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Review: CyberLink PowerDVD 9

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 29 Mar 2009 18:02 User comments (16)

Review: CyberLink PowerDVD 9

Review: CyberLink PowerDVD 9

Software used in this review
CyberLink PowerDVD 9
Required: This is a clickthrough link to download PowerDVD 9 directly from CyberLink. Download!

Getting Started




The following is a review of the DVD playback software, Cyberlink PowerDVD 9 Ultra, the latest upgrade in the popular series. You can use the software to playback DVDs, Blu-ray titles, and video files including HD formats. Making the latest version different from previous editions however, is the addition of TrueTheater technology, which allows for either automated or manual upscaling of standard DVDs. Another addition is FancyView, a new way to navigate your DVDs and chapters visually.

DVD Playback



The main purpose of the software is for DVD playback and it does so, for the most part, flawlessly. The new innovation for PowerDVD 9 is TrueTheater, which upscales standard DVDs, adding sharpness, brightness, and smoothing.

Although the quality is much improved when using TrueTheater, it takes up significant more CPU load, in my example jumping from 15 percent without it on to 28 percent with it on.



As you can see from the screencap, I have selected auto adjustment for the TrueTheater effects, and the result is very noticeable. To use the effects manually, you will need to turn off "hardware acceleration" from the options menu. TrueTheater HD controls the sharpness, TrueTheater Lightning controls the brightness, and TrueTheater Motion allows all 24 fps content to be outputted at 60, 66, or 72 FPS. If you are on a computer monitor the results will most likely be minimal, but outputting to a large HDTV, the interpolation works well.


From the extra options menu during playback, wide screen movies can be made to full screen and digital zoom can be used as well, in either 4x or 9x. Image capture is available in "more functions" as well, along with karaoke mode, "bookmarks" and other standards from previous editions.


FancyView



Another new addition is the navigation interface of FancyView. To bring it up, during playback, hit the Chapter Viewer button (as pictured) and scroll through the different chapters in a 3D interface. Not really all that useful or necessary, but effective and appealing.

Cinema Mode



PowerDVD 9 also adds Cinema Mode, giving users who hook up to HDTVs an easier interface. It is better suited for users using a remote control and because it works well with Windows Media Center, Blu-ray support is now available as well for TV playback.

There are other features such as MoovieLive: Movie Collection and Movie Remix, that I will not go into as they do not directly affect video playback of any sort, and are more gimmicks then anything.

Conclusion


The new additions to PowerDVD 9 are very practical, and improve the viewing experience, although CPU load is extended. PowerDVD remains a leader in DVD and Blu-ray playback, but the main concern for me is the price. Free alternatives such as VLC offer excellent video file and DVD playback but do notably lack Blu-ray support. If you are looking for a powerful Blu-ray player that doubles as a media center, this is at the top of its class and I would fully recommend it. If you just need no-gimmick DVD playback and don't care for upscaling, you cant go wrong with free VLC.

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16 user comments

129.3.2009 18:55

Looks like the chicks keep getting younger on the startup screen. Jailbait? :)

21.4.2009 19:53

This is all well and good however i like my older version it is as good as any other. I would love to try this out regardless.

32.4.2009 12:48

Yes, hopefully it can remember that it is a DVD player, and not bloat itself, a la nero (imho, Nero v4 was the bees knees for 95% of CD/DVD copying tasks... then it bloated). I have a soft spot for PowerDVD, back in 2000-2002 when DVD playing wasn't always straightforwards, PowerDVD was a quick, simple, easy-to-use low-overhead solution. Did exactly what it said on the can, no more and no less.

42.4.2009 20:47

Agreed with the splash screen girls comment :)

I still use version 6 for DVDs; it does what I want, and I don't have a need for Blu-ray playback.

52.4.2009 23:48

Have the brought back the ability to play files from the HDD ?

With the price of a new player for my PC , i`d rather have my HDD

spinning for 2 hours of a movie

Why did they ever drop that option ?

Does any other software have that option for BR ?

Thanks

63.4.2009 5:58

Originally posted by kapo13:
Have the brought back the ability to play files from the HDD ?

