Page 1 of 6: Introduction + What is AVCHD

Nero Vision 5 is part of the Nero suite, a collection of CD/DVD related software that can often be found bundled with DVD drives (although the bundled version might not be the full suite). Nero Vision is the CD/DVD authoring component of Nero. While it is aimed at beginners, it offers quite a lot of options and you can make fairly nice looking DVDs with menus, chapters, audio, animations and more. It also includes a basic video editor.

What the fifth major version of Nero Vision added was support for AVCHD. I will talk more about what AVCHD is below, but suffice to say, you can now author HD content and burn them to standard DVDs that will play in almost all Blu-ray players. And with Blu-ray winning the high definition format war, now is as good a time as any to start learning how to make AVCHD discs.

This guide will show you how to take your video files and turn them into an AVCHD, complete with menus, chapters and other advanced features. This guide is based on the Nero Vision 5 DVD Authoring Guide, so if you've followed that guide, then most sections here will be very similar. Because AVCHD is still a relatively new format, the aim of this guide is more to promote the fact that this format exists. While AVCHD can be burned onto several types of media, this guide assumes you are burning to DVD.

This guide is aimed at users new to DVD authoring, but is already fairly comfortable with things like video conversion and editing and know about basic DVD structures like Titles and Chapters.

Software you'll need:

What is AVCHD?

AVCHD stands for Advanced Video Codec High Definition. AVC is better known as MPEG-4 AVC, or H.264, and is one of the new video codecs used by Blu-ray (and HD DVD). AVC/H.264 is also used on all the Apple devices including the iPod, the Sony PSP and both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 supports AVC playback. AVCHD builds upon H.264 and adds support for things like menus, subtitles ... basically a complete playback format. AVCHD is actively supported by some of the companies behind Blu-ray, most notably Sony and Panasonic. Apart from burning to DVDs, AVCHD is also being used in HD camcorders to store recorded video to hard-disk, flash memory cards and other storage mediums. This means that your camcorder may be able to record in the AVCHD format, and thus, allow you to transfer it to hard-disk for editing and then DVD for storage/playback on your Blu-ray player. Basically, AVCHD is like a Mini-Blu-ray.


The format structure of AVCHD is based on that of Blu-ray's BDMV structure. In fact, a "BDMV" folder is used to store the navigation and content, and on first glance, it is remarkably similar to Blu-ray's file structure.


Video resolution can be up to 1080p. Audio can be stored as Linear PCM (up to 7.1 channels), or in AC3 (up to 5.1).

So why shouldn't you use AVCHD? Well, encoding speed is very slow on all but the fastest CPUs, but this is the case with all AVC/H.264 content. Also, industry support in terms of hardware and software is still at an early stage, where there are still competing HD camcorder video formats such as HDV and MiniDV. But if you don't mind the fact that you can only store 15 minutes of the highest resolution video on a single layer DVD, then AVCHD is here right now for you to start experimenting with HD video authoring without the need to buy an expensive Blu-ray recorder (and the equally expensive blank media).



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