Roxio Easy CD and DVD Creator 6 review and test

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Roxio Easy CD & DVD Creator 6

Roxio has been noticeably quiet during the development of mainstream DVD recording. Can Easy CD & DVD Creator 6 pull the disc burning market back from Nero and VOB?

Since Adaptec's software division was spun off as a separate company called Roxio, we've been astonished by some dreadful decision making. There was the release of the awful (and now seemingly defunct) Video Pack 5, and then the purchase of MGI - maker of our least favourite editing program, VideoWave. But the company still has its big-selling CD burning software - Easy CD Creator. Previous versions of the program have always scored highly in Computer Video tests, but there hasn't been a major upgrade in two years. In that time, recordable DVD has hit the mainstream, and programs such as VOB's Instant CD/DVD and Ahead's Nero have taken over a strong OEM market which Easy CD Creator used to dominate.
The last two years has also seen a big change in the way people use digital media. Not only has digital video gone from strength to strength, but more and more people are finding a use for digital stills and MP3 - all made even more appealing by faster, cheaper internet access. As with Apple's iLife software collection, Roxio is presenting Easy CD & DVD Creator 6 as a suite of integrated software applications, designed to help manage digital media in all its forms. The program is composed of five main utilities - Disc Copier, AudioCentral, DVD Builder, PhotoSuite 5, and Creator Classic - all accessible from Windows' Programs menu, or from a single graphic interface called up when you double-click the desktop shortcut. Also installed is a packet-writing utility called 'Drag to Disc', which is launched automatically and sits on the desktop above the system tray.
With a price tag under £40, Easy CD & DVD Creator is undoubtedly good value for money. While DVD Builder is far from the most impressive DVD authoring tool we've seen, it does a reasonable job and makes a good introduction to the rather dizzying world of DVD authoring. PhotoSuite is a nice application, but we'd like to see some decent DVD support. What impressed us the most, however, was AudioCentral, which did a great job of creating order from a chaotic collection of MP3 files, and made the task of creating compilation discs very simple and intuitive.
On the surface, Easy CD & DVD Creator 6 gives the impression of providing a comprehensive suite of media management tools, but they're not as closely integrated as we'd like. Roxio should be aiming to meet the standard set by Apple with iLife - not necessarily in the complexity of video editing and DVD burning tools on offer, but the way in which the programs feed off each other. Unlike Apple's apps, we found that Roxio's AudioCentral playlists couldn't be accessed by DVD Builder, Creator Classic or any other element of the suite but AudioCentral itself. The same goes for PhotoSuite's albums. It would be great to have access to them in DVD Builder for creating DVD slideshows, but that's not an option. This lack of integration between applications - coupled with the lack of support for recordable DVD in programs such as PhotoSuite - leaves Easy CD & DVD Creator in an awkward position. It's a good program, but there's still room for competitors to do things much better.

Peter Wells

Read the full review in July 2003's Computer Video magazine.


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