Windows/Mac: HandBrake is the best tool for burning DVDs and converting video files on both Windows and Mac, and after 13 years in development, it has finally hit version 1.0.
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Ashampoo's paid version of their Burning Studio program rated highly in our recent app directory series for best disc burning app for Windows. It wasn't the first choice, as it normally costs a cool $US50, but is available as a free download from The Download Crew's Giveaway site for the next 26 hours (at time of writing).
We've looked at removing DRM from iTunes movies and TV shows on Windows, but what about Mac OS X? Here's how to rip out the DRM and turn that copy-protected M4V file into a regular old MP4 on your Mac.
If you prefer Nero for your simple CD/DVD burning tasks but the price throws you for a loop, Nero introduces a stripped-down, freeware version of the popular dvd burning software.
Windows/Linux: ImgBurn is the most popular CD and DVD burning tool among Lifehacker readers, and with the newly released version 2.5, it's even better.
When Apple rolled out iTunes 8.1 a fortnight ago, we noted right off the bat that some early adopters were experiencing issues with using the Genius feature. Now there seems to be a more worrying bug for Windows users. On some machines, iTunes 8.1 is no longer able to burn to otherwise functional drives, and in some cases can't even read discs from that drive. A long support thread on Apple's own site identifies one potential fix via a registry edit to disable device filters, although many of the users on the thread are reporting that it hasn't helped either. But if iTunes has gone haywire on your drive, it's probably worth following the suggested steps to see if that maes any difference. If you have any other wisdom to impart on this problem, share in the comments below. (Me, I'm unimpressed that merely checking the 'About' dialogue in 8.1 crashed my copy of iTunes, but then I've always thought it was way too buggy for something with that much market share.)
Good news for Windows users looking to burn a quick ISO disk image to a CD or DVD: Windows 7 supports dead simple burning of ISOs.
Burning that ISO to a disc is as simple as: Double-click the ISO file (or right-click and select Burn disc image.Click Burn.
Not too difficult now, was it? Of course, it'd be even better if Windows 7 could also mount those disk images in addition to burning them, but... baby steps. In the meantime, you can still mount disk images for free with one of the many disk mounting tools we've featured in the past. We had a bit of trouble with the ISO burning tool crashing in our tests, but presumably those bugs will be ironed by by the time Windows 7 hits the big show (or maybe not -- the basic DVD burning in Vista has always been a sea of bugs for me - Oz ed). If you've given ISO burning a try in Windows 7, share if you had better luck in the comments.
Windows only: Free application DVDCoach burns any video file (like DivX or Xvid videos you've downloaded off BitTorrent) to a playable DVD. The application provides a simple front-end for converting the files to the proper format (using the very popular media conversion tool ffmpeg) and burning the results to a DVD. DVDCoach Express doesn't have many advanced features—for example, you can't create custom DVD menus—but what it lacks in features it makes up for in simplicity. Just drag and drop the videos you want to burn to DVD into the application, set the few preferences available (PAL or NTSC, aspect ration, and quality), and get burning. If you're looking for a more robust feature set, check out how to burn any video file to a playable video DVD using other free apps. DVDCoach Express is a free download, Windows only. DVDCoach Express
Windows only: Selecting blank media would seem to be a straight forward affair. You discover a certain brand works great for your purposes so you plan to buy more in the future. Simple! The label wrapped around the spindle of DVDs you just purchased doesn't tell the whole story however. While there are dozens and dozens of DVD brands, there are only a few actual manufacturers. If you're looking for that perfect burn and want to take another step towards becoming a blank-media connoisseur, DVD Identifier will help you dig beneath the labels and find more detailed information about your media. No need to waste burn time if you know the discs are low quality or won't be accepted by a finicky console or DVD player. DVD Identifier is freeware, Windows only, and works on CD, DVD, HD DVD, and BLU-RAY media.
The internet has made it easier than ever to share media and data with friends, family, and co-workers, but that doesn't mean burning your own CDs and DVDs is a thing of the past. Blank optical discs are dirt cheap, they work virtually everywhere, and if you bought your computer sometime in the last 5 years, chances are you've got the necessary hardware to quickly burn anything you want to a disc in just a few minutes. Now all you need is the right authoring tools. Photo by the trial.
With your BitTorrent addiction in full swing, you've filled hard drives with media but can't seem to figure out how to burn any of the videos you downloaded to a DVD. Sound familiar? It's a common problem, and there was a time that it didn't have many simple (or free) solutions. Luckily that's no longer the case, and today we're taking a look at two dead simple solutions for burning virtually any video to a DVD you can pop into your DVD player and enjoy.
Windows only: BurnAware Free burns data, audio, and video CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs. Since we last mentioned BurnAware, it was bought up by a software company, turned shareware, and has now made the round trip back to freeware—so if you ran into the shareware version when you tried downloading it, BurnAware Free is worth a grab. There are still shareware versions that support advanced features like simultaneous disc writing, but chances are you'll be happy with the free version. This one could come in particularly handy if and when you actually get a Blu-ray burner on your PC. BurnAware is freeware, Windows only. For other great alternatives, check out previously mentioned ImgBurn or Totally Free Burner.