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Burning TiVo to DVD


Folsom49er
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I have Toast 10 Titanium 10.0.6, a Mac running Snow Leopard, and HD TiVo. I have the .tivo file on my Mac, but when I pull it up in Toast, it only gives me "Apple TV Automatic" as a conversion option. What do I need to convert a .tivo file to something else and burn HD to a DVD? THANKS!

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To make a DVD you need to be in the Toast Video window rather than in the Convert window. Click the Video window icon at the top of the Toast window and then click DVD video as the format. Add the .tivo file (you can just drag it there or use the TiVo setting in the Media Browser to access it. Prepare the menu the way you want and choose either Save as Disc Image or click the burn button. I prefer choosing Save as Disc Image because converting HD video to a standard definition video DVD can take a long time. Some users report their optical drive going to sleep waiting for the encoding to be done and they have to start over. After saving as a disc image you can burn the resulting .toast file to DVD using the Image File setting in the Copy window.

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Thanks, but is there a way to retain the quality of the original recording? (BTW, I had to add the HD/Blu-ray plug-in to get MP4.)

You asked if it can be burned to DVD. By this I thought you meant a video DVD which is always standard definition. If you are wanting to burn a Blu-Ray disc to regular DVD media for playing in a Blu-Ray player then use the Blu-Ray setting in the Toast Video window. These can be either MPEG 2 or MPEG 4. That option is in the custom encoder settings window. You can choose Never re-encode in that window if you want to see if Toast can use the existing TiVo transfer video for the Blu-Ray disc without re-encoding. I don't know the maximum amount of HD video that can fit a DVD-R or DVD+R disc but it obviously is much less than can fit a Blu-Ray disc.

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I thought this would be easier with Toast.

 

The quality I get on rental DVDs (upscaled via my system) is so close to Blu-ray, it's tempting to drop the Blu-ray option from Netflix. That's why I'm not anxious to spend the money on a Blu-ray recorder and those expensive Blu-ray blanks.

 

If you can get around 3 hours of movie and extra features on a DVD, why wouldn't you be able to get at least 2 hours of higher quality TiVo captured programming on a DL-DVD via Toast?

 

I've not spent a lot of time on this sort of thing because it's not all that important to me, but I'm a little surprised that by now Toast isn't pretty much a no-brainer, plug-n-play kind of deal.

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I thought this would be easier with Toast.

 

The quality I get on rental DVDs (upscaled via my system) is so close to Blu-ray, it's tempting to drop the Blu-ray option from Netflix. That's why I'm not anxious to spend the money on a Blu-ray recorder and those expensive Blu-ray blanks.

 

If you can get around 3 hours of movie and extra features on a DVD, why wouldn't you be able to get at least 2 hours of higher quality TiVo captured programming on a DL-DVD via Toast?

 

I've not spent a lot of time on this sort of thing because it's not all that important to me, but I'm a little surprised that by now Toast isn't pretty much a no-brainer, plug-n-play kind of deal.

I'm still confused about what you are using to play the DVD. If you are using a regular DVD player then you have to burn it as a standard definition video DVD. That requires re-encoding the HD video from the TiVo to standard definition. The quality should be very good because Toast will make it an anamorphic 16:9 video just the same as the other widescreen standard-def videos you buy or rent. Obviously Toast's single-pass encoder can't match the quality of the multi-pass encoders used by commercial studios but it still looks very good. Turn on Half-Pel in the custom encoder settings window to make videos with lots of motion look even better.

 

For high quality you shouldn't exceed about 2 hours of standard definition video on a single-layer disc or 3-1/2 hours on a DL disc.

 

If you have a device that plays Blu-ray discs then you can burn the actual HD videos to single- or dual-layer DVD media for playing on the Blu-Ray player. That is why you need the Blu-ray plug in with Toast. If you aren't going to make a Blu-ray playable disc you don't need the Blu-ray plug in.

 

Yet another option is to buy something like the WD TV Live which will play your HD videos to your TV from your computer's hard drive or attached hard drive. This way you don't have to burn it to disc. You can either strip away the .tivo container to make it a playable MPEG 2 file using a freeware application or you can have Toast convert it to a h.264 video at the same HD resolution using the Convert window. Both play nicely with the WD TV Live.

 

The issue, therefore, is what you are using to play the video on your TV. Toast can make it whatever it needs to be to have highest quality for that player.

 

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I really appreciate the time you're taking with me on this, so please if you read some frustration in my posts, please know it has nothing to do with your responses!

 

Let me restate how I think Toast should function, adding a bit from your reply. Ideally, it would ask you about the hardware you intend the disc to play on, and then it would look at the source file type/size, the target disc type/size, and it would automatically set the optimum settings for the player while telling you what to expect, i.e., the image rendered will be 75% of optimum given it will need to be compressed for placement on the target disc.

