Convert Kaffeine saved files to DVD

Q I record TV programmes using Kaffeine. It saves them in files with a file type of M2T. I want to convert them to a format that I can burn to DVD using K3b so that I can play them back on my DVD player to my TV. Can you recommend any combination of routines that will do the job?

A Kaffeine uses the .m2t extension for MPEG2-TS (Transport Stream) files. These are programs transmitted in MPEG2 format on a DVB (Digital Video Broadcast) channel, such as Freeview. DVDs use MPEG2-PS (Program Stream), which is a variation on the same format. The main difference is that TS files contain extra, redundant information that ensures the stream is still playable in the event all the data doesn't get through. As a result they are somewhat larger than a file of the same duration and bitrate extracted from a DVD. One of the simplest apps for converting these files, or almost any other type of video file, into a DVD is the Tovid package from http://tovid.wikia.com. As with most such programs, it can take a while if each file has to be re-encoded, but it does the job with a minimum of fuss.

ovid has a graphical front-end, where you can build a menu structure, add videos, set background images and music and many of the other frills that comes with a DVD. It also comes with a handy script, todisc, that does everything from the command line, requiring just a list of files to encode. If all you want is an easy way to view your computer-recorded files on the family TV and are not bothered about fancy menus, todisc is the simplest option. This is another example of how quickly things can be done in the shell, although the actual task of creating the DVD can still take quite a while, even on a fast dual-core system with lots of memory. While todisc is also capable of some fairly complex layouts, it comes into its own when you just want to put a couple of videos on a DVD. Todisc will take a list of video files and convert them to the correct format, generate menus and the DVD structure and write the whole thing to an ISO file ready for writing to a DVD, like this

todisc -pal -files video1.mpg video2.m2t video3. avi -titles "First video" "Second video" "Third video" -out mydvd

The number of files and titles must be the same, and you should quote the titles if they contain spaces. Run this program, wait a while and you'll find a DVD image ready for burning to disc. There are a couple of alternative programs. Q DVD-Author is a graphical front-end to dvdauthor, the program that generates a full DVD file structure from the component video and menu files, which is also used by Tovid. You could also consider MythTV. While it is more complex to set up, it provides a great deal more flexibility, allows you to schedule program recording and has a plugin to burn recorded programs to DVD that takes care of all the work. Just select the programs by title and make a cup of tea while it is converting and burning the videos.

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