Roxio rolls out media
creator for the masses
Alan Zisman (c) 2007 First published in Business
May 1-7, 2007; issue 914
High Tech Office column;
Last week’s column
noted that even though it takes five years these days for Microsoft to
turn out a new version of Windows, some software developers manage to
get their products out the door in a timelier manner.
Last week’s example was made-in-Richmond’s Simply Accounting.
Easy Media Creator is another rapidly evolving product. While
accounting software needs regular updating to stay current with changes
to tax rates, media software needs to keep pace both with changing
hardware and with users’ changing expectations for their computers. As
a result, Roxio’s version 9 was released about a year after the
Some users will remember earlier versions
of the product as Easy CD Creator. The revised name reflects the
software growth beyond its CD-burner roots. It now supports DVD burners
and includes modules for backup, photo and sound editing and more,
making it a full consumer-level media creation suite.
program’s core remains a module for burning CDs and DVDs now supporting
higher capacity double-density burners. If that’s all you need, you may
be happy with Roxio’s $40 Easy CD & DVD Burning or with the free
software that came with your computer or burner hardware. (Very bare
bones CD/DVD burning capabilities are built right into Windows.)
$99 Easy Media Creator, though, adds lots more. For instance, it
includes VideoWave 9 for video capture and MyDVD for basic DVD
production. (Windows XP’s Windows Movie Maker can capture video but
can’t create a DVD). There’s a slide show assistant offering a virtual
light table for arranging slides and performing basic editing
functions. You can then add text and transition effects and Ken
Burns-style pans and zooms to individual slides or the entire slide
MyDVD has added features since its previous incarnation,
allowing for more sophisticated menus and buttons. It integrates nicely
with the VideoWave and slide show assistant modules, which makes it
easier to edit your production if needed. Because Windows XP lacks a
built-in DVD player, the suite includes a CinePlayer module.
included PhotoSuite 9 lacks the punch of Adobe’s pro-level Photoshop or
its consumer-sibling Photoshop Elements. There’s no support for the RAW
image file formats built into higher end digital cameras, for instance,
but it packs enough power for users who lack either of those tools.
Along with useful photo editing tools, it includes a range of presets
for calendars, greeting cards and similar projects. The Sound Editor
module similarly includes a range of usable sound-editing tools with
fun effects such as Robovoice (which sounds pretty much as you’d
imagine from the name). You can use it to add a series of tracks and
burn them as an audio CD without leaving the sound editor. A new easy
audio capture module can save any sounds playing on your computer,
useful for recording voice for podcasts or recording streaming audio
like Internet radio.
Among the other functions, you can create
ringtones, burn music DVDs and back up your computer to DVD. You can
make copies of DVDs or convert video DVDs to iPod or other portable
media players, but only if the original DVD lacks copy protection.
(Most commercial DVDs are protected, sorry.)
None of Easy Media
Creator suite’s components for back up, video, photo and music editing,
and DVD authoring are best-of-breed. Professionals and serious amateurs
will turn up their noses, preferring options like Adobe Photoshop and
Premier (or their high-end consumer Elements versions). But many users
have more modest needs. For them, Easy Media Creator 9 offers a broad
range of useful (and usable) functions at a reasonable price.