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A DVD — the name either comes from Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disk — is a digital, high-density, optical storage disc. It can be sold with preloaded material, such as commercial movies, used as a back-up for computer files of a wide variety of types, or used to make a recording of original images, sounds, movies or data, as the user wishes, given the proper equipment. A DVD has a diameter of 4.75 in (120 mm) and can hold up to 4.6 GB (gigabytes) of material, while a CD-ROM, which is the same size, can only hold 700 MB (megabytes). DVD editor is the non-technical name for what professionals would call a DVD authoring program.
The name DVD editor does not do this type of software justice, because it suggests a more limited range of functions than DVD authoring software actually is capable of performing, Because of the author–editor relationship in publishing, in which an author creates the bulk of material and the editor only polishes it, the name DVD editor brings the same suggestion to this software. That is, the term DVD editor suggests that the user can only make editing-type alterations to pre-existing material, such as fine-tuning and corrections, excluding the idea of putting together video clips, sound, stills, and transition effects to create an original work.
DVD authoring software may have very specific system requirements. For example, it may require a multi-core processor, 64-bit support, particular graphics cards for GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) acceleration, and a minimum of 2 GB of RAM (Random Access Memory). Key features are the types of input formats imported and the kinds of output formats that can me exported. Of particular concern might be widescreen 16:9 capability, and Blu-ray®, which are not as universally supported as some other choices. A built-in burner is fairly standard, but a built-in DVD player is less so.
Features that some DVD authoring software programs have and others do not include storyboard editing, voiceover capability, cut/split, and drag-and-drop placement. Transitions and pan/zoom capability is also not standard. Direct capture may or may not be possible, but the ability to create titles, chapter, and scenes is found in virtually every program. Part of the reason for the wide range of feature offerings is that the software ranges from freeware to professional level applications.