VSO's DivX To DVD

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Product: DivX To DVD
Provided By: VSO-Software

Introduction:

VSO Software is a company that doesn't lay down and kick back.  Not only do they offer excellent support for their current products, they are also continuing to expand their horizons and offer a complete line of Digital Media & Authoring software.  The newest product they have coming out of their beta labs is called DivX To DVD.  This little gem takes AVI, DivX, VOB, satellite streams, MPEG, IVX, WMM etc, to a compatible DVD structure and allows you to burn it onto your favorite media.  They claim simplicity, speed, and quality, so it will be interesting to see if it lives up to their claims.

This software has excellent application for those who have a rather large DivX collection, but want to watch these movies easily on a set-top player and can't afford a DivX compatible DVD player.  This promises to be an interesting review for those who do video converting, so keep on reading.

Information & Features (From The Readme):

At this time the application is designed to convert files (AVI, DIVX, VOB, satellite streams, MPEG, IVX, WMV etc.) to a compatible DVD file structure. This can be useful if you want to watch a video file on your TV using a standard home DVD player rather than on your PC.

How it works:

  • Select your video file (only one in the current version), select the output folder, and press Convert.
  • During the process the preview window allows you to check if the file is correctly readable and not damaged.
  • The conversion time depends on your computer's speed and overall configuration.
  • Once finished, it will try to launch CopyToDVD to burn, which is the recommended burning engine to use, but you can also use other DVD recording products.

It sounds simple enough so lets take a look.

Test Info & Setup:

For this round of testing, I converted DivX movies.  The name states DivX to DVD so that is primarily what I'm testing.  I converted both animated movies as well as regular movies, and found the conversion quality to be very similar.  For this review, I will be posting screenshots of Ice Age as the highly contrasting colors really show this software at it's worst. . . which isn't that bad at all.  Everything you do will do doubt produce better results, and as the software matures things will only get better.

For this review, I used my main rig.  Key features are as follows:

  • Athlon Mobilty 2500+ @ Desktop Mobilty 2500+ (166x11=1833MHz)
  • 1GB Kit of OCZ PC3500 EB Platinum
  • Plextor Premium CDRW
  • Plextor PX-712A DVDRW
  • 2 x 200GB WD SATA Drives in RAID 0
  • 2 x 200GB WD IDE Drives
  • Windows XPSP2
  • Current Drivers & All Available Updates

DivX To DVD:

At this point DivXToDVD is nice and plain.  I'm not a fan of splash screens, popups, and tele-tubbie interfaces.  DivXToDVD delivers a plain functional interface that is self-expanatory.  I'm sure things will change to be prettier before official release, but this is the heart of the program.

 

Simply select the source file, the destination (temp) directory and whether or not you want to burn the progect with CopytoDVD.  Whether you select to burn the project or not doesn't really matter as the VIDEO_TS folder and files will be available to burn with your favorite program.

A couple of options that were added in this latest (currently) version, is the ability to change the aspect ratio and video standard.  Most people will likely leave these at default, but you can force the aspect ratio to either 4:3 or 16:9.

You also have the option to use automatic detection or force the video standard to PAL or NTSC.  Although I don't believe the 16:9 PAL format shown below is an official standard.

To be perfectly honest with you all, I didn't expect much out of this software.  No offense to VSO Software, but I expected it to be slow and not so hot in the quality department.  I was pleasantly surprised.

On my rig running at a mere 1.83GHz I was seeing average framerates of just over 39fps which equals a smokin' 1.3x real time.  I was quite impressed with the processing rate for sure.  The only thing that it lacks is some sort of CPU throttle control.  This software uses 100% of your CPU, and doesn't share very nicely.  While running on my system, it slowed other operations down to a crawl and rendered it quite useless in the meantime.  Perhaps in future revisions they'll be able to allow certain amounts of CPU usage, or even run using idle CPU cycles.

Keep in mind that most DVD Authoring software uses a whackload of system resources and doesn't share nicely either.  I'm not picking on VSO Software here, just offering a little feedback to help give them an edge over the competition.

Now that we've seen that DivXToDVD is simple and quite fast, let's take a look at it's quality.

For these following quality tests, I used PowerDVD to grab some screenshots.  What is important to keep in mind here is that the DivX video is lower resolution at 574x430 than the DVD Video at 720x480.  When DivXToDVD converts this video, it will lose a measure of quality due to it's increased pixel count at 720x480.  Some quality losses are seen through the screenshots, but are barely perceptable when viewing on your TV with a set-top DVD players . . . which is really what DivXToDVD is all about.  Alrighty then, let's take a look at some screenshots.

DivX Capture - Click To Enlarge

DVD Capture - Click To Enlarge

(DivX Capture.  Click to enlarge)

(DVD Capture.  Click to enlarge)

As you can see, the DVD Capture has a little lower color quality, but when viewing this on a 25" TV, the difference is very little.  To watch the DivX version we have to hook it up through the S-Video out on a laptop, so the tradeoff of minor quality loss is definitely worth the convenience of dropping a disk in the DVD player.

Conclusion:

DivXToDVD is still in it's early stages.  Much more can be expected from the final version.  That being said, the version that I am using today is absolutely free, and the results are very good.  Sound quality is great, picture quality is good, and it's super easy to use.  I have no problem recommending this piece of software to download.  It's hard to break it down and give a "real" score to a piece of Alpha or Beta software, so for now I'd just say go get it, and watch the development of this product as well as other products soon to come from VSO.  It's going to be good.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please head on over and post them here.