There have been almost fifteen years since the first DVD (Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) was launched in Japan. Come to think of it, the success was already there with Philips, Sony, Toshiba and Time Warner joining this ambitious project. The next ten years were all about DVDs, until the Blu-Ray Disc was released. Although the BD delivers High Definition (HD) video and audio quality, the DVD still remains the number one choice for home users. AVI2DVD was designed to bring a solution in AVI to DVD conversion.
With approximately one billion DVD player units sold worldwide, it’s only fair to say that almost everyone has access to them. Whether you watch a movie, a concert or your home-made video, listen to music or even play a game on your console, they all orbit around this media format. So, what do you need in order to create DVD content? It is quite simple: a video source file and a specific piece of software. One of the most popular applications in this field is ConvertXtoDVD
; however it comes with a price tag.
On the other hand, Trust Fm’s AVI2DVD
program is a free tool that will help you convert your personal video files to burn-ready DVD format. It supports AVI, WMV, MP4, MKV and OGM as input formats to create DVD, SVCD and VCD output. This program also offers support for subtitles and basic DVD menu creation capabilities. AVI2DVD’s conversion process is based on several external free encoders which are included in the application’s installer.
AVI2DVD is highly dependable on the following provided components: Avisynth, AC3 filter, CoreAAC, MatroskaSplitter, FFDshow and Xvid. These tools are packed into the installer, thus the installation process will require a few more clicks than the average software distribution. Once this job is finished, you will be able to launch both the application as well as the online user guide.
The interface of the main and only window may seem a bit crowded at first glance, due to its non-resizable nature. The text and button layout and design are far from elegant and professional; they will not interfere in the overall ease-of-use. AVI2DVD will present a language bar with instant interface text translation at the top of its window, followed by the program’s tabs (Input
and DVD Menu
Just beneath the main area of each tab, users will find three checkboxes for PC or program shut down and the option to hide the external tools during the conversion process. The program supports batch processing and displays buttons for job addition and modifying as well as a Job Queue
. The Log Window
will provide users with real-time information regarding the occurring processes during the operation.
The first step of the so-called wizard will require users to load their source video. As the application will only allow one file to be selected, it may seem that the output content will be generated using this particular selection. Searching for an answer to this problem, the online guide suggests that there is a way to convert multiple video files by joining them into the same DVD / SVCD / VCD container. The solution stands in renaming your input files in this specific manner: <Your Source Video File> CD1, <Your Source Video File> CD2 and so on. This rule applies to their respective subtitles as well.
The Aspect Ratio
can be set to 16/9 (widescreen) or 4/3 (normal) and the program also provides users with Deinterlace
capabilities. Using this feature can be quite tricky and my recommendation is to take a small segment of your video file and test it before you go on and convert the entire movie. For example, most DV camera captured videos will require this option to be enabled in order to display a clean output on your TV. Also, you can choose up to three audio streams and manually select the appropriate audio language for each one of them.
In the second tab, users will select the output format from DVD, SVCD or VCD and the desired disk size. Once more, the Aspect Ratio is customizable as well as the audio bitrate. You can choose to generate an ISO image file of the content, convert between PAL and NTSC and create DVD chapters at given time intervals. The last part of this section refers to the output directory selection.
area is where you will choose between image quality and conversion speed, as they are inversely proportional. It is quite simple: you go with high-speed processing; it affects the quality of the end product. Unless you have high quality raw materials, there is no need for high quality options and multi-pass encoding. AVI2DVD provides four configurable encoders with different presets.
The default encoder is QuEnc and it prefers quality over speed. FreeEnc is all about speed, while NuEnc keeps the Hi Quality option locked and delivers up to five encoding passes. HCEnc is what I recommend for novices to use as it eases the customization process by offering four profiles to pick from: fast, normal, good or best. The program will also support the professional Cinema Craft Encoder for compression enthusiasts.
Users will be given the option to add a maximum number of three subtitles along with individual configuration. Just in case you are not familiar with the ISO character sets, AVI2DVD will help you decide on them – the detailed list is accessible from the question mark button on the right side of this menu. The other options are quite common and allow users to select the language, font, size and bottom margin limit.
The functions of the last tab will help you create a simple yet helpful DVD menu. This particular task is not automated. Every aspect has to be done manually, from image capturing for chapter shortcuts to converting the background music to the MP2 format. You can then go on and design your DVD menu, save your work or adding it to a specific job.
Everything being in-place and your jobs added to the queue, you can now hit the Go button and sit back while the output files are generated.
However, you will shortly notice that there is no progress bar or time estimation feature being displayed in the main window of AVI2DVD. The only information you will get in this matter is located in the encoding windows as they start and close while the conversion operation is taking place.
For testing purposes, I provided the application with a one hour AVI file (700 MB in size) and a quad-core (3.2 GHz per core), 8 GB DDR3 RAM setup. The program default encoding preferences offered quite disturbing results. It took nearly an hour and 15 minutes to convert the video file, which is terribly wrong. Switching to the HCEnc encoder and setting it to Good cuts the conversion time to 45 minutes with no visual impact on the output content. FreeEnc’s time was 30 minutes with a slight loss of video quality.
Surprisingly, the subtitle addition process actually added approximately 10 minutes on any conversion, a whole lot more than I expected. It will surely take some time until you will be able to find the right presets for different categories of source files with a fair balance between quality and speed. Some may find it fun, others completely frustrating. On the system resources usage side, AVI2DVD will put all of your CPU cores to work, although not at full load (65% tops) and requires a maximum of 400 MB RAM.The Good
This video to DVD conversion software comes packed with everything a novice user needs. It supports most of the popular video formats, provides various encoders and presets. While the interface is not perfect, it places all the tools at hand and in a natural order. Nothing is hidden, everything is in plain sight. The ISO feature is a nice addition as it packs the generated content in a widely spread format.The Bad
There are a few things this application is missing or lacking. First, the off-line documentation is nowhere to be found, unless the top right corner of the Help window can pass by as one.
Default encoder selection is just bad – way too slow conversion times. The subtitle embedding tool is taking forever to complete its mission and no overall time estimation and / or progress bar is shown in the window of the program. Furthermore, it can be improved by adding DVD / SVCD / VCD burning capabilities.The Truth
can be considered a well-done piece of software. Its downsides come from the fact that it works with a lot of side tools which are yet to be better developed and implemented. Given a little time, it will surely rise up to greater standards as you will get to know its true potential. Some retouches here and there are bound to turn AVI2DVD into a serious competitor of its free-to-try fellow software.Here are some snapshots of the application in action