PowerDVD 12 Ultra PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Installation 9.0
Ease of use 9.0
Performance 8.0
Usefulness 9.0
Value 9.0
Distributor: CyberLink
Review Date:
Feb 2012
Reviewer:
Peter Bourke

8.8


PowerDVD 12 Ultra

One of the biggest flaws with Microsoft's Operating Systems such as Windows 7 or Windows XP is that it cannot play Blu-ray discs and due to the copyrights on the various codec's of this format, there are no free players available. Thankfully there are some alternatives available and PowerDVD 12, the latest version of this popular media player from CyberLink is one of those options. With that said, PowrDVD 12 comes in an Ultra, Pro and Standard version which is dependent on the user's need. Impulse Gamer reviewed the Ultra version.

Key Product Highlights 

PLAY ALL MEDIA Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and All Media

  • Ultimate Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D movie experience with support for CPU/GPU hardware acceleration for superb playback quality.

  • Ultra-fast Instant Seek to search for the movie scene you want to watch on your Blu-rays and DVDs.

  • Vast Video format support lets you play almost every video files, including MK3D (NEW) , MKV (H.264), FLV (H.264), WTV, 3GP and 3G2 files.

  • Supports cinematic quality sound including DTS-HD 7.1 (NEW) and Dolby TrueHD 7.1

  • Supports OGG & FLAC lossless audio format (NEW)

  • Play Photos in Slideshows. You can enjoy photos stored on your PC, smart device or DLNA server, or from Facebook and Flickr.

  • Organize and browse all media content within one software. Media Library for videos, photos and music. (NEW)

  • Access to over 17 million high quality DRM-free MP3 music from 7digital Music store (NEW)(UNIQUE)

Apart from playing CDs DVDs or Blu-rays, this software also supports a variety of video formats such as AVI, MOV and MK3D, ensuring that this is all you need to play your movies. And as a bonus for those users with 3D compatible monitors or televisions, PowerDVD 12 even supports 3D. Using PowerDVD's TruTheater HD technology, it even allows you to convert existing 2D movies to 3D, although you still cannot compare this to native 3D blu-ray movies.

As a media player, the quality is exceptional which of course is dependent on your media but Blu-rays look fantastic as do other FULL HD video formats. The software even integrates with MoovieLive an online movie news and reviews database plus social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube. Another feature included is smart syncing with Android Devices, streaming between other network devices and a variety of audio outputs such as Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital TrueHD 7.1. This is definitely no slouch when it comes to features.

Version Comparison

 

NEW/ IMPROVED

12 Ultra

12 Pro

12 Std

Multimedia Support

Blu-ray & Blu-ray 3D playback

V

V

X

AVCREC, AVCHD support

V

V

X

MKV, FLV, MOV, 3GPP support and more

V

V

V

DVD-Video/-VR/+VR Playback

V

V

V

Media Library for Video, Photo and Music

V

V

V

3D video file playback

V

V

X

MK3D format support

V

V

X

3D Photo support (MPO/JPS)

V

V

x

Photo viewing (JPG/BMP/TIFF/RAW/PNG)

V

V

V

Rating Media content

V

V

V

Smart Device
Support

Smart Sync with Android devices

V

V

X

Smart Sync rule (playlist/ rating/ imported time)

V

V

X

Video transcoding before sync

V

V

X

Home Media Support

Share Media Library to home network devices (DLNA DMS)

V

V

X

Stream media from home network devices (DLNA DMP)

V

V

V

Stream content with DTCP-IP protection

V

X

X

Push content to other network device (DLNA DMC)

V

X

X

Allow other device to push content to PowerDVD (DLNA DMR)

V

X

X

Mobile App

PowerDVD Mobile iOS (iPhone/iPad) version

Free

Buy

Buy

PowerDVD Mobile Android (phone/tablet) version

Free (Android 2.2.x/2.3.x/3.x)

Buy (Android 2.2.x/2.3.x/3.x)

Buy (Android 2.2.x/2.3.x/3.x)

