever files have some weird little non conformity that will break the process, or some setting will create a DVD that simply won't work correctly. Unfortunately, these problems are often difficult to find until the image is created and burned and tested in a real DVD player. And to top it off, I've found DVD players can be kind of finicky even reading discs. I tend to find a formula that works with my computers and every DVD player I have access to, and stick with it.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:28 PM on October 27, 2011

One thing I've found helpful when using DeVeDe on Linux: in its audio options there's a volume control, which defaults to 100%. Dropping that down to 90% makes the sound work properly every time, as far as I can tell; before figuring this out, I had produced several coasters with unusable, glitchy sound. Don't know if this is a thing for the Windows version but I would expect that it would be.
posted by flabdablet at 6:47 PM on October 27, 2011

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