AVS DVD Authoring Review
AVS DVD Authoring managed to contain almost all the menu features we wanted to see in a top DVD authoring program. You can manually set chapters, add custom backgrounds and buttons, add background music, animate thumbnails and create full motion backgrounds.
We really like the freedom you have to rearrange your menu items on the page. You can use a simple layout template and then change the position of your buttons, text and thumbnails. AVS DVD Authoring includes a small selection of template themes that are completely customizable. However, in the future we’d like to see AVS include many more stock template styles.
We did find that although you can set a specific picture as your thumbnail that picture has to be previously saved on your computer and imported as an image.
A few typical features that AVS is missing include automatic chaptering (which we’re not sure is a bad thing) and the ability to rearrange your title pages and subpages. You also cannot change the linking structure. Although you can add text, pictures, graphics and more you cannot link them to something in the menu structure that wasn’t already there.
Some of AVS’ additional features include broad input format compatibility, a built-in burning engine and the ability to insert an opening sequence. We also like that the menu displays the linking structure of the screen using arrows.
You can also change the quality of your final disc, regarding resolution, high quality vs. lower quality. This is great if your video is really long, but you need to fit it on to a single layer DVD. But that is just about where the fancy stuff ends.
AVS DVD Authoring is simply a no frills DVD menu authoring program. It doesn’t include any video editing features aside from creating chapters using a timeline view, nor can it create a slideshow, add music or include video transitions. Additionally, you can not directly import your video from a DV or HD camcorder without an additional download.
The most crucial feature missing from AVS DVD Authoring is a playback screen that previews your constructed menu and movie to check for functionality. Although we really like the simplicity of AVS DVD Authoring we feel this is a critical feature and it is one of the main reasons AVS was not in our top spot.
However, we’d like to point out that AVS’ payment options are unconventional and your subscription purchase of AVS DVD Authoring also gives you free, unlimited access to their other multimedia products like the DVD Ripper, Video Converter, Video Editor, DVD Video to iPod and more. Most of the features and functionality missing from AVS DVD Authoring software can be found in one of their other products, which you can download for free.
AVS DVD Authoring is possibly the easiest DVD Authoring program we reviewed. When you first launch the application you are greeted by a wizard that will guide you through the media importing process, chapter creation and output media.
When you get to the menu editing section, where you can further customize your menu layout and design, AVS makes navigation effortless. Almost everything is located on one screen and AVS uses a tabbed menu method for organization. Your menu is clearly displayed in the center of the screen, all your chapter and subpages are accessible through tabs or along the left navigation and you can also do on the fly chaptering with the timeline video display along the bottom of the screen.
The quality of our AVS DVD was great. The menu was clean and functional. Each navigation button did exactly what it was supposed to do and you could easily skip from chapter to chapter. We wish all the DVDs from all the other products worked this well.
Most multimedia software has a tendency to be unstable now and then and AVS DVD Authoring is no exception. Our installation went off without a hitch.
At least twice while using the software the system stopped responding and needed to shut down. Both times this happened when we tried using the clip playback feature designed mostly for chaptering. However, don’t let this discourage you. All video software takes an extensive toll on your computer system and sometimes if you are only running the minimal requirements or your video card isn’t completely up to snuff you’ll encounter an error or two.
AVS support is simple. They include online help, an FAQ and email support. They do have a user guide but you have to download it separately. We honestly didn’t like the additional help download not only because it is an additional download, but because it is not specific to the DVD Authoring product. This is kind of a double-edge sword. The help download includes help for all AVS products. However, that one download is great if you are going to be using multiple AVS products.
Every time we contacted support via email our questions were responded to in about a day, except for on weekends when they answered us on Monday.
The best thing about AVS DVD Authoring is its pure simplicity benefited greatly by the introductory wizard. Although the software is missing a few typical features like slideshow support and a built-in DVD player we found the program gives the user a fair amount of control over their menus and produced excellent DVDs.