The digital media suite has been totally redesigned it's easy to install and use at least for tenured PC tacticians. But Roxio still has a few kinks to work out of the system when it comes to playing nice with other CD and DVD creators like Easy CD & DVD Creator version 5.0.
To be fair, we could not recreate any of the problems that some Windows XP users have had installing Easy CD & DVD Creator 6.0. We had no problem removing version 5.0 and adding version 6.0 on a Windows XP machine. Other users have reported that after installing version 6.0, attempted reboots fail because a config\system file is corrupt.
We asked Roxio about this matter, since we could not recreate the problem in our lab. Eric Matson of Roxio said it's true that 5.0 must be completely uninstalled before 6.0 will install.
"Having 5.0 and 6.0 on the same machine leads to some instability, so we force the 5.0 uninstall first," Matson said. "We did have a few XP machines report a missing .dll file after installing 6.0, but it turned out to be caused by a new virus that wasn't being detected by their anti-virus systems."
That being said, Roxio's PC-based digital media system includes feature-rich applications that we had up and running in about 12 minutes. Among the more compelling new applications is the PhotoSuite editor. It's ideal for digital camera users who like to share their digital photos on CDs or DVDs with friends and family members.
Being able to edit our digital photos before we share them with others is a great feature. It was easy to create a slide show with music on a VideoCD for play back on DVD players. Better yet, we could send friends and families copies of our entire wedding journal editing out some of the honeymoon pictures we didn't necessarily want to share.
The new DVD Builder offers a unique multi-storyboard work area that allows users to add professional transitions, like voiceover narration or background music. Once again, making it easy to capture and burn video directly to DVD+RW discs.
The new AudioCentral feature allows users to play, manage, rip, tag, edit and record an entire digital music collection. For review purposes, we only played around with a few tunes, but found that Audio Central is a great way to convert our old analog tapes and albums to digital formats like MP3, WMA and others. And the media library feature made it easy to see and sort files by music genre, artist or title.
The ability to drag-and-drop files to a CD or DVD for backup makes the program as easy as sending a file to a floppy disk. It's also a great way to prepare backup copies of pertinent business files, like tax information and such.
The Disc Copier function on Easy CD & DVD Creator 6.0 is a big improvement over 5.0. In the past, if our CD drive was not as fast as our CD burner, or vice versa, the data flow would dwindle to down nothing and the data transfer would stop in its tracks producing only a blank, unwriteable CD (otherwise known as a coaster).
But Easy CD & DVD Creator 6.0 allowed us to manipulate our hard drive buffer, which means a slower CD drive can be ramped up to keep the data flowing to a faster CD burner. Flexible controls of a hard drive buffer means users can start and stop the data transfer process without trashing a disc.
Roxio upgraded its Label Creator, too. Users can create personalized CDs and DVDs labels, as well as labels for mini-discs. Label Creator automatically inserts song and track information on labels that can be cut to fit into jewel cases all for personal use, of course.
The only thing we'd like to see added to Roxio's feature set in future versions of the application an ISO editor, so we could save a CD as an ISO file. This would facilitate a double-click-to-burn function that would still allow us to edit items before burning a CD.
All told, Easy CD & DVE Creator 6.0 lives up to its billing it's a user-friendly integrated digital media management suite. If you happen to get lost in the process or ripping, burning or tagging files, Roxio has included a flash tutorial that can walk you through the myriad of features it holds.
If that's not enough technical support for you, Roxio offers discussion group support for free. E-mail support is available for the first 90-days of use, but you'll have to supply the TSID number from the box as proof of purchase to communicate with technical personnel. After that, telephone support is available for a fee on a per incident basis.
Easy CD & DVD Creator 6 Platinum is available for download today at Roxio for $89.95 and it also available in the box at leading U.S. retail stores for a suggested retail price of $99.95. For a limited time, Roxio is offering a $10 or $20 rebate, so no matter how you buy it your after-rebate price is $79.95. Based on our experience with the program, Easy CD & DVD Creator 6.0 is well worth the price.