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Best DVD Authoring software

Best DVD Authoring software

Since 2008, Top Ten Reviews has reviewed, tested and ranked the best DVD authoring software. In that decade, we’ve clocked hundreds of hours editing video, building discs and watching the end results. At the end of our most recent evaluation, PowerDirector was our top choice – this wasn’t a surprise since it has been our favorite since we started reviewing this type of software. The program offers great tools for both beginners and veteran users. It’s important to understand that this application is primarily a video editor, but it’s disc authoring tools are as good as or better than those found in programs exclusively designed for burning DVDs. 

Best Overall

Cyberlink PowerDirector

Has every feature we look for
Burns DVDs quicker than its competition
Provides 100 editing tracks
No Mac version
First-time editors may be intimidated by breath of its toolset
Cyberlink doesn’t offer support through social media

Cyberlink PowerDirector is our favorite DVD authoring software because it’s a powerful, intuitive and effective non-linear video editor and DVD creator that yields professional results.

One of the program’s benefits is that it’s easy enough for a novice to use but has the features advanced users need. This DVD maker can also act as a very effective training ground before advancing to one of the professional applications widely used in the industry, which have similar tools, workflows and features.

Another reason PowerDirector is the best choice for DVD authoring software is it plays nicely with every file format and codec we look for in this type of program. You can capture content from nearly any device and export your final product to a disc or save it as any other file format. Moreover, this application allows up to 100 video- and audio-editing tracks, which is more than you could reasonably use in a consumer-level project. This means you have enough room to work with as many videos, sounds, images, effects and transitions as you want.

When you're ready to burn your disc, PowerDirector has plenty of menu templates to choose from. This disc creator also allows you to add extra features and divide your project into chapters. You can burn movies to any type of disc, including single- and dual-layered DVDs and CDs.

Read the full review

Best Value

Nero Video

Nero Video

Can switch between Express and Advanced modes
Has dozens of effects to enhance your video project
Burns Blu-rays as well as DVDs
Is counterintuitive and may take a while to learn
Can’t add closed captions
Lacks a surround sound configurator

Over the past few years, Nero Video has greatly improved its DVD authoring software. However, it might be a bit difficult for novice video editors to use because the interface is unlike that of any other program we reviewed.

It splits its interface into two modules: Express and Advanced. These two modes function similar to the storyboard and timeline modes most other software use.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be pleased with the quality of the transitions and effects the software has to help you create videos. Nero Video also supports third-party add-ons. However, it doesn't provide many exporting options, so check that it supports the formats you want to use before you buy. Also, even though this DVD authoring software comes with dozens of transitions, text effects and other effects, it doesn't have as many as other products we reviewed. Still, there may be enough for your needs. This application can create chapters automatically, and you can also insert music and voiceovers.

When importing files, you can capture video, audio and images from your computer or any device you connect to it. Before you take the time to burn your project to a disc, you can use the playback option to see how it will work. This DVD authoring software can burn your movies to DVD, AVCHD, CD and Blu-ray discs, as well as save files on your computer or upload them to the internet.

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Best for Beginners

Wondershare Filmora

Wondershare Filmora

Free tutorials on Wondershare’s website
Program preserves edits when you switch between timeline and storyboard
Doesn’t create menus
Can’t make chapter breaks
Only has one dedicated video editing track

Wondershare Filmora is the only DVD authoring program we reviewed that is specifically geared toward inexperienced video editors, and it boils down the DVD creation process to its most basic elements.

However, it doesn’t have all the features and tools we look for in DVD makers, though it has enough to fit the needs of a novice.

Before you can burn a DVD, you need to transform your raw footage into a compelling narrative. As such, this program’s video editing tools are its main selling points. It has a standard timeline/storyboard workflow – you compose the broad strokes of your video in the storyboard and fine-tune it in the timeline.

One of the software’s biggest drawbacks is you only have eight editing tracks to build your project, and only one is dedicated to video. This limits the program’s versatility and hinders its ability to create complex projects. As a beginner, you might only need eight tracks; however, as you gain experience, it may become a frustration. In addition, the included DVD burner can’t add menus or chapter breaks.

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Best Intro to Adobe Premiere

Adobe Premiere Elements

Adobe Premiere Elements

Teaches you the basics of video editing and DVD authoring.
It takes about an hour to burn a full disc – much slower than our top choice.

