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  • Nancelou - Best on the MarketI have tried other products but always return to the Norton Brand. I found Norton protects my computer best. The one that came on my new computer didn't work at all. I got a virus within 2 weeks & had to take the computer in for repair. The repair person installed Norton & now I won't use anything else.
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  • A. Dent "Aragorn" - Digital Media's Swiss Army Knife (with 3D and Blu-ray support)BRIEF ASSESSMENT

    Roxio Creator 2011 Pro offers a rich set of essential tools for data copying to DVD or other media including Blu-ray with optional encryption, video copying, conversion and editing, an excellent music/audio package and a useful photo conversion, organizing and editing toolset that includes the ability to create multi-media presentation - slideshows or more sophisticated presentation that incorporate audio. In addition, the Learning Center section features presentations that encourage the users to build and sharpen their skills in specific areas - the users have the ability to vote/request specific topics to be included in the future.

    The license also allow for the installation of the Roxio Streamer server on ONE machine and an unlimited number of PC or Mac Roxio Streamer clients. Due to the fact that I already have a large number of media servers running in the house, I did not install and therefore could not review this option.

    When compared to the 2010 edition, the new version adds:

    - the ability to convert 2D videos into a variety of 3D formats
    - same as above for pictures
    - 3D playback with CinePlayer
    - quick upload of photos or videos to Facebook
    - software-based image stabilization
    - access to local media from the Internet when the Roxio Streamer server is installed (not tested by me)

    At this price point, I found Creator 2011 Pro to be more than adequate and, depending of the user's expectations, it may be the only 'media' tool one will ever need. My expectations for this package were:

    - solid DVD/CD/Blu-ray burn capabilities
    - the ability to rip CDs
    - a set of easy to use photo enhancement tools
    - basic video playback and some editing

    Potential users should understand that Roxio is and - as a user of an older version I can remember that - always was a rather demanding application when it comes to CPU utilization. This shouldn't be surprising when we are talking about live capture of data streams - audio or video - or converting/compressing large files or turning a 2D video into 3D while fixing colors and the soundtrack and stabilizing the image, all done while integrating more than one software module. The complexity of interactions with the operating system and the various data channels and peripheral devices could and did cause Roxio to misbehave from time to time but a little bit of patience and willing to learn and sometimes adapt to the software's quirks could translate into a happy user experience.

    Everyone should also be aware that a package this inexpensive that attempts to do so much is not and cannot be at 'pro level' for any of the tasks that it performs. While I found Roxio's modules to be generally more than adequate when it comes to meeting MY needs, there is little doubt that dedicated high-end packages for any of the tasks attempted with Roxio can do 'more'. This being said, Roxio can do a lot IF one takes the time to actually learn it and learning takes place on a curve - in other words, no one should expect pro-level results after 5 minutes of Roxio. However, I WAS able to get some pretty cool things out of it after taking a little time to learn and explore it.


    It's probably useful to provide some information on what I tested Roxio with because my impression is that the hardware and the OS versions could sometimes make a difference between a good experience and a total failure. So, here it is:

    - Roxio Creator 2011 Pro SP1 - make sure to install the Service Pack when prompted to do so at installation time.
    - Roxio Creator 2010 SP2 was already installed on the same machine. I did not remove it and the 2 do not seem to bother or interfere with each other.
    - Windows 7 Enterprise, 32-bit.

    - Hardware:

    These are the specs for my machine, with the last number showing Microsoft's Windows Experience Index score:

    * Processor Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU P8600 @ 2.40GHz 5.3
    * Memory (RAM) 4.00 GB 5.7
    * Graphics ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3400 Series 4.7
    * Gaming graphics 996 MB Total available graphics memory 4.7
    * Primary hard disk 111GB Free (149GB Total) 5.8

    My monitor displays 1680x1050 32-bit color.

    INSTALLATION - very good

    Not much to say here. I took the precaution to reboot my computer before starting and I started the install with nothing running in the foreground. It proceeded smoothly and uneventfully. I believe it completed in about 20-30 minutes including the SP1 upgrade.

