DVD power play

If you've recently bought a DVD drive or even a graphics card, you probably received a bundled version of either PowerDVD or WinDVD. Why, then, would you want to go out and buy the same software? Well, the bundled version is almost always a generation or two older and doesn't provide value-added features or support for 5.1 audio.

On the surface, PowerDVD 5 Deluxe has only minor tweaks to the familiar interface, but there are significant new features. CLEV (CyberLink Eagle Vision) improves colour saturation, brightness and contrast; delivering a more vibrant picture on your CRT or LCD monitor. CLPV, or CyberLink PanoVision, allows you to watch 4:3 material stretched to fit a widescreen display or TV without overly distorting or cropping an image - a feature found in many modern widescreen TVs.

Virtually every audio format is supported, including Dolby Digital, DTS (not available in the Standard version), Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Headphone and Dolby Virtual Speaker and CLMEI (CyberLink Multi-Channel Environment Impression). The latter is a proprietary technology that creates a multichannel audio experience from plain stereo sources such as an MP3 file or CD.

PowerDVD 5 could double as your all-in-one media player, but that isn't really its forte. As a DVD-Video player, however, the program excels in every respect.

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