Cyberlink DVD Suite 7 Ultra review
CyberLink has done a good job managing the wide scope of DVD Suite 7 Ultra.
The PowerStarter launch interface uses clean, clear icons and useful menus to provide streamlined access to the host of applications. All of these are presented in an identical classy, dark chrome. This means that, unlike competing suites such as Roxio Creator 2009 and Nero 9, DVD Suite 7 feels like a cohesive whole, rather than an assortment of unconnected parts.
Tasks are grouped under five main headings: Music, Data, Movie Player, Video & Photo, and Copy & Backup. Choosing any of the tasks in the first two sections activates Power2Go 6 - a CD, DVD and Blu-ray burning application. This is particularly easy to use, and has everything you need to compile and burn files quickly and efficiently.
Take me to the movies
The Movie Player option launches PowerDVD 8. This can play both DVD and Blu-ray discs, with surround sound support including Dolby TrueHD. It also supports playback of AVCHD content burnt to DVD media. The Movie Remix function lets you create edits of your favourite films and add special effects. You can then upload the instructions for your reworked masterpiece to CyberLink's Movie Live website. From there it can be downloaded and viewed by anyone with both PowerDVD 8 and a copy of the original DVD.
Video & Photo tasks are handed over to PowerDirector 7, PowerProducer 5 and MediaShow 4. PowerDirector is a movie-editing suite that lets you combine your footage with photos and music. It's standard fare, but does come with a useful selection of transitions, video and photo effects. You can add titles, captions, voice-overs and music to enhance your efforts. It's possible to craft all these elements together manually, though some handy wizards are available if you need something done in a rush.
Once you have finished, you can quickly create and burn a DVD with menus and titles. There are only a few DVD menu templates included in the software, but plenty more are available to download online, and you can create your own from scratch using the basic but effective Menu Designer. Alternatively, you can output directly to YouTube, or to your iPod, iPhone or PSP. PowerProducer is on hand if you have more complex format requirements. It renders your finished creations and burns them to CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc. There's also support for a comprehensive clutch of video formats including H.264 and AVCHD.
You can use MediaShow to manage your photos and videos. It does a better job than most other media managers, and includes basic but effective photo and video touch-up tools. Rather than simply manage and display your photo and video files, MediaShow acts as a convenient bridge between them and the appropriate tools in the suite. This means you can browse for the photos you want and then burn them to CD as a slideshow, or create a screensaver to use or share.
Also included is PowerDVDCopy - a basic but effective DVD copying tool for copyright-free disks. There's also PowerBackup, a file and application-setting backup tool. This can perform both incremental and differential backups on your files, including Outlook email boxes. However, for backing up and restoring full disk images you will still need a dedicated application.
Like other jack-of-all-trades video-editing and authoring suites, it consumes an enormous amount of system resources. Up to five mini applications are loaded as default on Windows startup. Be warned that without careful management, this suite can seriously impact on your overall system performance. At just under £70 including VAT, CyberLink DVD Suite 7 Ultra is not cheap - in fact it's a good £15 more expensive than its immediate competition, though it does come with full Blu-ray support in the box. It also feels considerably more polished than the Roxio and Nero equivalents, and is at least as technically accomplished. If you have deep pockets, and a powerful PC, then this is a great option for handling all your media production and burning requirements.