Cyberlink Power DVD 8.0 Ultra
- Price: PowerDVD 8 Ultra: £49.95 ($79.95);
Premium: £39.99 ($69.95); Standard: £29.99
- Supplier: Cyberlink
Windows XP/Vista; Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8Ghz or
higher (AMD 2GHz or higher) 256 MB Video RAM
(DirectX 9.0); Blu-ray DVD player and HDCP compliant
screen for Blu-ray disc playback.
With Windows Vista now having the capability to
playback DVDs directly via Windows Media Center and
Windows Media Player, it makes one wonder whether it
is actually worth spending additional money on third
party software such as Cyberlink Power DVD 8 Ultra;
particularly when you also consider that the next
incarnation of Windows, Windows 7, will also have
built in support for playing Blu-ray movies.
As more and more features are added to the
Windows operating system, giving it a more truely
multimedia feel, it begs the question of how long
will it be before applications such as Intervideo’s
Win DVD and Cyberlink’s Power DVD become totally
Power DVD 8 comes in three versions: Standard
which is the entry level product; Deluxe and finally
Ultra. It is only the Ultra version that supports
Blu-Ray, AVCHD and SMPTE VC-1.
Crisper and Cleaner
Power DVD 8 Ultra has a clean and crisp web
browser style interface to complement its high
definition disc playback, and as well as supporting
Blu-ray BD-ROM and BD RE discs, comes complete with
Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD and DTS-HD audio
Fig 1: Power DVD's main interface
If you are a real movie buff you are going to
want information on the film you are watching. This
is provided by PowerDVD 8’s internet based
MoovieLive feature. MoovieLive is user interactive
and enables users to add reviews and general movie
experiences to a database which can be accessed by
all subscriber’s to the MoovieLive site.
Fig 2: Movie Infromation
Unfortunately this information isn’t always as
good as one would expect it to be and, currently,
the information on newer movies is somewhat sparse.
Perhaps a better option would have been to have
linked directly to an online movie database where
one could get in-depth details of the film, such as
cast and plot etc.
This is the part of the software where you can
really let your hair down and have some fun with
movies by creating your own ‘alternative’ version.
Fig 3: Having fun with Remix
By adding animated graphics, audio clips,
voice-overs and subtitle text overlays you can
completely change selected scenes within the movie
you are watching. Because the remix is simply and
overlay your original movie is not actually touched.
You do, however, have to have the original movie
disk in the PCs DVD drive whenever you want to use
your created remix overlays. You can also upload and
share your creations on MoovieLive and even, if you
wish, download scenes created by others.
PowerDVD 8 Ultra is easy to use and a must have
application for any movie buff who wants something
better than the standard movie player such as
Windows Media Player. PowerDVD 8 Ultra does,
however, come at a premium price and, sadly, has no
native support for HD DVD. We were suitably
impressed by PowerDVD 8 Ultra. Our only
disappointment, however, being with the notification
that a 104 MB upgrade was available immediately
after we installed and launched the application.
While install of PowerDVD 8 Ultra went smoothly it
was a bit over the top to expect to have to,
basically, download and reinstall the application
again in the form of an upgrade package.
- Ease of Use: 8.0
- Features: 8.0
- Value for Money: 7.0
- Overall: 8.0