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Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra review

Andy Vandervell

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Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra
  • Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra
  • Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra
  • Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra
  • Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra
  • Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra
  • Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra
  • Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra
  • Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra
  • Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra
  • Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra
  • Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra
  • Cyberlink Power DVD 9 Ultra

Summary

Our Score:

8

Where once it was essential to have Power DVD (or an equivalent) to watch a film on a PC, DVD playback has been native to Windows for a long time now. For many this is more than adequate, but with the advent of Home Theatre PCs and high definition TVs and displays, there's a greater demand for a software player that can do a little more than the basics. This includes DVD upscaling, now a prerequisite for playing back standard definition content on HDTVs, but also Blu-ray playback, which won't be supported natively by Windows until Windows 7 is released.

Being the top of the range version of the software (the others being Deluxe and Standard), Power DVD 9 Ultra has more or less every feature imaginable. Newly added support for the HDMI 1.3 standard means you benefit from Dolby TrueHD support up to 7.1 channels and DTS-HD Master Audio support up to 5.1 channels, while Dolby Digital (5.1), Dolby Digital Plus (7.1) Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Headphone, DTS (5.1), DTS 96/24 (5.1) AAC (5.1) and lossless MLP finish off the audio codec support.

Video codec support and Blu-ray profile support is also very comprehensive. BonusView and BD Live are both supported, making Power DVD 9 Ultra fully Profile 2.0 certified, while video codec support includes MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), AVCREC, AVCHD, MPEG-2 HD, WMV HD, VC-1 and DivX Pro - you can view the full feature support on Cyberlink's website.

Beyond codec support, though, there's quite a bit more to the latest version of Power DVD. No doubt its headline feature (among HTPC users at least) is the integration into Windows Media Center, since this allows you to launch Blu-ray playback within MCE and retain a consistent interface and navigation that's remote friendly. This also means you can play DVDs using Power DVD within MCE, bringing into play Power DVD 9's other key feature: software-based upscaling.

This comes under what Cyberlink calls TrueTheater. This encompasses three different processing technologies: TrueTheater HD, TrueTheatre Lighting and TrueTheatre Motion, all of which aim to enhance your DVD viewing to unprecedented levels. This technology is native to all the different versions (Ultra, Deluxe & Standard) of PowerDVD 9, too, so if you don't need or want Blu-ray playback then you can still enjoy better DVD playback and not pay for the extra licenses. It should be noted, though, that none of these technologies impact Blu-ray playback since HD material is hardly in need of heavy processing to tart it up.

Hamish Campbell

March 21, 2009, 11:05 am

DVD playback native to windows? Not XP right?





gotta love that Linda Hamilton lions mane hairdo.

pmcfadden

March 21, 2009, 3:20 pm

Dont suppose it lets you screengrab a blu ray? Been searching for a way to do this for ages, but its proven impossible.

alchobot

March 21, 2009, 3:48 pm

I'm a long time user of pdvd5 and I'm still impressed with it, it really shows up the low resolution of syandard dvd's on a large computer monitor. I presume this version stil has features like dolby headphone & cyberlink eagle vision. having recently purchased a laptop with a blu-ray player I will probably buy this software as again I repeat how impressed i have been with pdvd5.

alchobot

March 21, 2009, 3:58 pm

after visiting cyberlink web site I won't be purchasing this after all as I'm quite disgruntled about £/$ pricing. pdvd9 ultra, needed for blu-ray playback, is 㿻.99 but dollar price is $99.95. at the current exchange rate we are paying $115.90, I haven't got 'mug' written on my forehead. no wonder piracy is so popular.

Luan Bach

March 21, 2009, 4:56 pm

@alchobot, as usual you've forgotten to add the 15% VAT to the US$ price, which would makes it, wait for it...$115.

imilne

March 21, 2009, 5:54 pm

@pmcfadden - you'll need to rip the disc first (using something like AnyDVD HD), then play back the files in MPC that'll let you take screen grabs. You can also convert to .mkv using MakeMKV if that helps too.

Chocoa

March 21, 2009, 6:41 pm

As some one who stupidly bought a previous incarnation of PowerDVD. All I can say is that open source software is far more useful. The continuing need of commercial software to go bloatware is astounding; profit, self justification and the latest interface design being a small part of it.





Let me elaborate: I can play 1080p, ex BluRay material on an aged Athlon64 3200+/Ati AGP card of mine using carefully chosen O/source software with little issue. With PowerDVD? - forget it!





In addition there is no support for MKV - an increasingly recognised container of back up copies of HD movies





㿼 for movie software - for-get-it!!

lifethroughalens

March 21, 2009, 9:25 pm

@Chocoa





I couldn't agree more. 㿼 for unessential bloatware is crazy. I wouldn't buy Power DVD even if it was free!

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