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PowerDVD 16 adds TV streaming and 4K support

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Fershad Irani

Update 12/2/2016: PowerDVD (Pro and Ultra) has now received certification from the Blu-ray Disc Association for playback of Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs. However hardware which supports 4K BD has yet to be announced.

Once upon a time, home theater PCs were a thing, and users armed with a TV capture card, a DVD drive and the Media Center mode built into Microsoft Windows formed what became known as the HTPC (Home Theater PC) community.

In today's environment, that all seems like a distant memory. Windows 10 unceremoniously dumped Media Center, and most laptops don't even include optical drives. Meanwhile, Blu-ray players cost well under $100 and streaming sticks under $50 -- so who needs PC-based media software anymore?

Hard-core, old-school PC enthusiasts, that's who. And to the rescue of this too-long-neglected group comes CyberLink, with PowerDVD 16. More than just DVD and Blu-ray playback, this new Windows video software supports 4K video, with some nifty "play to" casting tricks to boot. It will even support 4K Blu-ray playback -- if and when compatible PC 4K Blu-ray drives arrive.

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CyberLink

TV-friendly

It seems crazy, but for some reason it's taken PowerDVD until its sixteenth iteration to include a dedicated TV mode. Taking a leaf from other HTPC interfaces that have come (and gone) before it -- including Boxee and Windows Media Center -- PowerDVD's TV Mode offers an horizontally scrolling interface designed to be used in conjunction with the PowerDVD Remote for Android or iOS, or a mouse.

But TV Mode is merely the first item in PowerDVD's bag of tricks. The software can also stream video files (though not Blu-rays) to your Chromecast, Roku or Apple TV. The "Play To" feature currently supports 4K content (but will downconvert to a 1080p TV) and the company says it is working on streaming 4K content natively. Native support for YouTube and Vimeo is on board, too.

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CyberLink

The system currently supports DVD and Blu-ray, and a CyberLink representative confirmed to me that the software will support 4K Blu-ray once PC hardware becomes available (and the Blu-ray Disc Association releases a PC-based standard).

Power DVD Ultra is available now for $99, and upgrades for previous versions are available from $49. Power DVD Live and Pro are available for $44.99 for 12 months or $79.95, respectively, but don't include the full feature set..

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Fershad Irani

Australian and UK pricing have yet to be announced, but pricing for the full Ultra version converts to about £70 or AU$130.

Of course, anyone interested in PowerDVD and its features should also compare and contrast to Plex, VLC and Kodi.

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Where to Buy

PowerDVD 16 Ultra

Part Number: DVD-EG00-RPU0-00

Visit manufacturer site for details.