Back in the day, Cyberlink was best known for DVD player software, while Nero was a developer of CD-writing ('burning') utilities. Now both companies are producers of very successful creative multimedia suites that play DVDs, burn discs and a whole lot more. For an embarrassingly low price, both packages offer audio, video and …
But I don't want either of them
I really don't like this monolithic approach. It seems a bit like world domination to me.
I look at either of these, and the density of what I'm being asked to absorb just makes my brain shut down. Why would I want a disc burner that edits video? It's like going to buy a car and being offered something that has helicopter blades and a JCB digging arm on the back. Your first thought will be 'it won't fly well, and you can't do much digging with that blade whizzing round".
I use programmes that do one thing well, like Brasero or CDBurnerXP. If I want to edit MP3 tags, I use Kid3-qt. If I want to edit audio use audacity. To rip CDs I use Rythmbox or EAC
I can't believe that any of these huge bundles of software are really very good at everything they try to do. And I worry that they devote so much time to bit-twiddling graphical apps that they forget to pay attention to the basic task of burning discs.
Both bloated crap
Probably about ten years ago, both these packages were installed on my machine. Now, they've become so bloated and unwieldy, you'd have to be a moron to install either of them. The emphasis on media libraries, media search and other unwanted explorer extensions made me uninstall. Looking at the feature list for PowerDvd: "Live Comments on Twitter and Facebook" for a media authoring suite? Jaysus. Nero: "Music, photo and video organizer", "Quick launch pad for burning, video editing or backup"... hmmm. I rest my case.
DVD picture quality
What is the picture quality of the DVDs like in these programs? I've used some other ones, not the ones you reviewed, and it made the film look like it had been shot with a webcam.
How cleanly do these install?
One element I would like to see in these kind of software reviews is: how much crap do these suites want to install, such as, start-up services to scan for media, automatic update downloaders, etc etc
How difficult is it, really, to create software that does not crap all over my boot-up time and my running processes? I want software that will run only run after I click on the icon, not every freaking time i boot my computer!
Expensive, pointless bloatware the pair of them.
Neither have been useful for years.
I wouldnt even bother paying £4 for the OEM versions.
A couple of freeware apps from ninite.com that weigh in at maybe 30Mb each and away you go.
Printing labels for CDs....how very turn of the century. Scribble on em with a felt-tip like everyone else.
Don't forget LightScribe in between labels and felt tip
Has anyone with a LightScribe drive actually ever bothered to use it?
Yup to the lightscribe...
... cause the buggers round my way keep nicking my felt-tip pen, plus lightscribe etched CD/DVD's look a lot cleaner when quickly burning stuff for clients/customers (allows you to sneak your own branding in at every opportunity).
LightScribe is great for one-off discs that need to look professional, and for things like on-demand discs, or for somethign that has a tremendous sentimental value that a stick-on label would make tacky.
It's not so useful if you are doing something like burning a CD that's going to get the stuffing beaten out of it (read: a bootstrapping cd that has enough code to talk to a network server a pull down a system image) or for anything that would be faster to do in batches. (production runs of anything larger then 10 units, really)
The only other recordable media I've seen out there besides normal discs and light scribe media is the type with a printable surface, and frankly, I'm not sure how well that works- never toyed with that hardware.
Yeh ... but ....
They don't run on Linux ... so that's one poteitial sale of Media Suite out the window.
...Linux has a thousand and one alternatives for this M$ Windows bloatware. Stuff like Funky Gibbon 9 and Heelooloopharp Media Sweet! or Twiddler9 (l33t edition)? And they're not just alternatives, they're far superior I've heard.
Be honest Michelle. You wouldn't have bought them if you were on Linux or Windows. Kudos for getting the penguin in though.
K3B *does* run on Linux. It's Open Source (full GPL). And it even shows you afterwards how you could have done it by hand from the command line :)
Tmpeg Authoring Works?
How about reviewing TMPEG Authoring Works? Experiments with older TMPEG products yielded quite decent quality results, and I'd like to see how the newer iterations of their products fare.
ACDSee used to be like this...great little prog for sorting and viewing your pics, now a bloaty mess that takes over your computer.
I used to love Nero when it was just a CD/DVD burning tool. then the DVD creator crept in, the music library, then the user interface went from clean and simple o loads of silly pictures that made it look like a very bad MySpace site. I now use Easy CDDA Extractor for my DVD burning, just does the job without all the bloat.
Do They Still Completely Ignore...
Regional settings? My crappy Cyberlink fails to honor date settings and can't even perform a proper file sort by date. They are so lame they perform a string sort on the date in the "mm/dd/yy h:mm:ss" format of their choosing. Its disconcerting to see 12:30am sent to the end of the list after 10:30am. Doesn't give much confidence in the more important bits either.
And Nero? Their wizard design is horribly stupid. You can't go back when a burn fails, the one time you are most interested in doing so. You have the choice of restarting your layout from scratch or saving it and then starting a new project and loading your settings. Clicking Back once and trying to burn again would make too much sense.
And burning a multi-session disk? Wouldn't the old volume label be a good default for the new volume label? Hell no, not to Nero, they suggest "My Disk" or something worthless when you already have a perfectly good volume label on the disk.
I need 2 fail icons for this post.
Free imgburn on Windows does just fine for CD, DVD and Blu-ray
ImgBurn - lovely free program - easy to use wizard, informative logging and friendly dialog pop up messages. Plenty of support on the associated forum.
Nero 8 has served me very well, but recently having 2 attempts at burning a Blu-ray on Nero 9 (if I remember the version) to backup my data failed on it, could have been many factors, but just changing to ImgBurn I got success. So I've stuck with ImgBurn ever since for backing up files to disks or making honest backup copies of my paid-for software (saved me doing this as one of my original disks got cracked). I am guessing that a bug might have been introduced between versions.
If I wanted to do something a little fancy - but still a proper standard - like make a DVD-Video but with a DVD-ROM portion on same disc I would try Nero first (as have done with success), failing that I would try ImgBurn. videohelp.com forum is useful too.
IMGBURN here as well
Nero kept producing coasters, ImgBurn just worked.
Cyberlink never succeeded at an 8x BDR burn for me but with the same media ImgBurn did it, and did it quickly. They also gave me a nice log so I could clearly see that it had burned, it had verified successfully, and it had done it so quickly I wouldn't have believed it otherwise.