In our recent media streamer roundup, we discussed various commercial Blu-ray video profiles and presented our test suite for the same. We reused the same test suite for this review also. Before testing out the ISOs and folder structures which had their copy protection removed, we tested the original Blu-rays from an optical drive and also a few other unlisted Blu-rays such as 'Waltz with Bashir', 'FIFA World Cup 3D' and 'The Lion King'. CyberLink PowerDVD 12 was able to play back all the Blu-rays from the optical drive without issues.

The tables below present a summary of how CyberLink PowerDVD 12 fared in our local media test suite.

Container Compatibility Details
CyberLink PowerDVD 12
Version 12.0.1227.54 Ultra
Container Notes
DVD Menus Supported
ISO Supported
Folder Structures Supported
Blu-ray ISOs Supported
Folder Structures Supported1
BD Profile 1.0 Supported with Menus
BD Profile 1.1 (Bonus View / PiP) Plays with Menus, PiP Available
BD Profile 2.0 (BD Live) Plays with Menus, BD Live Available
BD Profile 5.0 (3D) Supported
Non-BD Profile 5.0 3D Blu-rays Play in 3D with Menus
Seamless Branching Works Perfectly
MKV Supported Video Codecs: H.264, VC-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 (DivX / XViD)
Supported Audio Codecs: AC3, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD MA, DTS-HD HR2, AAC, MP3, LPCM
Supported Embedded Subtitles: SRT, ASS/SSA
Multiple Video Tracks Not Supported
Multiple Audio and Subtitle Tracks Supported
Forced Subtitle Tracks Not Supported
Chapters Not Supported
Header Compression Supported
MKV3D (Stereoscopic Flag) Supported
Half SBS / TAB 3D Plays Back with Manual TV Mode Change, Auto-Switch Spotty
M2TS Supported Video Codecs: H.264, VC-1, MPEG-2
Supported Audio Codecs: AC3, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD MA, DTS-HD HR, LPCM
Supported Embedded Subtitles: PGS
AVI Supported Video Codecs: MPEG-4 (XviD / DivX), MJPEG
Supported Audio Codecs: AC3, MP3, PCM
SBS 3D AVIs Don't Autoswitch Reliably
MP4 / M4V Supported Video Codecs: H.264
Supported Audio Codecs: AAC
Miscellaneous Containers DVR-MS and TRP Supported
WTV Files Play Back with Audio Only
TS and MTS Supported
M2V Supported
1 Our BD Profile 1.1 ripped folder structure test stream (Band of Brothers (Disc 1)) failed to load beyond the initial startup screen. ArcSoft Total Media Theater 5 played back the same folder structure without issues
2 Our MKV test stream with AVC video and DTS-HD HR audio repeatedly crashed PowerDVD 12. Other MKVs with AVC video played back without issues

 

Video Compatibility Details
CyberLink PowerDVD 12
Version 12.0.1227.54 Ultra
Codec Notes
H.264 1080p60 Level 4.2 Camcorder Streams / Level 5.1 User Encodes Fully Supported
Maximum of 12 Reference Frames Supported (16 reference frame videos show heavy artifacting)
Maximum frame size of 4096 x 2304 (multi-threaded software decode)
10 bit H.264 Decoding Not Supported (Blank Video Screen)
Erroneous Bitstream Recovery OK
Upto 80 Mbps H.264 Streams Play OK (over eSATA)
VC-1 Supported
720p60 / 1080i60 (Interlaced Streams - Advanced Profile) Also Supported
MPEG-2 Supported
MPEG-4 (DivX / XviD) Supported (up to 1080p24)
Global Motion Compensation with More Than 2 Warp Points Supported
Real Media Video Fully Supported (up to 1080p24 tested)
Miscellaneous Codecs WMV8 Supported
VP6 Not Supported
VP8 Not Supported
Theora Not Supported
MPEG-1 Supported

 

