Product Type: Cyberlink in Multimedia
Newest Review: ... me personally, so Iíll probably just let it sit on my hard drive to gather dust. Sorry Cyberlink.... but PPG2 looks a lot better as a sc... more
Cyberlink PowerProducer 2
Member Name: T-W-P
Cyberlink PowerProducer 2
Date: 18/10/04, updated on 12/11/04 (5148 review reads)
Advantages: Cheaper than some competitors, DIVX encoding included, Internal extra "toolkit" utilities, such as "make DVD-VR into compatible DVD-R"
Disadvantages: Doesn't seem stable, Insists on re-processing already-DVD-compatible MPEG 2 files, and takes ages to do it!, Limited user options (take the DIVX encoding for example - Don't expect a "Doctor DIVX" esque option set!)
I bought Cyberlinkís PowerProducer Gold 2 after a very limiting trial period of 30 minutes per recording in which it was very hard to judge the quality of the product. I would have much preferred a fully-functional trial period. I trusted the brand however, since it is responsible for the very spiffy Power DVD player, and thought my limitations would vanish if I was using the full version, so I doshed up £35.
I point out here that I do not have a wide experience of DVD authoring programs, but like art, I might not know much about it but I know what I like.... and I donít like PPGold2.
First off Ė it has crashed SO MANY TIMES!! Agh!! I never knew that it did this before because during itís trial period I could only use small files, and itís crashes seem to happen when you give it a large file or too many small ones at once.
Iím using Windows 2000 Professional on an Athlon 2400 XP / ASUS A7N8X deluxe motherboard running an 80Gb partition within a 120Gb hard drive under FAT32 (for the sake of my old Norton Ghost program which doesnít like NTFS). The files however havenít been over FAT32ís size limit, so this is not responsible for the crashing.
DIVX encoding is a feature of the program, but it wonít let you encode to anything but a CD Ė not even to the hard drive, so you canít create a compilation of MPEG4ís onto DVD with PPG2.
I actually hoped to use the program to copy DVD-RAM disks used by my Panasonic E55 DVD Video Recorder into DVD-R format. This can be done by PPG2, but itís SO SLOW!! It took nearly 3 1/2 hours to copy one 2 hour DVD-RAM, and that was just having to sit through itís conversion process! What is there to convert? The file is DVD MPEG2 in PAL format / Dolby Digital 2.0 being written in DVD PAL format in Dolby Digital 2.0.... what is there for it to think about?!
I had a go at producing a VCD and it was a disaster Ė the disk lost sync within one minute! Thereís no excuse for that when the encoding process is from hard drive file rather than live. The process of conversion to VCD was alarmingly slow too - and my patience wasn't even rewarded with success.
Iím an ďA-Level in computingĒ wielding computer user, and I still havenít completely figured out how PPG2ís menu editor works! It also has to think about these menus too before it starts doing itís thinking while it recodes all your pesky MPEG2 into what must be itís own version of MPEG2 in preparation to write your DVD, so in the end I just turned the menu option thingy off altogether. When you start having to do that to keep things moving you know youíre starting to loose features that youíve paid for. Another thing that surprised me was that you don't seem to be allowed to flag your recordings as 16:9 so that widescreen recordings can be made to play in letterbox mode on a nonrmal DVD player if the person playing it doesn't have a widescreen TV. Unless you can mark your widescreen recordings as widescreen you'll just end up with a squashed picture on a regular 4:3 TV set.
There is a chance of course that all programs like this arenít as speedy as I was hoping they would be (I'm reluctant to spend any more on exploring the alternatives out there after my experiences with PPG2), and that with persistance I could get more out of PPG2, but I canít help but feel that Iíve got the worse end of this deal. I donít think I could even sell this program on because itís licenesed to me personally, so Iíll probably just let it sit on my hard drive to gather dust.
Sorry Cyberlink.... but PPG2 looks a lot better as a screenshot than it actually performs. I think PPG2 needed a bit more work before release. Let's hope at least the crashing problem is sorted out on later releases / patches.