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Burning Data DVDs

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Taking a Quick Tour of Roxio's Easy CD & DVD Creator

Roxio, a spinoff from Adaptec, is the industry leader in optical disc creation software. Its Easy CD Creator is the de-facto industry standard. Microsoft uses Roxio software in the Windows CD recording module you might have tried at the beginning of this hour.

Roxio's Easy CD Creator 5 treats DVDs as an afterthought. Recognizing it needed a stronger DVD emphasis, Roxio has updated and renamed its flagship product, releasing Roxio's Easy CD & DVD Creator 6: The Digital Media Suite. I tested a beta of that product. Here's my quick take.

Version 6 is a collection of loosely connected modules. As shown in Figure 3.11, its opening screen lists five tasks. Two are only marginally connected to DVD/CD creation: Audio Central and Photosuite.

Figure 3.11Figure 3.11 Roxio's Easy CD & DVD Creator 6 is a collection of five loosely connected program modules.

AudioCentral, shown in Figure 3.12, mimics the Windows Media Player while offering less functionality. Its primary role is music playback and selecting tunes to rip and record to a CD. PhotoSuite is a rudimentary image file management and touch-up and tool with only marginal usability.

Figure 3.12Figure 3.12 AudioCentral has a similar look and purpose as Windows Media Player with less functionality.

The core of Easy CD & DVD Creator remains the optical disc tools: Creator Classic and Disc Copier. The version 6 update stands out from its predecessor because of the acknowledgement that you can use those tools to make DVDS as well as the inclusion of a barebones DVD authoring module.

Disc Copier couldn't be easier to use. As shown in Figure 3.13, you simply open the Disc Copier module, tell the program the source and destination drives, and then click the Roxio logo at the bottom-right to start copying. You can copy using one DVD/CD drive or two. It's easy, just as the name says.

Figure 3.13Figure 3.13 Roxio's Disc Copier is simple and effective.

Creator Classic, shown in Figure 3.14, is the real workhorse of this five-module collection. Its clear and remarkably easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface and simplified setup for a wide variety of disc types makes working with this module a snap. I really like that the project size display at the bottom notes when you've exceeded the capacity of a disc but then simply lets you know that Creator Classic will put that excess capacity on another disc. That is a very clever twist on the old out of disc space message other products use.

Finally, DVD Builder, illustrated in Figure 3.15, is Roxio's attempt to get its foot in the DVD authoring door. My take is that it's not much more than a toehold. Its interface is confusing, its menu button and design options are too limited, and its controls are awkward.

You would be better off using a DVD authoring module included in a video editing product or, better still, a standalone DVD authoring product. I cover DVD authoring modules—those that ship with video editing software—in Hour 11, "Crafting Your Story and Selecting Video Editing Software." review standalone, entry-level, and prosumer DVD authoring products in Hour 16, "Evaluating Competing DVD Authoring Products."

Figure 3.14Figure 3.14 Roxio's Creator Classic makes the other Easy CD & DVD Creator modules look like afterthoughts.

Figure 3.15Figure 3.15 DVD Builder is a less-than-adequate first stab at DVD authoring from Roxio.

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