Step 4b: HC Encoding Options
Starting at the bottom, there are three preset buttons, Speed, Balance and Quality, you can use to quickly specify the encoder settings. Speed will sacrifice quality for encoding speed, balance is a balance between speed and quality, while quality will take longer, but might be worth the result.
Back to the top. "Method of Encoding" has the 2-pass encoding mode (best quality), constant quantization (best speed) and predictive quantization (good speed plus better quality than constant quantization). Note that you cannot use more than 1 core for 2-pass encoding mode. "Quality of Encoding" is pretty obvious - again, "Fast" for speed, "Normal" for a balance between speed and quality, while "Best" gives you the best quality (and the slowest encoding speed). If you selected the "Constant Quantization" mode, then you can also select a quantizer value - the lower the quantizer, the better the quality. "CPU Cores" allows you to set the number of CPU cores to use, if you have multi-core CPU. "Matrix" allows you to set a quantizer matrix - it's best to leave it on the "MPEG" setting unless you know what you are doing.
"TV Overscan", when enabled, will enlarge the pictures slightly so that no border is shown on an older TV that suffers from overscan. This option is usually not needed, so don't check the box. "DC Precision" has an effect on quality - selecting "10" is recommended. The maximum "Birate" setting tells the encoder what is the maximum bitrate it should use - 8000 seems like a fair value, although you can go as high as 9800. "Video resolution" - "Full D1" is the full DVD resolution (720x480 for NTSC, 720x576 for PAL), "Half D1" halfs the horizontal resolution (352x480/576 for NTSC/PAL) and VCD resolution is the lowest (352x240/288 for NTSC/PAL). Select Half D1 or VCD will allow you to fit more content per DVD, which is not so bad if your input is already at these lower resolutions.