It's a real DVD, not one of those burn a DVD onto a CD thingys:
I use an outboard MPEG2 encoder called "ADS Instant DVD". It looks a little hokey, but it turns out the guts contain one of the best hardware-based MPEG encoders around, in the under $1k world.
This feeds into my PC, which is equipped with *basic* DVD-authoring software. (I can do a main menu with different Titles, but not chapter marks -- and my software doesn't let me do multiple audio tracks, etc.)
I then burn the movie to a DVD-R, which is surpisingly compatible with most set-top DVD players.
Other than those eluded to above...
DVD-R blanks can only be "single-layer". You know those discs you see that say "double-layer"... they have twice as much capacity on a side as do the DVD-R blanks. This ain't so bad, if all one wants on the disc is the movie, but it means I wouldn't bother with extras, as they would take up too much space (reducing the space for, and thus the image quality of, the movie).
Since I'm using real-time MPEG encoding, I miss the benefits of multiple pass VBR encoding (better quality in less space).
Bottom line: It ain't going to fool anyone into thinking it's a real commercial DVD. At the same time, it's way better than when I used to copy my LDs to VHS, and a little better than SVHS, imo, though one could argue about plusses and minuses (ie, more detailed image on the DVD-R but maybe a little digital artifacting on complicated scenes).
Yeah, it's all a little pricey still. Barely $200 for the encoder, and still about $400 for a DVD-R drive for a computer. (One could cut corners on the outboard encoder, getting a cheaper video-capture unit --c $50 -- that requires more processing inside the computer.) Blanks are getting cheaper (always findable for $5 or $6 these days).
What I find annoying is that it takes several steps & too much time unless one is really dedicated. It's not like making a VHS tape, or even a homemade audio CD. And it took more than a month of evenings fiddling with it in order to figure out what those steps are!
(If I had it to do over again, I might be tempted to get a stand along DVD burner, though it would add to the cost -- I think they're at $750 online, these days.)