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If you're really into your storage backup and data retainment, you'll probably have used Nero at least a few times, if not all of the time - they release perhaps the mostly widely known digital storage software on the market, but there's also Roxio, a far smaller company who have been producing their various CD and DVD creators since the early 2000s.
If you're fed up with some of the small glitches in the latest Nero, this is a solid alternative to try out - it's a smaller, more streamlined program than Nero, which is top-loaded with far too many non essential items. As a result, it won't put quite the same dent into your RAM as Nero does. Also, Roxio are clearly well versed in being user-friendly, because this is one of the slickest and most accessible interfaces that I've used recently. In fact, the highly animated and vibrant menus almost make it as though a child could successfully burn a DVD.
Like any self-respecting storage software, it's also loaded with numerous protection mechanisms, ensuring that you very, very rarely endure read-write errors. I've only ever had one disc not burn properly with this program, and that was because the disc itself was faulty.
Although not as comprehensive as Nero in all areas, it's a cheaper, more user-friendly version for those who don't need every possible feature under the moon, and simply want to author some files to a few discs every now and then. For reliable burning and easy access, look no further.
I got this product after seeing an advert for it in Roxio Easy Media Creator Home 9.1. So I though there can't be any harm in buying it especially as I must be better than what I've already got.
I installed the products and was surprised to find that it wasn't one piece of software a whole suite of different tools that I could use to burn all sort of CDs and DVDs at my leisure.
Let's look at what we can do with this suite of programs. Well first off we can burn CDs and DVDs, the primary use of buying the product in the first place. Then we can edit video and create a nice interactive DVD (and if I could be bothered to learn how to use, might come in handy). We can also edit photos and create a photo disc (CD/DVD) or we can even burn a music CD with all of our favourites for easy listening in the car or at home.
So what does the CD burner function offer? We can copy a disc to another disc, we can copy a disc to an image (.iso), we can burn a disc image plus we can backup data and create labels all from the 'Data - Copy' button from the home screen.
I should also mention at this point that although this is a suite and you can access each program individually, you have access to a home screen with icons down the side so you can use the different programs within one window. But some programs do load up in a separate window from the main screen.
And what if we want to create a photo disc? Well you select the photos you want on to appear on a disc and once loaded you can edit each photo individually or enhance multiple photos before burning them.
And video... Using the tools in Roxio Creator 2009 we can import video from DV or digital video cameras, we can edit video copy DVDs and actually watch films with the software oh and there is a link to create labels.
What about music? We can rip music from a CD and there is even a function to capture LPs and tapes if we have the right hardware plus (if that wasn't enough) we can capture audio from our sound card. Another handy function is the ability to batch convert and transfer music. As with all previous types of media we want to burn to disc we can even edit the audio before burning. There is a tool for creating audio books. Last but not least though is the ability to burn MP3 (some car and home stereo players) or standard audio CDs (all standard CD players including home and in-car) and even a DVD music disc (ideal for some music systems and for your computer).
So all in all you get a lot for your money as opposed to just a CD/DVD burner. An ideal companion for people who download music (legally of course) and want to listen to it in their car without buying an MP3 player.
I was asked to try this product by a friend/colleague a few months back and, after checking it out on -line, thought why not, as I had many pictures/video recordings on my Laptop and desk top which needed putting onto DVDs... so I decided to burn them on using this program, turning many of my pictures into some special slideshows for all to see.
So after reading the little book type cover on the outside of the box I spent a few minutes trying to peel back the sticky pads that where holding the DVD box in place, (I was on the verge of contacting a professional safe cracker at one point, but eventually managed to get it off), I proceeded to insert the DVD and began the installation process, reading through the little booklet to see what delights this had to offer...
** WHAT IS IT..?
In brief, it is a software which allows you to manipulate your pictures/videos into something very special and personal before burning them onto a CD/DVD.
Not only that, it helps you convert most formats to allow easier viewing on PCs or even mobile devices and it lets you play with your music, improving the quality for better listening... plus a lot more as well.
In short, it is a CD/DVD recorder/ media player/graphics viewer/encoder/format converter.
** MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIRMENTS...
* Windows 2000/XP (SP2)/Vista/Vista home basic...
* DVD-ROM drive
* 1 Ghz processor,
* 512 RAM
* 3 GB of HD space to install (when installed it takes up 1.33 GB of HD)
* Windows media player 10
* on line capabilities, such as Internet Explorer (for registering and updates)
* XGA monitor or better
* Direct 9.0 compatible graphics card.
* Sound card.
** WHAT YOU GET IN THE BOX...
When you see it you'll find it is an unusually bulky box with a brief outline of the products available tasks, (which is on an book type cover, which you can look at before actually ripping the cellophane open to get at the DVD itself) ...
Once you've battled with the cellophane and opened the box you'll find it contains...
* The installation DVD.
* A little booklet with a few details about what it can do with the program
* The Gen-Key (which is on a sticker inside the case, beneath the booklet).
** WHAT DOES IT CLAIM TO DO..?
(These claims are from the details from the back of the box?)
* It claims to give you up to 60% faster DVD copying and conversion.
* Fast and easy access to tips and tools
* Enhanced multi core support for the latest PCs.
* Better control and use of videos and photo's.
* Better Audio and music capabilities.
