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Old 06-30-2020, 07:58 PM   #1
HDTV1080P HDTV1080P is offline
Blu-ray Ninja
Jan 2007
Default PowerDVD 20 Ultra is a downgrade when compared to PowerDVD 19 Ultra (user review)

Cyberlink PowerDVD 20 Ultra is a downgrade when compared to PowerDVD 19 Ultra 64 bit (user review)

** If you still own PowerDVD 19 Ultra 64 bit I strongly recommend not upgrading (downgrading) this year to PowerDVD 20 Ultra since features like Blu-ray 3D support has been dropped **

For $99.99 plus taxes I received the full retail box version of Cyberlink PowerDVD 20 Ultra. Inside the retail box is a CD-ROM and installation guide for easy installation on a Windows PC (PDF User Guide is downloaded from Cyberlink).

For over a decade I have been spending around $100 every year to purchase the latest retail box version of PowerDVD Ultra, and every year except for this year, there has always been improvements with new important features. But if I would have known that Blu-ray 3D support was dropped with PowerDVD 20 Ultra I would not have wasted the time and money to downgrade to a software package with less features (Also I read one professional review that claimed the 3D feature came with PowerDVD 20 Ultra) .There are very minor improvements with PowerDVD 20 Ultra this year, however the removed 3D features for Blu-ray owners is a disappointment. Cyberlink originally released PowerDVD back in 1997 and the software was originally designed to playback only DVD and audio CD’s. With the current Windows 10 operating system not including a DVD software app with Windows, one either has to download a free third party software package to playback DVD discs or they need to purchase a software package like PowerDVD in order to playback DVD discs. The Blu-ray format came out in 2006 and PowerDVD version 6 added support to playback standard 2D 1080P Blu-ray discs. The 480i DVD format is much more popular when compared to the Blu-ray format (even in the year 2020), the majority of PC’s with a optical drive are using DVD-ROM drives instead of BD-ROM drives. Therefore what has happened is Cyberlink continues to call their software player PowerDVD instead of something like PowerBlu-ray (standalone Blu-ray players are called Blu-ray players and not DVD players, but most likely why PowerDVD software has been so popular over the years is because it has the brand name DVD in the product title). Then in the year 2010 the Blu-ray 3D format launched and for the last 10 years since PowerDVD version 10, the Cyberlink company has supported Blu-ray 3D. However, starting in the year 2020 the new PowerDVD 20 Ultra completely removes the Blu-ray 3D feature with no more plans to every support that format again, which means over 1.5 billion people that use the Windows operating system have lost the potential to playback Blu-ray 3D discs. While yes PowerDVD 19 Ultra 64 bit edition still supports Blu-ray 3D, there is a possibility that in 2-3 years from now consumers will stop getting firmware updates to PowerDVD 19 Ultra and to play the latest Blu-ray discs with the latest AACS encryption keys one will have to upgrade their software to the newest version of PowerDVD Ultra that no longer supports Blu-ray 3D. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format came out in 2016 and starting in 2017 with the release of PowerDVD 17 Ultra, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs are supported. The new PowerDVD 20 Ultra still supports native 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs for the less then 1% of the 1.5 billion Windows owners that have the rare required Intel SGX CPU and SGX compatible motherboard. It should be mentioned that PowerDVD versions 17 through 20 is still the only Blu-ray software in existence that can playback native 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. However still no support for Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+. PowerDVD 20 Ultra still only supports the mandatory HDR10 format.

Therefore, just like the latest standalone Samsung 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players that dropped 3D support, Cyberlink PowerDVD 20 Ultra has also dropped 3D support from their software based 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players. Currently the only standalone 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players in production that playback Blu-ray 3D discs are the Sony and Panasonic models. So at least in 2020 Sony and Panasonic still manufacture Blu-ray players that playback Blu-ray 3D discs. The BDA should have mandated that all 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players should be able to playback Blu-ray 3D discs, but they did not mandate that feature, and while the first generation 4K Blu-ray players all played back Blu-ray 3D discs, later generations of 4K Blu-ray players from Samsung and Cyberlink dropped the Blu-ray 3D feature.

quote from Cyberlink customer support
The 3D media playback feature (including 3D video files playback, Blu-ray 3D playback, etc.) is NO longer supported in the new version of PowerDVD 20 (or above). The new PowerPlayer 365 does not support the 3D video playback feature, either.

