There have been a lot of questions from people who are unhappy with how their DVD video discs are working when played on computers and/or DVD players.
Here is a short list of differences:
- Buttons rollovers do not work the same depending on what WinXP DVD player application is being used, or in Apple DVD Player
- TVs show cropped action safe area, computers show the whole picture
- MPEG2 encoding that looks fine on a TV often looks bad on a computer… or vice versa sometimes!
- DVD players play at way lower rez than a computer display (720 X 480 vs. 2560 X 1600 or whatever)
- On a computer, users expect to be able to click and access web pages, or additional content on the DVD
The DVD is a format that is designed to play from DVD players on TVs. The fact that computers have DVD compatible drives was originally a side-effect of saving on manufacturing costs, no one thought many people would be playing DVDs on a computer.
But, you essentially have two choices:
- If you want a lot of control over how your DVDs play on a computer, you will probably be unhappy with the standard DVD disc format (with VIDEO_TS folder, MPEG2 encoding, etc.). So you will have to author your discs, just like in the multimedia CD era, with an authoring software program.
You can present your program in a browser, (the advantage of which is that it’s easy once you’ve created the menus, etc., to deply your project on the web), or you can use Acrobat, Director, LiveStage Pro, iShell, Keynote, PowerPoint, Flash, Movieworks or many others. (Even Word and Excel will play movies.) (If you’re not sure which to choose, click here and tell me about your project.)
In this way, you have total control over the experience of your viewers watching on a computer. You can use FLV or H.264 encoding, crop the picture correctly, and have your buttons pull up web pages, computer content, whatever. Your movies will be small compared to the overall size of today’s monitors. But they’ll look good! The downside of option #1 is that you have to author your project twice, once in a DVD authoring app and once in a multimedia app.
- The other option is just to make a regular DVD video disc and live with it. Most recent computers will be able to play it, even though the experience will not be like a DVD player, but option #2 is a lot easier!