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How Should I Encode Audio for My DVD?

There are 3 kinds of audio that can be used when authoring DVDs.

Dolby Digital (AC-3) – compressed audio with a very high quality, taking up very little space on the DVD. This allows you to encode the video at a higher data rate for better quality since you have more space available for video content. Dolby is the preferred choice for DVD audio.

PCM – uncompressed audio, no different than a “.wav” file in your editing software. Two hours of PCM audio can take up over 1GB, which is a good portion of your DVD, leaving less room for quality video, so I avoid the PCM option when Dolby is available.

MPEG – has space requirements similar to Dolby, but is NOT officially supported in the DVD specification. If your authoring software does not offer Dolby and you really need the space, MPEG audio may be an option. Note that most DVD players work just fine with MPEG audio, but since it’s not part of the “spec”, DVD players are not required to play it. It would be rare to find an incompatible player, so not much of an issue for small runs, but I would not recommend it for mass-duplication.

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How Should I Encode Audio for My DVD?