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Can I Put DVD-Video Content on A CD-R or CD-RW?

There are many advantages to creating a DVD-Video volume using inexpensive recordable CD rather than expensive recordable DVD. The resulting “cDVD” (sometimes called a “miniDVD”) is perfect for testing and for short video programs. Unfortunately, you can put DVD-Video files on CD-R or CD-RW media, or even on pressed CD-ROM media, but almost no set-top player can play the disc. There are a number of reasons DVD-Video players can’t play DVD-Video content from CD media:
1) checking for CD media is a fallback case after DVD focus fails, at which point the players are no longer looking for DVD-Video content
2) it’s simpler and cheaper for players to spin CDs at 1x speed rather than the 9x speed required for DVD-Video content
3) many players can’t read CD-R discs.

The only known players that can play a cDVD are the Afreey/Sampo LD2060 and ADV2360 models, and the Aiwa XD-DW5 and XD-DW1. Some of these players use 1x or 2x readers so they can’t handle data rates over 4 Mbps. It’s possible to replace the IDE drive mechanism in the player with a faster drive, which can then handle higher data rates. (Note: there have been many reports of players able to play DVD content from CD-R. Upon investigation it turns out that they play Video CDs but not cDVDs. The players mentioned above have been verified to play DVD-Video files (.VOB and .IFO) from CD media.)

Computers are more forgiving. DVD-Video files from any source with fast enough data rates, including CD-R or CD-RW, with or without UDF formatting, will play back on most DVD-ROM PCs as long as the drive can read the media (all but early model DVD-ROM drives can read CD-Rs). On a Mac, you need version 2.3 or newer of the Apple DVD Player.

To create a cDVD, author the DVD-Video content as usual then burn it to a CD-R or CD-RW. If your authoring software doesn’t write directly to CD-R/RW discs, use a separate utility to copy the VIDEO_TS directory to the root directory of the disc. To be compatible with the few settop players that read cDVDs, turn on the UDF filesystem option of the CD burning software. To achieve longer playing times, encode the video in MPEG-2 half-D1 format (352×480 or 352×576) or in MPEG-1 format.

An alternative is to put Video CD or Super Video CD content on CD-R or CD-RW media for playback in a DVD player. The limitations of VCD apply (MPEG-1 video and audio, 1.152 Mbps, 74 minutes of playing time). All DVD-ROM PCs able to read recordable CD media can play recorded VCD discs. An MPEG-2 decoder is needed to play SVCDs.

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