PowerDVD 10 is now obsolete. Go to the more recent PowerDVD 12 review here.
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CyberLink's PowerDVD was the first Windows Blu-ray player software certified by the Blu-ray Disc Association under the Blu-ray 3D standard. Since our previous Blu-ray player reviews CyberLink have released an update labelled Cyberlink's PowerDVD 10 Mark II. Its main feature was extended 2D to 3D support. (Have in mind that as of April, 2011 CyberLink offer a new major version PowerDVD 11.)
One defining characteristic of the CyberLink's player is the push towards an online experience. And it is becoming a trend that the others are following. A major feature of PowerDVD 10 is the integration with Cyberlink's online service MoovieLive. MoovieLive is a free community site which doubles as a movie database. When your PC is connected to the Internet, PowerDVD can download more info about the movie that's currently playing. It also enables the user to post ratings and reviews that are stored in the online database. The movie library in PowerDVD can also be synced with the linked MoovieLive profile.
Another online feature called Live Comments allows you to, well, post live comments on MoovieLive, Twitter and/or Facebook while watching. This may as well be the most appealing way to take advantage of PowerDVD's online functionality as it is quite in the spirit of Twitter and practically allows for live online commentary. A nice touch with some good potential is MoovieLive's global counter, which records how many times a movie has been watched by PowerDVD users. In a way, this makes it a kind of movie popularity meter for PowerDVD users. The list of online features continues with the ability to upload videos on YouTube directly from within PowerDVD. PowerDVD will do any necessary conversions for you but you will still need to fill in some meta-info.
It is worth noting that some users do find all these online features imposing and distracting. Most of them are optional and can be turned off, including LiveComments on disc playback pause and MoovieLive integration for the current movie playing. I've also seen requests for IMDB integration in place of MoovieLive but awesome as it would be I don't think this will happen, both for possible legal reasons and CyberLink's obligation to promote MoovieLive.
CyberLink's Blu-ray player software sports two variants of user interface which can be switched through an icon on the title bar. The first is the classic mode, and the second is called Cinema Mode. It is clean, minimalistic and blue, designed to be remote control friendly and is obviously inspired from Windows Media Center. This is not a coincidence as the Cinema Mode is exactly the way PowerDVD 10 looks like when started from within the Media Center itself. The integration with WMC is seamless and works beautifully. Most features are accessible from Cinema Mode/WMC even stretching to the current movie info from MoovieLive.
Under the hood of PowerDVD 10 there are two technologies powering (pun intended) video playback. CyberLink's marketing has them called TrueTheater HD and TrueTheater 3D. The first is the upscaling engine, which is optimized to take advantage of parallel processing and the SIMD instructions of the CPU. TrueTheater HD allows some post-processing effects to be applied to the picture such as sharpening or brightness control. TrueTheater HD is unavailable when hardware acceleration is turned on. TrueTheater 3D is the engine responsible for converting 2D video to 3D and, unlike TrueTheater HD, it is GPU accelerated.
Other features include scene bookmarking and the most extensive external subtitles support amongst all of the Windows Blu-ray player software discussed here (.srt, .sub, .smi and more formats are supported). Also supported are various file formats, including .MKV (with some audio limitations, see the table here), .WTV, and uniquely amongst the competition, .RM and .RMVB, although a RealPlayer installation is required for that. CyberLink's PowerDVD 10 also features tabbed navigation with a robust media files browser for videos and music, which makes it a good choice for a general media player too.
Follow the subsequent link to check if there is a current PowerDVD 10 discount code.
Our Windows Blu-ray player reviews continue with ArcSoft's TotalMedia Theatre 5 Blu-ray player software.