In the year since Roxio Easy Media Creator 9 Suite
was released, a number of technologies have matured, making a new disc-burning suite not such a bad thing to purchase.
No self-respecting software version release would be complete without a new interface, and yet again Roxio has changed the look of the Roxio Central front end. If you’re running Vista, all the Easy Media Creator (EMC) apps are now Aero Glass-enabled. The Vista integration goes further than just the look and feel, too. An Easy Audio Capture Sidebar Gadget allows you to capture internet radio or any PC audio with one click, and the Audio/Video Converter Sidebar Gadget gives you drag-and-drop media format conversion.
Whether you’re running Vista or XP, however, Central offers the same features. Roxio links are loaded from the web in the middle and icon lists straddle either side. These provide two entry routes to the applications. On the right you’ll find a list of the most frequently used tasks, and on the left everything is categorised.
New features include a Batch Audio Converter tool for grabbing bunches of music files and converting them to other formats. And those blessed with multiple optical drives can now simultaneously encode audio from more than one CD at once using the Multi-Ripper.
The video-editing capabilities have seen a few notable improvements, too. The video-capture component can bring in footage from HDV camcorders, and the bundled VideoWave can edit it in the most basic terms – there’s a timeline, but no support for AVCHD. In both MyDVD and VideoWave, SmartSound QuickTracks loop-based music is now one of the options when you add Background Audio for slideshows and movies.
Roxio has also added direct support for YouTube, although not directly to VideoWave or MyDVD; instead, you right-click within the Media Manager and upload straight to YouTube from there. However, this puts your video into your account, with private Broadcast settings: you still need to log onto YouTube to set up the description tagging and make it public.
Creator Classic now supports writing to HD DVD as well as Blu-ray, and the Copy utility can duplicate these types of disc, too. However, this doesn’t work with protected discs such as commercial movies in these formats, for obvious reasons. Strangely, Roxio hasn’t yet added authoring capabilities for these formats to MyDVD. Considering you can now burn to Blu-ray with a number of video-editing applications, such as Adobe Premiere Elements 4, this shows that EMC 10 is playing catch up.
On the entertainment front, CinePlayer now supports Dolby Digital EX 6.1 and 5.1 output, plus Pro Logic and Dolby Headphone. It also has something called a VGA Optimizer built in, which makes sure graphics settings are the best they can be. But we didn’t discern any particular quality differences when playing a DVD compared to CyberLink PowerDVD 7.2.
The remainder of the new features revolve around portable devices, in particular the synchronisation of media from your PC to a mobile player. When you first connect a mobile device to your PC, a wizard guides you through the settings. This sets up a profile for that device, which dictates the type of files synchronised and their location. This can operate in both directions and will even transcode files to an appropriate format. Best of all, if you drag files to the device in Media Manager when it’s not attached, these will be transferred when the device is next connected.
Roxio EMC 10 Suite has a heap of new capabilities. But chances are you’ll only buy it for a few of them, and most likely these will be disc-related. In this respect, the key improvement is support for HD DVD – Nero 8 offers much more. So although EMC 10 is a jack of all trades, you’re left wishing it would concentrate more on being master of the one it became famous for in the first place – burning discs.