Apple’s DVD software aims for wider appeal

Cyberbiz Brief

HOLLYWOOD — Apple has announced that it will release version 2.0 of its high-end DVD-creation software DVD Studio Pro later this month at a dramatically lower price and with a dramatically simpler interface.

The new version debuts Aug. 18 and will cost $495, roughly half of version 1.5’s price.

The program is a major step up in sophistication from Apple’s free iDVD software, which comes bundled on its computers, but it is less powerful than the $15,000-$20,000 dedicated DVD authoring systems used by studios to create DVDs of their feature films.

DVD Studio Pro targets makers of indie films, developers of corporate training and marketing materials, videographers and similar mid-level users who want to convert video and film projects into professional-looking DVD packages.

Apple is also reaching out to a broader potential audience of serious hobbyists with the price cut and a much simpler interface that is designed to allow beginners easier entry into the program. The software still packs a punch, said Rob Schoeben, Apple’s VP of applications marketing, but the more sophisticated tools are buried a bit deeper in the program than in the past.

DVD Studio Pro also has gone to a timeline-based approach similar to Apple’s Final Cut Pro editing software. The program also has added a new encoder for converting video into the MPEG-2 format used on DVD. It can create discs with up to nine video angles, eight audio or foreign-language tracks and 32 subtitle streams.