Cyberlink Mediashow v4
Media management made easy
- Easy to use, comprehensive features
- Some interface issues, no MPEG4 support
Cyberlink’s MediaShow v4 provides home users and beginners with a comprehensive solution for photo and video management. While there are some shortcomings in terms of format support, the software remains an ideal option for families.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
MediaShow v4.0 is a new addition to Cyberlink's line of media software for the PC. While it may be overly simple for some users, MediaShow provides a useful all-in-one media management and authoring software package that is competitive with Apple's iLife and Google's Picasa software.
While previous editions of MediaShow have been restricted to media viewing, the latest version adds a number of management and authoring capabilities. New features allow users to import, view, manage, edit and create pictures and videos using their existing content.
MediaShow uses a single window reminiscent of a Web browser. This design is appealing and simplifies the management and editing process. However there were some confusing inconsistencies in the interface. Many of the buttons changed places depending on which portion of the software was being used; this was particularly annoying in regards to the 'back' button, an integral part of the navigation process.
The software's format support isn't the best we've seen. Picture format support includes BMP, JPEG and PNG; video support covers AVI, MPEG1, MPEG2 and WMV. It is puzzling to see a lack of support for the MPEG4 file format. Given the software's focus on families and home users with consumer video cameras, a lack of support for a popular file format used in many video cameras today limits the software's capabilities.
Media management is a key focus of the software and it's implemented well. Photos and videos are displayed as thumbnails in the main portion of the window, with a navigation sidebar reminiscent of Explorer. The key advantage of this kind of arrangement is the amalgamation of several folders into a single window, and the ability to use tags as photo identifiers. Users can apply tags to their desired media in order to separate and organise their content as efficiently as possible while still keeping the files in their respective folders.
'Create' and 'share' features simplify the process of editing and publishing your media files. Users can create slideshows and video DVDs in a few steps. Pictures can be be uploaded straight to Flickr, and videos can be uploaded to YouTube.
DVD authoring is also available within the suite, and is perhaps the most impressive portion of the software. Users can add their imported videos and pictures to a DVD, choose from a menu preset for the disc, and then burn it. While we were impressed with the interface and process, there are some improvements that can be made. We would have liked to see a wider range of options and settings for customising menus and sound. While the menu presets are quite good and rival even those of Apple's iDVD, there is no option for continuous play, and the DVD will play automatically if no menu option has been chosen after 10 seconds. Menu presets were often hard to see — even at their largest, the menu presets are hard to make out.
While the software has some faults, it offers a comprehensive and simple media experience for those new to DVD authoring and online publishing.
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