iDVD: How much video can I put on a DVD-R disc?

Different versions of iDVD allow different lengths of video to be included on a disc.

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Digital video stored on a DVD is encoded in the MPEG-2 format. This is true for DVDs made with iDVD as well as retail DVDs. The MPEG-2 format offers excellent video quality while compressing the DV format files of your iMovie projects to fit into a smaller space.

The quality of the MPEG-2 encoder has increased with each version of iDVD, allowing better quality and better compression. This means you can fit more video on the same size DVD-R discs with later versions of iDVD as illustrated in this table:

iDVD 7 Up to 2 hours
iDVD 6 Up to 2 hours
iDVD 5 Up to 2 hours
iDVD 4 Up to 2 hours
iDVD 3 Up to 1.5 hours
iDVD 2 Up to 1 hour
iDVD 1 Up to 1 hour

iDVD has built-in support for a wide variety of DVD media formats including: DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, and DVD+R DL.

  • DVD-R: Can be used only once to store data. This is the recommended media for iDVD since it's compatible with most DVD players and computers on the market today. It can hold about 4.38 gigabytes (GB).
  • DVD+R: Can be used only once to store data. These discs, too, can hold about 4.38 GB.
  • DVD-RW: Can be used more than once to store data. "RW" stands for "rewritable." These discs can hold about 4.38 GB.
  • DVD+RW: Can be used more than once to store data. These can hold about 4.38 GB. These discs may not be viewable in all DVD players.
  • DVD+R DL (Double Layer): Can be used only once to store data. Can store almost twice as much content as single-layer discs, but cannot be viewed in older DVD players.

As you author your DVD's menus, tracks, and other features, iDVD keeps track of the disc space that will be used. It counts the video used in your movie tracks and the space needed by menus, images, and audio used in your project. Motion menus take up much more disc space than still menus.

If you are interested in authoring DVDs with more encoding flexibility and more customization options, consider Apple's professional authoring solution, DVD Studio Pro.

Important: This software may be used to reproduce materials. It is licensed to you only for reproduction of non-copyrighted materials, materials in which you own the copyright, or materials you are authorized or legally permitted to reproduce. If you are uncertain about your right to copy any material you should contact your legal adviser.

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