Apps of Interest: Cyberlink PowerDVD 11

Use: Media Player/Blu Ray & DVD player software for Windows PCs
Platform: Microsoft Windows
Current version: 11.0.1719
Website:  http://www.cyberlink.com/products/powerdvd/overview_en_US.html?fileName=overview&r=1

PowerDVD 11 main view

It’s been a long time since I used this application. I believe it was PowerDVD. A lot has certainly changed since that release. Tabs are used to separate playback functions (Movie Disc, local video file, audio file, and even photos.) After testing various  formats, it was able to play every single one. One really nice feature is the ability to playback music while also viewing photos/images at the same time, without interruption. Switching from Music to video or movie tabs will automatically stop playback as well. Two features that are still present are the bookmark and screen capture features.

For the Home theater enthusiasts, the player supports DTS Master Audio and Dolby True HD ( of course, you willl need an audio card that supports this.) I’ve been listening to Dolby Headphone and I found it to be a pleasing sound experience when watching  Hollywood films and the like. Video enhancement technologies are also available (Tru Theater.) It can affect brightness , sharpness and motion. Unfortunately, You will not be able to use Graphics hardware acceleration (DXVA w/nVidia Pure Video) at the same time when True Theater technology is enabled.

The software seems to lean more towards the nVidia graphics (with Pure Video, Cuda, and 3D vision support as shown in the  image above.) I’m not really a user of fan of 3D vision or Blu-ray 3D so I can’t really comment on how well it works.

One nice new (to me at least) feature for those with iPhones and Android phones is the ability to use your devices as a “remote control” for PowerDVD. The application can alos link with your youtube account (for viewing favorites and playlists) and Facebook and/or Flickr for your photos.

What I don’t like about the software is the fact that application volume slider synchronizes with the Windows Main volume slider. If you raise the volume in Power DVD, all the other running apps get a volume boost as well.  Not a feature I like when I’m surfing a flash video site like GameTrailers or Youtube. I had hoped that it would only control it’s individual volume slider in the newer OSes (Vista and 7). I found memory usage to be around 200-300 MB of RAM for a local video file and the Installation folder takes up 230 MBs of Hard Drive space.

If you have (or plan to install) a Blu-ray drive on your computer, then I would reccomend you give this app a try.

Additional Info:
Video Screenshot source: Video Game Orchestra's performance
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Apps of Interest: CyberLink BD Advisor

Use: Determines if your system can play Blu-ray discs
Platform: MS Windows
Current Version: 2.0.2416
Website: http://www.cyberlink.com/stat/bd-support/enu/index.jsp

BD Advisor Main Window

Main Window

This app is quite straightforward. Hit the scan button wait for it to finish. You’ll be presented with a results screen with the key information (CPU, System memory, OS, Graphics card/Driver, Blu-Ray drive, Blu-ray playback software and Monitor signal info). This is useful if you ever wanted to know whether or not your system could play Blu-ray discs if you added a Blu-ray drive and BD playback software.

Additional Info:
Wikipedia Entry: Blu-ray
Blu-ray.com

-Tony