Review of InterVideo® WinDVD® 8 Platinum A Popular DVD Video Player My Ratings: 4 out of 5 INSTALLATION: Installation was easy. I had no problems installing it. INTERFACE InterVideo has done a great job revamping its interface compared to its earlier versions. It is more stylish and has a great look and feel. The WinDVD main window consists of the Viewing Area for video display and the Player Panel at the bottom for playback controls. A play list subpanel is included which can be docked to the video playback window. Top panel includes access to some handy features: UPnP: Allows you to download file from a UPnP-enabled device within a home network. Zoom/Pan/ Visualization Capture: Capture snap-shot of a video and save as image QuickClip: Displays the QuickClip subpanel. PRICE (As on 27th Jan 2007): InterVideo WinDVD® 8 Platinum: U.S. $ 59.95 InterVideo WinDVD® 8 Gold: U.S. $ 39.95 PLATFORM: Windows® XP, Windows® Vista RESOURCE CONSUMPTION WinDVD consumes about 64MB of memory for Video Playback with Normal settings, which is considerably higher. In MP3 playback mode, it consumes around 90MB of memory with Visualizer turned “ON”. However, without “Visualization” it consumed 10MB of memory. FEATURES Format Support High-Definition Video: H.264, VC-1, HDV, MPEG 2 HD (1080i & 720p), WMV-HD Standard Definition Video: DVD-Video, DivX® 6 Pro, Real® Player, 3GPP, QuickTime®, Windows Media, AVI, MPEG 4 Dynamic Audio: Dolby® Digital EX, Dolby® Pro Logic IIx, Dolby® Headphone, DTS 2.0, WAV, WMA, MP3, MPEG-4, non-protected iTunes Technologies: UPnP Client and Server, IVI Hall Effect, IVI Headphone Surround. HD DVD and Blu-ray Playback Support: To be purchased separately. Playback Features It has all standard playback features like Play, Pause, Stop, Fast Forward and Reverse playback. It also includes “Seek Time” and “Repeat function A-B” like those in standalone DVD players connected to Television. Capture images: WinDVD allows the capture of static images during movie playback. The captured images are saved in BMP or JPG formats. VIDEO CENTER WinDVD’s Video Center lets you perform video playback settings depending upon your taste. It includes the following options: Display WinDVD lets you control the video window with options “Normal”, “Always on Top” and “Video Desktop”. 1. Deinterlace You can specify the method of deinterlacing if the video content requires conversion from interlaced to progressive scan. The other common methods include “Force Bob” and “Force Weave” deinterlacing. You will find this handy if you see some flickering while playing DVD. The flickering is due to wrong interlacing. Progressive deinterlace is the current video technology. In this case it converts 60 interlaced fields into 60 progressive frames. So more quality and more smoother video playback. 2. Wide Screen This feauture is now-a-days common in recent DVD players. Choose the best aspect ratio you want for playback. It is available in “Normal” and “Pan & Scan” mode. 3. TrimensionDNM DNM is short form for “Digital Natural Motion”. As the name indicates, it is a technology for Video enhancement for fast-moving objects in the video like racing etc. Normal video resolution may blur the edges of fast-moving objects due to a limited number of frames per second. TrimensionDNM compensates for this and smoothens the edges of moving objects. The video quality is made sharper and clearer. TrimensionDNM advanced settings allows you to set the quality you desire. Best quality will increas the load on CPU. On the other hand, Cinematic look will have reduced CPU load. You can also play a demo to see the differences. 4. Smart Stretch This feature compensates for the differences in aspect ratios when viewing 4:3 content on 16:9 or vice versa. It minimizes the distortion by stretching only the edges of the video and maintaining the original content at the center of the image. Note: TrimensionDNM will not function in “Smart Strecth mode”. This is understandable because Smart Stretch involves stretching the video, blurring some part of video. TrimensionDNM can’t do anything about the stretching. Colour Settings WinDVD allows you to adjust Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Colour and Gamma depending upon your needs. The best part of this feature is that you can also set the mode of viewing. CRT, LCD, TV, Projector options allows to to get the perfect colour saturated video for viewing. Video Effects The Video Effect tab lets you apply filters and effects to the video display, giving you a new viewing experience. You can apply single or multiple effects. Video effects include Cimena Enhancement, Movie Effector, Vintage, Negative, Sharpness control, Abstract and Refine options. Abstract option allows to abstract half of the video vertically with blur effect. Time Stretch Time-stretching lets you increase or decrease the playback speed. WinDVD does it without losing stereo output or distorting the audio. This is a useful feature that enables you to adjust the total length or time of playback to suit your needs. If you need to finish watching a video completely in a time frame that is shorter than the length of the video, you can use the time-stretching feature to speed up the playback. AUDIO CENTER This tab lets you adjust the audio setings according to your taste. 1. Audio Technology This will let you set the output mode viz. 2 speakers or Headphone. Technology playback options include Stereo, Dolby Virtual Speaker, SRS, and Spatializer effects. Dolby mode gives two options viz. Surround mode and Dolby PrologicIIx modes. You can also specify whether the playback should be Movie mode or Music mode. SRS technology option includes SRS Dialog Clarity and SRS Trubass options. SRS Dialog Clarity is really useful while playback of bad quality DVD’s where the midrange frequencies are suppressed. SRS Truebass which is also supplied with Windows Media Player is again very effective in delivering thundering Bass. Spatilizer® 3-D surround sound mode is also available. 2. Audio Effect Here you can find all Audio effects related to Environment,Karaoke, Echo and Equalizer. 1. Environment This handy feature lets you specify the environment in which you are watching the DVD. Night Mode normalises loud sounds, making it pleasant and equalized volume. Awesome feature for night watchers, without troubling neighbours! 2. Hall effect This mode lets you listen to DVD’s with various hall effects like Sydney, Chicago and Broadway theater. This is useful while playing live shows. For movies playback, it’s better to keep this option “OFF”. 3. Audio Equalizer A 10 - Band Equalizer lets you adjust the audio output frequency level. All standard modes are available. Custom mode is also included. For music playback, you can set “Fade” timings between tracks. CONCLUSION: A good DVD player with awesome features in every segment including all advanced technologies. Good value for money. On the cons side, it is a resource hug consuming more memory and is not completely stable. Comments and Feedbacks of the review are always welcome.