Hot and getting hotter: software for burning DVDs
Alan Zisman (c) 2006 First published in Business
Business in Vancouver March 14-20, 2006;
issue 855; High Tech Office column
burners have become standard equipment these days. They’re built into
all but the cheapest new desktop and notebook PCs and Macs.
a DVD burner and you usually also get a basic software bundle –
otherwise the hardware wouldn’t be of much use, though both Windows XP
and Mac OS X include bare-bones burning capabilities.
users mostly get software based on the Advance Nero or Roxio Easy Media
Creator packages, while Mac users usually get a basic version of
Roxio’s Toast. For many, the software that came in the box with their
drive or system is good enough.
both Advance and Roxio really want to move you up to their respective
full-meal deals. I recently took a look at the latest versions of
Roxio’s full versions for Windows and Mac (about $100 each).
better known by its former name, Easy CD Creator, Easy Media Creator 8
suggests it’s not just for burning CDs any more. Reflecting the
popularity of DVD burners, it’s added DVD functions and aims beyond to
a wider range of digital media.
than offer users a list of module names, the Media Creator Home screen
lets users choose between a list of possible tasks, which then move to
a list of sub-tasks. This is a big help given the software’s multitude
of capabilities. Most tasks inherit this focus on simplicity. The new
version supports new media formats such as HD video, DivX and
double-layer DVD, and a wealth of software assistants help use the
right one in the right place.
wanting more control and customization can still get it, however. For
instance, the MyDVD Express module makes it easy to combine a few
digital videos with a basic template and burn the whole thing quickly,
while a separate MyDVD offers as many menu choices as most of us will
new LiveShare for sharing digital photos can create a digital album and
e-mail contacts with thumbnails of your first 10 photos and a link to
provide access to the rest – at least as long as your computer is
online. Slick but limited.
package also continues to bundle audio, video and photo-editors and
backup software. While none of these are best-of-class, each is usable
for cleaning up recordings, movie clips and photos prior to burning
them to disc.
Toast Titanium 7 gives Mac users fewer features than its Windows
sibling, but it provides a cleaner, slicker interface.
owners of previous versions had to buy an additional program, Roxio
Popcorn, to compress and copy commercial DVDs, that capability is now
built into Toast 7. Many functions previously bundled in the Toast
(added cost) Jam add-on are also included in Toast 7.
Easy Media Creator for Windows, it gives Mac users the ability to work
with new formats such as DivX video and double-sided DVD blanks.
new iLife media browser sits in a pull-out drawer beside the main
program window, making it easy to locate music, video or photos stored
by Apple’s Mac-standard applications.
small collection of helper applications is included for creating slide
shows, recording and editing audio, creating CD covers and making
program will let you copy protected commercial DVDs, but whether you’re
running Windows or a Mac, Roxio’s software provides an accessible
wealth of features for sharing music, video, photos and digital files.
includes a backup module. If you aren’t in the habit of making regular
backups, that’s reason enough to buy one. Backups will save your bacon