[Review] WinX DVD Author 5.5

{rw_text}Giveaway of the day for May 16, 2009 is:

WinX DVD Author 5.5

Version reviewed:

v5.5

Software description as per GOTD:

WinX DVD Author is professional and easy-to-use DVD authoring software designed to create and burn DVD from various video files, such as AVI, WMV, DivX, MPEG, Xvid, RM, RMVB, ASF files, etc. It allows you to convert video to DVD with chapter menu, as well as add subtitle, background music, etc. WinX DVD Author supports both NTCS, the standard video format of the America, and PAL, the standard overseas video. And DVDs can be formatted for either 16:9 for widescreen TV or 4:3 for standard TV.

Key features

  • An easy-to-use and multi-function DVD authoring software.
  • Support almost all kinds of popular video formats.
  • Best video image quality after converting.
  • Less than 1 hour for a full 4.2 GB DVD.
  • Author DVD Menu & Chapter Menu.
  • Support subtitle to DVD

————————-{/rw_text} –>

{rw_good}

  • You can author DVD-5/DVD-9, NTSC/PAL, 4:3/16:9 DVDs from various different types of video files.
  • You can create menus for your DVDs.
  • You can add subtitles to your DVDs.
  • You can convert video files to .VOB.
  • Fairly straightforward and easy to use.

{/rw_good} –>

{rw_bad}

  • Has a few bugs.
  • Does not support SWF video as input.
  • Cannot create an ISO – you must burn to disk.

{/rw_bad} –>

{rw_score}
{for=”Features as Described” value=”10″}Everything is there.
{/for}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”10″}Point and click.
{/for}
{for=”Performance” value=”6″}A few bugs, but otherwise works fine.
{/for}
{for=”Usefulness” value=”9″}Most everyone wants to create DVDs.
{/for}
{for=”Arbitrary Equalizer” value=”7″}This category reflects an arbitrary number that does not specifically stand for anything. Rather this number is used to reflect my overall rating/verdict of the program in which I considered all the features and free alternatives.
{/for}
{/rw_score} –>

{rw_verdict}[tup]
{/rw_verdict} –>

WinX DVD Author is a program that allows you to author DVDs. You input video files of various types and turn them into DVDs. You can create DVD-5 or DVD-9. You can create NTSC or PAL DVDs. You can use a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio.

As “extra” features, you can convert videos to .VOB format. You can also add DVD menus to currently existing .VOB videos and burn them onto a DVD.

This is what WinX DVD Author looks like:

2009-05-16_032100

Using WinX is very straightforward. To author a DVD click on “Video DVD Author”. You will then need to add in all the videos you want to include in your DVD, choose the type of DVD, the aspect ratio, etc.:

2009-05-16_034313

The developer is not very clear on what types of videos are supported; however from the description I know AVI, WMV, DivX, MPEG, Xvid, RM, RMVB, and ASF are all supported. When browsing for your input videos SWF is also shown under “supported files” but I get an error saying that SWF is not supported when I try to add it.

When you have added all the videos you want in your DVD and have all the settings how you want them, click 2009-05-16_034938 to continue. The next screen is the “setup DVD menu” screen:

2009-05-16_035736

As mentioned in my above screenshot if you want to create chapters you need to right click on each individual track/video:

2009-05-16_035750

You will then need to specify how to create the chapters:

2009-05-16_035851

After you specify the chapter settings you should see the “chapter menu”:

2009-05-16_0359051

Click “title menu” to get back to the title menu. Now according to the help file you should be able to click “chapter menu” to get back to the chapter menu for that specific video you have selected but I am unable to click “chapter menu” at all. Just another bug I assume.

When all is set and done click 2009-05-16_034938 to continue. You will then be brought to the screen where you setup for the actual burning of DVD:

2009-05-16_0420111

The “output folder” is a folder that will contain temporary files necessary for WinX to burn a DVD. The files will be deleted. Take note that, for some reason, the default location is F:\Temp. If you don’t have a F:\ partition you need to change that to C:\. As per the developer, “generally speaking, to create a 4.2G DVD you need 8.4 G free disk space”. Don’t worry – after the burning has finished the files will be deleted so your hard drive space will be freed up.

