Popcorn™ 2 - Review
July 31, 2006
Quite a statement, but it has down come to that in the minds of the
average consumer on how they judge single purpose software. While Mac
OS X “suite” software
like Microsoft’s Office X™, Adobe’s CS™ (Creative
Suite) or Roxio’s own Toast 7™ and Jam™, are valued
for their intrinsic feature set, it still boils down to how simple
are they to use.
Roxio, now owned by video creation software giant Sonic Solutions™,
has matured over the years since it’s beginning as Adaptec’s
Easy CD Creator (Windows) and Toast™ (Mac). Back then the software
was powerful but sometimes clumsy to use, hard to understand and sometimes
misfired in a simple burn. Since that early spin off of Roxio™ from
Adaptec™, they have had an excellent team of software writers and now
long gone are
of frustrating CD and DVD creation.
The Mac OS X platform has been particularly lucky to have Roxio around,
as Toast has been the best recordable disk creation software on any
platform. It’s sister app on Windows, Easy Media Creator™ 7
and 8, has only recently caught up to the ease of use of Toast and
Jam. But now the Windows dudes have another reason to be jealous, it’s
Roxio’s new version 2 of Popcorn™.
Version 1 of Popcorn debuted a little over a year and a half ago, around
December 05, and its sole purpose was to copy non-copy protected and
unencrypted DVD’s. Like recent versions of Toast, Popcorn was
flawless in it operation and as easy to use as could be. When Roxio
upgraded Toast 7 earlier this year, we thought for sure that Popcorn
was dead as a product since Toast now included most of it’s features
and a lot more
v.1 Popcorn did one thing very well, Backup
The Guts -
Now with the latest craze in portable video players, namely the fabulous
Sony PSP and the more limited Video iPod, Roxio was the first to
jump at making Popcorn more than just a DVD copy application. Built
into Popcorn 2 is the superbly easy to use capability to convert
and compress video files to the correct format for the PSP‘, “ViPod”,
3GP Cell Phones and many other portable video players with internal
flash memory, Hard Drives or plug-in flash type memory.
2 is all about DVD's and Mobile Video Players. Click
any images to enlarge view.
with this new function, Popcorn 2 has improved upon it original DVD
replication operation with the new “Fit-to-DVD" compression
and the ability to convert DVD video to Divx, AVI, MPEG 1, 2 and 4,
H.264, QuickTime and other video formats.
is as simple as Drag n Drop in the apps folder
compression technology in Popcorn 2 , Fit-to-DVD can compress a Dual
Layer 9GB DVD video to fit onto a standard Single Layer 4.7GB consumer
DVD disc. That’s sweet and Popcorn calculates when to compress
automatically, without affecting audio quality.
A major distinction between the higher priced spread and Popcorn 2
is that Popcorn 2 does not offer the ability to create music or data
as you go. It also won’t let you create a DVD from random files
either. After all if it did, why would you buy Toast 7?
"This feature is called “Director’s Cut”,
so you can be your own Steven Spielberg...."
it does do two things in DVD creation very well – creating a DVD
from a DVD, image files and VIDEO_TS folders, with customizations like
omitting selected files and segments. Not interested in those often boring “director
cuts” on a DVD? Then omit them in the replication operation. This
feature is called “Director’s Cut”, so you can be
your own Steven Spielberg editing out that terrible special segments.
number of selectable copy options are
and an especially nice feature in Popcorn 2.
3 Choices to create or backup to
As I said earlier, Popcorn 2 will not make
a “backup” of
any commercial encrypted DVD, something that Roxio had to do to stay
clear of the wrath of the movie industry. But if you feel that you have
a right to backup DVD’s you bought so you won’t lose your
investment in the case of accidental damage, then there are plenty of
options available to you.
If you were to use DVD “Ripping” decryption
software easily found on the Internet, such as MacTheRipper or Handbrake,
Popcorn 2 will compress and burn the resulting VIDEO_TS folder files
that are ripped to your desktop.
Mac the Ripper and
Handbrake - are
at these sites. 8^ )
the Glory –
Now I think that the coolest thing about Popcorn 2 is the ease in which
it will convert video files to a selectable format for your favorite
portable video media player. While I was a first in line iPod adopter
way back when, I find the “ViPod” a poor choice if you
want quality, features and more features. I am a Sony PSP addict and
it makes the Apple video iPod look sad; I won’t go into the dozens
of reasons why here.