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"encoding" Takes Forever



Whether burning a DVD video, or a Blu-Ray, both Toast 10 and, now that I've upgraded, Toast 11, continue to take FOREVER to encode video files. I check "Activity Monitor" on my Mac, and see only about 8% of my CPU power being used, so it's no wonder. This used to happen on my Mac Pro workstation, as well as the new iMac I've just received. I'm sure I'm not the only one experiencing this, so any idea why the folks at Roxio decided to throttle this process in such a wasteful, inefficient way? I would love to hear from anyone who was able to fix this issue. Thanks a million!

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I know this topic has been discussed many times in this forum and others, but I have gleaned nothing substantial from any of the discussions. At the risk of being somewhat dense and duplicitous, I offer my dilemma, as I see it.


I have been using Roxio Toast for many years, even before Corel bought them out. I’m currently using version 11.2 (3175) on a Mac Mini running OS X 10.9.1 with 16 gb RAM. I have used it to burn a lot of DVDs over the years, flawlessly and speedily…until lately.


Now, I’ll admit to being rather ignorant regarding video formats…mp4, .avi, .flv, .mkv, DivX, H.264 and others. But the process of burning DVDs, especially with the .mkv format, is abominably slow, taking hours, even days. It’s absurd, and it’s just plain wrong.


I’ve tried to make sense of some recommended work-arounds. iSkySoft, Aimersoft, etc. are no better. HandBrake seems to get kudos from a lot of people, but it’s difficult, confusing and unsuccessful to me.


These are my questions:


1) Apparently, the conversion process in Toast, particularly with .mkv files, is the culprit. What process and software, if any, can speed up the conversion process outside of Toast, that would result in a DVD file that could be burned in Toast in a few minutes?

2) Has anyone knowledge of a comprehensive source for video rookies like me that would explain formats and processes, like a Video For Dummies?


3) I used to be able to burn between 4-6 files on one disc, generally .avi. I can barely fit one .mkv file on a 4.75 gb disc. Has anyone found conversion software that would change the format and reduce the file size?


Any advice, comments or sourcees of info would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks for your time.


Stan "Davis" Potopa

PRR Communications, Inc.

2410 18th Street

Altoona, PA 16601-2534

814-942-4504 Voice

814-942-4541 Fax

814-934-0514 Cell



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All good questions. I don't have answers to them all.


A video DVD is standard definition. Most videos being shot today are high definition. Rescaling from HD to SD involves removing a tremendous number of pixels from a video and it is important to remember there are 30 video frames for every second of video. That's a lot of work. So the challenge is to find the fastest way to convert the HD video to SD which Toast can then fairly quickly encode to MPEG 2 for a video DVD. Alternatively, a wiser option may be to forget video DVDs and play the HD videos just as they are. There are many devices that will stream HD video recorded in various formats to an internet-connected HDTV. Without such a player most HDTVs have USB inputs that can play HD video from a USB flash drive.


Maybe the fastest device to convert HD video to SD (and to encode h.264 mpeg 4 video from other types) is El Gato's Turbo.264HD. It is a USB stick that provides accelerated encoding. It still isn't fast, but it is faster.


As for the second question you might browse the forums at videohelp.com and the avsforum.com.


The amount of video recorded to a DVD is measured in length, not megabytes. Toast typically can fit more than 3 hours of video on a single-layer DVD. When the video is shorter than that Toast automatically encodes at a greater bit rate to improve the picture quality until it reaches the maximum when there is about an hour and 20 minutes to be burned to the disc. When you have a lot of video you want on one disc you may choose to Save as Disc Image and then use the Image File setting in the Toast Copy window to burn the disc. This way Toast can utilize its Fit-to-DVD process to get more on a disc than otherwise is possible.


The major point I'm trying to make is that movies on disc are becoming more impractical compared to other options. I even have clients paying me to get their videos off of discs. And something that I'm encountering is a surprising number of burned discs that are no longer playable. Optical discs are becoming obsolete.

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