Roxio Upgrade Worth Price of Admission

For a long time, while Apple computer users enjoyed the advantages of an integrated multimedia software suite, Windows users who wished to experience the i-life had to be satisfied with standalone applications or meek integrated products. Then Roxio Easy Media Creator 7 entered the picture.

EMC 7 is a suite of Windows applications for working with images, video, sound and optical media. Like Apple’s iLife, it’s a one-stop source for everything multimedia on a PC.

With EMC 7, you can edit and manage images, make slideshows, edit video, rip and burn music CDs, create and burn DVDs and much more.

Sonic Boon

Recently, Roxio, whose consumer software division was acquired by Sonic Solutions late last year, released an upgrade of EMC, version 7.5. For owners of the previous edition, this latest incarnation of the program is well worth the US$29.95 upgrade price, while tyros to the program will be getting even more value for its $99.95 pricetag.

The new EMC benefits from entering the Sonic fold. A new backup utility has been added to the suite, Backup MyPC Deluxe 6; a DVD player, CinePlayer, which competes with the ubiquitous WinDVD; and a slideshow producer, MyDVD Slideshow 6.

Backup MyPC Deluxe 6, which sells for $69.95 if purchased separately, provides a flexible way to steel yourself against computer disaster.

One-Click Restorations

You can choose what you want to back up — all files, some files, files changed since the last backup or limit the process to files with certain extensions — and where you want to back up — external hard drive, tape drive, network drive, CD or DVD, including double-layer discs. And you can secure your backups with passwords.

Major functions in the program, like creating a set of disaster recovery discs, can be accomplished through “wizards” that automate the tasks.

Also, you can restore your system from a backup with the click of a single button. Full restorations aren’t necessary, however. You can pick and choose the drives, folders and files you want revived.

Just Like Hollywood

MyDVD Slideshow is an excellent addition to the EMC suite. It’s a cinch to learn, which means you can be burning slideshows to DVD or VCD in a flash–even faster if you use the program’s automated features that will slap in transitions and pan-and-zoom (a/k/a “Ken Burns”) effects for you without your intervention.

One aspect of some slideshow programs that bugs me is their limitations on background music. They limit you to a single track. Not so with this Sonic software. It allows you to use multiple tunes for your slideshow.

Once you finish your production, you can create menus for it — either of your own design or with templates included with the program — and burn it to DVD or VCD.

The software includes an option that allows you to keep the disc “open” so you can add more slideshows to it in the future. And it uses Sonic’s AuthorScript technology for burning DVDs, a technology used by Hollywood for producing most of its DVD movies.

Better Audio Tools

In addition to the Sonic additions, Roxio has beefed up some of EMC’s existing features, mostly in the sound department.

It has added an LP and Tape Assistant for turning analog audio piped into your computer into digital tunes. In addition to automatically creating tracks for you, it includes tools for cleaning up the audio quality of the recordings.

An audio capture utility has also been added to the suite. It allows you to snag any audio passing through your sound card and write it to disc.

And the suite’s sound editor has been improved, most notably by adding a mix editor so you can work with layers of sound.

Roxio has added some exciting and worthwhile features to the new EMC making an upgrade, if not essential, certainly very attractive.

John Mello is a freelance business and technology writer who can be reached at [email protected].

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