Perhaps best known for its DVD-playing app, WinDVD, InterVideo now enters the all-in-one media-creation-suite market with MediaOne, challenging established powerhouses and . It's a commendable first effort, providing all of the tools you need to save and edit video, burn a variety of disc types, organize photos, make backups, and more. Some of the nine included apps, such as PhotoAlbum Gold and WinDVD Creator 2.0 Platinum, show polish, although others, such as Disc Master 2.0 Platinum and Disc Label could use more refining. Above all, we wish that InterVideo had gone a step further and made this feel like a unified suite, instead of simply a collection of useful tools. We still recommend Nero for power users and Roxio for home users. Installing MediaOne was a little rough--and that's an understatement. The installer tried to uninstall previously loaded InterVideo apps from our test system before installing anything new, and when that didn't work our system crashed hard. The crash caused other problems to our system that InterVideo's technical support was unwilling to help with (more on that later). Once we were up and running again, we uninstalled our existing InterVideo apps, then everything went smoothly. If you purchase MediaOne, we strongly advise you do the same.
Open MediaOne, and you'll get a colorful launchpad that asks what job you'll be doing and opens the correct application. Each of the nine included apps has its own distinct interface that range from the simple (PhotoAlbum Gold) to the complex (Disc Master 2.0). InterVideo missed a major opportunity by not giving a similar look and common interface elements to all the apps so that users could quickly find their way around each one. Roxio and Nero don't manage that either, butMediaOne is an all-in-one product that can tackle most any video, image, or backup task you throw at it. Its key selling point is how simple it makes working with video, including editing on DVD+/-VR discs (used with set-top DVD recorders) and archiving old VHS tapes to a disc. Simple wizards guide you through most tasks and remove the complexity for first-time users. The video-editing interface is clearly laid out and includes both timeline and storyboard views, along with Dolby Digital Audio support and a good collection of transitions and effects. When you're finished, you can add a professional-looking DVD menu and output your video as a VCD, SVCD, DVD, shows how it should be done.DivX, or DVD+/-VR disc.
Unlike Nero and Roxio, MediaOne comes with a useful photo organizer that makes it easy to view, import, and make minor fixes to pictures. We like that MediaOne has several different views and a search tool that allows users to search for similar photos (the results are a bit too broad, but they're usually accurate). You can e-mail directly from the application--MediaOne uses your default mail program--but unfortunately, the software doesn't connect to any online photo-printing or gift services.
MediaOne also contains strong tools for scheduling backups and creating and cloning discs. The included disc labeler seems like little more than an afterthought, which, sadly, is true for most disc-labeling tools. And it's a good thing Windows Media Player is free, because MediaOne doesn't offer much for audio. While it can play CDs and individual tracks from the hard drive, there's no library view and, surprisingly, no audio-editing application (a basic feature in both Nero and Roxio).