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.
Cyberlink PowerDirector stands tall above the competition. This application produces professional-grade results that are crisp and clear, and it is still accessible enough for beginners to use.
It may be tough for beginners to get the hang of, but Nero Video provides the best value for your dollar. The software has a unique layout and a good number of DVD burning options.
If we were to sum up Wondershare Filmora in a single word, it would be "simple." It's a straightforward, intuitive program that’s geared toward novice users – though it’s missing some important tools.
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.
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.
Best for Beginners
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.
Best Intro to Adobe Premiere
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.
Most Dynamic Timeline
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.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Authoring Tools||Video Editing Tools||Ease of Use||Help & Support||DVD Video Quality||Time to Create Test Disc||Menu Builder||Set Chapter Breaks||Add Bonus Features||Surround Sound Configurator||Save to ISO File||Save to DVD Folder||Editing Tracks||Effects and Transitions||Timeline & Storyboard||Audio Mixer||Titles & Credits||Closed Captions||Usability Score||Menu Templates||Free Tutorials||Smart Fit to Disc||FAQ or Knowledgebase||Online Technical Support||Creative Communities||Social|
|CyberLink PowerDirector||View Deal||5/5||10||10||10||8.9||A||25||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||100||>500||✓||✓||✓||✓||100%||✓||✓||✓||A||✓||✓||-|
|Corel VideoStudio X8.5||View Deal||4.5/5||7.4||8.4||9.8||10||B||35||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||21||>200||✓||✓||✓||✓||98%||✓||✓||✓||A||✓||✓||✓|
|Pinnacle Studio 19||View Deal||4/5||7.5||7.5||9.4||8.9||B||25||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||✓||6||>1,500||✓||✓||✓||-||93%||✓||✓||✓||A||✓||✓||-|
|MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 2016||View Deal||4/5||6.2||10||8.1||8.3||B||30||✓||✓||-||✓||-||-||99||>500||✓||✓||✓||✓||90%||✓||✓||✓||B||✓||✓||✓|
|AVS Video Editor 7.1||View Deal||4/5||6.2||9.6||8.4||3.9||B||32||✓||✓||-||-||-||✓||Unlimited||>600||✓||✓||✓||-||90%||✓||✓||-||C||✓||-||✓|
|Nero Video 2016||View Deal||3.5/5||8.7||7.9||7.2||2.2||A||37||✓||✓||✓||-||-||✓||Unlimited||>200||✓||✓||✓||-||83%||✓||✓||-||C||✓||-||-|
|Adobe Premiere Elements 14||View Deal||3.5/5||5.3||7.4||8.2||8.3||C||60||✓||✓||-||✓||✓||-||8||>300||✓||✓||✓||-||86%||✓||✓||✓||B||✓||✓||✓|
|MoviePlus X6||View Deal||3.5/5||4.9||7.9||9.6||3.9||D||30||✓||✓||-||-||✓||✓||Unlimited||>200||✓||-||✓||✓||95%||✓||-||-||D||✓||✓||-|
|Wondershare Filmora||View Deal||3.5/5||5.5||6.9||8.1||5.6||B||36||-||-||-||-||✓||✓||8||>300||✓||-||✓||-||95%||-||✓||-||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.
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.
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.
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.
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.