When ready hit “Start” and wait for your DVD to be finished burning.

One thing to note, you may get the following error before you reach the actual DVD burning window:

2009-05-16_032016

This a bug that more or less means that WinX is unable to recognize your DVD burner. I ran into this bug also. To fix this, you need to go to “Settings” and change “Burner selection” to “Modular 2″:

2009-05-16_043324

2009-05-16_043359

Restart the program and the error should now go away. If it does not… I don’t know what to tell you – sorry.

Besides the DVD authoring features there are two more features of WinX DVD Author:

  • “Convert Video to VOB” – this feature basically does the same thing as the “Video DVD Author” feature except you are not burning to a DVD… you are creating .VOB files.
  • “Vob to DVD Compiler” – this takes VOBs and allows you to add a DVD menu and burn them onto an actual DVD.

Overall if you look past the bugs (and looking past the bugs is not too difficult since in the end the program does work as it is supposed to)  WinX DVD Author is a good program so I give it a thumbs up. However the bugs are a huge con and really hurt this otherwise good program. There are also a few other cons:

  • You can’t use SWF as inputs to turn them into DVDs. Now I am not a video format expert but I do know SWF works different then most other formats so I can’t fault the developer too much here. However I can fault them a little – enough to mention.
  • You can’t create an ISO/image of your DVD – you must burn it to a DVD.

This review was conducted on a laptop running Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

{rw_freea}

DVD Flick

DVD Flick aims to be a simple but at the same time powerful DVD Authoring tool. It can take a number of video files stored on your computer and turn them into a DVD that will play back on your DVD player, Media Center or Home Cinema Set. You can add additional custom audio tracks, subtitles as well as a menu for easier navigation.

  • Burn near any video file to DVD
  • Support for over 45 file formats
  • Support for over 60 video codecs
  • Support for over 40 audio codecs
  • Easily add a menu
  • Add your own subtitles
  • Easy to use interface
  • Burn your project to disc after encoding
  • Completely free without any adware, spyware or limitations

-DVDFlick Developer

<<<<<<<>>>>>>

DVD Flick is an EXCELLENT open source program that allows you to author DVDs just like WinX DVD Author. Aside from the video -> VOB conversions, DVD Flick does everything WinX does; plus you can create an ISO of your DVD instead of having to burn it to DVD with DVD Flick.

Since the developer of WinX did not specify all the input videos supported by WinX, I can’t say which program supports more input formats. However I can say which ones DVD Flick supports:

2009-05-16_045254

There is more information on what DVD Flick supports here. A guide to how to use DVD Flick is also available.

{/rw_freea} –>

{rw_verdict2}WinX DVD Author is buggy no doubt about it. However if one can look past the bugs (resolving the major ones is not too hard) WinX DVD Author is a good program that will allow you to easily create DVDs. I give WinX DVD Author a thumbs up. However, I recommend DVD Flick. Yes WinX DVD Author is a good program but with the current bugs it has (which, I hope, will be resolved in future updates), in my opinion DVD Flick is a better program. Plus DVD Flick is open source and it allows you to create ISOs of your DVDs if you don’t want to burn them right then and there.
{/rw_verdict2} –>

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15 comments

  1. Lucky

    Well, DVD Flick worked with .mts (AVCHD) files. When you go to open a file they won’t come up as a suppoerted file, but select “all file types” and then you can load your .MTS file and everything works after that.

  2. Adrian

    I think the problem has already been solved lately, GOTD is great site both for it’s comments, free alternatives and software offered for free, but most important part is that the GOTD mods aren’t sleeping or something. The comments error is something to do with the hosting server of GOTD, I checked it out. They’ve changed their hosting servers so there are no more comments problems now.

  3. MikeR

    To Sunny:

    Superb post, and much appreciated.

