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Have a look at TMPGEnc XPress. Only $100, does great mpeg-2 encodes and there is a 14 day trial (with some limitations).
On a side note, it reportedly performs superior HD to SD scaling.
As for the stuttering and skipping issues you mentioned, watch your data-rate, use quality media and keep your burn-rate at half (or slower) the disc's rating. VBR encoding is also recommended for longer programs.
Easy Worship sounds like computer software, so I don't think burning issues are Kevin's problem.
It's very surprising that any playback software would stagger on a transition, because once the video is transcoded, it's just a stream to the player. There's no way for it to know it's a transition.
Yes. I use VBR, 2 Pass, 7,5.5,1 for output and burn masters at 4 or 8x. As far as media, I am lost. I have tried so many I don't recall what is better. My last 100 I bought were Sony. On the stagger - Possibly it is only the most noticable during a transition, like it is cutting every 6th frame or so. Like I said, movement like camera pans are very noticable. Note that I am speaking of how one particular program sees it. On my TV, I don't see the stagger, but a less than quality transition, but most would not notice it. I do. I resolve it by transitioning very quickly, or very long...no in between. If you look at a commercial DVD, transitions are pristine at any length. I will check out TMPGENC. I used it years ago when it was free. Thanks.
Sony's aren't the best media. Try using only Taiyo Yuden or Verbatim.
I will go Verbatim. I have used it before. Thanks!