Best Buy
  • Price: 297 . 118 . 765

  • Company: Apple

  • Pros: Supports HD DVD, and the compressor is enhanced by HD and AC-3 codecs and distributed processing. Strong integration with Motion and Final Cut Pro.

  • Cons: Most new or notable features are targeted at professional DVD production rather than the desktop DVD creator, and a large amount of space is required for templates.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

Faced with competition from Sonic’s product line in particular, Apple has gone straight for the Hollywood quality authoring studios with its new version of DVD Studio Pro.

The most obvious enhancement here is support for authoring DVDs that conform to the new HD DVD standard. This covers the variety of high-definition video sources that can be burned to either red laser or blue laser (double the capacity of SD) drives and played by the latest software-based Apple DVD Player.

It’s possible to author an SD project and an HD project on the same red laser disc, allowing the disc to play SD video on traditional DVD players and HD video on supported drives.

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In addition to supporting all the SD MPEG-2 video encodes, HD-based DVDs support HD MPEG-2 and QuickTime H.264 video encodes. You can use the Compressor to encode video to either of these formats or acquire HD MPEG-2 from HDV camcorders. If you have the equipment and an audience with HD DVD players, you can author a main feature in HD video and fill the disc with extras in SD video format. 
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Compressor now includes the ability to encode Dolby Digital AC-3 audio files using the Compressor batch. Preset capabilities can also spread the workload across several Macs on the network through distributed processing. 
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Integration with other Apple products is as strong as ever. For example, DVD Studio Pro 4 supports specialized markers added to your Motion projects that define the loop point when creating a motion menu.
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Another innovation is the ability to support external video monitors for more accurate simulation checks. The integrated DVD Player is capable of switching between HD and SD resolutions and different aspect ratios while connecting a suitable AC-3 or DTS decoder allows you to hear surround sound audio.
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Disc performance can be streamlined by using the new video title set (VTS) editor. DVD Studio Pro assigns each track and slideshow to an individual VTS block. You can use the VTS editor to manually assign elements to optimized positions <BR>
on the disc and split data-heavy menus up into multiple VTS blocks.
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Scripting too has been improved, with the ability to partition General Purpose Register Memory (GPRM) into smaller-sized registers, so increasing the number of GRPMs available when creating your scripts. It’s this greater access to the command level language of DVD authoring that makes DVD Studio Pro a far more relevant tool for professional DVD studios. Combined with the future-proofing provided by HD DVD support, Apple’s prospects in this market certainly look rosy.
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