Software Blu-ray / DVD players are bundled with almost all OEM PCs and a necessity for consumers who want to enjoy their commercial optical media in the most legal manner possible. At AnandTech, we have reviewed HTPCs from Dell and ASRock with CyberLink PowerDVD bundled. However, the bundled versions often skimp on number of audio channels which can be decoded and other such aspects to lower licensing costs. Because of this,  most consumers end up upgrading their software or using offerings from other vendors in this space.

In our reviews, we have used offerings from all the three major vendors: ArcSoft (Total Media Theatre), Corel (WinDVD Pro) and Cyberlink (PowerDVD). Each of them has its own pros and cons. While WinDVD Pro is the leanest and most responsive of the lot, it is also pretty barebones. Total Media Theatre, on the other hand, has a very good user interface and integrates services like YouTube in a seamless and enjoyable manner. PowerDVD has historically been a leader in the features department, but the user interface and bloat used to be a turn off for most users.

Today, CyberLink is launching PowerDVD 12 along with an updated Android / iOS app, PowerDVD Mobile v4. The Blu-ray folks haven’t added any new features to the Blu-ray discs since the introduction of the Profile 5.0 MVC-encoded 3D titles. PowerDVD 11, launched last April, came with full spport for these Blu-rays. With nothing new to support on the Blu-ray side (except CyberLink's own efforts to present 2D Blu-ray titles in 3D), CyberLink shifted attention to focus on the mobile apps. In the meantime, they also began to work on streamlining the user experience on the PC. We got ample time to play with the new software and apps ahead of the launch, and we are well positioned to review the products in detail.

PowerDVD 12 consists of three components, and comes in three different versions:

  Ultra Pro Standard
PowerDVD 12 $99.95 $79.95 $49.95
PowerDVD Remote v2 Free $4.99 $4.99
PowerDVD Mobile v4 Free $19.99 $19.99

The following list summarizes the differences between the various versions. This may help the reader in choosing the version best suited for one’s needs.

  1. Blu-ray playback support is available only in the Ultra and Pro versions. The Standard version can play back DVDs only.
  2. 3D and True Theater 3D effects are not available for DVDs / video / photo files and YouTube titles in the Standard version.
  3. Import of 3D photos and videos into a media library is not available in the Standard version.
  4. Upload of 3D videos and TrueTheater enabled 3D videos to YouTube is not available in the Standard version.
  5. The Sync-2-Android feature for Android devices connected over USB is not available in the Standard version.
  6. DLNA features:
    1. The Standard version can’t act as a Digital Media Server (DMS) with transcoding capabilities.
    2. While all three versions can act as a Digital Media Player (DMP), only the Ultra version can act as a Digital Media Controller (DMC), Digital Media Renderer (DMR) and has DLNA DTCP-IP DRM support.
  7. 3D UI in Cinema Mode is not available in the Standard version.
  8. Audio Processing:
    1. There is no support for Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Virtual Speaker, Dolby Headphone and Dolby Digital EX in the Standard version
    2. The Ultra version supports up to 7.1 channels of Dolby Digital Plus, but the Standard and Pro versions support only up to 5.1 channels.
    3. There is no support for Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD in the Standard and Pro versions
    4. There is no support for DTS-ES (Discrete & Matrix) + Neo:6 / MLP-HD in any of the three versions.
    5. The Ultra and Pro versions support up to 5.1 channels of AAC audio, but the Standard version supports only 2 channels.
    6. S/PDIF Remix feature is supported only in the Ultra version
  9. Disc and File Format Support:
    1. VC-1 support is available only in the Ultra version
    2. DivX Pro and CPRM support are not available in the Standard version
    3. MK3D is not supported in the Standard version

The following tables summarize our testbed setup:


HTPC Configuration
Model ASRock Vision 3D 252B
Processor Core i5-2520M
GPU GeForce GT540M
Memory 8 GB RAM + 750 GB 7200 rpm HDD
Operating System Windows 7 Ultimate x64
A/V Receiver Pioneer Elite VSX-32
Display Sony KDL46EX720 3D TV



Mobile Device 1
Model T-Mobile G2 (HTC Vision)
SoC Qualcomm MSM7230 (Adreno 205)
OS Android 2.3.3 [CyanogenMod 7]



Mobile Device 2
Model Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi 32GB
SoC NVIDIA Tegra 2
OS Android 4.0.3 [Stock]


In the rest of the review, we will take a look at the installation process and the user interface. We will analyze the container and codec support in detail and talk a little about the supported online services. Following this, we will explore the various features of the PowerDVD Mobile v4 Android app. Finally, we will take a look at what Cyberlink can do to make their offerings even more attractive.


Setup and User Interface
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  • ganeshts - Thursday, February 2, 2012 - link

    No, PDVD has an option to remain in Aero mode when playing Blu-rays now. But, ArcSoft also has the same solution.. I think there is no problem in that segment anymore as long as you go and fix the appropriate settings (I think default for PDVD 12 was remaining in Aero, and for TMT5, it was switch to Basic, but I am not sure if that was some auto-detection of GPU going on in the background)

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