Burn a CD or DVD in Windows Media Center: frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions about burning CDs and DVDs in Windows Media Center.

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What types of CDs can I burn in Windows Media Center?

To burn a CD in Windows Media Center, you must have a CD burner connected and installed on your computer. A CD burner can be installed internally or externally on your computer, depending on the type of CD burner. Internal CD burners are installed in one of the computer's drive bays. External CD burners are stand-alone drives that are connected to your computer using a USB 2.0 connection, or in some cases, using an IEEE 1394 connection.

You can use either a blank CD-R or CD-RW disc for burning CDs in Windows Media Center. The types of recordable CDs that you use depends on the type of recordable CDs that your CD burner supports and the type of disc that you prefer. When burning CDs, you should know that not all CD players can play CD-RW discs. You can use Windows Media Center to burn the following types of CDs:

  • Audio CD. When you burn an audio CD, Windows Media Center converts digital audio files to an audio format that standard CD players can recognize and play back. Audio CDs can be played in most computers and in home and car CD players that play CD-R and/or CD-RW discs. You can burn an audio CD from either Windows Media Audio (WMA), MP3, or WAV audio file formats.

    Some digital audio files may be protected and you may not be able to burn them to a CD, depending on the media usage rights that are assigned to the particular digital audio files by the content provider or owner.

  • Data CD. A data CD can store approximately 700 megabytes (MB) of music, pictures, or video files. Data CDs are also useful if you want to back up your data files. When you burn a data CD in Windows Media Center, the digital media files are not converted from one format to another and are merely copied to the CD. Keep in mind, however, that some CD players and computers may not be able to play data CDs or some of the file types that can be burned to a data CD.

What types of DVDs can I burn in Windows Media Center?

To burn a DVD in Windows Media Center, you must have a DVD burner connected and installed on your computer. A DVD burner can be installed internally or externally on your computer, depending on the type of DVD burner. Internal DVD burners are installed in one of the computer's drive bays. External DVD burners are stand-alone drives that are connected to your computer using a USB 2.0 connection, or in some cases, using an IEEE 1394 connection.

The type of recordable DVD disc you use depends on your DVD burner. Certain DVD burners can only burn to certain types of recordable DVDs. For example, with some DVD burners, you can only record to a DVD+R or DVD+RW or to a DVD-R or DVD-RW. However, other DVD burners will let you burn to all of these recordable DVD types. To determine what types of DVDs your DVD burner can burn, consult the manual that came with your DVD burner.

As long as your DVD burner supports burning to these types of discs, you can burn a DVD in Windows Media Center by using one of the following types of recordable or re-recordable DVDs: DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, and DVD-RW.

In Windows Media Center, you can burn the following types of DVDs:

  • Video DVD. When you burn an video DVD, Windows Media Center converts all the selected video files to a video format that standard DVD players can recognize and play back. Also, in many cases, you can play back the video DVD on your computer as well by using Windows Media Center.

  • Data DVD. When you burn a data DVD in Windows Media Center, the digital media files are not converted from one format to another and are merely copied to the DVD. Data DVDs are useful if you want to back up your digital media files and a single-sided DVD disc can store approximately 4.7 gigabytes (GB) of music, pictures, or video files. For example, you might want to back up all the different digital photos that you have stored on your computer, as well as music and video files. Keep in mind, however, that some DVD players and computers may not be able to play data DVDs or some of the file types that can be burned to a data DVD.

    Data CDs or data DVDs can only be accessed later on a computer, not on consumer electronics devices such as stand-alone CD players and DVD players.

    Some digital media files or content may be protected and, when archived to a CD or DVD, you may not be able to play them on other computers. The media usage rights can specify how you can use the file and whether the media usage rights expires. For example, media usage rights can specify whether you can copy the file to a portable device or play it on another computer.

    Some recorded TV shows or video files may be protected. You may not be able to burn the protected video files to a DVD, depending on the rights assigned to the video files by the content owner, originator, or broadcaster.

  • Slide Show DVD. When you burn a slide show DVD in Windows Media Center, the selected pictures are encoded into an MPEG-2 video file and any selected audio files are encoded into Dolby Digital audio. For a slide show DVD, the pictures display as the music plays. You can play a slide show DVD in a standard DVD player, as well on your computer in Windows Media Center.

On average, how much video can I fit on a recordable DVD when burning a video 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 list is the estimated amount of video that can fit on a DVD when burning a video DVD using Windows Media Center. The type of DVD media you can use depends on the DVD burner that you have installed on your computer.

  • DVD media type: Single-Sided Single Layer

    Average amount of video and audio: 120 minutes

  • DVD media type: Single-Sided Double Layer

    Average amount of video and audio: 220 minutes

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

The following factors play a role in how long it will take to burn a DVD:

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

  • The speed of your DVD burner, as well as the type of recordable DVD media you are using. A faster DVD burner with faster recordable DVDs results in decreased burning times, compared to burning a DVD using a slower DVD burner with slower recordable DVDs.

  • Length of the video on the DVD. When you use Windows Media Center to create a video DVD, all of the video and audio must first be converted into a video and audio file format that DVD players can decode and play. Long videos will take longer to burn.

    You might want to include digital pictures and music on the DVD when creating a DVD slide show. Pictures and music are encoded into the MPEG-2 video format and Dolby Digital audio and therefore, they will increase the time it takes to create and burn the slide show DVD.

Why does a notification appear that says the quality will be reduced when I add a few video files to a video DVD?

You will see a notification if you add several different video files, such as recorded TV shows, to a video DVD. This notification appears because Windows Media Center will attempt fit the selected video files on the disc. However, for all the selected video files to fit on the disc, the quality of each video file may be lowered. This, in turn, results in reduced quality video files on your final DVD, compared to a DVD that does not include as much video.

Why am I asked if I want to skip a file when burning an audio CD?

Before burning starts, Windows Media Center performs an initial check of the files in your burn list. In some cases, a file may have an error condition that prevents it from burning, or the file may be protected with media usage rights that either prohibit burning it to an audio CD or limit the number of times the file can be burned to an audio CD. When Windows Media Center encounters one or more files with a problem during the initial check, a notification to give you the option of either skipping the files and continuing with burning the other files in the list or stopping the burn process so that you can try to resolve the problem. If Windows Media Center finds problems with any other files after the initial check, it will be necessary to resolve the problems or remove the files from your burn list before you can continue burning.

Notes

  • An analog or digital TV tuner is required to play and record live TV in Windows Media Center. If your computer did not come with a TV tuner card, you might be able to add one. For information about obtaining a TV tuner card, see Get help for your TV tuner card or contact your computer manufacturer.

    Unauthorized use and/or duplication of copyrighted material may be a violation of copyright law in the United States and/or other countries/regions. Copyrighted material includes, but is not limited to, software, documentation, graphics, lyrics, photographs, clipart, animations, movie and video clips, as well as sound and music (including when MP3 encoded). Violation of U.S. and international copyright laws may subject you to significant civil and/or criminal penalties.