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Old 05-25-2018, 05:45 AM   #1
HDTV1080P HDTV1080P is offline
Blu-ray Ninja
 
Jan 2007
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Default Cyberlink PowerDVD 18 Ultra retail box with CD-ROM (brief user review)

Cyberlink PowerDVD 18 Ultra retail box with CD-ROM (brief user review)





For $98.99 plus free shipping I received the full retail box version of Cyberlink PowerDVD 18 Ultra. Inside the retail box is a CD-ROM for easy installation on a Windows PC.

Installation of Cyberlink PowerDVD 18 Ultra was very easy. Cyberlink still calls this software PowerDVD, instead of using a name like Power Blu-ray (Corel for some reason does the same thing with its Blu-ray software by calling it WinDVD Pro instead of Win Blu-ray). Standalone Blu-ray players are always called Blu-ray players and sometimes called Blu-ray/DVD players on the retail box. There really is not that much difference between the 2018 PowerDVD 18 Ultra and the 2017 PowerDVD 17 Ultra software. There are several minor improvements with PowerDVD 18 Ultra and only one new feature for Blu-ray users. If one owns one of the rare flat panels or projectors with a 21:9 (2:35:1) aspect ratio, this years version of PowerDVD Ultra well intelligently adjust playback to make the image fill the screen without any letterboxing or black bars.

With PowerDVD 18 Ultra (also PowerDVD 17 Ultra offers this feature too), consumers can play the new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs on a Windows PC if they have the proper equipment. At the time of this post there is no other brand of computer software on the market that supports the playback of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. I hope that one day Corel well one day release a software player that supports 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. Also support for HDR10 is included in PowerDVD 18 Ultra for those that have the latest desktop computer monitor with HDR10 technology (or for connection of a 4K Ultra HD projector or flat panel with HDR10). However, at this time PowerDVD 18 Ultra does not support Dolby Vision HDR technology, maybe a future software update might add Dolby Vision HDR or maybe consumers might have to wait until PowerDVD 19 Ultra is released in 2019 before they see Dolby Vision support. It is my understanding that because of the strict hardware security requirements that are in place a software decoding of Dolby Vision HDR is not allowed by the BDA on a PC, and instead consumers may need to wait until Intel releases a new CPU that offers hardware support for Dolby Vision HDR. In addition, most consumers well need to purchase a new desktop PC or Laptop (Notebook) computer with the strict hardware security requirements in order to play 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs with the required HDR10 format. When the standard 1080P Blu-ray format first came out back in 2006, all one needed to do was purchase a BD-ROM drive with proper software and own a display that had HDCP to watch Blu-ray movies on their computer. In addition, the same thing is true with PowerDVD 18 Ultra as long as one wants to play 2-D and 3D 1080P Blu-ray discs. However if one wants to play 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, one cannot just purchase a 4K Ultra HD BD-ROM drive and a HDCP 2.2 computer monitor to watch the 4K movies. Instead of the BDA choosing a software security method that would work on older PC’s, instead they decided to go with a hardware security method that requires a special Intel SGX Technology on the motherboard and CPU. For example back in 2015 I purchased a high-end top of the line X99 motherboard with the world’s first HDCP 2.2 4K Ultra HD Desktop computer monitor, but since the X99 motherboard does not have the Intel SGX technology I cannot play 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. To make matters worse the modern 2018 top of the line X299 motherboards lack the Intel SGX technology also. Therefore, if I wanted to play 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs on my PC, I would need to downgrade my motherboard to one that supports SGX technology. Hopefully one day the BDA and Intel well come out with a software security solution that would allow people with a very powerful X99 or X299 motherboard to play 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. If not then maybe one day a replacement for the X299 motherboard well occur that would offer Intel SGX hardware support.

Therefore, for all my testing with PowerDVD 18 Ultra I was limited to only standard Blu-ray discs, DVD discs, and audio CD’s. PowerDVD 18 Ultra also supports Blu-ray 3D if one owns a modern 3D projector or a discontinued 3D flat panel screen (Most Blu-ray 3D discs are locked by the studio and are not allowed to be converted to standard 2D). PowerDVD 18 Ultra is the new top of the line Windows PC software on the market when compared to everything else currently on the market. Testing the BD-LIVE feature with the unlimited storage capacity of a solid state drive, it is the best software to use with BD-LIVE for its speed. Playing Blu-ray discs, DVD discs, and audio CD’s was also flawless with the discs I tested (one minor frame rate issue with some 24Hz Blu-ray discs from some studios that a future software update might fix). When playing a 480i DVD disc, Power DVD Ultra would send a command to the graphics card on my PC to change the frame rate to 29Hz (30fps) and when the DVD disc was done the PC would return to 60Hz at 3840 x 2160P. When playing most native 1080p/24 Blu-ray discs, PowerDVD 18 Ultra properly outputted 23Hz (24fps) from the graphics card HDMI output to my desktop computer monitor and then automatically returned to 60Hz when the Blu-ray was stopped or ejected. However, with some studios on some movies there was an issue once and a while where PowerDVD 18 Ultra would keep the graphics card at 60Hz using 3:2 pulldown instead of changing the refresh rate on the graphics card to 23Hz (24fps). Perhaps a future software update well fix this issue so all native 1080p/24 Blu-ray discs are outputted at 24Hz 4K or 24Hz 1080P depending on the display that is connected. I am using a HDCP 2.2 4K Ultra HD desktop computer monitor.

The 32 times speed forward and other navigation features worked flawless. Like prior versions of PowerDVD Ultra, version 18 also shows the video and audio codec being used on the Blu-ray disc on the detailed information screen. However the advantages of standalone Blu-ray players like the OPPO UDP-203 is that it shows the source resolution and frame rate being used on the disc and the resolution and frame rate being sent to the HDMI port (PowerDVD 18 Ultra and all other Blu-ray software player programs for Windows PC’s lacks that detailed information that is found on the standalone OPPO UDP-203/UDP-205. With OPPO Digital INC now leaving the consumer home theater market and with no more OPPO Blu-ray disc players being made, hopefully one day Cyberlink well offer a PowerDVD 19 Ultra software next year that would show more detailed information of what is on the disc and what is being sent to the graphic cards HDMI output). In addition, the OPPO UDP-203 was the very first standalone Blu-ray player to support Dolby Vision HDR. Hopefully when intel gets new CPU’s that offer support for Dolby Vision HDR, hopefully the 2019 version of PowerDVD Ultra well support Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+ (or if the BDA allows for a software solution for the optional HDR formats then a new Intel CPU well not be needed).



Overall, for those that own a desktop PC or Laptop (Notebook) with a BD-ROM drive, I highly recommend PowerDVD 18 Ultra since it’s the best of the best for Windows Blu-ray playback software. While at home in my free time I prefer a standalone 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player like the OPPO UDP-203 or the Sony UBP-X800 connected to a home theater system. But for casual Blu-ray watching from a desktop PC or when in a hotel room with a Laptop, PowerDVD 18 Ultra is nice to have for the best in picture and sound quality when compared to the lower quality streaming services.

Last edited by HDTV1080P; 05-25-2018 at 07:53 AM.
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