In the latest version of Nero Multimedia Suite, Nero has taken a step in the right direction. One thing noticeably missing from previous versions has been an easy route to creativity. The familiar powerful and robust components of the suite are now joined by a new feature, what Nero calls the MediaHub component. This offers a user-friendly interface which combines a media organizer with a photo editor, slideshow creator and media player. The authoring software and video editing components also see some major improvements, but sadly, Nero Multimedia Suite 10 still doesn’t live up to its full potential.
The Multimedia suite is still made up of a number of different components, but in a welcome move, the major components are also now available as separately. MediaHub and Vision are now available under the name Nero Vision xTra; Nero Burning Rom is once again available as an independent program, and the very useful synching/file back up/imaging system is for sale as BackItUp&Burn. If you’re likely to want more than one of those core functions, though, you’re probably still better off going for the Suite.
The user interface of MediaHub is far more user-friendly than most of the other components of Multimedia Suite 10, matched only by that of BAckItUp&Burn. The range of file support is improved, and is frankly pretty impressive. It handles all the most common video and audio formats such as DVD, Audio CD, MPEG, JPG, BMP, WAV and MP3, but also the rarer formats such as APE, FLAC, compressed TIFF and non-standard WAV file resolutions like 24-bit/88kHz. It can also handle codecs like MKV, FLV (Flash), HD WMV, MP4 and QuickTime.
There is also an inline image editor, similar to the popular Picasa by Google, incorporated into MediaHub. This is pretty useful for taking care of quick corrections and tweaks, as well as adding special effects to images. Unfortunately, this makes the lack of any inline video or audio facility all the more noticeable. This is particularly considering that Nero Multimedia Suite 10 includes both Nero Vision video editor and Nero WaveEditor. If Nero could go just that one step further, by providing all these functions under the banner of MediaHub, and using its particularly attractive user interface, that would be a major step for it – at the moment there is no available player/organizer that offers the ability to edit all three major media types.
Another component that has received some welcome attention is Nero Vision 10. There is a great improvement to the timeline editor, including easier tools, more tracks, and a new look. Other major changes include Smart Encoding, which prevents the unnecessary re-encoding of media already matching the output format, as well as support for the AVC/.264 acceleration of NVidia’s CUDA hardware. It’s no longer necessary to buy plug-ins in order to produce Blu-ray content, nor to use themes on a whole movie. Themes are stylish collections of titles, transitions and FX, but sadly the dialog for projects and authoring still suffer under the awkward old interface.
Nero Burning ROM, the justly famous and long-lived component for burning pretty much any type of disk, finally incorporates the extremely welcome ability to span recording over disks when burning data. The new DiskSpan feature even allows you to mix various types of disks. The final disk in the span includes an app so that it’s not necessary to have Nero installed in order to open the archive.Another major improvement is the Burn Now feature, which allows you to bypass the normal options dialog when opening Burning ROM, and so skip a step.
Other components don’t see any major changes. StartSmart launch center, NeroSmartTrax, Recode and Cover Designer all remain largely the same. Utilities for recovering data from different media, as well as gathering information on drives and media are still part of the package. BackItUp&Burn does both file-based and imaging backup and is a lot smarter with it’s new friendly, first-run wizard.
Despite being occasionally confusing in appearance, Nero Multimedia Suite 10 still compares very favorably to its closest competitors, Cyberlink’s Media Suite And Roxio Creator 2010. It remains both faster and more streamlined than either, despite Cyberlink’s better overall look and feel, and Roxio’s superior prefrab content.