NTI CD and DVD Maker (NewTech Infosystems, Inc.) have released their new CD & DVD-Maker� 7 Titanium Suite which includes nine programs (CD & DVD-Maker Platinum�, Home Video-Maker�, Backup NOW!�, DVD Playback software, DVD Fit�, FileCD�, Jewelcase Maker�, Wave Editor� and Music Cafe�). NTI has been around since 1993 and continues to offer a variety of powerful CD/DVD recording, authoring and backup applications. The new suite of products simplify video capture, editing, still picture compilation and burning of CD and DVD media. Tools for backing up files as well as backing up unprotected discs are provided. Full support for dual layer DVD burners is also included. The main user interface provides access to all of the applications from a single screen. By simply moving the cursor over the area of interest, several options available to the user will be displayed. The categories are Audio, Data, Video, Photo, Backup or Copy. This could very well be one of the best deals available for multimedia users.
The CD & DVD-Maker� 7 Titanium Suite software comes on a single CD and automatically launches the main install menu when inserted into a computer. We first installed the software on our Sony VAIO Laptop (PCV-K23) to check out some of the features. The installation menu allows users to install CD & DVD-Maker� 7, Home Video-Maker and NTI's DVD Playback software separately. Since our laptop lacked a DVD burner, we also tested the software on our Sony Vaio (PCV-RZ22G) desktop machine, which gave us more resources. In both cases, the installation was simple and went without a hitch. The software comes on a single install CD. Each of the three items listed in the install menu must be installed separately or they will not be enabled in the main menu. The package also includes a QuickStart Guide that briefly explains how to use each of the various applications included with this suite of programs.
The Audio programs are used to create WAV, MP3 or WMA music CDs. The MP3 application has a capacity indicator at the lower area of the window that lets the user know how much space is used on the disc as it fills up with files. This helps the user know the exact space required when making a CD. Users can also record Live Audio directly to disc. CD Extra discs can be created using the simple interface. An NTI Wave Editor and Audio Player are included in the package.
The Data programs provide users with the ability to create CD or DVD data discs. This is particularly useful for backing up large amounts of important data onto disc. We liked the ability to store large amounts of data onto DVD (4.7 GB on single layer and 8.5 GB on dual layer discs). Mixed Mode CDs can also be created in this area. When using the Mixed Mode CD format, the first session can contain up to 98 audio tracks and second session contains the data track. These discs offer excellent compatibility with both audio-only players as well as CDROM drives in computers.
The Video programs are used to create Video CDs and Super VCDs. NTI's Cinematic Video offers users a simple way to spice up video by having the software create transitions and effects on the original content. HomeVideo-Maker is a powerful application designed to capture, edit and create video discs with support for menus and sub menus. The best part about this program is NTI makes it easy to preview the disc to see how the menu system will work before burning the disc. The HomeVideo-Maker software has some excellent features that are quite intuitive. Also included is the DVD Fit application, which is designed to automatically compress video to fit on a single DVD in cases where the source files are much larger than the target disc capacity. NTI also threw in their DVD player.
The Photo programs include Photo Disc, Slideshow VCD, Slideshow SVCD, and Cinematic Slideshow�. Photo Discs simply include a series of JPEG files and are compatible with newer DVD players and all computers with CDROM drives. The VCD and SVCD Slideshow programs are designed to create video from a series of still images. Background audio can also be added to the video for a custom presentation. The Cinematic Slideshow allows user to takes a series of photos and create a wonderful presentation. Once the disc is burned, the user can select the JewelCase Maker application for either standard (12 cm) discs or Mini (8 cm) discs.
The Backup programs includes Files & Folders and Disc Image. Selecting launches NTI's Backup NOW! 4 application, a comprehensive backup/restore program that allows users to easily select files for archiving. The software automatically spans the data to multiple discs if required. The program can compare archived files to identify differences and can even backup and restore to a remote server.
The Copy program is capable of duplicating CD or DVD (non-copy protected) media to or from a disc or image. This is a great utility for making multiple copies of a disc. We used it to duplicate the kids DVD videos for family.
We sampled most of the programs included with the CD & DVD-Maker� 7 Titanium Suite (there are many) including the backup tools for CD and DVD. Much of our focus was on the HomeVideo-Maker application that allows users to quickly create a DVD complete with menus. The quick preview capability was excellent and saves users time when making their own custom movies. We connected our JVC MiniDV camcorder to our PC using a IEEE-1394 cable and the software immediately recognized the device. Transferring our home video to the hard drive for editing was a breeze and the HomeVideo-Maker software worked well. We were able to quickly create a DVD of our favorite moments.
Another great set of applications is the Slideshow VCD and Slideshow SVCD that allows users to take a series of still pictures and create an impressive video presentation with background music targeting VCD or SVCD. The playing time for each still picture is user adjustable. The Cinematic Slideshow is a great way to spice up what would normally be a simple series of slides with music. The software automatically creates movement through the still pictures, which produces an interesting cinematic effect.
The DVD and CD backup application was also very useful and easy to use. We took some of our custom home videos of the kids and were able to quickly make duplicates for the family. Making CD copies of our VCD and SVCD Slideshows was just as easy.
The CD & DVD-Maker� 7 Titanium Suite offers a powerful set of tools for both CD and DVD media. Users can quickly capture and edit video, create music discs, listen to MP3s, watch videos, backup data and much more all with this one product. The user interface is simple and the product achieves great results based on what we have tested. What is most amazing is that the complete software package is available for under $80. We've seen far less capable products cost considerably more than the CD & DVD-Maker� 7 Titanium Suite. The comprehensive set of programs included with this product is a steal given its price.