 

I'm a photographer. Calibrating color is a can of worms I have to deal with all of the time, so I'm capable of getting pretty technical when I have to. I just don't understand why the software can't handle all of this.

 

This all appears to be unnecessarily difficult, which partially explains why I resist the notion that I have to develop a granular understanding of all of this stuff just to make the highest quality output for my setup. Speaking of which, the player we have is: "Sony BDP-S550 1080p Blu-ray Player" which goes through a "Sony STR-DA2400ES A/V Receiver" ... one or the other upscaling (not sure which, or both) the video to "Sony Bravia XBR KDL-52XBR6 52-Inch 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV".

 

What is "standard definition" in your post? What is h.264? I know to a video geek knowing this stuff makes perfect sense, but most people aren't really interested in knowing it. That's why Roxio should have a no-brainer mode in Toast like the one I described above.

 

Again, I didn't have anything but Apple TV as an option for conversions until yesterday when I installed the Blu-ray plug-in. Oh, and when I point at the "cog" button on the lower left of the window, I get "Select player or player settings," but when I search for "player settings" in Toast's help so I can educate myself about the different settings available, it tells me that phrase is no where in the help document. How dumb is that?

 

Streaming the video back to the TV from my computer isn't something I want to do, but I appreciate the suggestion.

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Let me restate how I think Toast should function, adding a bit from your reply. Ideally, it would ask you about the hardware you intend the disc to play on, and then it would look at the source file type/size, the target disc type/size, and it would automatically set the optimum settings for the player while telling you what to expect, i.e., the image rendered will be 75% of optimum given it will need to be compressed for placement on the target disc.

Wonderful idea! I'll pass this along to Roxio.

 

What is "standard definition" in your post? What is h.264? I know to a video geek knowing this stuff makes perfect sense, but most people aren't really interested in knowing it. That's why Roxio should have a no-brainer mode in Toast like the one I described above.

The primary difference between standard definition and high definition is the resolution. Standard definition NTSC video is 720x480 whereas high definition can be as much as 1920x1080. When Toast makes a standard definition video from a high definition source it has to rescale it to 720x480 but also makes it anamorphic 16:9 rather than 4:3 so that it appears more detailed on an HDTV. You can Google for a description of anamorphic video. The commercial widescreen movies you buy or rent on video DVD are the same resolution as Toast creates.

 

In order to create a high-definition disc playable on your Blu-ray player you need to use the Blu-ray Video setting in the Toast Video window. If you have this selected before clicking the Toast button in the TiVo Transfer application your video will go to this place. You also can drag the .tivo file from your TiVo Recordings folder directly to the Toast window. Be sure to have DVD or DVD DL selected with the button just left of the big red button. That way the scale should let you know if there is room for the video on the disc. Since your video already is in MPEG 2 format, consider choosing Never re-encode to speed up the process. You select this by clicking the More button at the lower left of the Toast window, click the Encoder tab, click the Custom button and selecting Never next to Re-encode. This also is a place where you could choose to have the video re-encoded to MPEG 4 instead of MPEG 2. The advantage is MPEG 4 is smaller so more will fit on your disc.

 

When you have everything including the menu info set up the way you want click the burn button or choose Save as Disc Image. If you choose the latter you can burn the resulting .toast file to disc using the Image File setting in the Copy window.

 

If your TiVo transfer is not from a HD station then choose DVD video instead of Blu-ray and definitely select Never Re-encode. If it is from a HD station then choose Blu-ray disc if you want to keep it in high definition or choose DVD video if it is too long to fit the disc or you want it to be playable on a regular DVD player.

 

Again, I didn't have anything but Apple TV as an option for conversions until yesterday when I installed the Blu-ray plug-in. Oh, and when I point at the "cog" button on the lower left of the window, I get "Select player or player settings," but when I search for "player settings" in Toast's help so I can educate myself about the different settings available, it tells me that phrase is no where in the help document. How dumb is that?

I'm confused. I don't see anything about "Select player or player settings," when I click the cog at the bottom of the convert window. I get a window that asks me to select a Device, the Quality and the location to Save To. When I click on the Device a drop down list appears that includes many options. At the bottom are options headed by "File Systems." Here you'll find some conversion options that retain the high definition resolution. "High-Definition Video" is only slightly compressed so it takes up very large amount of hard drive space (sort of like shooting photos in RAW). H.264 Player is the highest-quality MPEG 4 export option and recommended for playing videos on a computer. "MPEG 4 player" is more compatible than H.264 or playing on various devices but lesser quality. "QuickTime Movie presents lots of options but the other presets should meet your needs. "DV video" is for standard definition.

 

I'm happy to answer further questions.

 

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