Apple announced DVD Studio Pro 2 at the giant film and video NAB event in April. Now the company has set an on-sale date for the software, as August 18 in the US. The application has been re-designed to simplify professional DVD authoring, the company said, and offers a new user interface.

New features include Apple-designed fully customizable templates, new menu editor and MPEG-2 encoder. The application integrates with Final Cut Pro 4, and introduces a timeline-based track-editing feature that lets users work with a linear view of clips, audio and other assets. It is capable of arranging up to nine video angles, eight audio streams and 32 subtitle streams.

Apple's vice president of applications marketing Rob Schoeben said: "DVD Studio Pro 2 is the breakthrough DVD-authoring application that video professionals have been asking for. Regardless of whether your DVD project is simple or complex, no other professional DVD authoring tool offers the type of advanced capabilities and ease-of-use that DVD Studio Pro 2 does."

Buttons and backgrounds DVD Studio Pro 2 includes new Apple-designed templates in a variety of styles, with buttons and backgrounds that users can employ to build elegant DVDs in a few simple steps, Apple claims.

The menu editor integrates with graphics applications such as Adobe Photoshop. It offers context-sensitive drop palettes to let users make otherwise tedious connections in one step, dramatically reducing the work required to make a DVD.

The product offers an integrated MPEG-2 encoder, and ships with Apple's batch-encoding tool Compressor (which also ships with Final Cut Pro 4). It also offers A.Pack which encodes uncompressed audio into highly compressed Dolby Digital AC-3 streams, which can then be used in DVD Studio Pro 2 for full 5:1-channel surround sound or simply as a compressed stereo track.

Full information on UK shipping dates is unavailable at present. DVD Studio Pro 2 costs £399 (inclusive of VAT). International language versions (in German, French and Japanese) of the product are promised in September.