PROS / It has the most features and functionality of any player on our lineup.
CONS / It is not compatible with Mac OS X.
VERDICT / This is the best player on our lineup because of its stellar performance, extensive compatibility, and variety of convenient features and controls.
Editor's note: Power DVD 16 Ultra is now available. Clicking the Buy button will take you to this version for purchase. We will evaluate, rank and review version 16 Ultra when we next update the Blu-ray Player Software reviews. Meanwhile, enjoy our review below about the PowerDVD 16 Ultra.
While some people are content just being able to watch a movie any old way, cinephiles insist on enjoying their favorite flicks in only the best audio and video capacities. The PowerDVD 15 Ultra is a great unit of Blu-ray player software that can help you enjoy your entire movie library, no matter the format, with the high quality you desire. It has a visually appealing interface that is easy to navigate and use, and it comes with all the important major features as well as some minor customization features. With all this and extensive customer support options, this product heartily earns our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
Though it doesn't seem to be compatible with Mac OS X, the software is fully available to Windows XP, 7, 8 and 10 users. It's an especially great video player option for the latter two, since they have no native media players. The extensive Windows 8 integration allows the program to work on a compatible touchscreen computer, and it gives you large buttons that are easy to use for the operating system.
You can watch your entire movie collection, whether it is physical or digital in format, on this player. It plays Blu-ray discs as well as standard and rewritable DVDs. Additionally, it quickly loads up to 4K playback for all kinds of digital video formats, including MP4, AVI, WMV, MOV and MKV.
The player is also a great option for listening to audio files, such as WMA, MP3, FLAC and ALAC. Additionally, you can rip audio off of the videos you watch, using the Video Scene Selector function. You can even connect it to your computer's hard drive, an external hard drive, or your included PowerDVD-sourced cloud storage to create a playlist of videos you want to watch in one setting. This is convenient for movie marathons with friends.
Video & Audio
A movie player should be easy to use, and the PowerDVD 15 Ultra is. The player runs effortlessly without monopolizing your computer's CPU capacity, averaging just 19 percent. It plays videos seamlessly, with no lag, buffering or other negative effects.
The upscaling capacity allows you to convert standard-definition videos up to HD, as well as standard 2D movies up to 3D. However, to watch 3D movies, you need to have 3D glasses and a compatible screen. The software allows you to keep the original version of the video as well as the upgraded version, giving you more options for your movie marathons. It can even upscale the videos you watch on sites like YouTube and Vimeo, taking them from standard to high definition, or from 2D to 3D. You can also save videos from these sites to watch later, as well as slow them down or speed them up.
Since the player software has Dolby and DTS support, you can enjoy high-quality audio along with your video. It also has bit-perfect lossless audio playback, allowing you to use headphones for private viewing or to connect to an external screen via HDMI cable without having to deal with degraded sound. It is compatible with multiple language outputs, and it lets you stretch the video picture to fit your particular screen or change the aspect ratio as desired.
Controls & Conveniences
You can let your friends know what you're watching at any time with the player's built-in social media function, sharing your opinion of the movie on sites like Twitter. The player also has BD-Live support, which, through an internet connection, gives you access to additional special features not available on Blu-ray discs. The customizable player skins add some fun and personalization for the software.
On any video, you can easily tweak the brightness, hue and saturation through the player so you get the perfect picture. The software's auto-resume playback remembers where you leave off in a video and continues from that point when you resume watching it, so you don't have to waste time trying to figure out where you stopped watching previously. Furthermore, the subtitle options make it easy to watch foreign films or comprehend muddy dialogue.
The player lets you enjoy movies from around the world, as you can change regions multiple times. You can also conserve your laptop's battery power with the built-in power manager, letting you multitask or watch more movies without being tethered to a power cord. For added convenience, you can use your smartphone as a paired virtual remote control for the player, letting you navigate and play movies from the comfort of your couch, even if you're using the player for your home theater setup, or you can watch videos from the software on your smartphone.
Help & Support
You have several options for technical support, should you need it. You can contact CyberLink's customer service representatives directly via email, though there are other options if you don't want or need to talk them directly. The website has a FAQs section and various tutorials as resources, and even a community user forum where you can interact with other PowerDVD users.
You can enjoy an optimal movie-viewing experience with PowerDVD 15 Ultra and a Windows OS, whether you prefer physical Blu-ray discs, DVDs or digital formats. The player performs consistently well, it's pleasant to navigate and use, and it offers many levels of customization and picture optimization. Multiple customer support options round out this player as the best one on our lineup.