A couple of years back, we reviewed CyberLink's PowerDVD 12 in detail. At that time, support for the mobile ecosystem was one of the most important targets for CyberLink. This year, the vendors in this space need to provide HEVC/H.265 support on the core features front. The other buzz-word that has been making the rounds in the tech industry is the 'cloud'. CyberLink has been quick to latch on to this trend, and is offering a cloud backend for their latest PowerDVD version along with HEVC support. Without further digression, we move on to the new features in CyberLink PowerDVD 14. But, before, that, a table summarizing the various editions of PowerDVD 14 is provided below:

  Live Ultra Pro Standard
PowerDVD 14

$14.99 / 3 mo

$44.99 / 1 yr

$99.95 $79.95 $49.95
PowerDVD Remote v2 Free Free Free
Power Media Player (Android / iOS) Free $19.99 $19.99
Power Media Player (Windows 8.x) Free $14.99 $14.99
Feature Differences

Integrated Cloud Services

Full Blu-ray Support (3D / Live)

3D Photos & Videos

UltraViolet Ready

DLNA Support (DMS / DMP)

7.1 Channel Audio Support (5.1 for AAC)

Blu-ray Support up to Profile 2.0 (BD Live OK, no 3D)

No 3D Support

DVD-Only (No Blu-ray Support)

No HD Audio Support

No UltraViolet Support

DLNA DMP (Digital Media Player) Only

5.1 Channel Audio Support

A new entry in the above table is the PowerDVD Live version which is basically the Ultra edition packaged in a subscription model with guaranteed access to the latest version of the software as long as the subscription is live. Along with the cloud subscription offering (PowerDVD LIVE allows for seamless experience across multiple devices using the 'PLAY with CyberLink Cloud' and Director Suite LIVE allows users to 'CREATE with CyberLink Cloud'), this points to CyberLink ensuring stability of revenue generation in its business model that has seen rough weather due to declining PC (and in turn, OEM licensing of its software) sales.

As Blu-ray continues to lose relevance as the primary method of content consumption in HTPCs, CyberLink has started to retarget the PowerDVD application as a 'Power Media Player'. The new features of PowerDVD 14 include:

  • HEVC/H.265 support: PowerDVD 14 supports software decode of HEVC videos in MKV, MP4 and M2TS containers, with a maximum resolution of 8192x4320.
  • CyberLink Cloud: PowerDVD 14 Ultra users get 10 GB of cloud storage for free for a year. The rates for Pro and Standard users (as well as Ultra users who want to upgrade storage or extend availability after one year) come in at $1/GB/year. Available options include 10GB, 20GB, 50GB and 100 GB. Key aspects to note include automatic content syncing, streaming from the cloud using the companion mobile apps and easy media sharing via download link generation.
  • Multiple angle support in MKV files
  • WASAPI exclusive mode support for audio
  • Ability to download YouTube videos for offline viewing
  • Ability to access UltraViolet account, view and download content from within PowerDVD: CyberLink touts PowerDVD14 as UltraViolet Ready, as this functionality is set to be enabled later this year after some announced UV services come out of the beta phase (these are not under CyberLink's control)
  • Support for embedded SRT subtitles in MP4 files
  • Customizable interface / skinning

Improvements include addition of an ALAC audio decoder, faster decoding of RAW image files and support for Vimeo. CyberLink is also providing a touch-friendly Power Media Player app free along with the Ultra edition for use on Windows 8 devices.

We hope that CyberLink will quickly add hardware decode support of HEVC as and when the platforms become available. Also, it would be better if they provide a way to turn off all in-software advertising / MoovieLive features, at least for paying customers. Other than this minor complaint, PowerDVD 14 promises to be an interesting upgrade. CyberLink is keeping in sync with the changes in the ecosystem by adding HEVC/H.265 support as well as cloud capabilities to PowerDVD, and that is good news for HTPC users.

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  • djnforce9 - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    It's a great solution for playing BluRay movies on your PC if you don't want to purchase something separate. Unfortunately there is nothing built into Windows that allows it.
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    All I want from the Windows version is a good DVD/Blu Ray player that works 100% reliably and gets out of the way.

    From the mobile versions I want something that can (in the case of Windows RT) playback at least DVDs if not also Blu Rays, and MPEG2 from my Tivo...the "cloud" stuff and whatever is utterly meaningless to me.
  • ssiu - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    What is the minimum hardware requirement for smooth software HEVC/H.265 decoding/playback?
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    Depends on what resolution you are looking at. Pretty sure a Sandy Bridge i3 is good enough for 1080p24. Still trying to collect test streams for various resolutions and frame rates to get a good idea. HEVC is still in its infancy, though -- we are not sure yet what the encoding parameters that will be used to create the media files will be.
  • sajara - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    From my own tests since x265 came out in September HEVC still has a long way to go compared to x264 encoder, but in only 7 months months has improved massively in development. The next branch will deal with quality so lets see how long till HEVC stops to be only a nice marketing jargon.
  • ToTTenTranz - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    So let me get this straight:

    - The "standard version" only plays DVDs but costs almost as much as a standalone BluRay player with all the hardware (optical drive, SoC, motherboard, power supply, case, remote), software licenses, etc.
    Besides, isn't DVD playback free with windows nowadays?

    - The "Pro version" plays blurays but doesn't support 3D and downmixes all original 7.1 content into 5.1 (probably spending CPU/energy resources into decoding a TrueHD/DTS-HD just to drop 2 channels and send a 5.1 LPCM instead).
    It costs almost the same as a full-fledged standalone BluRay player that will play 3D content and won't castrate the sound for people who have a 7.1 setup.

    - The "Ultra Version" is more expensive than many standalone BluRay players that offer practically the same functionality.. except that it's just a piece of software.

    So what's the pirated/purchased ratio on this? 1 Million to 1?
    Do people actually buy this?

    HEVC support has been around for ages in free and open-source software. Why would any capable-of-using-google person would want to pay for this?
  • abrogan - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    I totally agree.

    This company has no shame. After forcing me to pay twice to continue having blu-ray support, I won't buy their products ever again. Also forced their customers to pay for windows 8 support eventhough it would work fine if it didn't self check and disable itself. (planned obsolescence, nothing more) Buy a blu-ray player to watch blu-rays. Don't use a computer. And shame on the companies that created the blu-ray format, that they didn't have the foresight to release a free blu-ray application when they released the format. Short-sighted stupidity killed the platform. I didn't experience any of these aggravations with the DVD standard.....
  • abrogan - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    45 dollars a year so that you can continue to watch your blu-rays on your computer... what a joke!
  • Deelron - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    Agreed, it's sad that it's easier and more cost effective to get a lifetime license for a program that removes copy protection schemes (specifically for Blu-Ray) then it its to try and have a "legitimate" software player.
  • Flunk - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    Microsoft charges for Bluray and DVD playback because they need to pay for the licensing. In Windows 7 very few people used the built-in codecs so they decided to try and save money and sell them for $9.99. $9.99 isn't so bad, I think it's pretty close to cost.

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