With the price of a new player for my PC , i`d rather have my HDD

spinning for 2 hours of a movie

Why did they ever drop that option ?


Thanks, I'd forgotten about that. Which version was it that dropped the feature? Cheers.

73.4.2009 9:21

Not sure if this answers your question, but VLC and Media Player Classic can play back files from disk... depends on your source ;-)

83.4.2009 10:17

I use KMPlayer for all media playback except DVD. It has VOB support, so I can use that. Otherwise I'll stick with PDVD6 :)

93.4.2009 12:18

The last version to have from HDD support was

v7.3_Build_3319a

So avoidz are you saying KMPlayer will play BR files

from the HDD ? i ve never heard of that player


And alewis , it would be sweet if VLC amd media player classic would

play BR

thanks for replies

Cheers

103.4.2009 15:44

hence the wording of the comment ....

Native support for Blue-Ray would be great, and I imagine it wont be long <insert sardonic still waiting smiley> :-)

115.4.2009 10:18

Thanks, kapo13. As I said in my earlier post, I don't have a need for Blu-ray playback (and KMPlayer doesn't support it yet, no).

127.4.2009 3:44

The usual go for playing Blu-rays off HDD is (using the latest AnyDVD_HD):

1) Make an .iso using AnyDVD_HD itself or with a app like Imgburn.

2) Mount the image with 'Virtual Clone Drive' free from- http://www.slysoft.com/en/virtual-clonedrive.html

3)Play with Cyberlink or somesuch.

HOWEVER, this does NOT seem to be working with this new version of Cyberlink. So...

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 07 Apr 2009 @ 3:45

Its a lot easier being righteous than right.


DSE VZ300-
Zilog Z80 CPU, 32KB RAM (16K+16K cartridge), video processor 6847, 2KB video RAM, 16 colours (text mode), 5.25" FDD

137.4.2009 3:56

Thank you very much Andre for your Preview, it was very informative and done in a very professional manner. Please keep up the good work.
informgry

147.4.2009 22:42

Thanks Jemborg

Ya its a real pain having to make a 30 gig + iso

But it seems the only way right now

So this new version wont even play iso`s of BR ?

I upgraded some time ago to version 8 , and it had problems

with a few movies like Max Payne , telling me i need to upgrade

to play it . im not sure what that was all about

The movie wasnt that good IMO , so i got rid of it , but

curiosity makes me wanna get it again to see if Version 9 will play

it

Anyhow Cheers

158.6.2009 13:41

Originally posted by kapo13:
The last version to have from HDD support was

v7.3_Build_3319a

So avoidz are you saying KMPlayer will play BR files

from the HDD ? i ve never heard of that player


And alewis , it would be sweet if VLC amd media player classic would

play BR

thanks for replies

Cheers

I've had a license since version 5. At least I've always had the ability to play back files from the HDD, in version 7, 8 and 9. You can also set PowerDVD as the default player for suppported file types in settings...

1616.6.2009 3:40

Originally posted by kapo13:
Thanks Jemborg

Ya its a real pain having to make a 30 gig + iso

But it seems the only way right now

So this new version wont even play iso`s of BR ?

I upgraded some time ago to version 8 , and it had problems

with a few movies like Max Payne , telling me i need to upgrade

to play it . im not sure what that was all about

The movie wasnt that good IMO , so i got rid of it , but

curiosity makes me wanna get it again to see if Version 9 will play

it

Anyhow Cheers
No worries kapo13.

I've had no problems with Ver 8. Yes, the upgrade thing occurs but goes away when you install or update to the very latest AnyDVD_HD version. Just do that and you should have no problems mate. New Blu-rays have new keys etc.

A friend reported to me that the new Cyberlink V9 was not working with the above procedure I described- that may change. I would be very interested to know how you go.

(Btw, Cyberlink V7 is the last one to support the old HD_DVD format... and some people prefer that version.)

Yes, it is rather a pain the 30+ gig thing. It's possible to transfer it into .h246 format for a much more reasonable size (perhaps as a 1080i too) to fit it onto a dual-layer disc. But getting the sound right is tricky I understand. It would be nice to have some form of DVD_Shrink for HD, eh? Easy to use etc...

Regards.

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