Introducing Windows DVD Maker

For the past 9 months, I've been working on a product for making DVDs. In Vista, this product (feature? applet? wizard? well, pick one...) will allow you to create a nice DVD containing your pictures and video - a DVD that you can watch at home, send to your parents, or enter in a film contest. Assuming, of course, that you have a computer with a DVD burner on it, and your DVD player supports the format you burn (I may get into that a bit in later posts).

Given where we are with current builds, I'm pretty confident that we will ship with Vista, though it's not clear yet what SKUs we will live in. And, since we haven't shipped yet, any specific details should be taken with a grain of salt (or appropriate low-sodium substitute).

In this first post, I'm going to talk a little bit about what our goals are, which I hope will give you some insight into why things work the way they do.

Some of you may be familiar with existing programs for creating DVDs. The full-featured ones are known as DVD authoring programs, and they give their users a lot of control over all the details of the DVD. That control is great if you want it, but it does add a lot of complexity to the process.

For DVD Maker (and, to be fair, other existing products out there also have the same goal), our goal is to allow users to "Create" DVDs rather than "Author" them. In other words, we expect that a user can select some content, start DVD Maker, and get a nice DVD without having to do a lot of work.

To make that a "nice" DVD, we'll provide a number of styles that you can select from as a starting point, and a limited amount of tweakability.

Or, to put it another way, DVD Maker is not an authoring program.

Oh, and I should also talk a bit about speed. Video consumes a lot of computing resources (disk, processor, I/O), so there are some operations that are just going to take a bit of time, and creating the final DVD can take a long time (ie hours), even if you have a fast system. There will be some optimizations to make things faster, but don't expect miracles.

So, that's about all for the first post.

Comments (9)

  1. Jerry says:

    Sounds great to me. as you wrote about performance, I just hope that you support HT and Dual Core processors.

  2. Joe says:

    What about Windows Movie Maker — which has a simple interface and looks like what you’re describing, and which has never worked for me? The stupid thing crashes on me every time I tried, on multiple machines…

  3. And in keeping with Vista’s increased emphasis on DRM… how will you ensure that people ‘own’ the content that they record ? How do you know that the photos and other material aren’t copyrighted ? Just curious…

  4. ericgu says:


    I’ll probably talk about some of the perf stuff in more depth later, but the short answer is that we are multithreaded and support dual proc. I don’t know of any reason we wouldn’t support dual-core or HT, but I don’t have those so I can’t be sure.

    Having said that, we’re I/O bound in some cases, and faster CPU doesn’t help.


    Movie maker is about video editing, while DVD Maker is about getting content onto a DVD. There’s some overlap, but not a ton.

    If you want to drop me an email, I can help you figure out why movie maker doesn’t work for you.


    Currently, we honor DRM flags on media that supports it, which I *think* is limited to Windows Media content (I depend on a library for DRM checking). Absent that, we don’t do anything.

  5. Sean McLeod says:

    Will Windows DVD Maker provide an API for other 3rd party applications to use for creating a DVD? Or will it only be an end user GUI app?


  6. Matthew says:

    PLEASE speak to whoever looks after Movie Maker to get them to fix the bug where the audio skips if you add MP3/WMA to a movie and then export to PAL DV-AVI!

  7. Steve says:

    First of all I’d like to say FINALLY! It’s been quite frustrating to have no build-in ability to make a quick DVD.

    Now some questions:

    I said questions, but really I meant question. Will you support <strike>authoring</strike> creating HD-DVD discs? Now that MovieMaker is also finally getting the facelift it needed and will so be able to output HD, will you be able to create discs using the output. With so much emphasis placed on the HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray what gets lost in the shuffle is that red lasers combined with modern codecs (e.g. VC-1) are all the storage the average person needs for a decent high-def dvd. What’s missing, of course, is ability to easily/cheaply output the content.

    Just curious what your team’s view of this is?

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