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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in September, 2007 and has been placed in our archive. You can now purchase WinDVD 11 from Corel. For those still looking for WinDVD 8 you may be able to purchase second-hand copies from a private seller or on Ebay or Amazon. We have left the article intact for informational purposes. Any pricing information is referring to 2007.
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With InterVideo WinDVD 8 Platinum, you can turn your personal computer into a personal movie theater for around $70. The days of the digital movie experience are upon us. WinDVD 8 is considered the standard for movie playback on your computer. InterVideo's website claims to have sold over 175 million copies of WinDVD (http://www.corel.com/). That's a lot of Jujubes and popcorn.
WinDVD 8 Platinum is packed with features, including the ability to play back DVDs encoded within a huge range of formats such as; HD or standard definition video, DVD-Video, DivX®, Real® Player, 3GPP, QuickTime®, Windows Media, AVI, and MPEG 4. WinDVD 8 Platinum also supports H.264, the next-generation disc standard. It also includes an audio control center in which you can tweak the sound of your DVD playback to your liking. This audio control center includes support for Dolby® Digital, Dolby® Headphone, Dolby® Virtual Speaker, DTS® Digital Surround Sound and SRS® TruSurround XT.
Hardware for computers is getting better and cheaper all the time. WinDVD 8 has kept up with that technology with support for Intel® Clear Video and nVidia® PureVideo™ graphics acceleration, Intel® Core™ 2 Duo support, Progressive De-interlacing and custom video effects. It’s no wonder that InterVideo has sold so many copies of this software because they keep up with the hardware technology race. The quality of video playback is excellent because of the technology that InterVideo uses. WinDVD 8 has also included the ability to play video files on your local hard drive or files that are shared by a uPnP server on your network. This means you can use that massive television on which you spent your hard-earned money to view DVDs and files that are on your local network using this program. Other features include the ability to take a still shot of any video that you’re watching as well as the capability to make animated gifs. These new features are fun for creative types.
If you’re looking for the software standard of DVD/video playback on your computer, look no further. For $69.99 you can own Intervideo WinDVD 8 Platinum. Not only will you get a solid playback software program, you’ll get all the performance and familiarity that Intervideo brings to your experience.
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Installation & SetupRating
Installation was flawless in both a Vista (64-bit) and XP (32-bit) environment. In both environments, I needed to upgrade my Microsoft DirectX version but InterVideo WinDVD 8 guided me through the download and installation of the updates. The installation wizard asked if I wanted to install a Google toolbar and make Google my default search engine. I didn’t do either. It seems that these third party vendors are becoming more common when installing software. Other than that, the installation only took about five minutes and went without incident.
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InterVideo WinDVD 8 has the ability to play back a ton of different DVD formats (listed above). It seems that Intervideo is constantly keeping up with the new formats that are on the market. It is because of this philosophy that they are able to sell so many copies of the software.
WinDVD 8 has the ability to capture a still shot from a movie that you’re watching. If there is a particular scene or frame from a movie that is life-changing to you, you can now capture that into a Bitmap and save it to your computer. If you’re watching a video and you come upon a scene that you want to reference later, you can bookmark it. You can also save up to a 30-second movie clip as an animated gif. These are all creative add-ons for those of you who want to take a movie viewing a step further.
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The interface for InterVideo WinDVD 8 is striking to the eye. It is laid out simply. It did take me a while to figure out how to pause or stop the movie when it was in full screen mode. You just simply click at either the top or the bottom of the screen and it will show you the menu bar that has the ability to pause or rewind or fast forward the movie. Win DVD 8 also has a feature called a Boss Key. By hitting F12 during playback, the movie pauses and minimizes instantly. This was something developed by someone who is clearly not a ‘boss’ themselves.
[See Full Screen Screenshot]
The playback was crystal clear. In both XP and Vista, the movie playback was flawless.
In Windows XP, I had no problem with any of the video or audio features. I could click on either the video or audio menu and tweak to my heart’s delight. Unfortunately, that was not the case with Windows Vista. Most of my video features and some of my audio features are not available. I can't put any effects or change the aspect ratio of the movie in Vista. I went to the website to see if there was any answer there. This is what I found: “We would like to apologize for the inconvenience this problem has caused you. I will report this to the R&D for further investigation. Can you please give me more details about your computer setup? This would greatly help with the troubleshooting process… ".
In any case, these features do not work in my Vista environment, making WinDVD 8 much less appealing to a growing section of people in our society. There is more information concerning this support case in the section titled Help and Support. From my experience, if you want trouble-free performance from this product, install it in a Windows XP environment.
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Help & SupportRating
I was able to laboriously find an answer to my problem in the knowledge database on the Corel website. As stated before, in a Windows Vista environment some of the features do not work properly. In the Audio and Video tabs, I am not able to change some of the settings. I emailed Corel about this issue and I am waiting for a reply from them. There was nothing that I could do on my end to solve the problem. They were aware of it before I even went to the website.
I waited 48 hours for a reply from them. One never came. I called the toll free number to talk to a live customer service representative. According to the website, there’s only one free support call per installation. After reinstalling my video driver and downloading a patch that would not install, I still am not able to change the settings within the Video and Audio tabs. Again, the customer service representative told me that he will contact me within 48 hours. He was very friendly and was trying to help me as much as he possibly could.
The web site says the tech support team at Corel will only allow one free phone call per installation. This seems to be extreme with Vista and the Video / Audio options problem, not to mention the ongoing saga of drivers not working in a 64 bit Vista environment. I will have to see what the reply is for me to make a judgment on this ultimately.
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In a Windows XP environment, InterVideo WinDVD 8 works without any flaws. It plays back DVDs and video files on my hard drive in a crystal clear manner. The Audio and Video tabs give numerous choices to tweak and configure your movie playback experience. The still photo capture and quick clip options give even more options for you to have fun playing around with your movies. It is no wonder why WinDVD is considered the standard for movie playback on personal computers.
In a Windows Vista (64 bit) environment, however, there are some performance flaws. Hopefully, they’ll work these flaws out soon. Until then, I would recommend Intervideo WinDVD 8 platinum only for an XP environment.