    I too have wondered if there’s any point in anyone continuing to “add value” to the GOTD site nowadays because it’s become increasingly obvious that many, many computer users appreciate GOTD not so much for what it offers but for the alternative suggestions freely provided by others.

    This latest situation of buggy software from a publisher touting non-existent awards on a site where, it seems, GOTD mods go to sleep / go shopping / go anywhere but the website itself is the final straw in a positively flying harvest of hay that has included everything to which you refer (the plus/minus comment marking is ludicrously buggy and the thumbs up / thumbs down page-top “voting” guide, utter rubbish.)

    So. . . No more GOTD for me, then.

    I’d rather be here on dot.tech swapping notes and ideas and suggestions with others, all of whom have been drawn to this blog by the calibre and integrity of its author. . .

    And where if I thank someone, I don’t have to click on a plus box which instantly puts up two minus points instead.

  4. sunny

    TO MIKE:

    Agree with everything you’ve said. The GOTD site is buggy and needs to be fixed. I frequently give a positive vote to a user’s comments and it jerks them from 0 to -3 or something worse. Sometimes I can push a comment up or down 7-8 points in a flash; sometimes I can switch them from a big positive to -1. Very very weird and I don’t like it. Has anyone else noticed this?

    As for GOTD staff, I get the strong sense they aren’t there a lot of the time. Perhaps they’re very busy working on a different more lucrative project. Who knows. Seems to me that if they gave much of a toss for the site they’d fix up all the bugs, and attend to checking the integrity and functionality of the wares they offer.

    Perhaps they’ve lost interest because of all the people who post other genuine permanent freewares that are better. That would be understandable, but I for one, love hearing about the
    ‘real’ freeware that people like and are using.

    Actually it’s a joy these days to see the amount of jolly good and genuinely free apps available. Very heartening for the future of the internet and for the inclusion of punters globally, many of whom are unable to afford purchase costs. Many of us have long souring experience through the 90s of spending gobs of $ on software that proved horribly buggy and frustratingly unusable. Developers took our free feedback and used it to sell ongoing versions and profit thereby. We can all think of at least one giant software corp who did and still does this. There are also numerous small players in the field continuing to market shoddy wares and use dubious business practices. So I say let’s all support Open Source and Genuine Freeware, and promote it on our sites.

    TO ASHRAF:

    You’re the man! Keep it rolling. How you ever get time to sleep is anyone’s guess. Merveilleux….Marvellous….Wunderbar and similar bouquets for you.

  5. MikeR

    Hi Ashraf:

    Thanks for the heads-up on GOTD’s comments processing — that’s the first explanation I’ve ever had that made sense!

    I’ll certainly bear it in mind for the future, because the GOTD comments “lock-up” has been frustrating in the past, not just today.

    Anyway: glad the comments have finally gone through. . .

    . . . and, not for the first time, I’m amazed that (a) you not only beat me to it but (b) you did all that extensive testing and screen-shots and write-up and filing on here and posting on GOTD.

    As ever, I’m in awe. . .

  6. Jyo

    Hey Ashraf! Splendid review, as I am one who enjoys these DVD authoring softwares. Anyways, for the part where you said you couldn’t click the chapter menu(well it’s not a bug), you need to check the little box to the bottom left where it says “Auto Add DVD Root Menu.” Also, I have a question for DVD Flick: Are there more downloadable menu templates? Because by default there’s only like 5 menu types, which is kind of limiting…

  7. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @MikeR: GOTD really needs a western hemisphere comment moderator or something. It seems like their moderators “go to sleep” or are “busy” after the first couple of hours, then they come back and moderate a bunch of comments and then are gone till an hour or so before the giveaway is done.

    @Roland: I am not surprised. I have found many unknown developers do this. I have pointed it out in the past but figure what is the point… I would rather value a developer on his/her actual product than his lies. Lies are bad but if the product is good… I can overlook the lies (call me an ***hole).

    @MikeR: I agree with you.

  8. MikeR

    Roland:

    When (or if) Ashraf’s review/comment appears on today’s GOTD comment thread then it’ll likely be accompanied by several dozen others which must by now have been submitted, but which haven’t as yet appeared.