Adobe Premiere Pro is an industry standard video editing program that is used to create major motion pictures, television shows, music videos, news broadcasts and much more.

It’s little sister, Adobe Premiere Elements provides a taste of what you can expect from Premiere Pro. It’s great for quick and easy DVD authoring, making professional-looking discs from the computer you’re using right now.

It should be noted that the workflow is much different in Elements than Premiere Pro. Nevertheless, it teaches you the ins-and-outs of video editing by boiling it down to its most basic functions. Once you learn the basics, and feel like you’re ready to graduate to the full program, you can use transfer your Elements projects to Premiere Pro.

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Most Dynamic Timeline

MAGIX Movie Edit Pro

MAGIX Movie Edit Pro

You can place any type of media on any editing track.
You can’t add bonus features to DVDs or save disc images to your computer.

One of the most unique things about MAGIX Movie Edit Pro is its timeline. Unlike other DVD authoring programs, it allows you to place any type of media on any editing track.

Every other program has dedicated tracks for each type of media such as video, audio, images, etc. The fact that you can use any media on any track makes this software much more dynamic and provides more control over your project.

However, the DVD authoring tools in this program fall short of the best we tested. For example, you don’t get the ability add bonus features or save a disc image to your hard drive. While neither of these things are a deal-breaker, they’re both found in our top pick for this category.

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ProductPriceOverall RatingAuthoring ToolsVideo Editing ToolsEase of UseHelp & SupportDVD Video QualityTime to Create Test DiscMenu BuilderSet Chapter BreaksAdd Bonus FeaturesSurround Sound ConfiguratorSave to ISO FileSave to DVD FolderEditing TracksEffects and TransitionsTimeline & StoryboardAudio MixerTitles & CreditsClosed CaptionsUsability ScoreMenu TemplatesFree TutorialsSmart Fit to DiscFAQ or KnowledgebaseOnline Technical SupportCreative CommunitiesSocial
CyberLink PowerDirectorView Deal5/51010108.9A25100>500100%A-
Corel VideoStudio X8.5View Deal4.5/>20098%A
Pinnacle Studio 19View Deal4/>1,500-93%A-
MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 2016View Deal4/56.2108.18.3B30---99>50090%B
AVS Video Editor 7.1View Deal4/>600-90%-C-
Nero Video 2016View Deal3.5/>200-83%-C--
Adobe Premiere Elements 14View Deal3.5/>300-86%B
MoviePlus X6View Deal3.5/>200-95%--D-
Wondershare FilmoraView Deal3.5/>300--95%--B-
VideoPadView Deal3/>70-94%--B-

Why Trust Us

DVD Authoring software is one of the first products we reviewed at Top Ten Reviews more than a decade ago. Over the years, we’ve researched and evaluated dozens of programs, compared their features, inspected their interfaces and workflows, and conducted hands-on testing to determine which one is the best.

Our team of reviewers used each program’s editing tools, effects and export options to create identical test DVDs. They timed how long it took to burn a new DVD, complete with menus and chapters when possible. Our video experts then played the new DVDs on a large-screen television and searched for imperfections such as compression artifact, motion blur and interlacing issues. The results of these tests, as well as our reviewers’ personal experiences using each program, were used to decide the programs’ final scores and ranks. All our tests were designed to replicate the experience of an average user as well as a veteran editor. 

How We Tested

We subjected each DVD authoring program to a battery of tests to determine which applications are the best. During these tests, we evaluated the software’s interface, video editing features, and whether we could successfully build DVD menus and burn the videos onto discs.

Usability Tests
All the applications we reviewed fulfill the same basic need; however, they differ greatly in their interface layouts, workflows and toolsets. In our tests, we assessed how easy each program is to learn and use. We also tracked how hard the application makes it to perform common tasks like editing video footage; adding effects, transitions and titles; picking menu templates; customizing projects; and burning finished DVDs. We found that all the programs are relatively easy to use once you know your way around the interface, although some were much more straightforward than others.

Timed Tests
In our tests, we timed how long it took to install each application, import and organize video files, build a test video and menu, burn a disc, and more. We found that programs that take even a few minutes longer than other applications to complete simple tasks can end up adding hours to the total process. The best DVD authoring programs run fast and save that extra time you would otherwise spend babysitting a progress bar.

