How can I burn playable video content (including .avi and .mpg) to CD in OS X?
April 9, 2004 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a free way to burn playable video content using a CD burner in OS X. I'd like a solution that accommodates multiple input formats (AVI, mpg) and that someone here has successfully used. Also, is VCD the standard output format? Are there many alternatives?
posted by blueshammer to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
What do you mean by, "playable video content"? Or, more specifically, what do you want to play the CD in? Another Mac? A PC? A DVD player? The answer to your question depends heavily on what you're going to use this CD for.

If you're looking for a way to play video on another computer, then the easiest solution is probably just to burn the video files onto a standard data CD.

If you want to play the CD in a DVD player, or a VCD player, then you are probably want to make a VCD. Most DVD players will play VCDs, and obviously VCD players will play them as well.

Another alternative is to burn video in the DVD format onto a blank CD instead of a blank DVD. This will give you a shorter length of video, but at DVD quality, and also give you the possibility of including DVD features like menus and navigation. The disadvantage is that this is not an official format, and not all DVD players will understand these discs.

There are free, open-source UNIX command line utilities that can convert from various video formats into other video formats, and produce DVD and VCD images, and these will run on OS X. In particular, I'm thinking of ffmpeg and its ilk. I'm guessing that you're looking for something a bit more user-friendly, though.

You could try looking into ffmpegX, a OS X GUI wrapper around ffmpeg and other utilities. I've used it successfully to encode DVD video from various video sources, even including things like subtitles and mutiple audio tracks. It's a bit scary at first, but once you've figured out the interface, it's a doddle to use. Sizzle is another program I've used for making DVDs, although according to the webpage, the latest version has issues with Mac OS X 10.3. Also on the Sizzle homepage is a number of links to useful Mac video resources.

If you can provide some more information about your project, blueshammer, we can probably help you more.
posted by chrismear at 7:52 AM on April 9, 2004

If by "playable" you mean playable on a set-top DVD player, then I would recommend, it has insanely comprehensive guides for ripping, converting, burning, and playing DVD's and VCD's (it was previously known as From what I'd read, many DVD players will play VCD's, and an increasing minority will play other formats (MPEG, DIVX, etc.) ( also lists tons of information about what formats and types of discs are playable on which model of DVD player). The OS X material isn't as ubiquitous as the WinXP stuff, but the forums are good, and most of the information is platform-independent (video formats, etc).
posted by Eldritch at 7:55 AM on April 9, 2004

Response by poster: Sorry; I didn't intent to provide too much info. Yes, I want it to play on DVD players. But assuming that I don't know specifically which DVD player, what format are most likely to succeed? CDs with DVD-format video? VCDs? etc. (Specifically, I want to burn some TV programs I've torrented.)

These are good first steps. I appreciate this and any further info.
posted by blueshammer at 8:29 AM on April 9, 2004

Response by poster: intent to provide too much

intend to provide too little

posted by blueshammer at 8:30 AM on April 9, 2004

For a couple of years now, I've used ffmpegX to create/convert content, and then MissingMediaBurner to create VCD/SVCDs from that content.
posted by mrbill at 8:54 AM on April 9, 2004

blueshammer, You'll probably want to make VCD's (MPEG-1), since that format is often compatible with set-top DVD players. You'll get about an hour to one 650MB CD, IIRC. SVCD is also an option (MPEG-2, which is near DVD quality), but you can't fit much on it at all. You'll probably have to reencode, since most video files on the 'net aren't in VCD- or SVCD-compliant video formats. That's a long, and annoying process, and my only suggestion for that is make sure you have all of the video format parameters figured out before you encode. Otherwise the VCD won't work, or you'll get squashed or expanded frames.
posted by Eldritch at 9:10 AM on April 9, 2004

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