CyberLink introduced Tuesday the latest version of its popular media player software, PowerDVD 18, expanding upon 4K and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray playback capability along with high dynamic range (HDR) support, virtual and mixed reality (VR and MR), 360-degree video and online streaming content.

PowerDVD is computer-based home entertainment media playback software supporting a wide variety of digital A/V media formats and files, including those stored on physical discs, downloads, and streaming. It will also access media files stored remotely through a home AV network.

The software program offers lovers of disc-based formats some solace that devices of various types –including computers and software–will be around for some time to ensure playback of their valued disc libraries, as well as those stored to NAS devices, computer hard drives and in the cloud.

Last year’s PowerDVD 17 brought support for 4K Ultra HD video files and Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. PowerDVD 18 expands upon that further with more flexible support for files and formats online for playback on PC monitors, connected 4K UHD televisions, mobile devices and other display tools that can be hard wired or wirelessly networked.

The latest version also brings playback support for live videos and 360-degree content, enabling the use of connected virtual reality (VR) headsets, a wide range of Ultra HD 4K TVs and home theater systems, in addition to the desk-top and laptop PCs to get a fully immersive experience.͟

4K Ultra HDTV owners and enthusiasts will find PowerDVD 18 offers a robust means for playing back 4K video from online sources and even compatible Ultra HD Blu-ray drives.

The software is fully compliant with HEVC H.265 video codecs used for 4K storage and streaming, including 4K videos recorded with the latest iPhones, along with metadata for the HDR10 profile.

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Users who don’t have a VR headset can watch 360-degree video on their PC with a new viewing mode enabling users to see all of the captured angles, simultaneously.

The software now incorporates playback support for both YouTube and Vimeo 360-degree content, to deliver a selection of curated VR content for both PC screens and VR headsets, including new Windows Mixed Reality (MR) headsets, through the CyberLink Power Media Player MR app.

PowerDVD 18 also brings a new ͞Mini View͟ player that keeps the playback software on top of other windows to maintain uninterrupted viewing of local or online videos. Used with new YouTube Live integration, the Mini View player will enable users to multitask on their PCs, and keep watching a live program uninterrupted.

Also now supported is Fire TV casting (joining Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast streaming devices), providing a simple way to send movies, music and photos wirelessly from PCs to a TV screen. PowerDVD 18 lets users apply CyberLink’s TrueTheater HDR, Color and Sound technologies to any streamed media content that has been optimized for playback on 4K UHD TV screens and sound systems.

Another feature allows playing and pinning live or on-demand online videos so that they can be saved and viewed later, while online or offline.

The software also automatically adjusts widescreen-format (including 21:9 or 2.35:1 aspect ratio) material to fill the display screen without letterboxing when watching a Blu-ray disc on an ultra-widescreen TV.

Meanwhile, the TrueTheater HDR feature in the software upscales standard dynamic range (SDR) video to HDR-like quality for better viewing on HDR displays, along with enhanced resolution and color. The effect isn’t as realistic as native HDR, but it does brighten SDR picture elements while providing a color boost, for those who like their images vivid.

PowerDVD 18 is available now from the CyberLink online store under both subscription and perpetual licenses. PowerDVD Live is available in annual and quarterly subscription options. Lifetime licenses are available for three versions of PowerDVD 18. PowerDVD Live: $44.99/12 month or $14.99/3 month subscription; PowerDVD 18 Ultra: $99.95; PowerDVD 18 Pro: $79.95; and PowerDVD 18 Standard $59.95.

To see the differences between each version visit the PowerDVD product page. Upgrades from previous PowerDVD versions are also available starting from $49.95.


By Greg Tarr


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