How to create a video-DVD? (Macs without iDVD)

Last modified: May 10, 2016 2:10 PM
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Newer Macs come without a pre-installed version of iDVD, Apple’s consumer DVD-authoring application, which isn’t available in the AppStore, just in boxed versions of iLife; tools like iMovie still refer to it by offering a ‚share/export to iDVD’ feature.


First, check your Mac has a built-in DVD-burner; actually all Macs of the last years offer such a 'Superdrive', except the MacBook Air, the Retina MacBook Pro, the latest iMacs, and the MacMini/Server.


None of actual Macs has a DVDdrive; any usb-connected DVDburner wikll do the trick…

// Note: a video-DVD is Standard-Definition only! //

So, what are your options?

#1 install iDVD from an iLife Installer Disk

By chance, you own or can purchase a boxed version of iLife (06, 08, 09, 11).

• Insert disk (here: my copy of iLife09)

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• double-click the package

• follow instructions, after a few clicks, you’ll reach this screen:

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• select ‚Customize’

• check ‚iDVD’ and ‚iDVD Extra Content’ (to get ALL templates of iDVD)

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• follow instructions, restart Mac

#2 re-install iDVD from an older re-installer disk

By chance, this is not your first Mac; dig in your shoeboxes for the Original Installer Disk Set of that obsolete Mac (the grey ones)

• Insert Disk #1 (here: from my old MacMini)

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• double-click ‚Install Bundled Software Only’

• Select 'Customize'

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• select ‚iDVD’ and ‚iDVD Extra Content’ (file size could differ to above due to diff. number of templates in diff. versions of iDVD)

• follow instructions, re-start Mac

// Note: you can use, if optional in your edit-application, any ‚share to iDVD’ feature, but you can use any export from any edit-application in iDVD:

launch iDVD and drag’n drop from a Finder window your exported .mov/.mp4/.m4v into iDVDs Preview Window. //

iDVD has as any iApp a built-in Help feature.

Apple has an online support site for iDVD still avail here

You can ask other users for help at the Apple Support Community:

Keep in mind: iDVD was part of the iLife suite of apps; it was NOT meant as universal-disk- creation tool, so it does not support ‚any’ formats, but just a few made by applications such as iMovie, iPhoto, FCPX, Apperture. Formats as .flv, .wmv, .divx are ‚exotic’ to iDVD and need conversion before being processed in iDVD.

You can NOT burn any videos purchased via iTunes-Store with iDVD (or any other tool) to create a video-DVD.

#3 Burning video-DVDs with 3rd party tools/without iDVD

iDVD was a marvelous tool – with its convenient drag’n drop features, you could easiely modify it to your needs, to create your very own ‚custom’ designs. Visit my non-commercial website for a few suggestions.

Anyhow – no iDVD in reach, what to do?

# 3.1. free solution BURN

• download and install the open source tool BURN

• Export your movie from within your application; if optional, don’t be shy to choose a ‚HD’ output – although video-DVDs are Standard-Definition only, you should offer a ‚best quality’-input to the authoring app

• drag your .mov/.mp4/.m4v into Burn, click burn, follow instructions

It is very basic, no fancy design templates, no menu structures etc – it will just burn a plain video-DVD.

// Note: you have to offer any of these authoring apps a ‚video file’, no ‚project file’! Therefore, you have to export your projects first. //

#3.2. commercial solution ROXIO TOAST

This is the most popular ‚disk maker’ for MacOS (I don’t profit mentioning it here); it is not only meant for creation of video-DVDs, but offers many other formats and features.

Same workflow as in Burn:

• Export your movie from within your application

• add the resulting file to a new Project/video-DVD in Toast (read the manual for details and options)

If you’re familiar with Photoshop or similiar tools which support layers and saving in Photoshop’s own .psd format, Toast allows some modifying of the templated menus – a bit tricky, and by far not as convenient as in iDVD.


Meanwhile. Roxio offers Toast for download in the AppStore, click >>here>> (US version, also avail in other countries)

#3.3 Adobe Encore, Apple DVDSP, etc, etc

For sure, there are and were other 3rd party tools for disk-creation available, but those are mostly ‚pro’-tools, which are over-the-top for a bread’n butter disk creation.


As mentioned above, video-DVDs are Standard-Definition (720x480pix) only.

To create a High-Defintion (720p, 1080i) disk, you’d need for example Toast, an additional plug-in from Roxio, plus an external BluRay-disk-writer. And for sure BR-r disks.-

There’s a poor-man’s option to author a BluRay-structure with Toast, save this as an image-file and burn that with your Mac's built-in writer onto a DVD-r. Such a miniBluRay fits up to ~20min of High-Def content, but many BluRay-players don’t accept such ‚twisted’ disks. Somewhat less than perfect …-

‚Other’ delivery methods

The ‚Apple intended way’ of delivering home-brewn movies (high-/standard-defintion) to your Home's Big Screen is by sharing your movies to iTunes and finally using AppleTV.-

Or, upload your videos to YouTube/Vimeo/et al and share its URL (hint: there’s a ‚private’ option in the YouTube settings for each upload to share your movies to a limited circle of persons only).

Another option is usage of so-called Media-Drives, which allow to playback exported .mov or .mp4 from a hard-drive or flash-mem usb stick. Cruise at amazon etc …- (read the manual about formats & file structure).

You can use an XBox or the PS3 /4 as a media-drive, there are wireless options available or just ‚share’ your .mp4s to the gaming box’ harddrive by usb-stick. Again, read manuals, e.g. PS3 is looking for a specific file structure on the stick to ‚get’ the video files.

Modern TVs offer support of media-files on usb-hard-drives, SDcards or usb-sticks (read the manual about formats & file structure).

A playout back to tape or camera’s SDcard is not optional in iMovie.

// Note: the MacOS' built-in ‚burn to disk’ feature does NOT create standard-conform video-DVDs, data-disks only, which can be used on computers, but not by DVD-players! You have to use any authoring tool mentioned above //

Happy disk making! 😀



Jun 13, 2012 8:35 PM

Great Karsten - This tips way is the way to go - if as pedagogic as You.

Keep it up and if You find anything of my contributions of use - feel free to use it.

Yours Very Bengt W

Jun 13, 2012 8:35 PM

Aug 6, 2012 9:10 AM


A comment about Toast:

It seems Toast 7.1.3 is the last version that can output interlaced video-DVD from an iMovie project.

And AFAIR even then you had to dig out the iDVD reference movie (which contains iMovie's chapters), open it in QT Player Pro and set the high quality flag ON. THEN feed it to Toast for interlaced DVD video output. Even the most recent Toast seems to do progressive output no matter what (only using plain .dv files as Toast's input can output interlaced content).

Anyone else on this planet missing interlacing in Toast?

Aug 6, 2012 9:10 AM

Aug 6, 2012 5:26 PM

OH - So that was it - I fall back on iDVD whenever needed to do DVDs for other people. That's why I thought my eyesigth were going. 😉

Thank You Matti !

Bengt W

Aug 6, 2012 5:26 PM