Those who have discovered the benefits of viewing 4K Ultra HD on high-quality PC monitor screens, and who like to use their PCs as high performance media players, will be interested to know that CyberLink released today its PowerDVD 17 flagship Windows media player software bringing support for Ultra HD Blu-ray playback among many other disc and file formats.
In addition to a large assortment of legacy files and disc formats, PowerDVD 17 also adds support for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets to present the latest virtual reality content as well as 360 video playback.
PowerDVD 17 is the first software player to be certified by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) for the playback of new Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs. This includes the playback of software with native 3840 x 2160p 4K resolution along with high dynamic range (HDR10), a wide color gamut and support for the latest 3D audio immersive sound formats, among others.
The new CyberLink software also supports new “TrueTheater HDR” technology that produces HDR-like video enhancement from standard dynamic range (SDR) video content, enabling the ability to see boosted brightness and color benefits on HDR-enabled TVs and monitors.
Read more on CyberLink’s PowerDVD 17 release after the jump:
A word of caution for PC novices: Even with the new software, playing back 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs from PCs will not be the plug-and-play experience most of us would like it be, and that has a lot to do with the content protection systems Hollywood requires for PC implementation.
In addition to the PowerDVD 17 software, users are going to need Windows 10 PC hardware and software with support for AACS 2.0. An Ultra HD Blu-ray Drive, such as the recently introduced Pioneer BDR-S11J-BK or BDR-S11J-X 5.25-inch drives, will also be required. Both of those drives, which remain somewhat harder to find in the U.S., offer extensive support for multiple disc formats including Ultra HD Blu-ray, include a 4MB buffer for underrun protection and support up to 16x burning speeds on standard Blu-ray media.
To play copy protected 4K movie streaming and UHD Blu-ray disc content on PCs, seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake hardware will be required. A PC also will need to support AACS 2.0 (implemented in the GPU driver), and Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX). Also required is a GPU with HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 support.
To connect the PC to a 4K Ultra HDTV or monitor, HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 inputs will be needed to pass on HDR and other enhancements.
Ultra HD Blu-ray playback is not the only benefit of adding PowerDVD 17, however, as the software supports a huge library of other files and formats.
For those who have all the gear and are ready to go with Ultra HD Blu-ray and others who want to play other less-restrictive video, music and photo files, PowerDVD 17 will bring a load of new features including the following:
- VR Mode—plays back video and photos in a virtual 360-degree visual environment with support for the leading VR display technologies including: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive VR headsets, and new 3D-360 videos.
- Ultra HD Blu-ray—plays back native 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray video discs 3840 x 2160 resolution at higher frame rates, and HDR10 support.
- Cinematic Movies—wide support for movie video disc and file formats including Blu-ray and DVD discs, 4K, Full HD, HD and SD video files and ISO images, and downloaded quality-enhanced YouTube videos.
- TrueTheater HDR—adds HDR-like picture quality highlights to standard dynamic range (SDR) video to enjoy the HDR capabilities of new 4K Ultra HDTVs and monitors with a wide range of video content. It also adds a variety of other supporting technologies to expand the immersive audio and visual viewing experience.
- Music Master—supports a broad range of lossless music formats for the highest quality listening experiences. Users can rip CDs to a wide range of formats, and extract audio tracks from video.
- Perfect Photos—photo playback for PCs and TVs including one-click slideshows and support for Camera Raw files.
- TV Mode— easy access on TVs to videos, photos and music in a user’s media library, providing premium media center functionality.
- Media Streaming—provides the ability to cast streaming content from Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast video, photo or music files not supported by the TV-connected devices themselves, in improved quality via PowerDVD’s TrueTheater technology.
CyberLink said the PowerDVD 17 software is available now from the CyberLink online store. PowerDVD is available through both subscription and perpetual licenses offering a range of options: PowerDVD Live is available in annual and quarterly subscription options. Lifetime licenses are available for three versions of PowerDVD 17.
Plans and prices include the following:
- PowerDVD Live: $44.99/12 month or $14.99/3 month subscription
- PowerDVD 17 Ultra: $99.95
- PowerDVD 17 Pro: $79.95
- PowerDVD 17 Standard: $59.95
By Greg Tarr
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