I have been a fan of CyberLink's PowerDVD since version 3. PowerDVD 7 is the latest edition of Cyberlinks DVD playback software that incorporates all the previous features of PowerDVD with a new slick-looking interface and enhanced options for video and audio configurations. Cyberlink is one of the leading companies in digital media software and they didnt slack on PowerDVD 7.
PowerDVD 7 is easy enough for a novice to use. It works basically just like a home DVD player, you simply put in the DVD and the program will automatically start. The basic controls are the same as any standard DVD player with play, pause, and stop buttons as well as frame advancing and speed control for fast forward and reverse.
The interface has been slightly redesigned from the previous version, but the controls are basically the same. One really nice advancement is the support for high definition video. PowerDVD 7 supports H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) video playback for high definition video.
PowerDVD 7 is designed so that laptop users can enjoy DVD video on the go. It has a built in battery meter that will show when your battery is low and can gently increase the playback speed to fit the movie in the time allotted by the battery without seeming to play fast. The speed increase is gradual and not noticeable but can be just enough to finish a movie on a low battery.
You can set the power saving settings in the configuration menu to Maximum battery life and PowerDVD will change the power scheme to accommodate. You can also set the player to stop if the battery falls below a certain percentage of power, so your laptop can shut down properly or hibernate to keep from losing data.
Superior sound quality
PowerDVD 7 Deluxe supports the latest audio technologies from both DTS and Dolby. The sound quality of DVD audio has never been better for computer playback. I enjoy listening to my DVD movies in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround through my Creative 7.1 surround speaker system. When playing 5.1 surround through the 7.1 speaker system the side speakers do not have any signal, but the 5.1 quality surround is still there in the rear and center channels. PowerDVD 7 also makes your laptop sound better with enhanced audio for headphones and laptop speakers simulating a surround environment.
Audio format support
Most of these are only available with the Deluxe version and/or the Advanced audio pack. I installed the advanced audio pack to enhance the audio performance for my surround system.
* DVD Video: DTS and Dolby Digital
* 6.1-Channel: DTS-ES and Dolby Digital EX
* 5.1-Channel: DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1
* 2->8-Channel: DTS Neo:6 and Dolby Pro Logic IIx
* High Definition Audio: DTS 96/24
Only Dolby Digital is available with the standard version without the advanced audio pack. The Deluxe version gives you Dolby Pro Logic IIx.
Video format support:
* MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) Deluxe version only
* MPEG-2 HD High definition video
* WMV-HD High definition video
* DVD VR
* DivX Pro (Deluxe version only)
The DVD player controls are docked to the viewing window but are detachable from the viewing window and can by moved anywhere on screen. You can also shrink the controls down to a small wheel to save space on the desktop and still have all the essential controls available. When the control panel is detached it is now translucent so you can see open files behind it on your desktop. You can also download the Onyx skin for free which is a really nice black skin for the player that is also translucent.
With a click you can open the number pad control interface on the right side of the player and the A/V options pad on the left giving you a full mode DVD player just like a stand alone DVD player. Double clicking on the viewing screen will automatically blow the viewing screen up to full screen mode. Double clicking on it again will return it to window mode.
By right clicking on the control panel, you can cycle through the 5 colors for the control panel (red on silver, green on silver, blue on silver, yellow on silver, and black on silver). To change skins you must open the configuration menu and choose a different skin, you cant cycle through the skins.
Advanced configuration menu
In the configuration menu you can adjust settings for audio, video, the user interface, the player and mobile power. You can enable hardware acceleration if your graphics card supports it. You can set a color profile, manually adjust the CLEV-2 Eagle Vision video enhancement with a slider from minimum to maximum, or use CLEV-2 Eagle Vision to automatically adjust the video.
You can use a feature called Read it clearly when playing in full screen mode. What this does is move the subtitles from the viewing screen to the dark area below the movie so you can easily read the subtitles without the video playing behind them. This is great for foreign films where you have to have the subtitles on throughout the entire movie.
In the audio configuration you can select the speaker environment which supports 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 speaker environments as well as headphones and SPDIF. You can also select the output mode such as Dolby Pro Logic IIx or CLMEI-2. To take advantage of the audio functionality of PowerDVD 7, you need to download the advanced audio pack which is an additional purchase of $19.99.
