For the past 9 months, I've been working on a product for making DVDs. In Vista, this product (feature? applet? wizard? well, pick one...) will allow you to create a nice DVD containing your pictures and video - a DVD that you can watch at home, send to your parents, or enter in a film contest. Assuming, of course, that you have a computer with a DVD burner on it, and your DVD player supports the format you burn (I may get into that a bit in later posts).

Given where we are with current builds, I'm pretty confident that we will ship with Vista, though it's not clear yet what SKUs we will live in. And, since we haven't shipped yet, any specific details should be taken with a grain of salt (or appropriate low-sodium substitute).

In this first post, I'm going to talk a little bit about what our goals are, which I hope will give you some insight into why things work the way they do.

Some of you may be familiar with existing programs for creating DVDs. The full-featured ones are known as DVD authoring programs, and they give their users a lot of control over all the details of the DVD. That control is great if you want it, but it does add a lot of complexity to the process.

For DVD Maker (and, to be fair, other existing products out there also have the same goal), our goal is to allow users to "Create" DVDs rather than "Author" them. In other words, we expect that a user can select some content, start DVD Maker, and get a nice DVD without having to do a lot of work.

To make that a "nice" DVD, we'll provide a number of styles that you can select from as a starting point, and a limited amount of tweakability.

Or, to put it another way, DVD Maker is not an authoring program.

Oh, and I should also talk a bit about speed. Video consumes a lot of computing resources (disk, processor, I/O), so there are some operations that are just going to take a bit of time, and creating the final DVD can take a long time (ie hours), even if you have a fast system. There will be some optimizations to make things faster, but don't expect miracles.

So, that's about all for the first post.