Basic video configuration is available
in the Video tab of the Setup menu.
Hardware Acceleration can be used to
enable support for Graphics cards which include MPEG
decoding features, such as Motion Compensation or iDCT.
Further video options are available in the various subpanels
offered in the player, which have been discussed earlier.
DivX playback support is also available, though personally
I’ll stick with DivX Player instead given its better
Picture quality was excellent for the
most part, with no noticeable artifacting on a Monitor,
appearing to offer at least improved sharpness over earlier
versions, though the optimized viewing presets aided the
image as well. Using some of the Video Effects
however did introduce some noticeable artifacting.
Playback was stutter-free in all of the
formats I tried playing: MPEG, DivX, DVD or VCD. Material I
tested out included a baby VCD and MPEG files I had encoded
before, Matrix Revolutions super punch clip DivX file, &
X-Men 2, Equilibrium, Hulk, The Two Towers Extended Edition,
Saving Private Ryan, Seven & Bad Boys DVDs.
Aspect Ratio features are decent, with
the ability to output titles in Widescreen or Pan & Scan
(which may prove useful should you wish to output a
Widescreen feature onto a 4:3 TV), as well as Smart Stretch,
which may offer a more interesting output mode for those
displaying 16:9 content on 4:3 displays, or vice versa, by
smartly stretching the edges of the image to the display.
Zooming features are sufficient, with a simple magnifying
glass icon used to select where you want to zoom, although
it seems you can’t drag a rectangle to define your own area
to zoom in.
WinDVD 5 Platinum features extensive
audio options, with configuration options available in the
Audio tab of the Setup menu.
24-Bit/96 KHz decoding seems
limited to LPCM tracks.
The Audio Booster Pack provides
added functionality and as with Video Effects, multiple
audio effects can be active simultaneously.
Dynamic Range Compression mode can be
set using the Environment option, while the volume
level and delay time can be set per channel by moving the
mouse over the channels displayed.
The Expansion tab allows you to
enable 1 of 3 audio up-mixing features – InterVideo ICE
& Dolby Pro Logic II Music or Movie Mode, or
None at all. Various DSP/Equaliser effects are also
available in the DSP & EQ tab, as are Karaoke
options. SRS features are available as well for those
using Headphones/2 Speakers, along with Dolby Virtual
DVD-Audio is also supported thanks to
the DVD-Audio Pack, when used in conjunction with a
supporting soundcard (Audigy 2 at the moment). As you may be
aware, the Audigy 2 includes Creative’s own MediaSource
DVD-Audio player for such playback already however this
certainly makes a finer alternative to that.
Beyond this all major audio formats are
supported (Dolby Digital, DTS, etc.), as well as Windows
Media Audio & MP3 (Which you can always use the Expansion
formats to up-mix for multi-channel output). All in all,
WinDVD 5 Platinum is perhaps the most comprehensive software
DVD decoder when it comes to Audio features.
Given the test material mentioned
earlier, I used a wide variety of audio formats, MP3, Dolby
Digital, Dolby Digital Surround EX, DTS, DTS-ES & Stereo, as
with DVD video playback WinDVD handled audio decoding
perfectly with no issues to report. Playback quality will of
course be dependent on the audio hardware you’re using.