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CyberLink PowerDVD 2.5 Review

By: Brian Gray - January 16, 2000


I love to pop in a movie and have it running in the background while surfing. That's one of the luxuries of having a 21" monitor. Anyway, browsing would usually cause a stutter or two when loading sites and files.

I recently recieved a copy of the trial version of CyberLink's PowerDVD featuring GeForce Motion Compensation from 3DSL. The demo version will be available for download soon. Now while the image quality does not seem to be greatly enhanced, I do believe the speed of DVD decoding seems increased.


You see, the latest version of PowerDVD is one of the few released players that can take advantage of the GeForce's DVD Motion Compensation.

Some Background

Motion Compensation is not true hardware DVD decoding. Instead, motion compensation is a kind of pixel buffer that gives more efficient rendering through prediction of on-screen movement. It typically decreases CPU usage by 20-30%.

I started The Matrix and began to stare, trying to find difference between full software and the GeForce enhanced version with GeForce motion compensation. Only until I pulled up the System Monitor to check the CPU usage. The verdict? Patience, keep reading...

The Interface

PowerDVD supports different skins, even custom skins much like Winamp. It comes with three flavors but the default is easiest to use. The others look great but leave a little to be desired in the practicality departmant so I will focus on the default.

Everything falls in to place and you rarely spend time hunting and pecking, while waiting for the help baloons to pop up and explain a feature. While I enjoyed the interface, one thing about soft DVD players bug me. Why does every DVD software maker have to make the interface look like a home DVD player? I tried to find a way to turn off the "console" but no dice. I'm just saying it would be nice to have it as an option.

The DVD Console

Here is the console broken up into two pieces.

Status Display

Just about everything you need to know is in that little window. Title, Chapter, Time, and Volume are the displays you will gander at the most.

DVD Controls

The "buttons" in the middle can be covered for aesthetics. One of my favorite features was the "shuttle jog" on the right. It allows the user to pick several different playback speeds in forward and reverse.

Also, you see the little button with the CD and an arrow around it to the lower left of the shuttle? That is a file type selector that let's you play Audio CD's and MP3 files.

Yep, that's a camera on that button. That means a snapshot feature. So let's take a look at some screens.


Full Size 22KB

Full Size 22KB

Not much to mention here, everything looks sweet!

The Benchmarks

About the only benchmark I could come up with to show the difference enabling hardware motion compensation has on the system was CPU utilization, so here ya go.

Power DVD Software Only With Motion Comp
CPU Usage 60% 25%

Celeron 366@550 / 128MB / Creative 5X DVD


I would have to recommend the CyberLink PowerDVD Player to GeForce owners. I liked using PowerDVD's interface better than WinDVD (albeit, Iwould like a more practical skin for both) and PowerDVD features motion compensation and a capture feature. Aside from stutters that were caused by scrolling (taxing the video memory at 1600x1200), playback was smooth as glass.

It seems I'm not the only one who likes the PowerDVD player. If you buy a Guillemot card in the near future, you will get Cyberlink's PowerDVD 2.5 as part of the bundle. Dig it...

Last Updated on January 26, 2000

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