Audio Compatibility Details
CyberLink PowerDVD 12
Version 12.0.1227.54 Ultra
Codec Bitstream Decode Downmix
AC3 (Dolby Digital) Yes Yes (up to 5.1) Yes (down to 2.0)
DTS Yes Yes (up to 5.1) Yes (down to 2.0)
Dolby Digital Plus Yes Yes (up to 7.1) Yes (down to 2.0)
DTS-HD HR Yes Yes (up to 7.1) Yes (down to 2.0)
Dolby TrueHD Yes Yes (up to 7.1) Yes (down to 2.0)
DTS-HD MA Yes Yes (up to 7.1) Yes (down to 2.0)
WMA Pro No Yes (up to 5.1) Yes (down to 2.0)
AAC Not Tested Yes (up to 5.1) Yes (down to 2.0)
MP3 Not Applicable Yes Not Applicable
FLAC Not Tested Yes (up to 5.1) Yes (down to 2.0)
Cook (Real Audio) Not Applicable Yes Not Applicable
Vorbis Not Applicable Yes Yes
APE Not Applicable No No
AIFF Not Applicable No No
DVD-A Partially Supported (AC3 Version)
SACD Not Supported
BD-Audio Supported with bitstreaming
Playlists M3U and PLS files don't show up in the media library
Gapless Audio Not Supported
Sampling Frequencies Faithful Decoding to LPCM up to 192 KHz for all audio codecs

 

Subtitle Compatibility Details
CyberLink PowerDVD 12
Version 12.0.1227.54 Ultra
Format Notes
PGS Supported only in M2TS (PGS in MKV is Unsupported)
Forced Subtitles in M2TS Supported
SRT External Subtitles Supported for All Formats
MKV Muxed Subtitles Supported
Automatic Subtitle Encoding Detection Works
SUB/IDX External Subtitles Supported, But SUB overlay blanks out the screen every time it appears
MKV Muxed Subtitles Not Supported
ASS / SSA Supported without Stylization or Font Effects

 

Image Formats Compatibility Details
CyberLink PowerDVD 12
Version 12.0.1227.54 Ultra
Format Notes
JPG Tested Upto 40MP ; Instantaneous Decoding and Scaling to 1920x1080
GIF Not Supported
JPS Supported
Miscellaneous Formats MPO Supported
DNG Supported
TIFF Supported (Multipage Files Display First Page)
PNG Supported

 

Setup and User Interface Online Services
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41 Comments

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  • burntham77 - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - link

    As much as I love my HTPC, there are times when I think just using a stand alone blu-ray player is the best bet. Sure it means one more piece of hardware under the TV, but blu-ray is still hinky on the PC, mainly due to audio codecs being unreliable. Reply
  • Breit - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the review. I have just one question: Does PowerDVD 12 have proper multi-monitor support eventually? All prior versions i have tested so far just give me a cheesy warning dialog box saying that 'resolution is not supported' which means that one display in landscape (30" - 2560x1600 in my case) and one display in portrait mode (20" - 1600x1200) is not what they want their customers to use. Not that this is complicated to handle other players handle this just fine, it is just bullying. Reply
  • Golgatha - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    I've tried both Cyberlink and PowerDVD. Both of them will put you on an upgrade treadmill and the juice just isn't worth the squeeze every year. I know PowerDVD also took out the ability to playback Bluray ISO rips or M2TS files. Cyberlink is clunky and rarely updates their software.

