Posted by: kurtsh | November 30, 2007

HOWTO: Burn your own HD DVD discs using 3XDVD + the Availability of HD-DVD Writers

My friend Jim asked me if I had any information on HD-DVD writers… as in where he could buy one.  He wanted to burn HD video content to platters that he could share with his relatives all of whom have HD DVD players by virtue of the either their Xbox 360s or their low cost Toshiba A1 standalone HD DVD player models that went for $99 each at Walmart and Best Buy.

WHAT ABOUT 3XDVD?
I told him that he should consider 3XDVD.  3XDVD technology allows you to write HD-DVD-compatible high definition (720p) video content that is readable on HD-DVD players on to conventional DVD media.  The resolution is the similar to traditional HD-DVD 15GB media (many movies are only available in 720p anyway) except that since your maximum capacity is either 4.7GB or 9.1GB, you’re going to have only half the capacity available.  However since the encoding technology being used for HD-DVD (VC-1) is superior in compression to the weak compression of the MPEG1 codec used in SD-DVDs, you should be able to fit a good amount of video onto a single traditional blank DVD without needing HD-DVD media.

For a discussion on 3XDVD, try these locations:

BURNING YOUR OWN HD DVDs/3XDVDs:
In order to burn your own 3XDVD discs, get a copy of Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus ($79.99, but 30-day free trial available).  Ulead’s DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus is by far the best software for creating HD-DVD compatible DVDs and this functionality comes built into the product at no extra charge.  Be sure to download and install both updates for Ulead MovieFactory 6 Plus before you start.

Instructions for Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus

  1. Get a high-definition recording in MPEG format
  2. Open the .MPG in HD Patch. If the reported Bitrate is more than 25000000 (25Mbps), then change it to 25000000 and click "Patch Stream." If the reported Bitrate is less than 25000000, no change is required and you can exit the app. Screenshot.
  3. Launch ULead DVD Movie Factory Plus and choose "New Video Project." Screenshot.
    For HD-DVD compatible DVDs: From the "Create Video Disk" dialog, choose HD-DVD.
  4. Click the "Add video files" button (second icon, top left) and select the the .MPG file you saved in step four. If Movie Factory asks you to change the project settings to match the video, select yes. Screenshot.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Select a title screen template (just like Powerpoint). Right-click to edit the title and text on the title screen. Screenshot.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Click "Burn" to create the disk.

How much space do you need for a given HD TV show?
Typical space consumed per 60 minutes (with commercials) of HDTV:

  • ABC – 4.4-6.50 Gb (varies by content and provider)
  • CBS – 6.0-8.0Gb (varies by content and provider)
  • NBC – 5.2-8.0 Gb (varies by content and provider)
  • FOX – 4.4-5.0 Gb (up to 5.6Gb for sports)
  • HBO – 4.4-4.8 Gb
  • Cinemax – 4.4-4.8 Gb
  • Showtime – 4.4-4.8 Gb
  • Starz – 3.5-4.0 Gb
  • UHD – 4.0-5.0 Gb
  • Discovery – up to 8.0Gb (varies widely by provider )
  • Hdnet – up to 8.0Gb (varies widely by provider )
  • Hdnet Movies – up to 8.0Gb (varies widely by provider )
  • TNT – up to 8.0Gb (varies widely by provider )

    (This general process & numbers were shamelessly stolen from a TiVo Community forum, the exact location of which I can’t recall.)

Incidentally, during his search for an HD DVD writer, this is what he turned up after making 6 or so phone calls researching the topic:

  1. Toshiba is now selling a laptop ($3K) that does burn DVDs.
  2. The PC internal burners are now being produced for demonstration and will be generally available in May 2008.
  3. There is a single company (Lite-On) that is selling a Blu-ray burner for $819; this has dropped down from $949 previously.

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