To Compress Or Not To Compress That Is My Question

Hello All,

I am brand new at this whole DVD back up thing. I have DVD Studio Pro 2 and am planning on buying the new Plextor 16x DVD reader writer. The main reason I am considering it is A) I heard Plextor makes the best DVD drives AND B) It’s a dual layer burner. I am a quality junkie, I like to have the best, without paying the most. Also I have found that the dual layer discs are around $10 a piece. My question is this, how much quality am I losing by compressing my DVD movies to a single layer disc, as opposed to no compression on a dual layer disc. So is there anyone out there that has a good perspective between the two that could give me some advice?


Incoming $0.02:

Wait a couple weeks before buying the PX-716A… the first hardware version that shipped has had numerous problems ranging from poor write quality at higher speeds to not being able to recognize when media is inserted. I got two of the latter before ending up with one of the former. YMMV.

Quality loss? I’ll admit I cannot tell the difference between the original DVD and a slightly recompressed DVD. If it’s a great movie, I’ll be stubborn and do a 1:1 backup to dual layer or split it onto two 4.7GB media. Otherwise, I don’t mind recompressing and using the backup rather than the original. Most transcoding software will do a good job when it’s reducing data size down to about 85% of original. It’s an arbitrary number, but it’s still a good rule of thumb. Ripping out unneeded menus, audio tracks and extras will often free up enough space to convert a DVD-9 movie to DVD-5 size without having to transcode. At the very least it gives you more space to devote to video data, so that you might not have to compress too much when transcoding.

plextor definitely doesn’t make the best dvd burners. their reputation for being the “best” is a holdover from when their early cd burners were considered the cream of the crop. their reign has been over for a while now, so you should look elsewhere for a dvd burner. if you want the best while paying the least, get the NEC 3500A. it has excellent burn quality and its hacked firmware support is great (which you can read about in the NEC forum).

as for whether or not you’ll notice the compression for a dvd, it depends on the source, how much you’re compressing it, and what type of display you’ll be watching it on. it also depends on whether or not you’re willing to pay the premium for dual-layered discs (which it seems like you are). for myself, the cost of dual-layered media is too prohibitive as of now to use for backups, but you’ll probably find that the quality is at least acceptable for most backups that aren’t heavily compressed.