Wall Street Journal/Walt Mossberg Rates Apple Higher Than Compaq For DVD-R

The most influential technology journalist in the world has given Apple a ringing endorsement for iDVD. Wall Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal reviewed the two computer models that currently offer DVD-R drives, the Apple PowerMac G4 733 and the Compaq Presario 7000. Both models come equipped with Pioneeris SuperDrive which offers CD-R/W, CD-ROM, DVD, and DVD-R capabilities. Apple introduced the model at MACWORLD SF 2001, along with iDVD, which is the software that makes it possible to assemble and burn your DVD-R. Steve Jobs has called the iDVD the greatest thing Apple has ever made.

In Mr. Mossbergis review, he calls the PowerMac G3 pricey when compared to Compaqis model, but he says that it is hands down the easiest way to make DVD-R disks. Some selections from the review:

DESPITE THEIR IDENTICAL DVD -recording hardware, however, these two computers are very different to buy and use. The big difference is in the software thatis included. This new DVD-recording software takes movies and photos youive already edited and placed on your PC, and assembles them onto a DVD, creating a menu screen or screens for navigating through the material.

A sharply lower price is Compaqis only advantage here. When it comes to the actual experience of creating a DVD, Apple wins hands down. Apple has created a beautiful and simple DVD recording program. Itis called iDVD and looks a lot like Appleis brilliant iMovie program for importing and editing videos.

Using the Apple, I produced disks filled with a mix of home videos, publicly available video downloads from the Internet and personal photos. In every case, the Apple rendered the videos perfectly, and they looked and sounded great on my TV.

IT WAS MUCH worse on the Compaq because of the DVD recording software involved, a techie-oriented program called DVDit! LE from Sonic Solutions. By contrast, Appleis software does the conversion to MPEG itself when you record the DVD.

But thatis not the only rude surprise with using the Compaq. The very first thing the software does is to ask you to make two techie decisions -- you have to choose between the NTSC or PAL TV systems, and between MPEG 1 and MPEG 2. Most users wouldnit have a clue.

In addition, the program requires two steps for many tasks. Not only that, but I thought the video quality of the Apple-created DVDs was better than the Compaq-created DVDs, with fewer artifacts and jagged edges.

For most users, itid be best to wait for DVD recording to get cheaper and more common. For early adopters who have to have it now, I prefer the Apple, but only if you have deep pockets. Otherwise, buy the Compaq and grit your teeth over the software.

We have not included all the juicy details, so definitely head over to the Wall Street Journal and check out the review. Itis a very good read.