    I did not have to turn off any anti-virus or anti-spyware before or during installation but I did require an admin-level account and required to type in the CD key.

    As far as I can tell, Roxio did not install any spyware or malware and did not force me to get any third party products that would add toolbars to my browsers or force themselves as my primary search engine.

    DATA COPY - Excellent

    This is Roxio's bread and butter. As far as I know, it's always been good at burning CDs/DVDs and it's still the case with Creator 2011. Roxio can easily create data disks or bootable disks, disk images or file copies and so on. In addition, you can create labels (did not test it myself but it's good to know that the capability exists). It can do CDs, DVDs or Blu-rays if you have the required hardware.

    Again, for the money, it doesn't get much better than this. No complains whatsoever and the user interface is good. As always, when it comes to 'burning' disks, make sure that you fully understand what Roxio is about to do before you give it the go-ahead.

    VIDEO/MOVIES - Okay, but...

    I may be a little unfair here but I subtracted 1 stars for Roxio's inability to handle copy-protected sources. I spend money to buy my DVDs and I believe that I should be trusted with me transferring my disks to a hard disk for viewing convenience but Roxio would not touch these. The only thing you can do with a copy-protected DVD is to watch it on Roxio's CinePlayer. This is NOT a big deal because there are other ways but it's worth knowing that Roxio can't help with transferring your property from one medium to another.

    When it comes to your own video, Roxio is most helpful. It will get video directly from your camera, allow for some basic editing and convert it to the format of your choice - numerous formats are supported, from DVD to iPhone and PSP and, of course, Blu-ray support is built into the Pro.

    Haven't tried it yet but I noticed that it's possible to produce a video and have Roxio auto-publish it on YouTube, provided that you have an account there.

    As I mentioned already, 3D is a big new addition in the 2011 release. Converting a 2D video to 3D may take processing time but it's easy and it works.

    MUSIC/AUDIO - Spectacular, it exceeded my expectations

    This is my favorite set of tools. You can easily rip a CD to the highest MP3 bit rate supported by today's hardware (320 kbps), there is support for variable bit rate and for a long list of file formats other than MP3. The conversion is quick and everything comes out organized the way you want it - again, take some time to learn your software and good things will come out of it.

    Roxio even supports the ability to digitize LPs and tapes. Lacking a working record player, I didn't try this but there is a step-by-step on how to do it.

    One most impressive feature is the ability to capture audio from your computer sound card. Practically this means that you can open an Internet radio station such as Pandora (I mention Pandora because it's easy to make it play pretty much exactly what you want) on your browser and Roxio will capture everything that goes to your speakers and produce up to 190kbps if the output is an MP3 file - there are good settings worth experimenting before trying but this is very easy to set up. Once you stop recording - and this could be hours later (I tried that) Roxio will look at the file and, if set properly, break it into separate song tracks. It will then identify the tracks (artist/album/song) and it will place them into the proper folders with the proper file name. Even better, if set up properly the commercials are removed (just tell it to ignore any tracks shorter than 1 minute).The track recognition rate is at about 95% and you can still go back to the unrecognized tracks and manually try to have them matched or you can name them yourself if that fails. For this feature and the rip capability alone, this Roxio package is worth the money.

    Of course, you can burn CDs, MP3 CDs, create DVD music disks and, why not, make labels.

    PHOTO - Excellent, in line with my expectations, sometimes exceeding

    Roxio probably offers the 10% of those Adobe Photoshop features that most of us need and use 90% of the time and they are easy to use. Much more powerful than, let's say Picassa and quite adequate for most tasks. My untrained eye found outputs of the same photo 'auto' enhanced by Roxio and Photoshop to be identical.

    In addition, Roxio supports the creation of slide shows, multi-media shows (incorporate music tracks) and so-called 'projects' where you can add your own text, clip art and apply various template to create goofy 'books' - take the time to experiment and learn and good things are likely to come out of it.

