As HTPC systems gain popularity, we begin seeing more and more complete multi-media solutions, such as Cyberlink's DVD Suite 6 Ultra. Cyberlink DVD Suite is a collection of software that takes care of all your multimedia content, whether it's reproduction, recording or editing.
Cyberlink DVD Suite v6 comes in three versions, depending on your needs. The top versions is the mentioned DVD Suite Ultra that brings Blu-ray and HD-DVD support – both reproducing and recording. The second in line is DVD Suite Pro that's basically DVD Suite Essential (the third option) with added Power Director and some additional options within PowerDVD and PowerProducer. Pro version is for somewhat more advanced users that need greater freedom with DVD media, while Essential version is aimed at simple reproduction and some basic editing options.
Cyberlink DVD Suite v6 Ultra is comprised of ten programs that let you manipulate multi-media content. PowerDVD is the first and basic DVD Suite program that reproduces movies and other video content. Then there's PowerDirector that's used for "automatic“ video editing and PowerProducer used for authoring the video to the medium. Power2Go is a program that's used for simple burning of all kinds of multi-media content, data, ripping MP3's, etc. PowerBackup is a tool for archiving and backing up data, while PowerDVD Copy is for copying and recording unauthorized DVD's. InstantBurn is used for turning your optical drive into floppy by simple and hassle-free burning. Handling images, creating slideshows and such is a task for MediaShow, while LabelPrint is used for label designing.
In order to make controlling these programs easier, they're sorted into groups in a utility called PowerStarter, which acts like a central console that takes you where you need to go.
We already mentioned that this part of Cyberlink's DVD Suite is a simple interface software that sorts programs in clearly defined categories and its intuitive interface is quite easy to use. Certain common tasks are sorted in Favorites section and this part of DVD Suite is also in charge of upgrading and installation of add-ons.
One of the most important parts of this task is used for video content reproduction. Depending on the version, this program can reproduce Blu-ray and HD-DVD content. The interface is incredibly simple and intuitive, so inexperienced users that might encounter such a program for the first time shouldn't have trouble with it. DVD Suite Ultra version's Power DVD program supports HD DVD, Blu-ray, Dolby Digital Plus, True HD and DTS formats. PowerDVD from Pro and Essential versions received a CES Innovations 2007 Design & Engineering award, and that clearly shows what it's capable of.
During our testing, we encountered no trouble in movie reproduction, and the simple sleek interface only added to our pleasant experience. PowerDVD is a simple, intuitive and well-designed program that's a top notch product when movie reproduction is in question.
PowerDirector is a program for capturing, editing and burning video content. In this case, 6.5HE version comes with HD content support. Among the tools you'll find a tool for stabilizing "shaky" videos, sharpening the picture with the "Magic Fix“ option, editing with Magic Style option, combining effects, transitions and titles. PowerDirector can save your work in 720i/1080i HD formats, including MPEG-2 and WMV.
Just like the rest of this DVD Suite software, PowerDirector is simple and intuitive, so inexperienced users should find the task of editing the content from their cameras and burning it to a DVD afterward quite simple and straightforward.
PowerProducer 4.2 BD/HD
PowerProducer is a program used for creating, or as it's now called, authorizing DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray content. With this software, you can create a DVD, HD DVD or Blu-ray medium with a personalized menu, music and titles that any home player can reproduce.
MediaShow is another key part of DVD Suite, and it's used for editing pictures and creating slideshows, Powerpoint slides and music. It comes with options for setting up titles, effects and different slideshow transitions that can be burned to a DVD or a VCD afterwards. Slideshows can also be saved as executable files that can be run on any other PC.
Power2Go is a tool for burning data, DVDs and CDs, whereas in Ultra version you can also burn HD DVDs and Blu-ray discs. It also features options like protecting data by using a password, simple drag-and-drop on a desktop-integrated icon for simple burning, searching by name, converting to MP3 format as well as burning audio mediums.
During our testing period we didn't encounter any problems while burning. Power2Go packs a simple interface, and it makes burning and copying a piece of cake.
As far as ripping music goes, it supports only nine options, four MP3 bit-rate and four WMA settings and WAV setting. That might prove to be a problem for some users, but more on that in our conclusion.
PowerBackup, as the name itself suggests, is a tool for archiving and backing up data. You can create filters that will include/exclude certain files, schedule your backups and protect them with a password.
InstantBurn is a tool that turns your optical drive into a floppy by simple and fast burning. You can erase, copy, rename and add files to DVDs.
LabelPrint is a tool for hassle-free creation of DVD labels, and it's an integral part of a multimedia suite. You can insert MP3 song names in order to create your favorite MP3 or DVD label. LabelPrint supports LightScribe and LabelFlash medium printing.
PowerDVD Copy is used for copying unauthorized DVDs and shrinking video to fit on 8.5GB or 4.7GB DVD mediums. It's simple and intuitive, much like the rest of DVD Suite collection.
We already mentioned that HTPC systems are gaining in popularity, and thus there's a need for complete multi-media solutions such as Cyberlink DVD Suite 6 Ultra. Cyberlink PowerDVD is also the only solution that supports Blu-ray and HD DVD mediums. Still, there are alternatives such as Nero and some lesser known ones.
While we're mentioning alternatives, Nero is probably better for burning, but it still falls short in other areas, and there are probably other programs that are better for video editing (and quite often much more expensive) but DVD Suite is a complete solutions that separates Cyberlink from the pack. The same thing goes for MP3 ripping where Cyberlink Power2Go features less bit-rate options, but regular users will find them to be more than sufficient.
Simple and intuitive are the best words to describe Cyberlink DVD Suite 6 Ultra, but if you're not one of those that need Blu-ray or the declining HD DVD format, Cyberlink offers Pro and Essential versions priced at $89.95 and $49.95 respectively. However, if you're one of Blu-ray enthusiasts ,then you'll have to splash out $129.95, and although this price might be too steep for some users, the complete appeal of Cyberlink DVD Suite 6 makes it worth that money.
We recommend Cyberlink DVD Suite 6 Ultra to all HTPC users, as well as those who need a collection of programs that will offer them easy multi-media content control, intuitive design and solid performance.