Authoring AVIs: Is MPG better than M2V+AC3?

So I have AVIs that I get from by brother (family stuff from his digital video camera) and have been getting a little lost in trying to pick the best workflow to get them to DVDs playable on home standalone players. I own TMPGEnc Plus and Author, Nero Ultra, and have of course DVDShrink. Unless there is a drastically better tool out there that I don’t currently have, I’d like to stick with these.

Now TMPGEnc Plus allows for either ES or System Stream, and Video+Audio or just Video. I tried ES V+A with Linear PCM as I’ve read suggested in other threads, and get an m2v + wav file set (which already started getting me confused because of the recommensations to go with ac3). (BTW, thanks to one of the gang on this site for that great template.) The problem I had with this approach is that I could not make a DVD with audio sync’d to the video, and was getting very frustrated trying to get it to work. So I tried a System Stream with MPEG1 Audio (48 KHz, 448 kb/sec) and got one nice mpg file. Is that a good way to go? Are there any downsides to this approach?

I then use TMPGEnc Author to generate the VOB files. I get the impression I could do this with Nero Vision Express, but again is one better than the other in this workflow?

I guess at this point I should mention that I’ve tried the m2v + wav > Vision Express > DVD route, and could not get the DVD to play on my home machine (Panny RV30) It would load up okay and display the menu, but nothing I could do would get the actual video content to play. I tried DVD-ROM and DVD+R. So this got me wondering if either using the straight Burning ROM program, or the burning capability in TMPGEnc Author, would help me get past whatever was causing me trouble.

I’ve read through a bunch of the threads and guides, but still can’t seem to find answers to the sort of workflow questions I have here. Any help would be most appreciated.

Many DVD players will not support MPG audio. My JVC will only play MPEG audio through the line-level audio output, and the digital out is silent. You should not be getting asynch audio though, unless the AVI itself is messed up.
Converting the wave to AC3 saves a lot of space on the DVD, which is the main reason for using it. If you don’t need the space, stick with the wave(PCM) stream. In that case just convert with TMPGEnc and create the DVD with Author. If the AVI has a lot of dropped frames, that can cause audio to asynch, beyond that I’m clueless.

Many DVD players will not support MPG audio

I hear what you’re saying, rd, but forgive me for still being a bit confused. If I use TMPGEnc to output an MPG file with the audio as part of the file, I can select it in Author as a (seemingly) valid choice of input for a project. If I then use it, I get what appears to be a valid VIDEO_TS directory with the right stuff in it. Are you saying that if I select an MPG source like this in Author, that it will not produce files in the VIDEO_TS directory that will have the audio portion in an acceptable format? I thought that if an authoring program was able to create a VIDEO_TS output that the content was by definition DVD compatible.