It should be mentioned that I am not sure if PowerDVD 20 Ultra is running in 64 bit mode under a 64 bit Windows operating system and might only be 32 bit software. With last year’s PowerDVD 19 Ultra once the software was installed it always had a Windows icon on the desktop that said “Cyberlink PowerDVD 19 (64-bit)” since the software took full advantage of the 64 bit CPU’s and 64 bit Windows operating systems. When PowerDVD 20 Ultra is installed it does not mention anywhere that it is a 64 bit edition. There is a possibility that when the 3D feature was removed from the latest PowerDVD 20 Ultra program that the programmers might have used old software code that is 32 bit. I would need to do some more testing to see if PowerDVD 20 Ultra is 64 bit software or 32 bit software since this year the 64 bit label was removed from the desktop icon. Another issue is with my high-end THX certified 2.1 computer speakers I was getting some distorted audio with both lossy 2.0 DTS stereo from BD-LIVE and lossless 7.1 DTS-HD Master audio that is eternally decoded to 2.0 PCM. I never had this problem before on my 5 year old X99 128GB DDR4 desktop computer with any version of PowerDVD Ultra. It was only happening with certain loud complicated scenes. Perhaps this issue might be fixed with a software update.

Since the year 2015 I have owned a 4K Ultra HD desktop computer monitor with the HDCP 2.2 feature and a high-end X99 motherboard. However, I fall into the category of the 99.5% of the 1.5 billion Windows users that cannot playback a native 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc since I do not own a rare Intel based SGX CPU and SGX motherboard that offers those security features. I would have to downgrade my motherboard to a slower performance motherboard to playback native 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and I refuse to do that since I use my PC for many other things besides Blu-ray discs. The Blu-ray Disc Association should have created a software version of SGX security and not a hardware version of SGX security. Perhaps in the years to come Cyberlink might drop 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc support just like they have dropped Blu-ray 3D support. It is just to difficult for the average professional to playback native 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs on a PC. Worst case scenario is one day Cyberlink within the next 10 years might also drop support for standard 2D Blu-ray discs. PowerDVD has been around since 1997 with the ability to playback DVD discs for 23 years. The DVD format is so strong and with the latest versions of Windows not shipping with a built in DVD player app, PowerDVD most likely in the years to come could drop all Blu-ray support and many consumers would still purchase the software.

There were some minor improvements made to PowerDVD 20 Ultra when it comes to how the interface operates when playing an optical disc like a DVD or Blu-ray. When playing 480i DVD discs, PowerDVD 20 Ultra told my 5 year old graphics card to switch the Windows interface from 60Hz to exactly 29.97Hz to match the DVD’s native frame rate. When playing a native 1080P/24 Blu-ray disc PowerDVD 20 Ultra automatically switched my graphics card to 23.976Hz (auto switches back to 60Hz when one stops playing the optical disc). In the prior version of PowerDVD the frame rate information was an even number and did not give the exact frame rate in Windows 10. The audio CD data appears to be a little improved this year. However, a nice improvement is that this years PowerDVD 20 Ultra for the very first time shows the native resolution of the DVD or Blu-ray that is being played. However, the old 2016 OPPO UDP-203 still has to be used by professional reviewers since the OPPO UDP-203 shows both the optical disc resolution along with what the disc frame rate is and if the disc is interlaced or progressive. So hopefully a software update to PowerDVD 20 Ultra or later versions of PowerDVD will offer the frame rate information of the disc and hopefully add the letter i or P next to the resolution so one will know if the disc is interlaced or progressive. 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. Along with the letter i or p next to the resolution to let one know if the source material is interlaced or progressive.

I am really disappointed in this years PowerDVD 20 Ultra that completely dropped Blu-ray 3D support (I would have never wasted the time or money to downgrade from PowerDVD 19 Ultra to PowerDVD 20 Ultra if I would have known this was going to happen). Plus, it is unclear if the PowerDVD 20 Ultra software is running in true 64 bit mode. Also, I was experiencing some audio glitches that hopefully will be fixed in the next firmware update.

A few days ago PowerDVD 19 Ultra retail box version with CD-ROM could be purchased from Amazon or a Amazon dealer for around $49.99 which is half off the list price. However now I see PowerDVD 19 Ultra is back up to its full price of $99.99. Educated consumers are realizing that PowerDVD 19 Ultra is really the best software to own. If you are a Blu-ray 3D fan like me and want a stable and reliable software package to playback Blu-ray discs, don’t make the same mistake that I did. Either stay with PowerDVD 19 Ultra until the firmware updates are no longer offered or if you are using an old version of PowerDVD Ultra like version 18 or older, then I strongly recommend buying last year’s PowerDVD 19 Ultra since it still is the best of the best software for Blu-ray playback.

Last edited by HDTV1080P; 07-01-2020 at 12:50 AM.
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