And much more....
This does take between 20 - 30 minutes to actually install...(I'm glad I was pre-warned about this because it does sometimes look as though nothing is happening, except for the noise as it reads the DVD)... you shouldn't need to stand over it to keep it going, but a 'warning' does appear stating that 'windows may need your permission to proceed', although I was not asked to do anything until it had installed, and then it was to inform me that I needed to reboot in order for installation to complete.
So basically, once the DVD is put into the drive and the 'Auto run' kicks in, it is simply a matter of waiting for it to install...(if you have not got 'Auto-run' enabled then follow the instructions in the booklet and on your monitor)
After approximately 30 minutes, and a reboot later, you will be asked to register the product and also asked to download any available updates...
Then you're ready to begin....
** WHAT DOES IT ACTUALLY DO..?
Well, this is the really interesting stuff... it actually does what it says on the tin... it is quick to 'burn' DVDs... it convert formats such as (video) AVI, DV,MPEG, 3GP, WMV, MOV(audio) MP3 & 4, AAC, (images) JPG TIFF (and many more) into almost any format with some speed...
* Make movies look professional with its editing tools
* Make your picture appear into a brilliant slide show with some remarkable results.
* Clean up your crackly sounding music tracks making them sound like new.
* Burn DVDs from your videos or simply burn a CD from your favourite tracks which you can play anywhere.
** TO BEGIN...
When you open the program you are greeted with the 'Home Page' and from here you can either...
Go to your most frequently used options, like
* Browse and manage media
* Rip music from almost any DVD (copyright protection applies)
* Copy Disc (copyright protection applies)
* Convert and transfer files in either batches or singular.
* Burn an Audio CD/data disc or even a DVD movie...
Or look down the left side of the page to choose other options such as
* Data- copy... from here you can burn data/images, create label images, backup/restore files and copy or convert images and discs and more
* Video-Movie... from here you can import videos or simply import files from video cameras, edit videos with drag and drop option, convert video formats, create and burn a DVD, video CDs or even SVCDs, play movies and even share videos on-line and more
Music-Audio... from here you can rip music from CD (copyright protection applies), burn Cds/MP3s and DVD music discs, convert formats, edit songs, capture audio form soundcard also browse and manage your music files and much more.
* Photo... from here you can import/edit your photographs, browse your images, create slideshows/panoramas and labels, print your finished pictures or simply e-mail them and more...
* On-line... which gives you the chance to get any help required from roxio online services and more.
Each task has many individual task with-in... for instance
* Working with Audio files gives you options such as capturing music from the internet radio station using your sound card, transfer Audiobooks to place on your mobile devices, clean up those tracks taken from old LPs and more....
* When making a DVD you can customise it with such things as using some nice little menu styles and background settings and adding a soundtrack to give that home movie the individual look and feel, editing your movie until like what you see.
In fact... there is just so much you can do with this I could spend all day explaining everything on here... (and I'm still discovering new things each time I use it).
** IN CONCLUSION...
I have used different Roxio® programs over time and found them all to be useful little things, (and most of them at a good price), so I didn't think twice when I was asked to have a look at one of Roxio's® latest instalments...
Looking at the 'lovely' orange coloured box, with its understated images and famous brand name, makes you automatically assume that you have got yourself a quality program, (from Roxio ® as well)... and you would be right in your assumption...
This has everything you need to create that perfect DVD of your family outing, adding all sorts of special features like transitions, a little background music and a hell of a lot more.
I have been using it for many projects, such as burning CDs to leave in my car, (as I don't like to leave original CDs in my glove box... is this legal you ask...I haven't got a clue, but I know it is illegal to smash my car windows and run off with my CD collection..????)... Also for creating DVDs from the video footage I have on my camcorder...
But I have mainly been using it recently to create slideshows with the hundreds of pictures I have taken over time, as I prefer to see the photographs in this way rather than just clicking from one to another, especially as Roxio® creator 2009 helps you make these slide show look so appealing to watch and so entertaining... all whilst having a bit of fun doing it in the process.
Starting out can seem to look a little complicated to begin with, (unless you have previously used some form of Roxio® products), but once you get cracking you'll be flying away, creating some very interesting slideshow, with some professional looking results... in fact, as the box states, people will think you're a professional editor when they see your results..
It has so much to offer that you will be able to un-install a lot of your individual; programs which you have been using for years, thinking they were the best on the market, as you will have no more need for them... so the large size of Roxio Creator 2009 will soon level out.
Although it seems to take a long time to install and, as I said, it takes nearly a gig and a half of disc space it is well worth it and once you get into the feel of the program you'll wonder how you managed without it.
In all, it is another great program from those geniuses at Roxio® which will keep you entertained throughout with its many many splendid capabilities...
And, unlike some programs of it kind, this one does exactly what it's meant to do... without letting you down.
If you are interested in purchasing this then amazon are doing it for around £30.00 at the moment, which is, I believe, the cheapest option... and is well worth the money for what is does.
** Given a gold mark by PC advisor in October 2007... I would give it 10 out of 10 considering what you get for the price....
AND.... Although not essential to the program is the fact that the casing this comes in allows for storage of several extra discs on a spindle type centre.... As I said, not relevant but good to know that you can keep other discs of this type together..