Cyberlink DVD Suite Pro v5

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, April 2007
Published by: Cyberlink
Requires: For full functionality Intel Pentium 4 2.2 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 1.8 GHz, Windows 2000 through Vista, 512MB DDR RAM, 10GB available hard drive space, DVD burner, DirectX 9 or later, video card capable of high resolution rendering, minimum 1024x768 16-bit monitor resolution
MSRP: US$49.95 (Standard), $89.95 (Pro), $39.95 (upgrade)

Cyberlink DVD Suite 5 is a 10-in-1 digital media multi-tool. It is designed to capture, edit, burn, and playback digital video, commercial movies, digital music, digital photos, create and burn slide shows to CD or DVD, RIP music from CD to MP3, back up files to Blu-ray Disc or HD-DVD, author DVDs complete with interactive menus, and even print labels for all the discs you create. As Apple/Mac OS X continues to pack more and more robust and easy-to-use features into iLife, and as Microsoft continues to burden users with (always a bridesmaid, never a bride) programs such as MovieMaker, DVD Maker and Photo Gallery, a number of Windows software developers have stepped up with comprehensive suites which provide Windows users with easy to use tools that cover a lot of ground. We reviewed DVD Suite Pro 5 on an Intel E6300 Core 2 Duo system with 2GB of DDR2 RAM and an ATI X1650 Pro video card.

DVD Suite Pro v5 consists of the following:

  • PowerDirector 5 (SEP version) - capture and edit standard definition and high definition video
  • PowerDVD 7 Express - watch commercial or homemade movies
  • PowerProducer 4 - create a DVD with interactive menus just like a commercial release
  • PowerBackup 2.5 - backup utility for storing data on DVDs
  • MediaShow 3 - create digital photo slide shows
  • Power2Go 5.5 - rip music CDs and burn your own copies
    PowerDVD Copy - copy DVDs
  • InstantBurn 5 - burn files to any DVD by dragging & dropping
  • LabelPrint 2 - layout and print disc labels
  • PowerStarter 5 - the DVD Suite launch pad which provides access to all the different functions listed above


With the release of Windows XP, Microsoft helped to advance the ability of standard PCs to provide their owners with some stable video editing. XP included Windows MovieMaker, some under-the-hood operating system enhancements, a much improved version of DirectX, and a few other improvements. Windows Vista continues in the same vein, adding Media Player 11. But Windows XP and Windows Vista don't have an attitude the way Mac OS X and iLife have an attitude. So several respected software makers have stepped into the Windows XP and Windows Vista arenas making it absolutely clear that Windows users can get their hands on iLife-like experiences too. Enter Cyberlink DVD Suite 5.

After using PowerDirector to capture and edit your video footage, use PowerProducer to layout a nice interface for the DVD you're going to create. Burn your movie or slide show to a DVD which can be loaded into any DVD player for viewing on a nice, big living room television. DVD Suite Pro 5 also lets you burn as many DVD as you like so that relatives and friends can be given their own copies to take home. Before you hand out any DVDs, you'll need to create nice looking labels to identify the discs. That's where LabelPrint comes in, and you can use it to create photo and/or text-based labels which look good if not completely professional. No matter—DVD Suite Pro 5 is a decent start-to-finish product, even if a couple of components aren't totally professional. Once you're done with all that video editing, producing, and DVD authoring, use PowerBackup to backup all your data to DVD for safekeeping. There's a bit more to this, but you get the idea. Cyberlink has worked hard to create a suite of programs which work well together when you follow a particular work flow: capture, edit, produce, author, burn, label, backup, view. It works well, if simply. Dedicate some weekend hours to become more familiar with DVD Suite Pro 5, and you'll be able to step out of the recommended work flow and flex your creative muscles a little more fully.

The PowerStarter central interface combined with Cyberlink's Magic wizards are useful for people who wants to get things done quickly, but without having to learn the nuances of every part of the suite. That's good news for what we estimate to be 90% of all the potential users of DVD Suite Pro 5. The first part of a straw poll we took revealed that lots of people we know have digital video cameras which they use to shoot lots and lots of footage. The second part of the straw poll revealed that most of the same people struggled every time they sat down to try and do something interesting with all their video footage. Our advice when using DVD Suite Pro 5 (and any other video production software) is to review all your video footage and then create a list of clips to grab which will then be assembled into the final production. Do it this way and things will go much faster. Remember that the longer you prowl around inside any video production software (from the rankest amateur program up to the most serious and expensive professional software) the more likely it is to crash and mess up some of the work you've done to that point. Throughout a four week review period however, I didn't actually experience a crash or lockup of any kind. That's very good news indeed and seems to indicate that video production on the home PC is finally coming of age.

Cyberlink's justifiably famous PowerDVD movie player is one of the most widely used and distributed programs of its kind. I find PowerDVD more forgiving of various video file format anomalies and easier to use than Windows Media Player 10 or 11. The inclusion of the PowerDVD 7 Express version in the DVD Suite Pro 5 package is a real bonus. That's not to say the suite could do without it mind you. After all, what good is all that video production power without a player. When someone says, "Hey let's see your vacation video", PowerDVD 7 lets you show it full screen.

Cons: Cyberlink DVD Suite Pro 5 is not supposed to be an iLife clone. The comparison (or is it wishful thinking?) at the beginning of the review is all mine. I did not have a lot of success with recording narration for some of our videos, although the problem was at least in part related to some incompatibility between our Sound Blaster Audigy drivers and Windows Vista, so we can't fully blame this on DVD Suite Pro 5. Not all software suites of this kind work on all Windows PCs. Read and heed the system requirements. Download the trial version from the Cyberlink web site to try out the software before purchasing.

Pros: We like the Cyberlink products because they're generally quite friendly and DVD Suite 5 is no exception. The range of features and functions in DVD Suite Pro 5 suite is suitable for beginners, novices and many hobbyists. You'll be able to produce some rather good results quite easily and that's the whole point of the exercise—getting your video footage and digital photos into a format that can easily be shown to other people. Power2Go is very handy for grabbing audio tracks from CDs to use in your personal video productions. We were able to edit, produce, burn, label and hand out a 15 minute video of a 10th anniversary party in just under 4.5 hours. Some other testers took longer (and some produced longer videos too), while others were done with their 3-5 minute productions in two hours. Whatever your skill level as a home video editor and producer, DVD Suite Pro 5 is a good choice. Recommended.

KSN Product Rating:



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