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Converting AVI files to DVDs for Playing on Regular DVD Players

Did you ever need to convert avi files to DVD’s so you or others could play them on your regular DVD player? For example, I record high definition programs using an HDTV tuner and BeyondTv. BeyondTV records HD programs in “TP” format, although you can “Showsqueeze” them into Divx encoded AVI files. If I want to record these onto DVD’s I have to convert them to something a regular DVD player can understand.

Here’s a relatively simple way to record these AVI files to DVD’s using free tools.

Onetime steps for Setup:

  1. Download and install “Super” – a free program for video conversion. Super is a graphical interface for command line utilities, including ffmpeg. The download link is here

    Super is a good program in and of itself to convert all sorts of video files but I had some problems with it as it constantly gave me errors when converting. I attributed this to VISTA, but I’m not sure. We are not going to use Super, only the ffmpeg binary file that comes with it.

  2. Download ConvertAviToMpg.vbs, a little windows shell script I wrote to ease the use of ffmpeg without having to deal with the command line. Place it into the folder that holds your AVI files that you are converting.

    If you installed Super in anywhere other then the default location (“c:\program files\eRightSoft\SUPER”) then you will need to edit this script (use a regular text editor) and change the following line to point to ffmpeg:

    strPathToFfmpeg=”c:\program files\eRightSoft\SUPER\ffmpeg.exe”

  3. Download DVDStyler and install. For a tuturial on how to use DVDStyler look here: http://dvdstyler.sourceforge.net/docs/DVDStylerGuide.pdf

Conversion Steps:

  1. Once you’re done installing everything above and are ready to convert avi files, open up the folder where you have your AVI files and drag your avi file and drop it onto the icon for the ConvertAviToMpg.vbs script. This will start converting the file into an mpg file and will put the resulting file into the same directory where the avi file is.
  2. Drag and Drop AVI File

    This will start ffmpeg which will convert the AVI file to an MPG 2 file, running in a minimized window. If you click on the minimize window in your taskbar, the window will popup and you can see it’s progress:
    FFmpeg

    When the process is done, a message box will pop up telling you the conversion has completed.

    aviconverfinished.jpg

  3. Open up DVDStyler and create a menu and load your created mpg file. See http://dvdstyler.sourceforge.net/docs/DVDStylerGuide.pdf for full directions.
  4. DVD Styler

  5. When done configuring the menu and you’re ready to burn, make sure that you select Options in the menu and check that your video format is correct (should be NTSC for US, PAL for elsewhere). DVDStyler comes set to PAL as default so if you are in the US you need to change it. Audio format should be AC3 for US although Mp2 normally works also.
  6. dvdstyler-config.jpg

  7. Ready to Burn? Select File->Burn DVD.. Although DVD Styler will allow you to burn directly to a DVD, I usually burn to the hard drive first (File->burn dvd ->Select “just generate” making sure the tempory folder is set to where you want the DVD files to go.
    dvdstyler-burn.jpg

    After the Video_TS folder is generated you can burn using your favorite burning software (in my case Nero)

A Bug in My Computer

While upgrading my motherboard to accomodate Vista I found a real live fried bug in my computer:

Computer Bug

By the way, Vista is great – I was lucky enough to get Vista Ultimate cheap. My upgrade was an install of a new motherboard, RAM, and CPU – easiest upgrade I’ve done and whole thing went flawless. My upgraded components:

1. CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+(65W) Windsor 2.2GHz Socket AM2

2. Ram: Patriot Extreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (can’t believe 2 GB cost less than $90 after rebate)

3.Motherboard: ASUS M2NPV-VM AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6150 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
(one of the few that have decent integrated video). May upgrade video later but right now this is sufficient to use AERO in Vista.

Whole thing cost me less than $300 (not counting Vista) and that was several months ago. Should be cheaper now.

Everything runs smoothly and no problems with multitasking or graphics processing.

Forced to Room with a Homosexual?

You would be if you rented a room in Washington, DC thanks to the “Human Rights” ordinances there, requiring no discrimination based on sexual orientation. So far these types of laws have been limited to liberal cities and states, but now they may be coming to your home town thanks to your federal government. Here’s the action alert I received from the American Family Association (see the full alert here):

A new bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), has been introduced in the House of Representatives by homosexual Congressman Barney Frank. The bill (HR 2015) would force organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Veterans of Foreign Wars, day care centers, Christian business owners, adoption agencies, public schools, municipalities and a host of other businesses and organizations to hire homosexual applicants.

ENDA would make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on his or her sexual orientation or “gender identity.” Such acts would be considered crimes subject to severe penalties. For a list of the co-sponsors of ENDA, click here.

The same day that ENDA was introduced, another bill — commonly called the Hate Crimes Act (HR 1592) — cleared committee for a full vote by the House. The Hate Crimes Act criminalizes a vast array of state and local acts and threatens religious leaders with criminal prosecution for their thoughts, beliefs, and statements.

The intent of the Hate Crimes Act is to give special status to homosexuals. Republicans tried to expand the “protected class” in the bill to include senior citizens, pregnant women, prior victims, children under 18, the unborn, court witnesses, the military and more. Democrats defeated all amendments, projecting the welfare of homosexuals above other classes of citizens. The House Judiciary Committee then passed the bill on strict party lines —20 Democrats for and 14 Republicans against.

After these laws are passed, then the regulating agencies go to town and have a field day dictating the nitty gritty about how these laws can be enforced. Here’s an example from DC’s Human Rights regulations:

No employer, housing provider, public accommodation, educational
institution, or any agency of the District of Columbia government or its contractors shall require individuals to dress or groom themselves in a manner inconsistent with their sex or their gender identity or expression.

'Stuart The male Patti' Female Impersonator - 1898 Library of Congress Collection

For example, if you own a store and one of your male employees wants to dress in a skirt and wear makeup when waiting on customers you MUST allow them or you are a criminal (and probably labeled a hate-criminal also).

Here’s another great one from the DC regs:

In gender-specific facilities where nudity in the presence of other people is customary, entities covered by the Act shall make reasonable accommodations to allow an individual access to and the use of the facility that is consistent with that individual’s gender identity or expression, regardless of whether the individual has provided identification or other documentation of their gender identity or expression.

So if you go to the public pool and a male transvestite shows up, he has to be allowed to use the FEMALE locker room because his expression is female.

Here are AFA’s suggested actions to oppose the

  1. Send an email to President Bush asking him to veto ENDA (HR 2015) and the Hate Crimes Act (HR 1592) bills.
  2. Call your representative and ask him or her to vote against ENDA and the Hate Crimes Act. You can reach your representative at 202-224-3121. If you don’t know your representatives name, simply give the operator your address and you will be given his or her name and connected with his or her office.