Apart from your usual video and music playback, Cyberlink has integrated the new MoovieLive software and website into PowerDVD 8 to expand its capabilities many fold.
Yes, it does jump on the “social networking” bandwagon to some respects, but the demonstration was quite impressive – for movie buffs it can help catalogue your discs (pulling cover art from Amazon), you can review and rate them, read reviews from others and “share [all] the info with others.” That is, if you want to – it depends what you watch
It also registers what you’ve watched and when you watched it (again, this part is optional). It doesn’t even matter if you’re reading from the hard drive or DVD disc (if you’ve backed up your collection for example) just as long as the software can read the disc data. However, it’s worth mentioning that this doesn't apply to non DVD/Blu-ray backups though.
Facebook already has its own movie rating application, and while simple you can’t deny the massive market potential it has from its millions of users. We asked Cyberlink if there would be a MoovieLive plugin for Facebook and were told it was being considered for Q4.
Another feature is the Movieremix, which lets people play with and create “mash-ups” of the movies they own – adding extra subtitles, overlays and even personally recorded dialogue to scenes that can be spliced together in whatever order you feel like.
It works surprisingly well because it's just drag and drop, although because it can't be customised that much with extra content the novelty could wear off pretty quickly. It doesn’t require all that much hard drive space or processing power because it doesn’t actually do anything other than create bookmarks and tags, and since they can be uploaded and tagged to a film on the global MoovieLive database there could be a wealth of them out there. However this also means it requires the DVD/Blu-ray disc if you want to play back your mashup or anyone else’s – a serious pain in the backside, and likely a show-stopper for those who don't carry an entire movie collection around with them.
It’s how Cyberlink gets around potential copyright issues since it isn’t editing or storing the original content. Most of us will just upload it to YouTube under an anonymous account and let Google sort out the copyright infringement problems, even if it could be classed under fair use. Unfortunately Cyberlink doesn’t have this weight, and it understandably wants to protect other business interests.
One thing worth noting though is the MooveLive website is free to join, although the MovieRemixes and other PowerDVD 8 specific features are obviously missing. Whether or not it takes off really depends on what it offers new over the likes of the massive IMDB, Facebook and any number of social networking sites – there are plenty of movie fans out there, that's for sure.
The lossless audio support that we first covered a while back
has been put back to the release of 8.5 at around the August-September time frame. Again, Cyberlink was keen to stress that this will be a free update if you already own PowerDVD 8.
This delay can be significant issue for those wanting to use PowerDVD 8 with Blu-ray disks, but after discussing this with both Dolby (TrueHD) and Cyberlink, as well as various motherboard vendors (Gigabyte boards that use the Realtek ALC889a and features “content protection”) and even AMD (in reference to its 780G and its audio limitation to S/PDIF pass-through under HDMI) during CeBIT, all we can conclude is that HDCP for full quality audio is just a complete mess.
No one party seems really to blame (or it’s exceptionally difficult to tell), but the bureaucracy and hassle that every party claims to have to go through to work with each other in order to conform to the standards boarders on the insane. Working outside the same company is hard enough already – but mix into the fact that several companies are involved for different chipsets, drivers, operating systems, motherboards, soundcards, and graphics cards – all these have to conform to a set of standards laid out by content producers.
In some respects, it’s hardly surprising given the open nature of the PC platform compared to a locked down CE device, but it also means the consumer suffers because content producers insist on imposing such archaic demands.