Ulead CD and DVD PictureShow test and review

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Ulead CD & DVD PictureShow

Ulead is currently at the front of the pack when it comes to consumer-level DVD authoring tools. But are the days of pocket-money apps such as DVD PictureShow now over?

Ulead has established itself as a strong player in the consumer-level DVD authoring market. At the time of writing, Ulead is the only company to offer strong authoring options for beginners and enthusiasts under the Windows operating system. While far from being the best program out there, its budget authoring package DVD MovieFactory provides a solid and intuitive wizard-based environment for making quick-and-dirty video discs, and at more advanced levels, DVD Workshop offers massive bangs for bucks including subtitles, alternative audio tracks and scripting.
Another area where Ulead really seems to shine is in its development of pocket-money software - inexpensive programs that serve a single, specific purpose. Two such programs are DVD PictureShow and Photo Explorer, bundled here as CD & DVD PictureShow 3 Deluxe. The package costs a mere £25, and is designed to help digital photographers publish their images in DVD or VCD format. We were hugely impressed with the idea when PictureShow was first launched in 2002, but the entry-level DVD authoring market has become so mature and competitive, we're left wondering whether such a one-trick pony is still relevant.
CD & DVD PictureShow 3 Deluxe comes as a two-disc set. The first installs the main application and Ulead's Photo Explorer software, as well as DirectX, Windows Media Format 9 and QuickTime if needed. The second disc is called a Bonus CD, but unlike many bonus discs, contains some genuinely useful stuff, such as a collection of stock photos called Hemera Photo Objects, and an image emailing wizard by Novatix called SendPhotos. The Bonus CD's installation screen also offers a Digital Photography Reference Guide. It's in PDF format for viewing in Adobe Acrobat Reader, but don't let that put you off. The guide is a worthwhile piece of work, taking a qualitative approach to digital photography, addressing framing, exposure and printing from a largely aesthetic viewpoint. It's engaging and targeted squarely at the home user and newcomer.


Ulead's CD & DVD PictureShow 3 Deluxe is a well-packed software bundle and, at a mere £25, represents great value for money. We came into this review feeling that DVD slideshow programs had had their day, but we're delighted to be proved wrong. PictureShow has some exciting features and, in many ways, is a much more interesting program than Ulead's authoring program DVD MovieFactory. If only it supported chapter-markers, we think it would be a better thing altogether. Ulead has greatly surpassed our expectations with this pocket-money product, and we hope to see features such as pan-and-zoom filters worked into the company's more upmarket video applications soon.

Peter Wells

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