    That’ll include my comment, too (or maybe, not: GOTD has had a habit of late of censoring some posts) about the claims made for today’s software by today’s software.

    What I didn’t say there, but will say here, is that GOTD and any other website which allows itself to fall into association with software publishers who publish exaggerated or downright fictitious “award” claims does itself no good at all.

    GOTD in particular has fallen prey to this time and time and time again: on too many occasions I’ve found myself having to chase up website “award” references that have proved to be total lies or total rubbish.

    (By ‘total rubbish’ I mean those pseudo-awards sites — of which there are dozens on the ‘Net — set up solely to get link traffic. They don’t “review” any software: Google for successfulsoftware.net for the full story.)

    The time spent checking out those particular GOTD offerings was a complete waste and has done nothing to inspire my confidence in the trustworthiness of GOTD’s developer “partners”.

    And the defence that no website can be responsible for faults, failings or fictions perpetrated by others simply doesn’t hold water: Ashraf, for example, isn’t alone in making every effort to ensure that not only does he behave in an ethical manner, that which he may recommend is also authored by an ethical source, too.

    The other point, for what it’s worth, that I made in my unpublished GOTD comment was that working with video is never, ever straightforward, so taking on software where there’s no active and substantial user support forum is plain daft.

    DVD Flick has a great worldwide user forum (just like all those other high-repute freeware creations like Shrink, DeCrypter, Imgburn, etc etc.)

    By contrast, the publisher of today’s GOTD software seems to have no user forum of any kind, so I’ve given it a miss — though fair’s fair, I did try out an earlier version of the same product, and didn’t find it that bad. . .

    . . . just that it seemed pointless with DVD Flick offering so much for precisely nothing at all.

  9. David Roper

    DVD Flick does the “same” thing and without “install me today” limitations. Bugs that even Ashraf doesn’t understand? I think I will pass. I like to have backups of programs I install, JIC.

    TuCows and Softpedia lies?? That’s serious to me, too. It sounds like todays political claims.

    If DVD Flick didn’t exist I would grab this one, but, well, you know the reason now.

  10. Roland

    Hi Ashraf. First time i post here but i’ve been reading your reviews carefully for every giveway you commented (in fact i tend to scroll right to your post when i go to the download page, and come here to read your review if i don’t find it at GOTD. Thanks for your reviews.

    Now, to the point : what do you think of this comment from Ninja on GOTD

    Hm. I don’t like how their front page lies about the awards they received.

    Looking into the download.com ratings, I found that it has only been reviewed by two users and no editors.

    They did not receive 5 star editor review from Softpedia, only a 3 star review (scroll down any you will see the image). Read their review.

    And tucows hasn’t even rated it yet.

    I think, given the evidence of these lies, I’ll pass on this. Thanks for the offer though.

    I’ve followed all the links, he’s right. The webpage clearly lies on their awards. It doesn’t make the company very trusworthy to my eyes, and i don’t really like installing software from untruted sources.

  11. MikeR

    Excellent stuff (as usual) Ashraf — yet not for the first time I’m seeing (or rather, not seeing) updated comments on the GOTD thread.

    It’s happened before, as if the thing has frozen, and will doubtless happen again, but it’s very frustrating because everything is effectively locked at the time of a last comment that (a) may have been posted hours earlier or (b) is a daft comment anyway.

    I can’t see any sign at all of your post / link to your review, nor can I see any sign of my comment, posted earlier today, when having read about the difficulties various GOTDers were having with today’s download, as well as an inexplicable endorsement for commercial AVS Video Converter software, I posted a recommendation of a certain freeware app. . .

    . . . DVD Flick.

    Ah, well. If the comments thread is updated, then as like as not my post will appear after yours and I’ll get several thousand minus points for appearing to have copied your thoughts.

    Still, why worry? Sadly, I’m beginning to leave GOTD more and more to its own devices anyway — and this latest “frozen” comments situation isn’t making me any more enamoured of the site than before.

    Thanks again for your own efforts, appreciated as ever.