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bought VOB and rebranded that company's Instant software range, Pinnacle
takes on Roxio with an all-singing, all-dancing
Regardless of any
criticisms that might be made against it, there's no denying that Pinnacle
tends to provide plenty of bangs per buck. The company's re-launch of
Fast's Studio as Edition, with a sub-£500 price tag, has made
the prosumer DV editing market an exciting place, giving Adobe and Avid
a much-needed kick in the pants. But, Pinnacle has yet to make a serious
mark in the home-computer mainstream - that strange world that doesn't
revolve entirely around digital video.
InstantCD/DVD, though, might be Pinnacle's way into the mainstream.
On paper, the suite of programs looks like a very able competitor to
Roxio's well-featured Easy CD & DVD Creator 6. It provides quite
advanced tools for sorting music tracks; creating playlists; making
audio CDs and MP3 CDs; creating data discs; and even copying discs that
you really shouldn't. Added to that, the suite includes Pinnacle's entry-level
video disc creator, Expression, and costs the princely sum of £29.
Installation was a breeze. The program's many applications are automatically
installed and shown in a single folder on the Windows Programs list,
with sub-categories - Backup, Duplication, InstantDrive, InstantWrite,
Mastering, Music, Tools and Video. There's also a single shortcut to
a main screen featuring four tabs - Create, Copy/Backup, Media, Extras,
and Help. The Create tab gives access to the most commonly used tools
- data disc creation, audio CD burning, MP3 CDs, and video disc tools.
Copy/Backup provides access to tools for copying, backup and restoring.
Options under the Media tab include an interface to organise sound files,
and even a basic multi-track audio mixing console, as well as a direct
link to Windows Media Player. Extras take in packet-writing (for drag-and-drop
copying to CD and DVD), access to existing projects, and Pinnacle's
own software DVD player, InstantCinema.
InstantCD/DVD is a well-featured suite of programs, and competes closely
with Roxio's Easy CD Creator - particularly at the lower price point.
What Roxio offers that Pinnacle does not is basic photo editing tools,
but the two suites are otherwise highly comparable. Pinnacle has the
edge with audio tools - particularly with the InstantMusic multi-track
editor - and also with video-disc creation, where Expression is much
more straightforward and painless for the beginner than Roxio's DVD
At £29, InstantCD/DVD represents tremendous value for money but,
as with Easy CD Creator, it's still a long way from being as tightly
integrated as Apple's iLife suite - though that, of course, only runs
on Macs. But, for the Windows user, there's not a lot of choice in the
matter. Pinnacle's offering works well and has a strong focus on digital
video - even if its strongest features seem geared towards piracy rather
Read the full review
in March 2004's Computer Video magazine.
Reviewed in this issue:
Pinnacle Instant VideoAlbum
In March's news:
8x speed DVD burning
Pinnacle upgrades Studio
Edius gets OHCI support
Sony PD170 recall?
Apple updates budget video apps
Toast with Jam 6
The missing link?
DVD Video get interactive
Video Forum 2004
TDK CD/DVD printer
DV<>SDI video converter
Cut-price Xpress DV
Smart mains panel