DVD-Video burning: frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions about Windows DVD Maker.

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What devices can I use to play a DVD I've burned?

You can play your DVD on a standard DVD player that is connected to your TV. You can also play the DVD by using a media player that is installed on your computer. To play the DVD on your computer, you must have DVD playback software installed.

What type of recordable DVDs should I use when burning a DVD using Windows DVD Maker?

The type of recordable DVD you should use depends on your DVD burner, as well as on your DVD player. Certain DVD burners can only burn to certain types of recordable DVDs. For example, with some DVD burners, you can only record to DVD+R or DVD+RW discs or to DVD-R or DVD-RW discs, while other DVD burners will let you burn to all of these recordable DVD types.

As long as your DVD burner supports burning to these types of discs, you can use Windows DVD Maker to burn a DVD using one of the following types of recordable or re-recordable DVD media: DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, and DVD-ROM. These recordable or re-recordable DVDs can be either single sided single layered or single sided dual layered.

You should also consider the device you'll use to play the DVD once you've burned it, if possible. Some DVD players and DVD-ROM drives play only certain kinds of DVDs. To determine what types of DVDs your DVD player or DVD-ROM drive can play, check the documentation that came with your device or go to the manufacturer's website.

What is the difference between DVD+RW/-RW and DVD-R/+R recordable DVDs?

DVD+RW and DVD-RW discs are sometimes called re-recordable or rewritable because you can record on the same disc more than once. When you burn video to a DVD+RW or DVD-RW disc, all existing data on the DVD is deleted, so make sure the DVD does not contain content or data that you want to keep.

With write-once DVD+R and DVD-R discs, you can only burn video to the disc one time.

On average, how much video can I fit on a recordable DVD?

The amount of video that you can fit on a DVD depends on the type of recordable DVD that you are using.

The following table lists the estimated amount of video that can fit on a DVD when burning a DVD using Windows DVD Maker. The type of DVD media you can use depends on the DVD burner that you have installed on your computer.

DVD media type
Average amount of video and audio (in minutes)

Single sided single layered

150 minutes

Single sided dual layered

300 minutes

What determines how long it will take to burn the DVD?

The following factors determine how long it will take to burn a DVD:

  • Available system resources on your computer. The speed of your computer processor, the amount of available disk space, the type and capacity of your video card, and the amount of RAM play a role in determining how long it will take to encode the video and burn it to a DVD.

  • Speed of your DVD burner, as well as the type of recordable DVD media you are using. The speed of your DVD burner plays a role in how long it will take to burn the DVD, as does the type of recordable DVD media you use. To learn more about choosing an appropriate burning speed, see Change Windows DVD Maker DVD-Video settings

  • Length of the video and slide show on the DVD. When you use Windows DVD Maker to create a DVD, all the video and audio must first be converted into a video and audio file format that DVD players can decode and play. During this process, the video is encoded into the MPEG-2 video format and the corresponding audio is converted into Dolby Digital audio. Long videos or DVDs with many pictures or music files take longer to burn.

What technology does Windows DVD Maker use to encode audio information for DVDs?

Windows DVD Maker uses Dolby Digital Recording to encode stereo audio soundtracks at a bit rate of 256 Kilobits per second (Kbps). Dolby Digital Recording optimizes disc recording space, making it possible to store more high-quality content on a writable DVD-Video disc.

Picture of the Dolby Digital logo
Dolby Digital

Manufactured under license from Dolby Laboratories. Dolby and the double-D symbol are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories. Confidential unpublished works. Copyright 1992–1997 Dolby Laboratories. All rights reserved.

What is a slide show?

A slide show lets you dynamically display your digital pictures as a video included on the DVD. You can then play the slide show and any other video on the DVD. You can create a slide show by adding pictures and music to your DVD. You can also add pan and zoom movements to your pictures for the slide show.

To learn how to add digital pictures to a DVD to create a slide show, see Burn a DVD-Video disc.

What determines if the menu or the video will be displayed when I first insert my DVD?

Whether the video begins to play or the main DVD menu displays when the DVD is first inserted depends on which option is selected for the Choose how your DVD is played back setting when you create the DVD using by using Windows DVD Maker. For more information about setting this option and understanding how each option affects DVD playback, see Change DVD-Video settings.

What should I consider when selecting the aspect ratio for my DVD?

If you know what kind of screen you or your audience will use to watch the final DVD, you should use that information to decide which aspect ratio to select. For example, if you know that you will be watching the DVD on a 16:9 (widescreen) monitor or TV, select the 16:9 setting. However, if you plan to watch the DVD primarily on a 4:3 (standard) TV or monitor, you should select 4:3.

The setting you select determines the aspect ratio for your slide show for your DVD. For more information about how to select the aspect ratio setting in Windows DVD Maker, see Change DVD-Video settings.

What should I consider when selecting the video format for my DVD?

When you are selecting a video format, the primary factor to consider is in what country/region the DVD will be played back and the video format that is used in that country/region. Many DVD players are only capable of playing DVD-Video discs that are either NTSC or PAL. If you or your family and friends are going to watch your DVD in a country/region that uses the PAL video format, select PAL. Similarly, if your DVD will be primarily watched in a country/region that uses the NTSC video format, select NTSC.

For more information about how to specify the video format setting that will be used in Windows DVD Maker, see Change DVD-Video settings.

How are scenes created for my DVD?

Scenes are created for your DVD based on the type and number of files that you add to the DVD. You can have more control over how scenes appear on your DVD by understanding how scenes are created in Windows DVD Maker. A DVD can have up to 18 total scenes.

If you add more than one video file, Windows Movie Maker project file, or a combination of video files, pictures, and Windows Movie Maker project files, then one scene is created for each one of the following things:

  • Windows Movie Maker project file.

  • Video file.

  • Slide show (which is a group of pictures).

If you add only one file to the DVD (for example one video file, one Windows Movie Maker project, or one slide show), then:

  • Multiple scenes are created for the added Windows Movie Maker project file by dividing the project into equal lengths and creating a scene for each part.

  • Multiple scenes are created based on time stamps so that video recorded around the same time is kept together (if the video file has time stamps in it).

    Time stamps are added by the DV camera when video is recorded. As a result, the time stamp information appears in the imported video file as well.

  • Multiple scenes are created for the added video file by dividing the video into equal lengths and creating a scene for each video segment (if there is no time stamp information in the video file).

  • Multiple scenes are created for the slide show by dividing the slide show into equal lengths and creating a scene for each part.

What can I do if am having problems with video filters in Windows DVD Maker?

If you are having problems that could be associated with video and audio filters, you can try to turn video filters off. The controls for video filters are in Windows Movie Maker. To learn more about video filters in Windows Movie Maker, see Video filters: frequently asked questions.