Burning cd/dvd: video format overview and tips

You have a movie that you want to burn to a CD or DVD and are wondering which format to use? In the following you will learn which format has which properties, strengths and weaknesses.

Choose format for video

This is not an easy decision, as choosing the right video format depends on many factors, for example. B. how long your movie is or how it should be played back.

Choose the right video format

Here I give you a decision guidance for the choice of the format and inform you about advantages and disadvantages of the individual codecs and which format can be played where.

Video format selection: How will the movie be used later?

Before choosing a format for your movie, think about how you want to play it back. Do you want it to run only on your PC, do you want to store it on a CD or DVD, do you want to share it with other PC owners, or do you want to show it later on a DVD player in your living room?

Depending on your decision, the individual video formats offer different advantages and disadvantages. First of all, let’s see the most common formats – resp. what they can do – to.

What can the common video formats?

MPEG-1 Image size: 768 x 576 pixels
file extension: .mpg
Typical use: Video CD (VCD)
Quality: modest
MPEG-2 Difference to MPEG-1: Quality and picture size can be individually defined. Files are smaller with the same quality as MPEG-1. Image size: up to 1.920 x 1.152 pixels
File extension: . mpg
Typical use: Super Video CD (SVCD), Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)
Quality: modest to excellent (depending on the resolution)
MPEG-4 Difference to MPEG-2: Files are smaller with the same quality as MPEG-2, digital multitrack sound. Image size: up to 1.920 x 1.152 pixels
File extension: .mpg
Typical use: Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)
Quality: modest to excellent (depending on resolution)
DivX Difference to MPEG: files are much smaller with the same quality (an 8 GB movie shrinks to 700 MB). Image size: up to 1.920 x 1.152 pixels
File extension: .divx
Typical use: Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)
Quality: slightly worse than MPEG-4 (due to the heavy compression of the files)
XviD Corresponds to DivX, but is an open source project AVI Difference from MPEG, DivX and XviD: it is Microsoft’s own format. Image size: up to 1.920 x 1.152 pixels
File extension: .avi
Typical use: Multimedia for PC
quality: modest to high definition (depending on the resolution you choose).

Storage and playback possibilities can be mentioned as the most important decision criteria to decide which film format is suitable. So the main question is: How do you want to play back your movie later?? Therefore, next I have listed storage and playback options and recommended different movie formats for this purpose.

1. Save / play movie on PC

The choice of format here is simply a matter of the quality you want to see and the amount of space on your hard drive. Software for playback of all formats can be found on the Internet in abundance and usually free of charge. The quality of the original product remains unchanged.

2. Save / playback movie on CD

Since you have very limited storage space on a CD (max. 700 MB) the video format depends on the size of your movie. If you want to put a whole movie in feature length on the CD, you only have the DivX format (runtime up to 120 minutes) or MPEG-2 (runtime up to 75 minutes), if the movie is shorter. The quality decreases the longer the movie is and therefore the more it is compressed.

3. Saving / playing back a movie on DVD

A DVD offers six times the storage space of a CD (4.7 GB) or even twelve times that with a double layer DVD. The choice of video format here is of course again dependent on the length of the film.

The best quality is achieved with the MPEG-4 format and a playing time of approx. 120 minutes. The quality is very good, because you can choose the resolution yourself. Even HD resolution is possible. If the existing film quality is only moderate, however, this naturally has a negative effect on the finished film quality.

4. Save movie to DVD player / playback

If you want to watch the movie later on your DVD player in the living room or give it to friends and acquaintances who don’t have a PC, the choice of the right format depends on the DVD player on which the CD or DVD is to be played.

New DVD players usually play SVCD, DVD, MPEG-1 – 4 and DivX formats. With older devices it can happen that they only play the format SVCD.


Burning CD/DVD: Video format overview and tips

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Before you decide on a format, be sure to check the manual of your DVD player and ask your friends what they can play.

5. Save movie to hard disk

Many TVs (or even the PS4) have USB ports that can be used to connect external hard drives. However, the players for playing back the videos are often very sparsely equipped, d. h. they can often only play very common formats like MP4 files. For this you usually have quite a lot of storage space on the hard disk, so you can archive quite a lot of movies there.

Once you have found the right format and produced your first DVD, nothing stands in the way of "viewing pleasure".

I wish you many good and entertaining movies!

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Burning CD/DVD: Video format overview and tips

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