Burning High Definition Video To A DVD

by on November 23, 2007

Q: If I buy an HD camcorder and a hard drive, can I burn a video to a 4.7GB +/- disk on my PC? Or, do the disks have to be HD? Thank you for your help.

A: Great question! I have been able to find two methods for getting high definition video onto a DVD. Unfortunately, each of them has restrictions. And my research indicates that only one of them is currently possible to make using a PC. A great article for the second option is PC World’s New Chips Enable High-Def Recording on DVDs. Allow me to briefly summarize each possibility:

The easiest way to record high definition content to a DVD is to save a computer file with high definition video to a DVD, for later playback in a computer. An example of a file type that you can use is H.264, which is capable of full 1080p image resolution. My research suggests that the only way to play such a DVD is using a computer. That could change in the future because, in theory, Blu-ray and HD-DVD players are both capable of using H.264 files. With a single layer DVD burner, you can burn 4.7GB of data to DVD. With a dual layer DVD burner, you can burn 8.5GB of data to DVD. To create this kind of DVD, all that you would have to do is import the high-definition camcorder footage into a professional quality video editor, and then export as H.264.

The other method is infinitely more complicated, and far less satisfactory in my opinion. The folks behind HD-DVD recently approved something called HD Rec, while the people responsible for Blu-ray recently approved a similar technology called AVCREC. These technologies allow high definition content to be recorded to DVD using special home theater equipment. Currently, the only HD Rec player is also the only HD Rec recorder. This player/recorder is the Vardia RD-A301, and appears to be available only in Japan. A quick search of the internet did not reveal any Blu-ray players that currently support AVCREC technology. As you may have already guessed, HD Rec and AVCREC are incompatible with one another. Furthermore, no DVD player in existence today can use either of these technologies. Similarly, I do not think that any current PCs are able to use such disks. While it may be possible to use one or both of these technologies with dual layer DVDs, I only found articles relating to single layer DVDs. HD Rec and AVCREC are both so new and so complicated that even I, a geek, am extremely confused!

My recommendation is to use the H.264 method, as many people own computers capable of both accepting DVDs and playing H.264 files.