Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Windows Blu-ray Player Software: Blu-ray Player Reviews Conclusion

The information below has become obsolete. Go to our 2012 reviews here.

Page 5 of 5

Comparison table of all 5 Windows Blu-ray software players

Performance was tested on the same system we used for our last year's Blu-ray player reviews: Intel i5-430m CPU, 4GB DDR3 memory and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 graphics card, running Windows 7. The new results can't really be compared directly with the results from the previous year as other discs were used for testing. Roxio's CinePlayer and Nero's Video Premium HD have not been performance tested and their feature support listings are based on promotional info.

CPU load17.0%7.3%11.1%??
Loading times27:84s9:43s9:18s??
Blu-ray 3DYesYesYesYesNo
2D to 3DYesYesNoYesNo
Upscale to HDYesYesYesYes??
WMC integrationYesYesNoNo?No
HDMI pass-throughYesYesNo??
Online featuresLotsSomeNo??
Time stretchNoYesYes??
Matroska .mkv supportYes3Yes3NoNoNo
RealD 3D supportIn progressNoNoYesNo
Blu-ray folders (BDMV)NoYesNoNo?No?
Built-in updates checkYesYesYes??
Free trialYesYesYesNoNo

1. Average CPU load during MPEG-4 AVC stream playback.
2. Blu-ray disc loading times averaged over 5 measurements.
3. No HD audio bitsreaming.
4. Listed price; discounts or promotions may apply.

Overall impressions

Performance is pretty good across the board with PowerDVD 10 and TotalMedia Theatre 5 having a slight lead over WinDVD.

In regards of reliability: during testing PowerDVD was the most stable Blu-ray player software for Windows with no crashes or notable problems whatsoever. In the course of testing WinDVD developed a weird problem (it was not initially present) refusing to run in full HD resolution and shutting itself after displaying a request to lower the desktop resolution. TotalMedia Theatre 5, being the most heavily changed recently, manifested some glitches including a crash or two, but nothing really glaring.

While not quite there yet, both PowerDVD 10 and TotalMedia Theatre 5 have once again moved towards convergence with video file players and much closer to general (or, rather, total) media players.

A note on upscaling lower resolution content to HD: when using software upscaling, PowerDVD seems to offer the best picture quality. This is, of course, subjective but it seems PowerDVD does have the edge. With hardware acceleration turned on all of the Blu-ray player software pretty much depend on the graphics card driver and look identical. If hardware acceleration is enabled it is a good idea to disable any post-processing options in the graphics card driver's control panel. Otherwise, picture "improvements" like edge enhancement, plasticky faces or oversharpened image may (and will!) appear. All this translates to a PowerDVD 10 recommendation if you plan to use the player for DVD playback on a system without good GPU acceleration.


Since our previous Blu-ray player reviews, ArcSoft have caught up with CyberLink and it is now a tough call to single out any of these 2 competitors in the field of Windows Blu-ray player software as the best. It is probably most fair to claim it a tie. You really can't go wrong with neither PowerDVD 10, nor TotalMedia Theatre 5. It would be safe to recommend PowerDVD to Facebook/Twitter addicted users because of its Live Comments feature, and TotalMedia Theatre to the purists who may consider PowerDVD's online integration useless or bloated. If you don't fall in one of these two categories then either one will most likely do fine, but better skim through the dedicated paragraphs above again lest you miss a feature that may tip the scales one way or another for you. And if price happens to be the main consideration then probably Roxio's CinePlayer BD with 3D should provide the solution.

Look for other reviews in our Review Maze.

Page 5
Prev 1 2 3 4 5


linkai8424 said...

You forgot to mention they took away the screen capture function for BD in TMT5.

Also the low CPU utilization is that the hardware acceleration are turned on. For PowerDVD, it's always ON when playing BD. For TMT3/5, you have the choice to turn on and off.

Agree that PowerDVD 10 has some of the best upscaling capability.

John Moscow said...

Hi linkai8424. Thank you for mentioning the omission. The tests for all players are made with acceleration turned on.

3Dtronics said...

Powerdvd 10 ultra will not work with 2011 samsung 3D tvs for 3D playback!

John Moscow said...

Are you sure that the problem is in PowerDVD? Could it be some other software or hardware related issue?

Post a Comment