Archive for the ‘Tools & Tips’ Category

How Do I burn a DVD?

March 25, 2004



We get this question enough in our daily pile of email… that we thought it best to provide a detailed explanation of How To Burn A DVD… so here goes. First of all, this explanation is for those folks who are new to the DVD burning excercise… and as such, we will not examine all the poindexter nerd nuiances associated with burning a DVD …. like transport vs. program mpeg-2? or other specs designed for mass production, regional limitations… and all the kind of stuff most of us could care less about. As such – the focus is…. how do I burn a DVD with as little effort as possible…. i am not an engineer… and can’t even get the time right on my VCR…. OK! We hear you!

The easiest way to create a DVD from the download library is to search our site for DVD ISO. These titles have a DVD iso in the download folder for the title. Making a DVD from an ISO file is easy. Just download the file – which is massive, often a gig plus to your computer. Then open your CD/DVD DATA creation software, and create a new session that creates a DVD from an “image file” – which is an *.iso file. Select the iso file you downloaded as the image file, and ok. Boom! You just made your own DVD!

To create a DVD from the MPEG-1 files provided in the Download library – you will need to have a DVD-R burner… or a DVD+R burner – this is hardware that goes into a bay into your computer. Many new computers now come with a DVD burner as part of the package… if you are buying a new computer, by all means, it is worth getting a DVD burner as part of the package. You can also purchase one at Best Buy, Circuit City… or your friendly neighborhood computer dealer as an add-on device. They currently cost about $125-$400, depending on the make and software bundle. We have used DVD burners from Sony, Pioneer, Philips, and HP. All of them worked fine for us… though we did have some troubles installing them on some older WIN NT boxes, but nothing that would remind one of “computer hell” or anything like that. To be honest, it isn’t that hard to install the devices, especially if you have ever put in a new PCI card or added another drive.

All these DVD-R,+R,-RW types drives come with a modest bundle of software – including a very wimpy… DVD authoring program from somebody… that in the end, is woefully inadequate at getting the job done. The bundled DVD authoring software like the Sonic DVD-it, or Neo-DVD standard… are of NO help. Imagine trying to bake a batch of toll house cookies in an EZ Bake oven. It won’t do the job. Period, end of story.

All right… do you need to get a new workstaion with Sonic Solutions… for a mere $20,000? or more? No… we found a decent software program that does the job, it easy to work with, pretty stable, and best of all, you have the tools to customize it in a way that makes it look pretty professional. We suggest trying a DVD authoring program from ULEAD called DVD Workstation (learn more from ULEAD’s site – or read a review). How much, you ask? Last time i checked it was around $400 or $500 bucks, or if you have another related ULEAD “lite” program… just $250 or $300 to upgrade. Yes… it is pretty expensive, but this program does a lot of heavy lifting for you, making the process very easy without losing a lot of power.

As most know – our MPEG-1 files for downloads have a window size of 352 x 240, an MPEG std. size. These clips are loaded in the proper order (part 1, part 2, etc)… , you create some menus or chapters if you like… and then test it in a simulation. The program also tells you places you might have screwed up.

After a great deal of trial and error – we found that setting the DVD video output to Half D-1 with a data rate of ~2.6 M/sec worked very nicely. The window size on Half D-1 is 352 x 480. When the file is played – the width is doubled – for a video window of 720 x 480. Because we were interested in keeping the files as small as possible – our logic here is considering the trade off between download times for you – and as high a quality video as possible. And there are exceptions – like Owl Creek Bridge DVD iso file- that offers a wonderful quality DVD encoded at nearly double the data rate.

My DVD authoring program won’t accept your MPG files as videos – what’s wrong? The program you are using to author – does not have the ability to re-encode the media files – and probably fails trying to de-MUX. I’ll spare you the details… but it describes how all the compression, sound, video, and keyframes etc…. get flattened into the mpg file output. The higher quality DVD authoring programs provide the feature – and many less expensive programs don’t handle it well or at all. But don’t despair – there are workarounds – programs that do a decent job de-MUX ing… and transcoding into files your DVD authoring program will accept. A little while back – we provided some info on MUX issues for those using Apple. You can always find some inexpensive or free software that converts our MPG files to an avi, and use the avi files as input for your authoring program. There are workarounds – but getting some decent pro-sumer authoring software is a lot easier – and faster too.

