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PowerDVD 12 Ultra Spreads The Media Wealth

2/28/2012 04:45:00 PM Eastern

NEW YORK — CyberLink recently introduced
PowerDVD 12 Ultra, which stretches the
bounds of the simple DVD playback tool it was
originally developed to be, into a full multimedia
suite that gathers music, photos and video files
stored on multiple devices for playback on one
central PC.

The software maker has also ventured into
the mobile electronics world by offering apps
that allow sharing all of this disparate content
on an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.

CyberLink makes its PowerDVD Mobile v.4
app for Ultra available free to Ultra purchasers to
stream content from the PC to handheld devices.

PowerDVD 12 Ultra has extensive new file
format support (about 50 in all), including MKV
video and even RAW photo files. For music, the
software now supports lossless audio formats
such as OGG and FLAC files.

An Instant Seek feature, which allows users
to quickly browse and find specific scenes
within a movie, now works on Blu-ray discs.

A new Zoom button allows viewers to quickly
zoom in up to 400 percent on any video. This
is assisted by showing a thumbnail view of the
screen indicating the area of the frame being
viewed in blow up.

Despite all the extras, probably the No. 1 use for many
looking to purchase this program is playing back Blu-ray
Discs on a PC or media center.

This version of the software includes
CyberLink’s Truetheatre video-processing
system, which is easy to use and offers an
automatic mode that sharpens the image
quality and reduces image compression
artifacts in streamed media or low-res
files, with little required of the user.

TrueTheatre also adds support for
DTS-HD 7.1 soundtracks and conversion
of 2D video material into 3D for playback
on suitable 3D monitors and PC systems.
Not having access to a 3D monitor for
this review, we’ll have to take their word
for it.

The menu interface is clean and also intuitively
easy to use and navigate. Its chief
function is to aggregate content from local
storage, attached devices, UPnP/DLNA servers, and
even online media-storage sites, such as Facebook, You-
Tube and Flickr.

This makes it easy to find a long forgotten song you
might suddenly have pop into your head, for example, no
matter where it may be stored in the home, providing it
was ripped or downloaded somewhere to the home viewer’s
network and properly organized for so it can be found
by the software.

The system also provides some clever shortcuts, such
as popping up a scroll bar after placing the
cursor over a folder of photos or videos
to quickly display thumbnails of contents
without the need to open it.

When it comes to mobile devices, the
PowerDVD 12 Ultra can find and stream
any non-DRM protected file to an Android
phone or tablet. A new Sync feature allows
setting the software to sync favorite
music, photos and videos with Android
mobile devices connected by USB.

PowerDVD automatically recognizes
the device, selects the right codec and
adjusts the playback for optimal resolution
on the connected screen.

PowerDVD 12 Ultra is now available for
a $100 suggested retail. Scaled-down
versions — PowerDVD 12 Pro ($80) and
PowerDVD 12 Standard ($50) — are also available. Current
PowerDVD users can also upgrade from previous
versions for prices starting at $45.

Another free app for PowerDVD 12 Ultra users is PowerDVD
Remote, which provides remote control operation
from a smartphone or tabet of Blu-ray Discs, DVDs and
high-definition videos as well as the music and photo playback
features in PowerDVD.