    On the other hand, ArcSoft TMT plays everything beautifully, they don't hound you about upgrading, and they don't mind if you employ a bit of fair use in your media viewing habits. They also provide free and regular updates to the software and it isn't a bloated POS like both Cyberlink and PowerDVD have become.
    Reply
  • max_daemon - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    I registered to second Golgatha. When I bought a hybrid HD-DVD/Blu-Ray drive in 2008 it came with PowerDVD and I have to say my experience was infuriating. From the start a number of Blu-Ray releases wouldn't play. Updates were few and VERY far between. Even some HD-DVD titles would be messed up, with non-functional menus. Long story short, I shelled up for Total Media Theatre after a long search for a good player - the forums were filled with stories similar to mine, both from PowerDVD and that other popular bundled software whose name eludes me - and have never looked back. I haven't upgraded to the current version (I think it's on 4 now), but it still runs great, plays anything I throw at it, has hardware acceleration, you name it. It was worth every cent. Reply
  • Golgatha - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    TMT 5 is the latest version and I upgraded from a bundled version 3, which was specific to an ASUS HDAV 1.3 slim I owned. At the time I owned PowerDVD 8 and had tried a trial version of Cyberlink, which didn't work at all as was bloated...just awful. Anyway, PowerDVD removed support for HD DVD at random and they also removed support for playback from virtual drives while I was the "proud owner" of their software, which I shelled out $100 for. Those two features basically made me diehard against them, and even if PowerDVD worked well and wasn't bloated, it would be a cold day in hell before I ever gave them my money again. Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    Guys, I agree TMT used the be the best balance between PDVD and WinDVD, but Cyberlink has learnt its lessons here. The player is not bloated at all, and the pestering to upgrade / purchase other software has toned down quite a bit.

    As I mentioned in the review, PDVD plays back ISOs and folder rips without any problems. (I think they had some issues earlier)

    I did mention in my review about a folder rip which didn't play back in PDVD 12, and a crash while playing back a local file. So, it is not that PDVD is the magic solution.. Cyberlink does need to make some more fixes.
    Reply
  • Golgatha - Thursday, February 2, 2012 - link

    I sent ArcSoft an email linking them to this feedback section. They replied back within 12 hours. This is what they said...

    Thanks very much for provide the link to us. We will keep support for playback from virtual drives, M2TS files, and keep improve the software.

    Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions.

    Best Regards,
    ArcSoft Support

    I have never once had a feature removed by ArcSoft. Can't say the same for Cyberlink. ArcSoft gets my money.
    Reply
  • Tin Hat - Friday, February 3, 2012 - link

    I believe ArcSoft removed HD-DVD support in later versions, which funnily, i found less annoying than when PowerDVD did it. Why? That's because ArcSoft kept updating its software compatibility wih the latest Blu-ray releases so i could continue to watch HD-DVD as well. The only bug to bear was the switching to plain graphics every time HD content kicked in, which ArcSoft never coded out of version 3.

    My main annoyance was when software companies dropped HD-DVD like a stone leaving buyers like me stranded for decent backup tools and players. I noticed only AnyDVD and ArcSoft left solid support for us. The rest just assumed we would just bin all those lovely HD videos or something? I've had a both annoying and educational time learning all about reMuxing and transcoding since then.
    Reply
  • darkswordsman17 - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    I tried TMT5 and was unimpressed. For one, it would put Windows into basic color scheme even though I made sure to check not force that, it still did it with every Blu-Ray movie I played on it. Performance wasn't terribly impressive. MPC-HC with madVR looks better and performed roughly the same with a trial Blu-Ray rip using MakeMKV of the exact same movie, no compression/encoding or anything. Oh, and using a mouse is a bit of a pain but menus on DVDs and Blu-Rays are often sluggish if not outright horrible to begin with so that's the bigger nuisance.

    So, Arcsoft might be one of the better for what it is, but its still a letdown and not a substitute for say MPC-HC properly configured. If it weren't for the DRM keys needed (and probably DTS-HD decoder), there's basically nothing that other players couldn't do as well if not better. Couple that with the price and its just not worth it to me.

    I'd probably just use MakeMKV but I can't get transcoding of the lossless formats to FLAC figured out yet.
    Reply
  • daneren2005 - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    Why not just use AnyDVD HD. Its non intrusive and just works in the background and allows you to play a blu-ray just like its a dvd from your normal player. And best yet they don't bullshit you and pretend their support is anything but a subscription of their software. They call it what it is. Reply

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