How can I make my DVDs work the way I want in both DVD players and computers?

How can I make my DVDs work the way I want in both DVD players and computers?

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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!


  1. Don Eland 16 years ago

    Have you found a way to jump seamlessly/instantaneously back and forth from Director to DVD content?

    I’ve taught Director for 10 years and am comfortable with Apple’s DVD Pro but find it nearly impossible to create an integrated hybrid disc. Instant button responses are important to me in order to create a truly interactive experience.

    Any suggestions?

  2. ron 16 years ago

    Well my experience and problems is the other way around. I make dvd’s in apple’s i-dvd and they sometimes play in some dvd palyers and other times not in others and so on. Its a can of worms!

    what can make a disk that just plays in all machines?


  3. F3D 16 years ago

    How can I make a HD DVD (16:9 format DVD)
    I am from Vietnam
    Thanks a lot

  4. Josh 16 years ago

    DVD Studio Pro will make one kind of HD-DVD.

  5. Nan 16 years ago

    My DVDs play just fine on a computer but will not play on our DVD connected to a TV.

    What am I doing wrong. Is it the wrong type of disk or what? Anyway, my Roxio Verwion #9 DVDs won’t play on a TV.

    Help. Thanks.

  6. Stealthy Ninja 16 years ago


    Are you burning to DVD+R disks. DVD+R is good for burning files for a computer, but not for a DVD to play in a player.

    Try using DVD-R instead.

    Also try changing the settings on your player.

    You may need to change your TV type (from 4:3 to 16:9 or the other way around)
    You may need to change your TV format type (for the player) from PAL to NTSC or the other way round

  7. Kaitlyn 16 years ago

    I am having the same problem as NAN….. The dvds i am using are dvd+r but my dvd player just wont pick it up… it always says “disk error”

    What type of program should i use for a samsung sigital camcorder. I’ve been using windows movie maker and thats great for pictures but just doesnt work for home made dvds.

    a reply from someone giving advice would be much appreciated

    Thank You

  8. Al 15 years ago

    Is there a way to run small programs to read the ratio, and color of any Tv to play the dvd correctlly?

  9. mauricio 14 years ago

    i have a hd dvd player and a hd dvd and componets cables but doesn’t work
    so can a hd dvd work without hdmi cables on a hd dvd player

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