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It’s strange to think that after years of selling PCs and upgrades that computers and computer components still don’t always come with all the bits of software necessary to take full advantage of their features.
Take the humble DVD writer. Buy a cheap OEM unit packed in one of those plain brown boxes off the shelf at PC World, or order one from a pile-‘em-high sell-‘em-cheap internet retailer and all you get is the bare drive unit. No cables, no instructions, no software.
And that’s the way it should be – after all you don’t want to be paying for fancy packaging and software you’ll never use when all you want to do is to replace a faulty unit or simply upgrade. The trouble is, when you get it home, plug it in and prepare to play with your new toy you suddenly realise that Windows doesn't even include the facility to play back DVDs, let alone author a DVD movie capable of being played back in a standard DVD player.
Roxio Media Creator Suite 8 aims to fill that gaping hole by providing a bundle of tools an applications aimed not only at providing DVD playback and authoring, but also at helping you manage all of your video, music and photographs in one place.
On that all-important DVD front you get a player and three DVD authoring programs – MyDVD, VideoWave and CineMagic – which variously enable you to author simple slide show and video clip compilations, capture footage from a camcorder or other external device and create full-featured menu-driven DVDs complete with flash graphics, divided up into chapters and so on. The Roxio Disc Copier facility adds the ability to create and burn DivX movies (with support for DivX HD) from clips and captured footage.
Added to this you get backup tools, audio capture and music disc creation tools. Roxio’s popular Easy CD and DVD Creator tools are thrown in to satisfy the traditionalists out there. There’s a whole gamut of photo editing tools including a panorama creator, a photo editing application and (deep breath) there’s also Roxio’s handy Drag-to-Disc application, which lets you perform drag-and-drop DVD burning. And I haven't mentioned everything here either.
You can access all of these features from the suite's task launcher interface, which ties together all of the various applications in one clean, easy-to-understand front end. It’s an excellent place to start for beginners and novices, but power users will be drawn to the product’s Media Manager application, which lies at the heart of many of the suite’s functions.