    One more example of Roxio's power: with the 'Enhance multiple photos' option set to 'Autofix', Roxio fixed 820 large photos - 6MB or larger each - in less than one hour, all by itself.

    LEARNING CENTER - good, much improved over the 2010 release

    The presentation included there are good and useful but I found the help facility in general somewhat lacking. Roxio is NOT a difficult to learn package but it does take SOME time to learn it and it could take a lot of time if anyone will use all the features because there is a lot to learn. Thankfully, help popped up on its own whenever I was confronted with a less than trivial task and I even had the option of watching a 'how to' video or going to the 'complete' PDF.

    INTEGRATION - Good, but...

    Naturally, for a bundle of this scope, not everything is always smooth and seamless but modules integrate reasonably well. As a new user, tricks and ways learned to accomplish one task can't always be applied on other tasks but, let's think of a famous bundle known as Microsoft Office and determine how much do Word, Outlook, Excel, Project, PowerPoint and Visio have in common - not a lot. By THAT standard, Roxio is pretty well integrated.

    MY RATING - 5 Stars

    For a 'Swiss Army Knife' type of software, Roxio does an unexpected number of tasks well and some of them incredibly well (see my paragraph on capturing audio). Certainly some features are just average (photo handling) and some behaviors can be frustrating - and it's not always Roxio's fault (think operating system).

    Overall, for this low price, Roxio's Creator 2011 Pro is an exceptional value.

    Some 'stability' issues - Roxio occasionally freezing or locking files do exist but they were rare. My laptop gets overwhelmed from time to time even without Roxio running so I don't even know if I should always blame Roxio for the freeze-ups.

    I will be rating Roxio Creator 2011 Pro a 5-star overall (means "I love it" on Amazon's stars scale) because it's a package that I'm using almost daily and, for what I saw so far, it will serve me well. It's possible that I'll be using Photoshop half of the time when dealing with photos and I will need something else to handle copy-protected DVDs and I will find Picassa the quicker solution but I'd definitely miss Roxio if it wasn't installed on my computer.



    Since Roxio seems to be running smoothly on my Windows 7 machine and it also installed without a problem on one of my kids' Vista, I thought I'd suggest some little things that maybe would help someone because, in my view, Roxio is way too good and useful not to be worth the effort of making it run if at all possible. So, here's what I'd suggest:

    - install after a clean reboot - make sure that nothing else running during installation
    - log in with an Admin-level account when installing or make the account that you use an Admin
    - look at some over-aggressive anti-virus that may prevent Roxio from running or installing properly - I have only Microsoft anti- software on my machine and they did not bother the installation process
    - Install all the service packs and whatever other updates Roxio may have for the product.
    - Roxio MAY conflict with certain apps. For example, it was very difficult (but not impossible) to capture audiostreams from Aluratek but Roxio works perfectly getting me music from Pandora running off Chrome.
    - Roxio does demand a lot from your computer and it may not run well on slower machines - mine has a 2 x 2.4 GHz CPU, very fast RAM and HDD and decent graphics - it's still slow but it's pretty stable.

    As far as it's features, I disagree with those complaining that it has 'too many' features and that should be a problem. All you get when you start Roxio is a menu interface. Those who feel that Roxio should not have anything to do with 'video' are free not to ever access that option. I understand that it would have been nice if the installation would offer not to install 'video' if one didn't want it but... this is a $60-80 piece of software not some thousand-dollar pro package and for that price, it over-delivers and it does it in spades.

    >> Brush your teeth, it's the law! <<
  • Dave Mahoney - Quest for meaningMy whole life I spent in search of meaning. Meaning for my existence and the ultimate secrets of the Universe. I have studied all the great religious and spiritual tomes, looked in science, the paranormal, philosophy, sought out the greatest gurus, spent years wandering the great deserts, jungles, mountains and cities of the Earth. I learned much but still it eluded me. Until now, after receiving my Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer my quest is over, all is known to me and from this day forth I shall finally be at peace with myself and the Universe.