Page 12 of 24: Full Review of WinDVD Platinum 1.0

Note : This is an archived review for an older version of WinDVD. For the latest review, please refer to this page.


Below is a review for the latest version of WinDVD.

Below is the specs for the test system used :
    Pentium-III 1000
    512 MB PC-133 CAS-2 SDRAM
    NVIDIA GeForce2 Ultra
    SB-Live Platinum 5.1
    Pioneer A05 16X DVD-ROM drive
    Windows 2000
    WinDVD Platinum
Index :

Video Quality

Video quality has not noticeably changed (for good or bad) since WinDVD 4.0 already had excellent video quality - I guess it's just a matter of "if it ain't broken".

Video quality remains high, just like the previous version of WinDVD. Of course, this is dependent on your graphics card and settings, rather than directly on the Video decoder. Some people might actually experience better quality on PowerDVD, but most should be able to get the highest quality from WinDVD (at the expense of performance, of course). WinDVD does seem to be less blurry than PowerDVD in full screen mode, which is related to scaling and how each software DVD player implements it. Contrast also seems to be better in WinDVD.

As mentioned in the "What's New" page, WinDVD Platinum adds a video effects option. What this option does it basically apply realtime filters to the video, making the video negative, for example. There is a video effects mode called "movieffects", which generally improves the color of the movie, making it more vibrant. The video effects also allows you to apply the effect to only half of the movie screen, allowing you to compare the video with and without the effect - nice!!

Rating : A
(updated 2 July 2003)

Decoding Efficiency

With modern CPU, the efficiency of the decoder is becoming less of a problem. On 1000 MHz systems, there is almost no difference between WinDVD Platinum and Cyberlink PowerDVD 4.0's decoder, however, on lower end systems, PowerDVD still comes out ahead efficiency wise. WinDVD does makes up for it's greater CPU usage in greater quality visuals, especially picture sharpness - but this will greatly depend on your graphics hardware, as each decode is optimized for different types of graphics card.

CPU usage does increase if any of the optional playback features, such as SRS effects or video effects, are turned on, but only by about 10%.

Rating : A+
(updated 2 July 2003)

Video Support

The graphics acceleration support documentation has not been updated (eg. it does not include GeForce4), so it isn't easy to say which card is supported. I would expect most forms of Motion Compensation and some forms of iDCT are supported, along the lines of PowerDVD.

WinDVD Platinum's Video Configuration

"Always on top" mode is available, as with NVDVD, which was one of those options a lot of people requested. As with WinDVD 4, there is a "Video Desktop" mode, which allows you to playback the DVD as the background image of your Windows desktop - so for those who have called for animated Windows desktop backgrounds, your wish has (sort of) come true. "Video Desktop" may not be very practical (if you have multiple windows open, your desktop is most likely blocked out), but at the very least it makes an interesting screensaver/desktop background.

Interestingly, WinDVD 4's new "PAL TruSpeed" playback mode, which plays back PAL DVDs at their right speed, is not present in WinDVD Platinum, or at least I was not able to find it in the configurations. When NTSC (US) movies are transferred from film to PAL DVDs, the playback speed will actually be 4% faster than normal (NTSC 30 FPS converted to 24 FPS using 3/2 pulldown, and this 24 FPS movie is played back at 25 FPS - hence the 4% speed increase).

A similar feature that was previously available in WinDVD 3/4 is time stretching playback, which allows you to playback a movie either faster or slower, but with the audio's pitch unchanged (just the playback speed) - you'll have to see it to believe it, but it works quite well.

WinDVD Platinum's Time Stretch Function

As mentioned previously, new Video Effects filters are available to change how the playback picture looks, and while not entirely useful (although the "Movieffector" filter does make the color look more vibrant), it does add something new.

There is also DivX playback support, although I could not find much documentation on this support.

Rating : A+

Audio Quality/Support

For the most part, audio quality in WinDVD Platinum remains the same as WinDVD 4. The only new addition which may improve audio quality is the 96 kHz/24 Bit audio decoding mode, which should improve audio quality - although the quality of your sound card/speakers will determine how much of a difference you experience. As mentioned in the What's new page, Dolby Virtual Speakers and more headphone support (for both Dolby and SRS) have been added. I played around with the Dolby Virtual Speakers, and while it will probably never replace my 5.1 setup, it certainly does come up useful if you are limited to only 2 speakers.

The following paragraphs are taken directly from the WinDVD 4 Plus review, which can be used to describe the current audio features in WinDVD Platinum as well.

Audio quality has been improved with the addition of SRS "Dialog Clarity" and "TruBass" processing. 4, 6 and now 8 channels of audio are supported, although one 8 channel card is supported (also because there aren't that many 8 channels cards on the market yet). Most Creative sound cards, which are still the most popular consumer level sound cards, are supported.

There are also DSP effects, which are like the type of effects you get on home theatre amp/receivers (eg. Hall, Soft, Echo). There are also environment processing options, such as the late night mode, also a favorite of home theatre amp/receivers.

