The lack of a decent, built-in DVD burning application in Mac OS X is something that occasionally triggers a temporary rage in us. There’s iDVD in the iLife suite, of course – but that’s a bit toy-town for everyday use, with its wizards and trite templates. The standard is the award-winning Roxio Toast, now up to version 10.

Toast really is excellent software, with advanced tools and features such as scene extraction and automatic music capture. There’s even Blu-ray support – at a time when Blu-ray enabled Macs are as rare as rocking horse droppings. But you can have too much of a good thing sometimes, which is why we’re highlighting Burn.

A tool built on open source code, Burn does the lot. It prepares and burns audio, data and video DVDs and CDs, with the last functionality being the most impressive. Chuck a Windows AVI at it and it coquetteishly asks if you’d like to convert it to an MPG. Of course you do. Burn gets on with the job with the tiniest amount of fuss, creating a compatible file, then burning it to DVD. It supports VCDs and SVCDs too – a format that hasn’t caught on terribly well over here, but was briefly beloved in Asia. Anyway, it enables you to add movie files to standard CDs, which can be played back in most DVD machines.

Burn’s interface is simple and utilitarian. There are no cartoon icons or Disneyfied directions. It’s just a serious tabbed dialog window with Data, Video, Audio and Copy as options.

OUR VERDICT

If you need an intuitive, small and robust tool to back up files, make CDs and transfer holiday films to DVD for family viewing, Burn is really all you need. And, with its open source origins, it’s entirely free.