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Cyberlink PowerDVD 11 Ultra review

Chris Finnamore
10 May 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
80
inc VAT

Expensive, but works well and has some useful bells and whistles

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Microsoft finally got around to including DVD playback in Windows with Vista, but if you want to play back Blu-ray discs you still need some third-party software, which is where PowerDVD 11 Ultra comes in.

The last version, PowerDVD 10, added Blu-ray 3D support. Version 11 can still play any disc you throw at it, but can now link into online media repositories such as Flickr and YouTube, as well as Facebook. There are also apps available for iPhone and Android, which are free with the Ultra version of the software.

Cyberlink

The main Movie tab controls Blu-ray disc playback, and the main window is filled with information about the latest film releases, along with ratings and summaries. The software works as expected when playing back Blu-ray discs, and it also integrates with Windows Media Center for Blu-ray playback. PowerDVD has a couple of features to enhance playback of standard DVDs. The TruTheater HD function sharpens up footage, while TruTheater Lighting increases contrast. There's also a TruTheater Motion function, which interpolates frames to make footage smoother.

DVD video's relatively low resolution can make it seem indistinct on a high-resolution PC display, and TruTheater HD worked well making standard-resolution footage look more detailed. Whether you like the Lighting and Motion features is really a matter of taste - those used to 24 frames-per-second cinema may find the smoother video provided by TrueTheater Motion just looks wrong.

The Video, Photo and Music tabs mean you can access all your PC's media from one location, although it's no substitute for a dedicated photo viewer or music player - you have to browse through your photo or music collection by folder, and you can't sort your entire photo collection by date or all your music by artist or album at once. There are some neat extras, though - you can sign in to Facebook or Flickr to view your online photos, which is much easier than looking through them in the web interface, and there's a well-designed YouTube video viewer.

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