Karaoke features are also included for karaoke-fans, with pitch control, as well as the standard vocal options - a lot of standalone DVD players that have karaoke functions have these features as well.

To compare with PowerDVD, both player's audio support are about equal, while WinDVD just slightly edges PowerDVD in terms of audio quality.

WinDVD Platinum's new Audio Options

WinDVD Platinum's new Advanced Audio Options
Rating : A+


Both subtitles and captions are supported here, the same as WinDVD 4. Only one set of subtitle/captions are supported at a time (WinDVD 3.0 could display up to four different subtitles at the same time), as opposed to the two different subtitles that PowerDVD can display at the same time. Granted, having multiple subtitles on screen is pretty useless for most situations, although it is odd to remove a feature that was already present, even if it is not that useful.

Closed captions are available as white text on black background, which enhances visibility (PowerDVD implements closed captions as white text with a transparent background, which isn't as clear).

Neither PowerDVD nor WinDVD allows you to change the position of the subtitle/captions, which if possible, would be a good feature to consider for the future.

Rating : B+
(updated 2 July 2003)


WinDVD Platinum builds upon WinDVD 4's "Capture Browser", and now has integrated it with the bookmarking function. "Capturing Browser" allows you to capture multiple frames and preview/delete/save them here with ease - captured frames can be viewed as thumbnails, or as a plain text list. It's one of those "why didn't I think of it" features that just make life a whole lot easier (if your life revolved around capturing still frames from DVDs, that is). This allows for multiple captures at the same time.

WinDVD Platinum's Video Capturing Browser

One disappointing exclusion is the option to specify which directory captured files are saved to.

NVDVD has introduced audio capturing, and so both WinDVD and PowerDVD will have to catch up in this area, and so the rating for this section has dropped since the last time WinDVD was reviewed (when NVDVD wasn't yet available).

Rating : B+
(updated 2 July 2003)

User Interface

WinDVD Platinum's interface is similar to that of WinDVD 4, although the skin used has been completely re-designed, and improved in most areas.

The first thing you notice is the new skin, which I am glad to say, is quite well designed with clear and large buttons, as well as a large numerical display.

WinDVD Platinum continues with WinDVD 4's subpanel idea. There are now a total of eight different subpanels, offering functions ranging from the standard navigation (select up/down left/right, titles, chapters ...) to language selection (audio/subtitle), and quite a few audio subpanels. I quite like subpanels, since it allows you to get to important functions quickly and easily, as opposed to navigating page after page of configuration panels, or menu options.

WinDVD Platinum's subpanel options

The other new interface feature, which I'm glad to say, it a much welcomed one. Intervideo calls it "Video docking", but basically, it is a new feature which allows you to attach and detach the main control console with the playback window. For those that read my NVDVD review, I mentioned that the NVDVD's docked style interface (the controls are attached to the playback window) was a nice feature that makes moving the window around much easier, although it really depends on personal taste. With WinDVD Platinum's "Video docking", you can now have the best of both worlds.

WinDVD Platinum - Undocked            WinDVD Platinum - Docked

I should also mention WinDVD's "Play DVD from folder" option, which allows you to playback ripped DVDs from your hard-drive directly. I found this superior to PowerDVD's "Open DVD Files on Hard Drive" option. PowerDVD only allows you to select the ripped DVD's IFO file for playback, while WinDVD only requires you to select the folder that the ripped files are stored in. With WinDVD's ripped playback mode, everything from the original DVD was present, even the copyright notices at the start of the DVD, whereas PowerDVD's option may mean some features that were on the original DVD are not available (eg. the copyright notices aren't shown).

Rating : A+

OS Support

WinDVD Platinum only supports Windows 2000 and XP. Support fow Windows 98/Me may be added at a later time.

Rating : A


Zooming in WinDVD Platinum mostly remains the same as in WinDVD 4, which is actually a little disappointing. As you may remember, the zooming in WinDVD 4 seems to have gone a little backwards compared to WinDVD 3.0. You are not limited to zooming into a fixed area, which is at the same aspect ratio as the current movie. The way to specify where to zoom is actually quite good. Once you enter zoom mode by pressing the zoom button, you can select the area to which you want to zoom to using a white rectangle shown on the screen - you can click the left mouse button to zoom in to this area. You can repeat this several times, before the zoom is cancelled. Once zoomed into an area, you can right click to bring up the zoom menu, and select the panning option to pan the zoomed area.

However, WinDVD Platinum now does have a function which allows you to turn a widescreen movie into a fullscreen one, which is one of the most requested features. Fortunately, this feature is easy to access, and does not require tricky configuration as with some other DVD players. All one needs to do to activate this feature is to go to the "Display" sub-panel, and change the "Widescreen" option to "Pan & Scan" (this option is only available in fullscreen mode).

WinDVD Platinum's new Widescreen options

Rating : B+



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