Windows DVD Maker FAQ

If you have a question, please add it as a comment, and I'll add it to this post.

Questions about Windows DVD Maker

1: I hope you support HT and Dual Core processors

A: 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.

2: 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 ?

A: 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.

3: 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?

A: Yes and No, depending on how much control you want. You can pass DVD Maker an XML file that tells it what content to use, and optionally have it just go off and burn a DVD based on that content. Or you can use that as a starting point and let the user do some customization on top. We don't provide a full API for people to do what they want.

4: Is DVD Maker written in managed code?

A: No. Yes, it is ironic that I spent so much time on C# and then spent a ton of time writing something in C++ code. Everybody on the team is a believer in managed code, and we hope we'll be able to use it for future projects.

5: I always get “Missing codec” message. What do I need to install to launch DVD Maker in Vista 5270?

A: Yeah. Weeeell, unfortunately, you need a codec to be able to create the media files on the DVD, and that codec isn't present in the current drops. I can't go into the details - some are confidential, and others I just don't know - but I can say that we should have that resolved when we get to beta. If you're internal to microsoft, there's a link you can follow to get a codec that will work. For the rest of you, I'm sorry you can't see it yet. 

6: Will you support creating HD-DVD discs?

A: We won't support it in the initial release. The hardware wasn't there at the time we would have needed to have it, and I'm not sure it's there now. When the whole high-def DVD world settles down a bit, we'll take a look at where things end up, and go from there.

7: Will DVD Maker run down-level on Windows XP?

A: Vista is our only target right now.

8: Followup on question #4. Why didn't you use managed code?

A: I would have loved to use managed code for the UI part, which is what I own. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say that it wasn't the team's decision.

[Update: I've thought about what I can say about this. I don't know all the details of the decision, but the reasons I know are related to decoupling and reducing dependencies.

I should also note that shipping managed code in an OS is different than shipping managed code elsewhere.]

9: Will DVD Maker support dvr-ms files? (from Media Center)

A: Yes

10: Please tell me that you've hired some (and I hate to say this) "Apple" quality designers to produce the styles for the DVD menus.

A: I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised with the styles. They're really nice.

11: Will DVD burning work on XP?

A: I don't know of any plans to provide down-level support.

12: Can you specify slide show transitions on a per slide basis, or is there one transition for the whole slide show? Can you adjust the display time for individual photos?

A: The transition setting is global to the whole slide show. Some transitions (such as wipe) support multiple variations, and DVD Maker will use all the variations, but there is no user control over this. Similarly, the picture time is the same for all pictures.

DVD Maker is intended to cover the most common scenarios. If you want to use a different transition between each picture and change individual picture duration, you can easily do that in Movie Maker, and burn the result to a DVD.

13: Is there any way you guys can add the ability to add short captions to the scenes?  (Not a mandatory step, just provide the option to do it if you want)

A: Our original design provided a lot more control for scenes - you could combine them together, give the names, etc. But without the ability to control where the scenes points start, we decided that the ability to name them wasn't very useful, so we cut the feature. You do get motion video on the buttons, so that will give you some idea of where the scene goes.

14: When you burn the dvd, can you provide the option to save the encoded files just in case there is an error while buring the disc?  Encoding takes the most time.

A: This is something else that we considered but it didn't fit into our schedule.

15: How does the project file support in DVD Maker work?

A: The project file saves anything that you do in DVD Maker, with the exception of the settings that you make in the options page, which are persisted in the registry. Opening a project file or launching dvdmaker from the command line with that project file is equivalent to launching DVD maker normally, adding the content, and making all the settings.

Comments (8)
  1. Mikhail says:

    I always get “Missing codec” message. What do I need to install to launch DVD Maker in Vista 5270?

  2. Jarle Nygård says:

    Why on earth is it not written i managed code?

    I could understand it if parts of the encode/decode functions were not managed perhaps, but surely the GUI should have been!

  3. The obvious followup to #4 is "why not"? Isn’t C++/CLI supposed to make it very easy to write managed for new code while still calling unmanaged APIs?

    If there were good technical reasons for going the route you did, I’m sure we’d be interested in them. Or perhaps Microsoft is like other large companies in this respect and it was just too hard fighting the inertia at a particular point in time.

    Glad to hear that you’re at least thinking about API issues and being able to create a DVD with minimal GUI interaction.

  4. One more question: Any possibility "they" will make you guys release a version for XP? (Similarly to what "they" did with WinFX.)

  5. Eran Kampf says:

    What were your considerations when choosing to develop Windows DVD Maker in unmanaged code?

  6. PLEASE provide details for #8…this post has already been picked up by a few other bloggers.

    It sounds like you didn’t use managed code because of internal politics. If that is case, imagine what it’s like for the rest of the world when Microsoft itself can’t even make use of .NET for its own new products.

    If there were real technical constraints/trade-offs/decisions that came into play, please share those with us.

  7. Alex says:

    Perhaps I’m being too simplistic about it, but it doesn’t seem to me that a DVD Maker program fits under the definition of "Operating System".

  8. Matthew says:

    >> Perhaps I’m being too simplistic about it, but it doesn’t seem to me that a DVD Maker program fits under the definition of "Operating System".

    Your point being?

    You better complain to all the Linux vendors adding ‘non OS stuff’ too.

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