Apple has announced DVD Studio Pro 2, a more feature-rich version of its DVD-authoring title.

Apple claims that DVD Studio Pro 2 is "a totally new product that's been built from the ground up", rather than being an upgrade from DVD Studio Pro. It describes its interface as "breakthrough".

DVD Studio Pro 2's new features include context-sensitive drop palettes to create links to new tracks, and the ability to build slideshows and chapter indexes more quickly. It also offers a built-in compositing engine so text can be edited in the menu editor, and changes applied there to font styles and colours.

Version 2 can now add and manage chapter markers, and offers eight video angles and eight audio tracks, as well as 32 subtitle tracks, all from within the timeline. The product ships with a new batch-transcoding tool called Compressor. This lets users batch and export directly to multiple formats, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and QuickTime.

Apple said: "The MPEG-2 software encoder delivers pristine-quality video rivaling the speed of hardware and software encoders costing thousands of dollars as stand-alone products."

Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller said: "Apple has taken the industry’s leading professional DVD-authoring tool and rewritten it from scratch for OS X and Cocoa, turning it into a completely new product with a breakthrough user-interface."

UK pricing has not yet been announced. DVD Studio Pro 2 ships in August, and costs $499. Apple has also lowered the price of DVD Studio Pro 1.5 to $499. From today, customers buying 1.5 can upgrade to version 2 for $29.95.