PROS / Its WASAPI Exclusive Mode gives you bit-perfect lossless audio output for a variety of formats.
CONS / It is not compatible with either Mac OS X or Linux.
VERDICT / PowerDVD 15 Ultra is an outstanding choice for Windows software that can play a wide variety of video, audio and photo formats, as it is packed with features and has top-of-the-line performance on its intuitive interface.
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.
Whether you just want to watch a movie hassle-free on your laptop or have a massive movie marathon with your best friends in your home theater, you can depend on PowerDVD 15 Ultra to give you a powerful and high-quality movie-watching experience. The DVD player software is compatible with a large selection of video and audio formats, and it can also help you manage and share photos. Because of its strong tools and seemingly endless high-quality features, PowerDVD 15 Ultra heartily earns our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
Many people nowadays own a large video and audio collection, but this is often problematic because it is spread across many formats, making it more than a little difficult to have a movie night. This movie player software from CyberLink works for Windows and is compatible with a variety of physical and digital video formats, including DVD, DVD-R/RW, Blu-ray, AVI, WMV, MP4, MOV, DIV, MKV and even ISO files. You can also enjoy listening to your music collection, as the player supports such formats as AAC, WAV, WMA, MP3 and FLAC. In case you are an avid photographer or just want to share your latest snaps with friends, the player also supports a large selection of photo formats, including JPEG, JPG, BMP, RAW, PNG, TIF and TIFF.
As we tested the digital video player, we thought it had outstanding performance. Because it has a variety of carefully engineered smart buffering algorithms, you never have to wait long for the video to start or deal with lag, ghosting, buffering or any other annoying playback issues. We also like that it doesn't require tremendous CPU usage while running in full screen. It averaged about 19 percent with no other programs running when we tested it.
The picture looked terrific during our testing, especially using the software's TrueTheater Color enhancement technology, which intensifies colors when needed and sharpens the picture, even for Ultra HD 4K video. The audio also sounded outstanding, even when we used headphones, as the TrueTheater Sound optimizes bass, reverb, and volume and vocal range amplification for the best possible movie-watching or music-listening experience. It has lossless audio playback and supports Dolby and DTS audio to further enhance the sound.
Options & Settings
You have full control over your playback experience, as PowerDVD 15 Ultra lets you tweak a variety of audio and video settings. You can adjust the brightness, hue and saturation of the picture for any video to make it look just right. If there is a part of the movie with a lot of important details, you can screenshot it via the software, zoom in digitally on it, or loop it with the AB repeat function to watch it over and over. The smart stretching feature allows you to stretch the picture to fit your screen or just to change the aspect ratio, though if you do so, the picture may not always fit your screen correctly.
You can easily toggle subtitles or closed captions as needed, which is great for foreign films or scenes with muddy dialogue. The player also allows you to change world regions multiple times so you can enjoy movies purchased from around the world. In case you want a different movie-viewing experience, the software has the ability to upscale standard-definition flicks to HD, or 2D movies to 3D. However, you need to have a 3D-compatible screen and 3D glasses in order to view a 3D video created within the application.
You can personalize the player by customizing its skin, and you can even download wallpapers for it on MoovieLive. The player also remembers where you leave off in a video and resumes playback from that point whenever you continue. For added fun, you can connect to various social media sites to share what you're currently watching or listening to with friends and followers, as well as your opinion on it. The power manager conserves your laptop's battery while you watch without negatively affecting the playback.
Help & Support
If you have questions or are just curious about the software, you can check out CyberLink's user forum on its website, which lets you interact with other PowerDVD users. You can check out its knowledgebase and FAQs section for additional help. If you prefer to talk to CyberLink's technical support team directly, you can do so by filling out a simple user form in the customer support section of its website. The representatives are quick to respond, so you don't have to wait long to get the answers you need.
With PowerDVD 15 Ultra's nearly flawless playback and massive format compatibility, you can enjoy powerful, high-quality playback when watching or listening to your entire movie, music or photo library in one central place. It has a beautiful, intuitive interface that is enjoyable to wade through and easy to navigate. We like that it has so many options for picture and audio customization and doesn't dominate your computer's CPU or quickly drain your laptop battery. Additionally, its wide variety of features, including HD upscaling and social media compatibility, make it the ideal companion for movie lovers.