Quality Tests
There is one major hang-up with DVD authoring software: DVDs were invented before the advent of high-definition video. As such, they can only display standard-def footage. Since most videos are now shot in HD quality, your DVD authoring program has to compress the footage before it can burn it to a disc. This compression resulted in significant quality loss in each of the products we reviewed.

Our video experts examined each of the test DVDs, looking for imperfections in the picture such as pixelation, compression artifact, general distortion and interlacing issues. While no program performed perfectly, the best ones minimized the quality loss caused by compression.  At the end of our evaluation, we gave each program a quality grade from A to F. 

How Much Does DVD Authoring Software Cost?

Depending on the product you pick, you can expect to pay $35 to $100 on DVD authoring software. But the best software is not necessarily the most expensive,  If you don’t plan to use all the advanced features you can opt for lower-tiered versions of the software we review, which cost less.

Key Attributes

Editing Tools
The best DVD creator software should also have all the qualities of a top-notch video editing program. There are DVD creators that focus solely on authoring and have few or no editing tools. If you just want to burn finished videos to DVDs, you may want to look into one of these applications. However, if you’re building your own creation from scratch, it’s best to buy an authoring program that has a robust set of video-editing features.

All the products we reviewed can burn home movies to discs, but the best ones also allow you to add small but important features found in commercially produced DVDs. For instance, chapter breaks, surround sound and attractive menus elevate your work from good enough to excellent.

Help & Support
Building a DVD from the ground up can be difficult and time-consuming, and the best DVD creators makes it as easy as possible to use their features and tools. Some programs build tutorials directly into their interfaces, while others have free lessons, guides and forums on their official websites.  Additionally, many of the programs we reviewed have free trials, which you can use to determine if the application suits your needs before you pay.  

Best DVD Authoring Software for Mac

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to use Macintosh computers to author optical media like CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs. That's because Apple has steadily eliminated the technology from their machines. It’s been years since any new Mac had a built-in optical drive, which you need to burn and play DVDs. So, you’ll have to take the extra expense of buying an external drive.

In addition to an optical drive, you’ll need DVD burning software that’s compatible with a Mac. Some of the Windows applications we reviewed, such as Adobe Premiere Elements and Wondershare Filmora, have Mac versions. However, their authoring capabilities are limited compared to our best overall pick, Cyberlink PowerDirector, which does not have a Mac version.

The program we recommend for Mac DVD authoring is Aiseesoft DVD Creator for Mac. Unlike most of the Windows products we reviewed, this program focuses exclusively on DVD authoring, with limited video editing capabilities. You won’t find a timeline or a storyboard to craft video projects on, so you’ll have to edit your videos in another program like iMovie or Final Cut Pro. Or you can use Aiseesoft’s free video editor.

Aiseesoft DVD Creator for Mac is straightforward and easy to use, even your first time around. If you have your videos ready to go, all you need to do is drag and drop them into their appropriate place in the application. Creating menus and chapter divisions and adding extra features takes only a few minutes. Once you’re done, you’ll have a DVD with your own content that you can use in any DVD player just like a disc you bought at the store.

Fastest DVD Authoring Software

When we tested the best DVD authoring software, we timed how long it took each program to create a new copy of our test disc. We found you can expect it to take between 30 min and an hour to burn a disc. PowerDirector, Pinnacle Studio and VideoPad were the fastest – each created the new disk in 25 minutes. Adobe Premiere Elements took 60 minutes to burn the disk, which was the slowest time by a good margin. The second slowest software was Nero Video, which took 45 minutes. The rest of the programs fell in the middle ground, usually taking between 30 and 40 minutes each. The overall category average was 34 minutes.

We also timed how long it took us to create the test disc with each program. In this test, Corel VideoStudio and Wondershare Filmora were the fastest at just five minutes each. Nero Video had the slowest time in this test, taking 40 minutes. The category average was 16 minutes.

Most of the programs we reviewed can create an ISO files, which is basically a DVD's blueprint – with it, you can make new copies whenever you need them. You can also play this type of file on your computer with DVD player software. Wondershare Filmora was the fastest at creating ISO files, taking just 15 minutes. VideoStudio took 28 minutes to create an ISO file, making it the slowest program in this test. The average across the category was 22 minutes.