CyberLink’s PowerDVD is a familiar software solution for Ultra HD Blu-ray playback from today’s Windows PCs. For this year, PowerDVD 18 ($99.95) brings enhanced support for 360-degree video content to the table, including the ability to “pin” 360 videos for offline playback. Of course it also retains the broad support for online and disc-based content of its predecessor, PowerDVD 17, including what I’m interested in: UHD Blu-ray playback.
My interest in the software centers on its utility as a platform to run a HTPC, and in particular to play back 4K HDR discs on calibrated displays. To that end, I play to use it with both an Intel NUC i5 ($339.99) and a Nvidia GTX1080 ($749.00) equipped gaming PC.
It’s been years since I’ve used PowerDVD for movie playback, But my experience with the software goes back over 15 years, At the time I had put together my first 480p projection rig and wanted to get maximum quality from DVDs. At the time, Oppo was brand-new and not well-known. Working with what I could get my hands on in that era when Amazon was just an online bookstore. With the help of AVS Forum, I wound up going the HTPC route and have been running one ever since.
However, while I still have a PC connected to my TV, it’s been years since I used it for anything but streaming and gaming. But now Oppo has announced that it is ending the development of new products—effectively closing the curtains on the era of the premium universal disc player. And while there are other options when it comes to standalone players, Windows has evolved to become a much better platform for media playback than in the past thanks to its support for apps and YouTube playback at 4K and beyond.
The flexibility and affordability of today’s PC options are the reasons why I have a renewed interest in consolidating media playback into one highly capable device, which I hope will be a Windows 10 PC running CyberLink PowerDVD 18. I’ll have a hands-on review of that coming soon.
If you wish to acquaint (or reacquaint) yourself with PowerDVD’s capabilities and specifications, just follow this link and check it out: PowerDVD 18 Ultra features on cyberlink.com.