Fresh from the company’s acquisition by Sonic Solutions, Roxio has released version 7.5 of its flagship Easy Media Creator DVD software suite. A fairly major upgrade from the capable 7.0 version, the software adds a handful of needed enhancements. Not surprisingly, many of the major new features come courtesy of existing Sonic products, and while they’re accessible via the EMC launcher, they still bear Sonic’s logo and look (Roxio promises tighter integration in a future release).
New Emphasis on Backup, Photos
I tested a shipping version of the software, and the most welcome addition by far is the inclusion of the full retail version of BackUp MyPC 6 Deluxe (sold at retail by StompSoft), which alleviates EMC 7’s previous deficiencies in data backup. BackUp MyPC offers disaster recovery, an intuitive workflow, and support for a wide variety of hardware.
Another Sonic contribution to EMC 7.5 is MyDVD Slideshow–a limited version of the MyDVD DVD authoring program optimized to produce photo slide-show discs. It’s more focused and a bit easier to use for that task than the suite’s existing DVD Builder app, which remains and, unlike other limited versions of the software, includes slide transitions, pan and zoom effects on photos, and support for up to 999 images in a slide show.
The final touch: Roxio replaces its crash-prone media playback module with the more capable, more dependable Sonic CinePlayer.
Improvements to the original Roxio EMC modules include better audio editing, with features like automatic silence detection for separating tracks, and upgraded restoration features like de-hissing, de-crackling, de-clicking, and de-noising. These features are found in both the sound editor and a handy little utility (included again after being MIA in version 7) for importing vinyl and cassette music, aptly called the LP and Tape Assistant.
The suite also acquires a dedicated app for quickly converting DivX movies into burnable DVD file structures and an image mounting utility that allows the use of up to 23 ISO and other types of disc images as virtual drives. Mounting images as Windows drive letters can be very handy for playing multiple-disc games without constant disc swapping or for playing DVD movies from your hard drive.
If you’re an Easy Media Creator fan, the new backup capabilities alone are worth the $30 upgrade fee (especially considering that Backup MyPC sells for $69 on its own). The other new features are compelling as well, but switching between the suite’s various apps is still ponderous at times, and EMC 7.5 threatens to overwhelm users with choices and alternate methods for accomplishing the same task. However, the package is now on a par with Nero 6.6 Ultra Edition ($99) feature-wise and–with numerous bug fixes since our last review–more stable than before.
With the addition of a capable backup module, this suite does it all–albeit awkwardly at times.
List price: $100 retail, $30 user upgrade, $30 competitive upgrade