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IntroductionEasy Media Creator is a good buy for both novice and more experienced media editors. The novice will appreciate the easy-to-use interface and the more experienced user will appreciate the depth of functionality.
I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable when it comes to working with different types of media (although I am far from an expert), and the depth of possible uses for Easy Media Creator made it tough for me to think of something I wouldn't be able to do when using this package.
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Price to ValueRating What's Hot:
Easy Media Creator contains almost every feature imaginable to work with video, audio, and photos, and for putting data on CD and DVD. The package is priced similarly to other media editing packages that offer less functionality.
If you only need to create CDs and DVDs, all the other functionality might not be enough to justify the cost. There are packages priced less that will allow you create CDs and DVDs almost as easily.
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Installation & SetupRating What's Hot:
Installation took about 15 minutes for the two pieces (the main application and a content package) on a medium-powered machine:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 6000+ (3 GHz, effectively)
2 GB RAM
500 GB SATA II (7200 RPM, 16 MB cache)
Windows Vista Home Premium
Minimal interaction is necessary and no errors where encountered.
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User InterfaceRating What's Hot:
The user interface is very easy to work with and well organized. A list on the left side of the main window presents access to all the areas of functionality in a manner similar to that of Microsoft Outlook.
Almost every interface element uses tooltips, and most have context menus accessed using the right mouse button.
Some interface elements don't work as I would expect them to work. For example, when creating a DVD using the MyDVD tool, deleting a menu item also deletes the movie it plays. I would prefer to work with the two separately.
The main window can be displayed in a "mini mode" that reduces the interface to a mere eight elements.
I wondered at the effectiveness of this mode. I couldn't see it being very useful. If I want to reduce the screen space the application takes up, I would simply minimize the window.
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Product FeaturesRating What's Hot:
Easy Media Creator has nine functions for working with video: regular and express DVD creators, video capture, a DVD from DivX feature, two video editing functions, a video conference feature, and a converter to create video files for several portable devices.
Both DVD creation packages allow you to choose from a wide variety of backgrounds and menus and button styles. More can also be purchased from the Roxio website.
A large variety of formats can be used. If one of these formats isn't what you need, I'd be surprised.
The quality of the burned video can be set to: Fit to Disc, Extra Long Play, Long Play, Standard Play, or High Quality. All the normal formats are here unless you choose Fit to Disc quality--aspect ratio, NTSC and PAL, interlaced and progressive, and a choice of Dolby Digital AC3, MPEG, or LPCM audio with adjustable bitrate.
One feature I was unable to find in the MyDVD Express application was a background color selector, which I found strange. You're forced to use a graphics file for the background.
One of the most interesting audio functions for me is the ability to convert LPs (remember those?) and tapes to a digital format. While you could do this manually if your PC has a microphone, it was interesting to see included. You can capture to MP3, WAV, WMA, AC3, FLAC, M4A, OGG (nice to see, a rarity) and iPod AAC formats. It also includes track detection so you can just push Play and Record and sit back.
Another nice feature is the decent sound editor. It doesn't have anywhere near the capabilities of a full-featured package, but it gets the job done.
Not being able to set the background to a solid color in the MyDVD Express application is the only fault I could find, other than the seemingly tacked-on My Media area.
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PerformanceRating What's Hot:
Every function worked quickly on the PC I used, which is probably of medium-high quality.
Every time I closed down the application in Windows Vista, I received a pop-up stating "Roxio Creator has stopped working," even if all I did was start it up and immediately close it. According to the system requirements section on the Roxio site, all versions of Vista are supported, so this seems strange.
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Help & SupportRating What's Hot:
The Roxio site has the usual knowledge base and user forums, and a feature called Ask RoxAnn, which allows you to drill down through a series of options to find answers to typical problems. You can escalate the problem to a customer support representative if you're unable to find an answer using this feature.
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ConclusionIf you do a lot of various types of media editing, give serious consideration to Easy Media Creator. Just because the word "Easy" is in there doesn't mean it doesn't pack a lot of power and functionality. It gets a 9.5/10 from me--no software is perfect, so minus a half a point :D
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