I’m a big fan of the CyberLink PowerDVD for watching movies on the computer. CyberLink’s latest for video watching is a suite. The PowerCinema 3.0 lets you watch DVD’s, video, look at pictures, and play music.
Movies and videos
The interface on the bottom will control the usual Stop, Play/Pause, Fast forward/back, Volume up/down, Speaker on/Mute. For each click on the fast forward/back it increases speed from .5x, 1x, 1.5x, 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, 32x. I did find it really funny to watch a martial arts fight scene at 1.5x speed. For DVDs you also have the option to choose the movie’s main menu, switch chapters, control subtitles, and language. If the DVD has the option of Angle (switches among available camera angles) you can also do that.
Controls include selecting widescreen or 4:3 (fullscreen). Two other settings include Pan & Scan which displays the central portion of DVD titles in a widescreen aspect ratio, and allows you to move the display area to view more portions of the video. CLPV (CyberLink Pano Vision) is a non-linear video stretching technology that produces minimal distortion in the center of the picture. The CLPV was my viewing choice. The viewer can also control the brightness/contrast/saturation ratios of a movie. PowerCinema will show MPEG1, MPEG2 (if DVD drive is installed), AVI, WMV, and ASF files video files.
Got pictures? PowerCinema will show them to you in a slideshow format. I liked that it shows thumbnail views of the pictures and videos, like Windows Explorer. Makes it easy to verify which ones you want to view. You can also view them individually if you want. You can set the duration for how each slide is shown before automatically advancing to the next slide in a slideshow. The transition effects between each picture can be set for None, Fade, Wipe, Page, and Random. If you want, you can have it play background music for the slideshow. The music will play for the duration of the slideshow, looping if necessary.
I played music from CDs, and WMA, MP3 and Wave files from my hard drive. You can play the music sorted by album, artist, playlist or random. Audio can be adjusted for various surround or directional settings.
Operating Systems: Microsoft® Windows® XP Home/Professional Edition.
CPU: Intel® Pentium® III 450 MHz or higher, or any AMD Athlon processor
Memory: 64 MB of RAM (they 128 MB recommended, personally I recommend 256MB for XP anyway)
Hard Disk: 500 MB
Video Display Card: Graphics card and SVGA monitor capable of 1024 x 768 @ 32-bit resolution and support for DirectDraw overlay (actually I ran it most of the time at 800x600 with no problems.)
Soundcard and DVD drive
MSRP is $59.95. Company Info: CyberLink USA, 510-668-0118, www.gocyberlink.com
From our December 2003 newsletter
Winners is a member of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG) is an international, platform-independent, nonprofit corporation (incorporated in Washington, DC) devoted to helping user groups throughout the world. Almost 400 user groups are members of APCUG. http://www.apcug.net/