When we read that version 10 of Nero’s venerable multimedia editing and burning suite was going to offer a ‘fundamental shift’ from the all-in-one suites of yesteryear to a bundle of three standalone applications, we were intrigued. This rapidly turned to puzzlement when we started the installation of Nero Multimedia Suite 10 and were presented with a list of 16 separate applications waiting in the queue. These translated to 14 Program menu entries and five desktop shortcuts, so it appears that the ‘fundamental shift’ isn’t that fundamental.
The three standalone applications referred to are Nero Vision Extra, Nero Burning ROM and Nero BackItUp & Burn, but these are only standalone in the sense that you can buy them separately: they each consist of several individual programs and tools. Some programs in Nero 9 have gone, including the Live TV viewer, Showtime media player and PhotoSnap Viewer.
As ever, trying to unravel the old from the new drove us to distraction, but users of the previous version will recognise all the applications apart from Vision Extra, which is actually an updated version of the Vision video editing and DVD/AVCHD authoring program, plus a new program, MediaHub, a fairly basic media organiser and player that replaces Showtime.
Surprisingly, Vision doesn’t support Blu-ray movie playback, even though Blu-ray authoring is now included as standard (it was a plug-in for Nero 9). Nero told us that a paid-for Blu-ray playback plug-in will be available in the second half of 2010, but there’s no indication of cost.
As it stands, Nero 10 can create BD-MV format video discs but not play them, and playback – but not create – BD-AV (also known as Blu-ray Editable) discs. Blu-ray data discs can be created without problems. It’s a bit of a mess, but such is the wonderful world of video copy-protection. The Nero Recode DVD copying and transcoding tool doesn’t support Blu-ray discs at all. Finally, we couldn’t find Blu-ray disc creation mentioned in the manuals at all, a point we raised with Nero and which it is investigating.
The StartSmart task-centred program launcher has been slightly revamped, with a new Knowledge Centre tab for help and support, but again there’s no mention of Blu-ray anywhere in StartSmart, even though this is handled by Nero Vision along with all other video and slideshow projects. Clicking a task in StartSmart launches the relevant program and returns to StartSmart on exit. As some apps launch other apps too, it can get a bit confusing at times. Despite a few cosmetic tweaks, the interfaces aren’t particularly consistent between the three main program groups mentioned above.
But it all just about hangs together, and as with previous incarnations there’s a wealth of tools to cover almost any multimedia task you could think of, from simple data disc compilations or basic photo editing through to Blu-ray disc authoring complete with 3D animated menus. Video editing is powerful, and now supports keyframes. Owners of suitable Nvidia graphics cards will be pleased to know that CUDA hardware GPU acceleration for video transcoding is now supported.
A pile of templates, clipart, samples and themes is provided to get you started, but although there’s a link to online video tutorials in the StartSmart Knowledge Centre, only one was available at the time of writing. Nero is a huge application, but we encountered no problems installing it on Windows 7 and Vista PCs. The multiple nag screens for patent activations soon go away, and at least it doesn’t try to install multiple Windows startup items or services.
It’s a decent upgrade if Blu-ray authoring appeals to you, but if you need Blu-ray movie playback you might be advised to wait a while.