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PC Reviews: PowerDVD 5 (Standard)

Although Windows XP comes with native DVD support, the features are rather bland but if you want a program that truly showcases DVD's on your personal computer, than look no further than PowerDVD 5.

The PowerDVD series from CyberLink is one of the most popular DVD software packages that is available for Windows 98, 98SE, ME, 2000 and XP and ever since the introduction of DVD's on the personal computer, PowerDVD was one of the firsts.

PowerDVD 5 now includes new CyberLink technologies that allows for clearer picture quality and a variety of different audio options for the humble computer speaker.

The basic premise behind PowerDVD 5 is to watch DVD movies on your computer desktop or laptop with the same functions as a standalone DVD player.

As mentioned earlier in the review, PowerDVD 5 now features new CyberLink technologies that include a variety of video and audio modifications to improve your DVD movie experience. These technologies include CLEV (CyberLink Eagle Vision) that automatically adjusts and enhances video quality. This feature is extremely useful for LCD owners as some movies are sometimes too bright or too dark but CLEV now elevates this problem. We tested this feature on our editor's LCD monitor and the results were simply spectacular, not only was the image quality clearer but the colours themselves were more vibrant and lifelike.

CLPV (CyberLink Pana Vision) is one of the most useful new features to be implemented into PowerDVD 5 and allows you watch any DVD movie (no matter what aspect ratio it was filmed) in any aspect ratio that you prefer, whether it's the standard 4:3 aspect ratio or the cinema widescreen.

The beauty of this new technology is that if the movie was filmed in 4:3 and you switch it to widescreen mode, the picture isn't stretched as the software uses its own algorithm to recalculate the image without any distortions. I am extremely grateful for this feature and it finally turns PowerDVD into a professional DVD player and there is currently no DVD Software package on the market at the moment that does this feature. We tested the CLPV feature with the widescreen edition of "Final Fantasy the Movie" and the non-widescreen edition of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" and the distortions were hardly noticeable at all.

The last new feature that PowerDVD boasts is CLMEI (CyberLink Multi-Channel Environmental Impression) that basically allows you to enjoy DVD movies with your current two-speaker setup with surround sound. This new technology also includes other multimedia formats such as MP3's and CD audio. Even the most humblest of speaker will be improved by this new sound feature that mimics "surround sound" sound. As with the previous versions of PowerDVD, just about every sound format is supported in this DVD software package that includes Dolby Digital EX 6.1/7.1, SRS TruSurround XT and Dolby Pro Logic II to name a few.

Once PowerDVD 5 is installed on your system, you simply just insert your disc into the DVD-ROM or CD-ROM on your computer and PowerDVD automatically loads the movie, no matter if it is a DVD, VCD or audio CD. A nifty feature of the current incarnation is the import/export bookmark that allows you "bookmark" certain scenes in a movie and then send these bookmarks to friends and relatives so they can see what you are raving on about. Some of the other new features include auto-resume playback, dual subtitles (why? I really don't know) and iPower, an informative DVD resource link.

In conclusion, PowerDVD 5 is the perfect DVD software package for your PC that not only gives you the benefits of a standalone DVD player but also the ability to watch and enjoy DVD movies on your computer system. The features of PowerDVD 5 are brilliant but unfortunately these features come at a price and nothing short of a 500Mhz computer will do this software any justice. Recommended!

- Andrew B

The Final Say!


PowerDVD 5
Review Date: 2 September 2003

Distributor: Manaccom

Copyright 2003 www.impulsegamer.com