Advertisements

Apple DVD Users – Mux Help

January 12, 2004



We have heard from some Apple users – that they are having trouble loading our MPEG-1 files as source files in DVD authoring software. The problem seems related to the MUX used, and in particular – the audio portion of the file. Anyway – here’s a workaround fix from one of our subscribers. We haven’t tried the software – make no claims, receive no kickbacks. I wish Apple software developers would just tweak on their end so the problem goes away. The workaround – … (from Andy)

i did find a solution that you might want to pass
along to other MAC users…

i download an app. called bbDEMUX

http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/14618

this app. demuxed the file and seperated it into 2 seprate files – an audio and video.

the video works just fine… BUT the audio still didnt work! SOOOO…. i downloaded another app. called MADplay

http://www.biermann.org/philipp/mad/

this converts the audio into an AIFF.

(phew)

Hope this helps, we’ll keep you posted on what we hear from other MAC users.

Massive Download -Seven Samurai

November 14, 2003



WOW – Akira Kurosawa’s 3 1/2 hour epic film, Seven Samurai is ready for download – over 3 gigs of Kurosawa genius. A group of farmers hire seven samurai to protect them from a band of evil bandits. After careful preparation, a series of smaller skirmishs lead up to the final assault at the finish. This is a great film – absolutely a top 10, all time. (see IMDB – at number 7, Shichinin no samurai, or Seven Samurai). Or how about the British Film Institute. Director’s Top 10, … if you checked that link out, you rpobably noticed another Kurosawa film in the top 10, Rashomon. And yes… we are offer Battleship Potemkin, Rules of the Game.

Seven Samurai is a massive download, over 3 gigs (ouch). The film is broken into 13 chapters for download and also comes with the preview. In a previous entry – we suggested that users get some download software to make the process easier via scheduling and resume broken download features, etc etc. For most systems, you are limited to just 2 downloads at a time, so making a queue list makes sense when you need to get 13 chapters. Yikes.

A Game -Video Time Machine

June 11, 2003

At LikeTelevision, we provide a fun game we call -Ride the Time Machine. The game offers hard and easy questions about history facts and hollywood tidbits. Click the ride the time machine link, and you are randomly dropped on any day of the year. You’re given a quick question, with a picture and a date as reference, sometimes with a hint. Each question has a point value (based on difficulty factor)… keep score with a pad and paper, or just use notepad. We have also heard of modified versions of scoring with required beer sips for missed answers, but you better bone up on the game before you go there. Each answer is revealed in the next of the click-thru link… and an archive newsreel is provided about the subject. Just look for the link in the hollywood and history sections – RIDE THE TIME MACHINE.

Download speed increase

May 22, 2003

LikeTelevision offers a ton of media available for download or streaming. We are often asked – How can I make this go faster? Well, let’s first look at download speed. There are many slick software packages that can greatly increase download speed. Just go to download.com (part of CNET) and search for download software and you will see what I mean. Our favorite is called Download Accelerator from speedbit.com – which comes in a free version, with some banner rotation (hmmm… probably some spyware… grrrr).. and a premium version with more features and no banner ads or begs to purchase. The software works like a champ and delivers speed as promised – my download speed was about 1 1/2 – 2 times faster. You can set up what kind of files you want to launch the softfare as you browse, which can be cool – you get to our MPG files… and download accelerator pops up and asks you where you want to save it. It can also be a pain, if you are unfamiliar with setting the open with options in Windows. Of course – all this is tweakable and you can always set the open with feature after the fact. Just go slow and read a little bit in the help section if you get confused. The Download Accelerator software is available at http://www.download.com (just search for download accelerator) or go to http://www.speedbit.com for details, download or purchase. And if you’re curious, we don’t get any kick back… we just like the software – IT WORKS! Finally- the ability to schedule downloads while you are sleeping….zzzzzz… is a very useful tool, especially when you want to download a movie that is 1 1/2 gigs. Or try another application – the point is, download software utilitiess can really juice the speed. If you have one you like, provide the info in the comment box below.

For streaming – try adjusting your MTU settings in your registry. This is not for the faint of heart – as messing with the registry can cause a meltdown. There are lots of software apps that do this tweaks for you… but it isn’t really rocket science either, just be careful. To learn how – go to http://www.google.com and search for edit mtu settings regedit. Here’s a linky!

Another neat site for tweaks – is PC Pitstop. This site is an online application that helps tweak your system and tests for all kinds of problems -and even provides fixes on the fly.