The PS3 interface linking to the MediaServer with SoftDMA running.
Software vendor for all things media, Cyberlink, has continued the trend of ever increasing products on show. We saw them previously at CeBIT, but this time it seems as though they have finalised some of the early stuff available and then some, including handheld DVB-T players, MediaCentre software that connects to MCE, Xbox 360 and
PS3, PowerDVD Ultra, PowerCinema 6, PowerProducer 4, PowerDirector and finally Cyberlinklive! This is all wrapped up in what it calls its “Total High-Def Experience”.
Handheld DVB-T: T-600
How about digital TV on the go? Touch screen? EDTV fine pixel screen? The T-600 works with on a Windows Mobile 6 base with Cyberlink's TV software and is not much bigger than your average mobile phone. It includes all the codecs (including subtitles) that you'd expect to play back digital TV in extremely high detail thanks to the 720x480 fine pixel LCD touch screen. You can use either that or the navigation buttons to control it, although no touch-screen only version will be coming thanks to the cost of using a larger internal LCD panel.
Another mobile offering includes Personal Cinema Mobile, which uses an OpenGL interface for faster, more fluid menu switching and 3D effects. It works on either a Linux based or Windows Mobile 6 PDA/smart phone. It was quite impressive to see running so smoothly on a PDA, and should provide a (better) viable alternative to the WMP included on such devices.
PowerCinema 6 & The Digital Home
PowerCinema 6 is their latest version of the expanded PowerDVD software which now includes a better GUI. CyberLink has also showcased the improved plugins for PowerCinema and Media Center Edition and most importantly improved plugins like MediaServer and SoftDMA. The MediaServer is exactly what it says on the tin, but the inclusion of SoftDMA allows streaming to an MCE box, Xbox 360 and PS3 (with the latest 1.80 Firmware). Having the facility to output in HD from these sources means you can throw your media from anywhere on your LAN, wired or wirelessly (given available bandwidth) to your destination box and have it stream onto your TV. It's both DLNA and ViiV compatible and can allow multiple devices to connect to a single MediaCentre server.
Some early Blu-Ray PC drives we've seen had PowerDVD 6.5 BD thrown in for the OEM market, but PowerDVD Ultra is the stand alone product that plays back both HD-DVD and BD disks from a single piece of software. Obviously you'll have to invest in two expensive drives or wait for a combo one to arrive for the choice of both standards, but at least the PC software is ahead of the curve. Updated support for ATI UVD, Nvidia PureVideo HD and Intel ClearVideo hardware acceleration is included as well as the capability to play back Dolby True HD and DTS Master HD audio..
Cyberlink has some critical patents to BD playback, so is optimally set to be first to market ahead of InVideo's WinDVD, even if the PC players are still too expensive and few and far between.
Arriving next month, this product allows you to author HD disks for Blu-Ray, HD-DVD and AVCHD using either MPEG4-AVC (h264) or MPEG2-HD. VC1 has some current limitations but Cyberlink expect it to arrive at a later date. Writing either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD disks might be a while off yet for most people, but HD-DVD authoring also allows HD content to be written on normal DVD-R disks. This might require some further compression of your video, but an 8.5GB dual layer disk is certainly a more viable option.
AVCHD is a standard set by Sony that allows HD footage to be recorded to normal DVDs using its proprietary codec. Playback will only be allowed on compatible players (hardware and software), so again, this might be a limited option for people until we see more products on the market.
While PowerProducer allowed you to do basic disk authoring, PowerDirector provides far more depth of editing for again both MPEG4-AVC and MPEG2-HD. Whether it's even a bug on the windshield of the industry leading Adobe Premiere, we don't know, but from the quick demonstration shown it's certainly got plenty of editing features and for those wanting to produce their own HD movies. It could also mean you don’t have to have a degree in using Premiere, and could provide a far more financially viable alternative to many.
Finally something FREE
, for everyone. Cyberlink is keen on making a community to rival fashionable websites like Flickr. Even though we think their brand doesn't carry enough weight in these circles, we can't argue that they have a unique product.
Basically you download and install the software, sign up on their website and leave the software running before you leave the house. Next, go visit a friend next door or the other side of the world and you can stream TV, video or show photos from your hard drive at home to any internet browser. No uploading to websites is required, just friendships of a few people who care about seeing your personal photos or a need to watch TV from home. It could certainly be a benefit for people who don't like uploading family pictures, especially of their children to internet sites, for example. It provides additional security as everyone has to be logged in and accepted by the user before they can see content.
Video, photo and music can be shared, of which the latter offers a very questionable legal grey area thanks to the overzealous, money grabbing corporate fiends at your favourite four letter companies. TV is for personal viewing only though, so unless someone else knows your login or you make a communal one (cough, cough), only you can watch what’s airing back home. To be honest and to the determent of everyone, we can see this service easily abused.
The streams are encoded from MPEG2 into WMV on the fly, so you need a powerful enough PC and a sufficient internet connection to watch. There's no minimum limit however, because the compression adapts on the fly to keep the stream running, however we'd recommended "the more, the merrier" since you don't want to be watching just 4 pixels change colour 30 times a second. It also supports time-shifting in browser, so you can go away and make a cup of tea without missing your favourite show.
It can't stream protected disks like DVDs, but it can stream any of your "home videos," whatever that entails. Legality is apparently not in question since Cyberlink are only providing a P2P software, although we've heard that defense fail before. You need a TV card to stream TV, and there are some 20 already supported with more on the way. It all depends on who's willing to throw Cyberlink a little money in order to get access.
Phew! That's a ton of software to fill your media watching needs, but if you have any alternatives or thoughts though let us know in the forums