Most people don’t want to spend a great deal on an mpeg encoder. They use free programs like SUPER, or Avi2DVD. There are some all-in-one packages, like Nero Vision or Ulead Studio 10 or Movie Factory 6 and they aren’t too expensive, but are not the best quality.
Avi2DVD is actually a pretty good choice, since you can use a very good encoder like the HC encoder with it. The HC encoder’s only real drawback is that it isn’t as fast as some others. And you’ve stated that is a problem for you.
MainConcept has a good mpeg encoder that can output to dvd format. The non-H264 version was about $150 last time I looked. The H264 version is about $550. I’ve used the earlier one and liked it well enough. ProCoder2 ($500) is another possibility, though it will soon be replaced by ProCoder3.
One of the fastest is CCE (CinemaCraft Encoder). Very expensive, but high quality. I doubt you’ll want to spend that kind of money—I don’t remember off hand but I think it was $1800 or so? And you’ll need an authoring program to go with it.
If you have a computer with a multi-core cpu, you’ll want an encoder that can make use of them. This will speed things up considerably. And the Intel cpu’s seem to be faster for video encoding overall.
The easiest choice is simply to buy a cheap dvd player that is capable of playing Divx or Xvid files (as debro hinted at earlier). Burn your videos onto a dvdr as data files in Nero, not as a dvd-video, and you’re off and running.