PowerDVD Remote iOS/ Android version

Free

Buy

Buy

TrueTheater Technology

TrueTheater 3D for Blu-ray

V

V

X

TrueTheater 3D for movies and videos

V

V

X

TrueTheater 3D for photos

V

V

X

TrueTheater Enhancements (HD/Denoise/ Stabilizer/Motion/Stretch/Lighting)    

V

V

V

TrueTheater Surround

V

V

V

User Interface/ Player feature

Instant Seek for Blu-ray/DVD movies

V

V

DVD only

Instant View - preview media in folders with folder thumbnail

V

V

V

Instant Zoom - seamless zoom in video, up to 4x

V

V

V

Instant Scale - Adjust folder/thumbnail size

V

V

V

Social Media Support

YouTube video playback

V

V

V

Search YouTube video

V

V

V

YouTube playlist/subscription/favorite

V

V

V

Native YouTube 3D content support

V

V

X

Facebook, Flickr playback & download

V

V

V

Add comments to Facebook/Flickr photos

V

V

V

Upload video to YouTube/Facebook

V

V

V

Upload 3D video to YouTube

V

V

X

Upload photo to Facebook/ Flickr

V

V

V

Audio Features

Dolby Digital Support (5.1 ch)

V

V

V

Dolby Digital Plus Support (7.1 ch)

V

(5.1 ch)

(5.1 ch)

Dolby TrueHD Support (7.1 ch)

(7.1 ch)

(5.1 ch)

X

DTS-HD Support (7.1 ch)

(7.1 ch)

(5.1 ch)

X

DTS Support (5.1 ch)

V

V

V

DTS 96/24 Decoding

V

V

V

Lossless HD Audio - OGG/FLAC

V

V

V

AAC Decoding (5.1 ch)

(5.1 ch)

(2 ch)

(2 ch)

The installation process of PowerDVD 12 is also a breeze which requires minimal prompting by the user. The only hardest aspect of the installation is typing in the rather long serial number.

With that said, PowerDVD 12 does require some minimum system requirements to run such as a Pentium 4 541 or Athlon 64 x 3800 or higher to run playback through Blu-ray. A full list of the system specifications (albeit slightly confusing) can be found at the end of this review.

During the installation process, PowerDVD 12 will prompt you to scan your system for all media files in order for these to be connected to its Media Library. Depending on how many pictures or movies you have your system, this may take some time to complete.

However once completed, the Media Library does a decent job at indexing your videos, photos and music. It's actually quite easy to search through your media files and is slightly Apple-like in its presentation which is always good. But the real test was movies and FULL HD video files.

Blu-rays looked quite vibrant and smooth on our PC, especially FULL HD movies. The biggest test was 3D and how well our PC and the software would copy with rendering this. We tested Shark Night 3D through the software and it was just as smooth as our Sony PlayStation 3 to display 3D films. Quite impressive!

I tested the 2D to 3D conversion tool with PowerDVD as well and although it was not as clear as a native 3D movie but the stereoscopic 3D result was not that bad. The program even acts as a Digital Media Server for Android and iPhone SmartPhones which means you can stream your media content to not just these two devices but wireless anywhere in your network.


SHARK NIGHT 3D - Token bikini shot


MOOVIELIVE

If you have a DLNA compatible TV, than you're definitely headed in the right direction, especially in relation to streaming which is quite easy to use. It even uses "Smart Converted" technology which means it converts the streaming to suit the device perfectly as you would not need FULL HD streaming directly to your iPhone. Apps are required for this feature on your Android and iPhone which allows your smartphones to be used as a remote control for PowerDVD 12.

Final Thoughts?

In conclusion, CyberLink have once again released a sturdy media player for the PC that definitely increases the scope of what your standard PC can do. I also like the integration to smartphones such as the iPhone and the inclusion of social media sites such as Facebook or Flicker. The cons of this software is the inclusion of MoovieLive which seemed to slow down my PC.

