AVI Conversions – Nero 7 vs DIKO

Posted on Friday 5 October 2007

A buddy of mine recently loaned me his copy of his Nero 7 to evaluate. He claimed that it would convert and burn an AVI file onto a DVD in half the time that I reported DIKO to be able to do it. If it worked I would certainly be impressed enough to let everyone out there know. (Note Nero 8 has just been released…)


After getting the software from him I started to install it. The first thing it insisted on was the removal of my current Nero OEM version that came with my burner. Not a problem, go ahead I said. It commenced and then insisted that a reboot was necessary (ah the many joys of windows!)

I make a habit, if given the choice, of doing a “custom” install instead of just letting the software do what it thinks is right for me. In this case it has paid HUGE dividends!

Nero 7 comes with a lot of photo and video editing capabilities and one of the things it assumes is that once you have Nero 7, why would you want to use anything else! It had highlighted every single type of multimedia file available and assumed that you would want to open it with Nero – thankfully, it allowed me to deselect everything so that I could keep my current file associations without having to manually recover them all later! Unfortunately, there was no single button, but rather a separate tab (each with its own master button) for each type of media before I could reverse all the selections Nero had made. There was also the capability to select or deselect each file association separately. (if you really wanted to…)

It also installed a little tool called Nero Scout which again “assumed” that you would want it to index all multimedia files residing in your Windows documents folder and prompted you to add others if you wished. It took a while for it to respond to my request to NOT index anything. There are an amazing number of websites out there who can advise you on how to get rid of it (obviously not a favorite for a lot of people)

For a burning tool, this package carries a lot of baggage. The Nero folder contains over 100 folders and 1200 files! And who knows how much other “stuff” got put elsewhere within the Windows architecture itself! I unfortunately didn’t do a before and after check on free space because I didn’t think this would be such a major install!

After starting up the Nero’s “Start Smart” button, I can see why all the files and folders. There isn’t much that this software can’t do when it comes to burning CDs and DVDs. It also has an option to hide or make available even more tools for the “geek” who wants more, or the user who wants less.

This looks like it would be a great package for anyone who just got a computer and was looking for a tool to do all that this package seems to promise. In my case however, it was overkill. I already had most of the tools that I wanted, I only wanted to evaluate its capability to convert AVI to DVD format. I’ll leave the indepth evaluation to all the great experts who get paid to do this for a living, and can spend a week or so kicking the many, many tires on this beast.

The First Attempt

I thought that I had found an obvious tool within the package with which I could evaluate the AVI to DVD authoring. Under the Tools menu is a button for Nero Recode. It had two options one appeared to want DVD files (probably those found in the VIDEO and AUDIO folders on most DVDs) and the other asked for just data files. The data files option was the one that I needed to use to import my AVI file.

After selecting my test file and it dropping it into the usual type of window that you see when you have a list of files to burn, the hard drive became very busy and the “Next” button remained blank. I assumed that at this point, it was doing its recompile. One word of note here, is that at least with DIKO I was given up-to-date information and time stamps as to what was happening and when. With Nero I just had to assume that everything was working as it should…

While I was waiting for things to process, I couldn’t help but take a look at some of the options available. I was trying to this evaluation on the default set-up and I wondered if things could be tweaked to speed the process up. I was amazed at what I found…

The default settings are set to do just that – process things as fast as possible. This actually made Nero force all audio to only two channels and what was worse (in my opinion) was that if Nero found that it could make the quality of the video better by making a second pass at the process the setting was set to “Do not ask me. Do not do a second pass”!

I was stunned, I thought it should at least ask you (which is one of the options you can set)! All the other conversion utilities that I had tried automatically did two passes and some offered four or more! Could this be the secret to its speedy processing?

Five hours passed, and nothing appeared, or tried to, so I gave up on it. Perhaps I was doing something wrong. When I did this test file with DIKO, it converted in about two hours and 40 minutes. My buddy said Nero was supposed to be faster, so I gave him a call.

The Second Attempt

I asked, “How do YOU do it?” The answer had quite a few steps:

  1. Select DVD off the very top menu
  2. Click on the Photo & Video Icon below that
  3. Click the make your own DVD Icon
  4. Wait for a new window to pop up, then click on Add Video Files on the right hand menu
  5. You will get a file manager menu, find and double click the AVI file(s) that you want to make a DVD out of
  6. This part gets a little tricky. If the file(s) you want exceed the capacity of the DVD, go to the “More” button on the bottom then:
    • select video options
    • click on the DVD-VIDEO tab
    • click on the Video Quality tab and adjust the length of time that the DVD will hold
    • if you are done click OK (note you can then adjust the 1 or 2 pass option here if you wish)
  7. Click Next
  8. The menu window allows you to create and modify a menu for your DVD. If you wish none select Do not create a menu from the top right menu selection window
  9. Click Next
  10. You are now at the preview menu. Here you see a small “TV” screen and a remote. Theoretically the movie, menus, etc will play in this window and you can test everything with the graphic remote beside it. I say theoretically as this did not happen for me, this is possibly due to the fact that my test AVI file was also PAL format, instead of the usual NTSC ( which might require an extra processing step.) My buddy assures me that he usually reviews the movie on his own computer. (note also this is before you have actually started the conversion – so it’s really a menu checking/testing window)
  11. When you are happy with what you see, click “Next”
  12. Now you are presented with other options, such as including or excluding subtitles, writing directly to a DVD or writing to your Hard Drive for review before burning (which is always my preference)
  13. After you have made all your choices, click Burn or Write in the bottom right hand corner.

Note, If you choose to write to the hard drive (instead of the DVD), it appears that it insists on writing to your temp directory in an area usually hidden to most users. Specifically /Documents and Settings/{your account name}/Local Settings/Temp/VIDEO_TS. If you aren’t comfortable with working with Windows hidden folders, this can be a major problem!

So after clicking “Write” I waited, two hours and 45 minutes later it was finished. On the surface there appeared to be a five to ten minute difference. Close enough to say that they both took about the same amount of time on my computer.

So why the big difference in time between my machine and my buddies? I would have to say CPU power. We both have similar Operating Systems, same amount of computer memory (1GB), both machines aren’t dedicated to doing just this. The only thing that jumps out at me is the speed of the CPU. My machine is a little older than his and my older CPU is starting to show it’s age (1.3 GHZ) his machine is running about double that, which apparantly seems to cut his processing speed in half.

The Bottom Line

  1. If you are planning to do a lot of AVI conversions, I would recommend making sure that you have a very fast computer and obviously faster is better.
  2. If you are looking for a single solution to all your multimedia manipulation needs, Nero looks like it has what it takes but if you already have and like most of your tools be very, very careful installing it.
  3. Unless you really want or need it avoid installing Nero Scout if you can.
  4. If you are looking for a specific tool that will give you excellent quality rendering of AVI to disk without any extra cost DIKO is still a great tool for that.

So we’ll call this little challenge a draw. I’ll stick with DIKO. For starters it’s free and I don’t need to purchase a package like Nero 7 because I already have all the tools (which I prefer) to do everything thing else that it offers.


So now I had to uninstall Nero and find my original burner disks that came with my drive. But first I thought that maybe I’ll try out that new freeware burner software that everyone seems to be raving about – DeepBurner.

Well after getting Deep Burner installed it took a hefty 22 minutes to burn a DVD that my OEM Nero only took 4 minutes to burn. Looks like I’ll better look for my original installation disc after all. Now where did I put that disc….

Till next time!

End Article

Please Add Your Comment. PLEASE NOTE: Your comments WILL be held until authorized by the webmaster.