Sometimes you want to capture an image from a DVD movie or video file. This is real simple with PowerDVD 7. All you have to do is hit C on the keyboard during playback and you can capture a single frame to a JPG image file. You can choose a location on your computer to save captured images or set PowerDVD 7 to capture images to the clipboard, which can then be pasted in to a photo editor like Adobe Photoshop or Windows Paint for editing and saving. Remember that images captured from DVD movies are probably copyrighted material, so you should be careful how you use them.
PowerDVD 7 is compliant with the latest protection standards for premium content. PowerDVD 7 can play protected content that other software DVD players may not. Some new protection features for DVD content include copy once and copy never rules. Without a compliant DVD player you can not view these protected titles.
Special DVD controls
PowerDVD 7 includes some innovative functionality for DVD enthusiasts. One such function is the Play it again feature, which will loop a selected scene so you can see that explosion over again. To resume regular playback just click the play button. You can also set an A-B loop manually.
You can enlarge the display of a selected area of the viewing window up to a 9X digital zoom. This is nice for reading signs in the background that flash by or catching a glimpse of a stunt double accidentally stepping into the scene in the background.
Dual captions/subtitle displays allows you to simultaneously display subtitles in two different languages. The select DVD menu allows you to navigate a DVD by the disc structure, and Video Bookmarks give you quick access to your favorite scenes in a movie without using the Scene Selection feature of a DVD.
* Windows MCE, XP, 2000, ME
* Screen resolution of 1024x768 or 1280x1024
* Screen Ratio: 4:3 (standard) or 16:9 (widescreen)
* Processor: Pentium III 866MHz, Athlon 1GHz or above minimum
Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, Pentium M 1.1GHz, Athlon 2.08GHz or above recommended
* Memory: 256MB minimum
* Hard drive: 90MB Free disk space
* Graphics card: AGP or PCI-Express accelerator with DirectDraw overlay support
* Sound Card: 16-bit PCI sound card or on-board 16-bit audio
* Optical Drive: DVD-ROM, Combo drive, DVD-R/RW, DVD R/RW or DVD-RAM drive with 1394, ATAPI, SCSI, USB 2.0 or Card Bus interface
PowerDVD 7 will optimize the performance by choosing the appropriate video deinterlacing algorithm according to the available processing power. PowerDVD 7 will work with processors below 733MHz by turning off CLEV-2 technology by default. In order to take advantage of the advanced audio and video technologies, you should use a processor over 2GHz.
Installation takes less than 5 minutes and is as easy as putting the CD in your drive. The program launches automatically and asks where you want it installed and what program group to install it to. All you really have to do is click ok or next a couple times and youre done.
PowerDVD 7 will automatically uninstall any previous version of PowerDVD before installing the new version. After the installation is finished, you will have to restart your computer before using the program to avoid any errors that may arise from files used during installation and changes in windows driver base and registry.
After you restart the computer and launch the program, you will need to activate it online by connecting to the internet and typing in the registration code. This process takes about 10 seconds and is a one time endeavor unless you upgrade the software with an enhancement pack. If you purchase any upgrades, like the advanced audio pack, you will have to reactivate using the provided code for that package after you install it.
PowerDVD 7 makes it easy to upgrade. By simply clicking a button, you can go directly to the purchase site online to buy enhancement upgrades for PowerDVD 7. Once purchased, you need only enter the new registration code given and your new features are ready to go.
I have watched several movies with PowerDVD 7 Deluxe, and just like its predecessors, I really like the program. It is the best DVD playback software I have used so far and I have used several. I downloaded the Onyx skin for free and it really looks slick.
I installed the advanced audio pack and I love the DTS high definition audio. I also like the Dolby Headphone audio, which is surround simulation for headphones. It really helps to broaden the sound when listening to a movie on your laptop with headphones.
Since installing the PowerDVD 7 software on my new laptop and on my Desktop PC, I had used WinDVD on my old laptop once and there is no comparison. The PowerDVD 7 program just has more options, more enhancements and more features for playing DVDs, especially with the advanced audio pack. This will be my DVD player for my computer until Cyberlink creates a new version.
Thanks for reading,
Read all 2 Reviews
Write a Review