Apple is bringing DVD authoring to the desktop, something Apple CEO Steve Jobs says is “the completion of a dream” he’s had for several years. Jobs announced two new DVD authoring products — companion programs to iMovie and Final Cut Pro — during his keynote today at Macworld San Francisco.
“There are at least 10 million DVD players in the US — some say 13 million — and that number is doubling every year,” he said. “We want you to be able to make your own DVDs with the movies you make and be able to play them on consumer DVD players. Our new products will let you shoot footage on your camcorder, make movies on your Mac, and burn your own DVD.”
In the past, Jobs said there were three hurdles to doing this: the difficulty in burning a DVD disk, difficulty in encoding the data, and difficulty in laying out the content. To get decent quality would cost $1,000 to $5,000 in hardware. And software solutions have been too slow — until today, he said.
“Our scientists have made a technical breakthrough,” Jobs explained. “Using the Velocity Engine, they’ve developed products that reduce the time it takes from software encoding from 25x the source material to 2x. Previously, software encoding of one-hour would take all day. Now it can be done in two hours.”
The first product, iDVD comes preinstalled on the Power Mac G4 with the new SuperDrive, a combination CD-RW/DVD-R drive that reads and writes both CDs and DVDs. DVD Studio Pro offers professional-quality DVD encoding, authoring and writing, and is designed to complement Apple’s Final Cut Pro video editing, effects and compositing software.
“iDVD and DVD Studio Pro continue Apple’s lead in the desktop video revolution,” said Jobs. “Our new Power Mac G4 running iMovie, Final Cut Pro, iDVD and DVD Studio Pro offers professionals and high-end consumers the only integrated solution for pro-quality DVD creation.”
He said that iDVD makes it easy for Mac users to turn their iMovies, QuickTime files, and pictures into DVDs that can be played on consumer DVD players. iDVD shields users from the complexity of DVD authoring by offering built-in professionally designed themes and drag-and-drop simplicity, Jobs added.
With iDVD, users can:
Convert iMovies, QuickTime files, and pictures into the format required for DVD using iDVD’s fast MPEG encoder;
Drag-and-drop iMovies and pictures into their DVD project;
Create menus, buttons and backgrounds using their own personal images, or choose from among more than a dozen beautiful themes with professionally designed background images and coordinated fonts and typefaces;
Preview the project to test navigation and flow;
Record DVDs with a single click on the Power Mac G4’s new combination CD-RW/DVD-R SuperDrive.
Jobs said that DVD Studio Pro lets users encode video, conduct complex authoring tasks, preview the finished product in real-time, and burn DVDs using the Power Mac G4’s new SuperDrive. With DVD Studio Pro, users can:
Encode video in MPEG-2 and encode audio in Dolby Digital, the two formats preferred for professionally mastered DVDs;
Author the DVD, working with up to 99 video tracks and multiple language tracks. DVDs can also be customized to include slide shows, still or motion menus from layered PhotoShop files or video clips, and interactive links directly to the Web;
Preview the finished project in real-time without the need for a disk image or multiplexing;
Burn DVDs using Power Mac G4’s new SuperDrive for playback on consumer DVD players. In addition to burning DVDs, users can also choose to output to DLT tape for mass duplication or DVD-RAM to inexpensively test projects.
iDVD is preinstalled on the new Power Mac G4 with combination CD-RW/DVD-R SuperDrive, which writes to standard 4.7GB DVD-R discs, available from
The Apple Store
in packs of five for a suggested retail price of US$49.95. Each disc can hold an hour of high quality video, and is compatible with a wide variety of consumer and computer DVD players. (For a list of compatible DVD players, visit
Apple’s Web site
DVD Studio Pro is available this month from The Apple Store or through Authorized Apple Resellers for $999. Minimum system requirements to run DVD Studio Pro are a Power Mac G4 with AGP graphics and DVD-R, DVD-RAM, or DVD-ROM drive (configuration must support Apple DVD Player 2.0 or later), Mac OS 9.0.4 or 9.1, QuickTime 4.1, 128MB RAM (192MB recommended) and a 12GB hard drive.
The DVD authoring tools are part of Apple’s new and upcoming tools for the “Age of the Digital Lifestyle.”