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Roxio Popcorn™ 2 - Review
July 31, 2006

It’s all about easy.
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 the bugaboos 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
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  v.1 Popcorn did one thing very well, Backup DVD's

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.


Popcorn 2 is all about DVD's and Mobile Video Players.      Click any images to enlarge view.

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spacerAlong 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.

IInstallation is as simple as Drag n Drop in the apps folder

With Roxio’s 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 disc 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?bar
"This feature is called “Director’s Cut”, so you can be your own Steven Spielberg...."
barBut 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. The number of selectable copy options are staggering and an especially nice feature in Popcorn 2.


  3 Choices to create or backup to a DVD

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^ )

And 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.



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