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A good rule of thumb (that I follow) is never set your video transcoding setting higher than 7 MBps max. Burned discs are not as reflective as a stamped disc. The laser in most home players will struggle more with a burned disc. While many players will read a burned disc with higher than 7 MBps data rate, many will choke trying to read it. It’s like driving at night with a dirty windshield. The faster you go the more likely you are to crash.
Taiyo Yuden is claimed by many to be among the best DVDs available. I bought a 50pk and not 1 failed and not 1 customer complained about playback problems.
When possible, avoid Mpeg2 audio settings. There are (more than a few) DVD players that can’t read that audio format. I’ve encountered them. PCM will give the cleanest sound but uses a lot more disc space. If you need to save space for video, use Dolby Digital audio.
Since the DVD format is MPEG2, all video files leading up to (but not including) the DVD file should be uncompressed. All my avi files use the Microsoft DV AVI codec. If you make your DVD MPEG2 files from something that is compressed, it will only look as good as that compressed file.
I personally use VBR but this open for argument. If your video exceeds 1 1/2 hours, its better to use VBR (variable bit rate). Scenes with little movement in them will use a low bitrate while high action will use a higher bitrate. The helps to reduce file size and can be the difference between a video fitting or not fitting on the disc.