WinDVD 8.0 is again available in two main versions : Gold and Platinum. Gold is the "cut-down" version of Platinum, and the features that are unique to the Platinum version are :
Dolby Pro Logic IIx (New)
MPEG4 AVC/ H.264 Main Profile (New)
UPnP Media Server (New)
High Definition File Playback (New):
MPEG-2 HDTV (Transport Stream)
MPEG4 AVC/H.264 file playback
Dolby Digital EX 6.1/7.1
More explanation for some of the above features later on.
New Video Features
The new video features are all concentrated in the area of high definition playback, which is no surprise considering the official launch of both Blu-ray and HD DVD high definition DVD formats. There is support for both H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) and Microsoft's VC-1 - both H.264 and VC-1 are used by Blu-ray/HD DVD (along with the "old" MPEG-2 standard), with early Blu-ray titles using MPEG-2 and early HD DVD titles using VC-1 (and occasionally H.264).
There is also support for MPEG-2 HDTV transport streams (TS), WMV-HD and HDV.
Support for both nVIDIA Purevideo HD and Intel Clear Video acceleration has been added as well. nVIDIA Purevideo HD is supported by GeForce 7x series or newer graphics cards, while Intel Clear Video is available on Intel® G965 Express based chipsets.
New Audio Features
Dolby Pro Logic IIx support has been added. Dolby Pro Logic IIx simulates 7.1 audio from existing stereo of 5.1 audio sources.
New Interface Features
The previous version of WinDVD introduced a completely new interface. WinDVD 8 continues with the same theme, with overall improvements and evolution of that skin. The playback console no longer seems to undockable like in the previous version though.
Similar to what was introduced in PowerDVD 7.0, the skin color can also now be changed, with 7 different colors to choose from.
There is also a new "Boss Key" feature which when pressed (F12), pauses playback and minimizes WinDVD to the taskbar.
Otherwise, the interface remains similar to that of WinDVD 7.
WinDVD 7.0 Platinum introduced support for UPnP media servers. WinDVD 7.0 acted as a client for these servers, which are increasingly becoming standard parts of home network and home theatre setups. WinDVD 8.0 now allows WinDVD to be the media server as well (the Platinum version only - the Gold version is a client only).
Intel Core 2 Duo is also supported for enhanced multi-tasking performance.