It's also not the fastest program around and this may be the result that CyberLink are trying to cram too much into their software package. Even so, the pros definitely outweigh the cons and if you're after a decent media player for your PC and more specifically one that plays Blu-rays and even converts to 3D than check out CyberLink's PowerDVD 12 which is now available.

Recommended!

System Requirements 

Operating System

Microsoft Windows 7, Vista and XP SP3* (Windows XP Service Pack 3 is required) 

Processor (CPU)

Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and TrueTheater 3D Playback

  • Blu-ray Disc playback: Pentium 4 541 (3.2 GHz), Athlon 64 X2 3800+ or above

  • TrueTheater 3D playback: Pentium D 950 (3.0GHz), AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ or above

  • DVD playback: Pentium 4 (2.4 GHz), Athlon 64 2800+ (1.8 GHz), AMD Fusion E-series & C-series or above

Note: CyberLink PowerDVD 12 also supports AMD Fusion E-series & C-series Accelerated Processors Technology.

Blu-ray 3D with Hardware Acceleration

  • Intel Pentium D 950 (3.0GHz), AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ (2.4GHz) or above

Blu-ray 3D without Hardware Acceleration

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 (2.66GHz), AMD Phenom 9450 (2.10GHz) or above

Graphics Processor (GPU)

Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and TrueTheater 3D Playback

  • Blu-ray Disc playback:  Intel G45, AMD Radeon HD 2400, NVIDIA Geforce 7600GT or above

  • TrueTheater 3D playback: Intel G45, AMD Radeon HD 2400, NVIDIA Geforce 8800GT or above

Note: We strongly recommend that you update your graphics card driver to the latest version. 3D display devices are required for TrueTheater 3D playback. To support NVIDIA CUDA optimization for TrueTheater HD technology, make sure your system uses GeForce 9500 GT graphics or above. To Support AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing for TrueTheater HD technology, make sure your system uses AMD Radeon HD 4800, 5700, 5800 or 6800 series.

  • DVD playback: AGP or PCI Express graphic accelerator supporting DirectX 9.0 or above

Blu-ray 3D with Hardware Acceleration

  • Intel Graphic Media Accelerator HD (Intel Core i3/i5), NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400 series and GeForce GT 240/320/330/340, AMD Radeon HD 6000 and 6000M series with UVD 3 support

Blu-ray 3D without Hardware Acceleration

  • Intel G45, AMD Radeon HD2400, NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT or above.

Memory

Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and TrueTheater 3D Playback

  • Blu-ray Disc playback: 2 GB required for Vista and Windows 7; 1 GB required for Windows XP

  • DVD and TrueTheater 3D playback: 1 GB required for Vista and Windows 7; 512 MB required for Windows XP

Blu-ray 3D with or without Hardware Acceleration

  • 2 GB

Hard Disk Space

  • 300 MB for product installation

Display Device

Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and TrueTheater 3D Playback

  • For Blu-ray titles with AACS and DVD titles with CPRM playback, PowerDVD 12 only allows output to display devices using DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort connector in order to be compliant with copy protection (HDCP).

  • For other DVD and Blu-ray Disc playback: HDCP compliant display for digital output. TV or computer monitor for analog output

  • TrueTheater 3D playback: 3D display and 3D glasses required. HDCP compliant display for digital output. TV or computer monitor for analog output

Blu-ray 3D with or without Hardware Acceleration

  • 3D display and 3D glasses are required (NVIDIA 3D Vision, 3D Ready HDTV, HDMI 1.4-enabled TV, Micro-polarizer LCD or Anaglyph Red/Cyan Glasses). HDCP compliant display for digital output

*PowerDVD with NVIDIA 3D Vision is not supported under Windows XP 

Disc Player

  • Blu-ray Disc playback: BD-ROM/BD-RE or Super Multi Blu combo disc drive

  • DVD and TrueTheater 3D playback: DVD-ROM, DVD+-R/RW, DVD-RAM or DVD Super Multi combo disc drive

Microphone

  • A microphone is required for recording voice-overs in Movie Remix mode

Internet Connection

  • Internet connection required for web services






 
 



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