By Terry Currier
I had WinDVD 5 on my old computer. Have to admit I didn’t like it. Now with the new WinDVD 7 while not perfect, I think I will start using it. It has a couple of things that are cool to play with. Besides DVD movies it will play Real Player files, Quick Time files, Windows Media files, DivX 5.2 Pro, HD Audio, MPEG-4 AVC H.264 Main Profile, 3GPP/3GPP2, & WMV-HD files. It will also play WAV and MP3 music files.
InterVideo included the usual things such as Zoom and Pan. Click on the magnifying symbol and then hold the left mouse button down and mark the area you want to zoom in on. There is also a bookmark ability. If you find a particular place you want to come back to in a movie click and mark it as a bookmark. The side opens up and you click on the plus symbol to add the bookmark. A thumbnail picture is put in along with what chapter and time it is at. Just click on a bookmark to go back to that spot. Capture uses the same method only just captures the image on the screen. The images can then be saved as jpg, put as wallpaper, or emailed. Their fast forward and reverse is the best. If you click on the button one time, it will fast forward/reverse in 1x speed. If you click it two times, or more times, it will fast forward in 2x, 4x, 8x, 20x, and 60x speed, respectively. Clicking the fast forward/reverse button a 7th time will start the cycle over at 1x. Alt-P gives the viewer a selection of playing speeds. Besides the above mentioned speeds you can go forward/reverse .2x, .4x, and .8x. You can quickly turn subtitles on or off by pressing the s key.
If you want to repeat a certain part of a movie use the A/B repeat feature. Mark the A (start) then B (end.) Then have it repeat as many times as you want.. It will keep repeating until you stop it. If the user runs WinDVD on a laptop with Centrino processor they can take advantage of the Mobile Power Scheme. You can control the amount of system memory used.
Broken down into Audio Technology and Audio Effect. For Technology you have a choice of source being two speakers, or headphones. Technology also lets you choose Stereo, Dolby, SRS, or Spatializer. Under Effect you can set the acoustics for theater, or concert hall. It did make it have a large hall sound. There is also a equalizer to make it sound even better. You can play music with WinDVD. Open source and add files to the playlist. I did not like that I had to choose each file individually, not by folder. Be aware the controls will not make cheap/bad speakers sound good.
In here you can control the display to be normal, always on top, or video desktop. The video desktop works like Windows wallpaper, okay but icons get in the viewer’s way. I really would love a transparent mode where I can still watch the movie and do work underneath. Under Color you can change the Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Color, and GAMMA. With TimeStretch you can control the speed the movie is played. Each click on slow or fast, slows or speeds up the movie by .05. On a two hour movie each click on the fast side dropped the play time by six minutes. Playing it 1.05 speed I could still clearly understand what the actors were saying, and be done just a little bit quicker. You can also set a finish time. Say you have to leave in one hour and 45 minutes, but the movie is two hours long. You can click on Finished time or Total movie time and input the time you want it to finish. WinDVD will play it at the appropriate speed to finish at that time. Their TrimensionDNM Advanced is suppose to allow for a smoother display to a PC monitor. Actually I found it displayed better with it turned off. I tried this on my test computer which is a 2.67GHz Celeron with 768MB of RAM. I then notice that for the TrimensionDNM function a Pentium 4 2.8GHz is recommended. So to be fair I transferred it to my main computer which is a Pentium 4 3.0GHz with 1GB of RAM. Know what, same result.
One feature I thought was really unique was being able to capture a section of video into an animated GIF format. They call it Quick Clip. Click on the Quick Clip icon on the toolbar. The Quick Clip browser comes out. Click the recording button to start recording. Click the stop button to stop recording, or it will stop recording after 30 seconds. To capture additional clips, just do it again. Each clip is shown by a thumbnail in the browser. Quick Clip only captures the video; no audio is captured. Yes I realize I won’t use it too often, but it just a fun little thing.
In the help they mention you can create a comic book by capturing images from your DVD or a media file and combining them. Do this by clicking on the comic icon – there is no such icon. They do have a Movie Encyclopedia feature which allows you to look up information about the stars, the director, and other movies they've been in. I did not use it.
One thing I did not like about WinDVD 7 was the box look. I did not like the toolbar on top and the other controls on the bottom. For me at least I did not like the closed in look. The tool section on the upper right side is detachable. But, it just becomes a floating toolbar on the screen so I fail to see the value of that. The bottom control can detach but is still on the screen unless you go full screen. Viewers will usually look at the screen center or top down, not bottom up. In other words I want to be able to hide the top part, or better yet have all the controls on the bottom. The next thing I did not like was it always opens on a small screen (about 25% of the display area.) Then you to go to full screen or drag the corners to the size you want it. I should be able to put it to the size I want it and have it stay that size until I change it. Okay I’ll get off my soap box now.
If you have a DVD drive than you probably have a program that can view a DVD movie. So for you to spend extra money you better get extras. You will definitely get extra functions with WinDVD 7. I think InterVideo did the right marketing move by lowing the price. Unless you are going to watch HD go with the Gold.
WinDVD® 7 Gold, $ 39.95 Platinum $ 49.95 price from InterVideo website www.intervideo.com
Intel Pentium 4 1.0G processor - using TrimensionDNM a 2.8GHz is recommended.
For HD ability the requirements go up.
RAM 256 MB RAM is recommended – heck that should be the start for Windows anyway. Again for HD 512 MB RAM is recommended.
Operating System Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP
Windows compatible sound card and stereo speakers.
Video card with 24-bit resolution capability and DirectX support.
Hard Drive 75 MB of hard-disk space for program installation.
DirectX DirectX 9.
From our September 2005 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/