SmallDVD 2.3 is available for download. This release adds the ability to create DVDs without menus and optionally play the videos in a loop. There is also an updated version of ffmpeg, and a change to the way MPEG2 files are handled.
A new DVD settings tab has been added, which allows you to specify whether the DVD should be created with a menu or not (by default, a menu is created). If you put several videos on a menuless DVD, they will play in sequence. If the DVD has no menu, you can specify whether the videos should play in a continuous loop. Also, the aspect, format and chapter settings have been moved from the DVD menu tab to the DVD settings tab.
This release also makes two changes to the way ffmpeg is used. The short reason for this is to improve the compatibility with MPEG2 input videos.
If you’re interested in the long explanation, first, a word of explanation. ffmpeg is the fabulous video conversion command line utility which SmallDVD uses for converting and remultiplexing video files ready for placed on a DVD. It is constantly evolving, supporting more file formats. As ffmpeg doesn’t have formal releases, it is typically built from source code using all the latest enhancements submitted. But it appears that “latest” is not always “greatest”.
All versions of SmallDVD up to and including 2.0 used a version of ffmpeg I compiled back in March 2007. For SmallDVD 2.1 (and subsequently 2.2), I compiled a new version to enable a wider variety of files to be accepted by SmallDVD. However, this later version had two problems:
- Videos saved from MPEGStreamClip as “MPEG2 with MP2 audio” were no longer accepted by SmallDVD.
- In some cases, chapter marks were not being inserted correctly in MPEG2 videos.
The first of these problems was an ffmpeg bug, which was fixed by building a newer version. However, this still showed the second problem. Therefore, while I have included a new version of ffmpeg (r21020) in SmallDVD 2.3, I have also reinstated the original version I was using (r8320) up until SmallDVD 2.0.
So, in SmallDVD 2.3, MPEG2 input video which does not require conversion will use the old ffmpeg. All other video which does require conversion will use the new ffmpeg (this includes MPEG2 files you have explicitly set to be converted).
The end result, hopefully, will be better compatibility with as many types of files as possible. Ideally, I would like to use just one ffmpeg, but until I can get the new version working as reliably on MPEG2 files as the old version did, I will retain both.