Release after release, CyberLink PowerDVD always manages to keep a leading position in the market of top-quality media players. PowerDVD 17 adds to its legendary support for nearly all media files and discs the possibility of playing back the new Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, VR headset support, and HDR enhancing algorithms to boost the quality of your videos and images. Besides, an improved TV Mode adds a higher cinema-quality experience to your big-screen display.
Designed with a taste for the exclusive, the program’s interface is probably the most attractive of its kind. From the opening splash screen to every single window and button, PowerDVD is not only nice to look at, but also highly functional and easy to navigate. Both in PC Mode and TV Mode, all controls have been neatly designed and conveniently placed to enhance your viewing experience, such as the horizontally-arranged bigger buttons available in TV Mode.
CyberLink PowerDVD is not just another disc-based player – it is capable of playing any video or audio file stored on your computer and of turning your photo collection into a high-quality slideshow on the fly, as well as download and play any Vimeo or YouTube video on the Web. It can build in seconds useful libraries of all your video, audio, and photo collections (online videos included), which will also help you to keep your media organized. Thus, PowerDVD has also the potential to become the one and only media player and media manager you’ll ever need.
This new version includes a series of top-notch tools and enhancements that are worth mentioning. In terms of picture quality, you can now play Ultra HD Blu-ray movies using this tool, as well as take your standard quality videos and image files to the next level thanks to its new TrueTheater HDR technology. Note, however, that your PC will have to meet some minimum requirements to be able to make use of this technology. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets for VR are now fully supported, allowing you to view any 360º and 3D videos stored on your computer. As briefly mentioned above, you can also build your own high-quality YouTube and Vimeo video library within PowerDVD in no time. The program can also extract their audio and add the files to your music collection right away.
Apart from the requirements required to make your PC or laptop HDR and Ultra HD Blu-ray ready, you will need to check if your computer is rightly equipped to make the most of the latest video technology. PowerDVD is, but I advise you to check the program’s specs before blaming the program for not being able to play back your Blu-ray discs, for instance. On the theme of BDs, I’m still waiting for the perfect software player capable of playing back a Blu-ray movie just like my standalone DVD-BD hardware player does. I know it’s a widespread evil, but I keep wondering why software players are incapable of playing BDs in the right way, starting with the menu and letting the user navigate wherever they want to use the disc’s own controls, instead of jumping to the main feature right away ignoring all menus. Regrettably, this tool is no exception to this rule.
CyberLink PowerDVD comes in various versions, Ultra being the most comprehensive option, followed by Pro and Standard. The features mentioned in this review refer to the Ultra edition, the only one with support for Ultra HD and 3D discs, for instance. There are other important differences between editions (the Standard edition has no Blu-ray support, for instance) so you’re advised to check the comparison table carefully before purchasing your license. Regardless of which edition you go for in the end, rest assured that PowerDVD will provide you with the highest possible quality available in terms of image and all the features you need to build, manage, and enjoy your media collections.