As we had hoped, there were no problems when playing back any of the media we had stored across our network servers – from 1080P MKV’s to Bluray discs, to smaller DIVX files, they all worked without a hitch.
The online functionality is immediately accessible, with various tabs available on the right highlighting new hit movies and Blu Ray discs and even sections for the most watched and most collected films.
Settings are accessible now from the little ‘cog’ on the top right of the main window pane. In here you can configuration various elements of PowerDVD 11 to suit your tastes and system configuration. Automatically connecting to the internet for product information is a handy tool as it can access details on whatever you might be watching at the time.
Hardware acceleration is still a key element of the PowerDVD 11 engine and it is particularly useful on weaker systems. Intel/AMD/Nvidia MVC DXVA video decoding support is given to help reduce the load and to stop stuttering on low end system configurations.
There are many audio options given, up to 8 speakers with settings for HDMI output as well. Aspect ratio may be useful for some users who want to either fill the screen or adjust the resolutions to their desires. Most people will settle happily with the automated option.
Both DVD and Blu-Ray are fully supported with many options to fine tune the user interface and automated settings.
The videos tab allows direct access to files and folders on your local hard drives, or shared network folders. DVD discs stored on a computer can be played by double clicking the ‘VIDEO_TS.IFO’ inside the structure. Users can save ‘collections’ for easy access, a handy feature. There are other tabs in this section to allow for MovieMarks and to check which files have been watched before.
Also, for the first time ever, PowerDVD 11 can play back BluRay discs stored in a file structure on a hard drive. ‘Open Movie file on the hard drive’ is accessible via the movie pop down tab – simply direct PowerDVD 11 to the Bluray folder structure and press play.