PowerDVD has been catering for this demographic for quite some time now, reaching version 9 recently with improved Blu-ray and HD media support and 7. TrueTheater is the biggest new addition and includes a range of enhancements to improve image quality and give you more control over playback. This, along with lighting, sharpness, colour and motion controls can seriously enhance both the quality of an image and its playback performance and a handy split-screen view is available to give you a preview of what to expect. In addition to TrueTheater, a new "FancyView" navigation screen offers a visual layout for browsing a disc collection and a cinema mode rivals the classic interface by offering a stripped down version for easy access on large TVs, which is notably built to integrate with Windows Media Center. There are plenty of features here for building and maintaining a library and the MoovieLive online service allows users to share their collection and experiences with others online. You can even use the Movie Remix room to add captions, objects and music to your favourite scenes in movies and share these as well, though the flexibility here is rather limited and we can see people getting bored of it pretty quickly. TrueTheater effects can only be used with optical discs and the cinema mode is incapable of browsing a folder full of files. This is by far the biggest drawback of PowerDVD and since it is in direct competition with Windows Media Player when deciding whether to shell out, we think its audience is far more limited than it should have been. Verdict There are a range of genuinely useful and effective new features in the new version of PowerDVD, most of which are built around the TrueTheater engine. Those with large collections and a lot of patience should find enough to justify the outlay but generally we think CyberLink is a few steps behind the current market by not better integrating its new features together across all formats.
Its interface is intuitive and easy to use, as well as visually appealing. You can easily switch between watching videos, listening to music and viewing photos through the interface.
The software's TrueTheater technology helps ensure an enjoyable movie-watching experience, as it optimizes the picture and reduces buffering. With the software's Dolby and DTS support, you can enjoy high-definition picture and sound. You can watch 4K videos with enhanced playback, eliminating lag for a smooth experience. The software lets you easily browse your own collection as well as popular TV shows and movies. It gives you lossless bit-perfect audio, even when you use headphones or an HDMI cable, and lets you connect it easily to your home theater setup.
You can search music, images and video through different categories, such as brand-new or upcoming. The software is compatible with Windows and can play any physical or digital video or audio format. You have full control over a wide variety of options for the player, such as video and audio settings and playback functions. The software makes it easy to enjoy smooth high-definition playback. It has Windows 8 touchscreen integration with large buttons for ease of use.
You can pin YouTube videos to save them to the software and watch them at any time, even offline. The auto-resume playback function remembers where you stop watching a video and plays from that point when you choose to watch it again.
You can customize the skin to make the player really yours. It loads digital files quickly and takes just 17 seconds to load and start playing a physical disc. You can stream your personal videos that you've stored in the cloud that comes with your purchase of the software, or YouTube videos you've pinned. The player ensures high-quality enhanced playback so you can enjoy a crisp picture. You can connect to the player with your smartphone and use it as a virtual remote control, so you can stay comfortable while navigating and controlling the player.
Even at a normal speed, you can still enjoy a high frame rate of playback. Editor's note: Power DVD 18 Ultra is now available. Clicking the Buy button will take you to this version for purchase. Whether you just want to watch a movie hassle-free on your laptop or have a massive movie marathon with your best friends in your home theater, you can depend on PowerDVD 15 Ultra to give you a powerful and high-quality movie-watching experience. The DVD player software is compatible with a large selection of video and audio formats, and it can also help you manage and share photos.
Many people nowadays own a large video and audio collection, but this is often problematic because it is spread across many formats, making it more than a little difficult to have a movie night. As we tested the digital video player, we thought it had outstanding performance.
Because it has a variety of carefully engineered smart buffering algorithms, you never have to wait long for the video to start or deal with lag, ghosting, buffering or any other annoying playback issues. We also like that it doesn't require tremendous CPU usage while running in full screen. It averaged about 19 percent with no other programs running when we tested it.
The picture looked terrific during our testing, especially using the software's TrueTheater Color enhancement technology, which intensifies colors when needed and sharpens the picture, even for Ultra HD 4K video. The audio also sounded outstanding, even when we used headphones, as the TrueTheater Sound optimizes bass, reverb, and volume and vocal range amplification for the best possible movie-watching or music-listening experience.
It has lossless audio playback and supports Dolby and DTS audio to further enhance the sound. You have full control over your playback experience, as PowerDVD 15 Ultra lets you tweak a variety of audio and video settings. You can adjust the brightness, hue and saturation of the picture for any video to make it look just right. If there is a part of the movie with a lot of important details, you can screenshot it via the software, zoom in digitally on it, or loop it with the AB repeat function to watch it over and over.
The smart stretching feature allows you to stretch the picture to fit your screen or just to change the aspect ratio, though if you do so, the picture may not always fit your screen correctly. You can easily toggle subtitles or closed captions as needed, which is great for foreign films or scenes with muddy dialogue.
The player also allows you to change world regions multiple times so you can enjoy movies purchased from around the world. In case you want a different movie-viewing experience, the software has the ability to upscale standard-definition flicks to HD, or 2D movies to 3D. However, you need to have a 3D-compatible screen and 3D glasses in order to view a 3D video created within the application.
You can personalize the player by customizing its skin, and you can even download wallpapers for it on MoovieLive. The player also remembers where you leave off in a video and resumes playback from that point whenever you continue. For added fun, you can connect to various social media sites to share what you're currently watching or listening to with friends and followers, as well as your opinion on it. The power manager conserves your laptop's battery while you watch without negatively affecting the playback.
If you have questions or are just curious about the software, you can check out CyberLink's user forum on its website, which lets you interact with other PowerDVD users. You can check out its knowledgebase and FAQs section for additional help. If you prefer to talk to CyberLink's technical support team directly, you can do so by filling out a simple user form in the customer support section of its website.
The representatives are quick to respond, so you don't have to wait long to get the answers you need. More on DVD.