« Microsoft Zune Update - TV Show Downloads | Main | Belkin Washable Mouse and Mouse Trap »

CyberLink PowerDVD 8: Enhanced Movie Experience

CyberLink has released the latest version of its well-known DVD player software, CyberLink PowerDVD 8.

As you might expect, this new release adds support for the latest buzzwords in high-def video and audio formats, including Blu-ray Disk playback -- with an online patch to support the full Blu-ray Disc Profile 2 (BD-Live), with picture-in-picture display, networking, and advanced interactivity.

Plus there's AVCHD and MPEG-2 HD video, and HD audio up to 7.1 channels with Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD.

However, the DVD player market is getting rather mature, as these applications are already well-refined for DVD and even general-purpose media playback. PowerDVD supports scads of media formats, provides fun options for video and audio enhancement, and offers helpful features including power-saving playback for notebooks, frame capture, and bookmarking for favorite scenes. What more could it do?

So the next step for CyberLink was to go beyond playback features, and instead augment PowerDVD to enhance the overall movie experience by taking advantage of your computer's storage and Internet connectivity. After all, when you pop in an audio CD on your computer, it automatically looks up the album and artist information, and helps you organize and manage your entire collection -- why not the same for movies?

So CyberLink developed the MoovieLive.com website to store and sync shared movie information with PowerDVD.

When you play a DVD, PowerDVD downloads and displays Movie Information, which you also can edit and update with your personal ratings and reviews.

As you watch DVDs, PowerDVD also updates the list of your personal Movie Collection. You can share your collection (like a playlist of favorite songs), and add other movies that you're interested in from MoovieLive.

You also can get creative with Movie Remix -- mash up scenes from a movie and then add your own creative animated graphics and subtitle text overlays, plus audio clips and voice-overs. And, of course, you can upload and share your remixes on MoovieLive, and download remixes that others have posted -- though since the remix references the movie, you can only play them for DVDs that you own.

MoovieLive is a great idea for the next step in watching DVDs -- taking advantage of the local computer and the wider Internet to enhance the movie-watching experience. However, this initial implementation in PowerDVD 8 is frustrating because the online movie database is only generated by PowerDVD users -- CyberLink did not link the site into a pre-existing DVD database to automatically load movie information. So until the population of users grows significantly, you can type in database fields yourself, or rely on partial uploads you may find from other users.

See my full article for more on these new features, and on how CyberLink has done a good job of refining the PowerDVD interface to make it very accessible for both quick playback and hands-on exploration of a disc:
    Enhanced DVD Movie Watching: CyberLink PowerDVD 8

Manifest Tech Site