Nero 2014 Platinum
The ever-competent Nero disc-burning and multimedia creation suite takes on almost easy-to-use status in its latest incarnation, Nero 2014. Considering that the platinum version of 2014 burns all manner of optical discs, converts video for nearly all devices, plays Blu-ray movies, and provides about 90% or the media creation and editing features of more expensive suites, it's also a bargain at $130 (with a 15-day free trial).
Under-the-hood improvements in version 2014 include faster encoding, streaming video to TVs, and support for 4K video. But the big changes are in usability. Other modules have adopted the modern look of the included Nero MediaHome app, which is a very good media librarian and player for video, audio, and photos.
The modules that have fully adopted the new look are Nero Video, a very competent video editing program with near pro-level abilities including Blu-ray and 3D disc authoring; Nero Recode, a program for transcoding video to a number of formats and devices that's up there with the best standalones; and the Nero Blu-ray Player for BD (plain and 3D) playback.
Alas, both Nero Burning ROM (the original disc-burning Nero program that started it all) and Nero Express (the lite version of Burning ROM) still suffer under the clunky old interface. Nero claims users are resistant to change. Me? I'd rather see the new look.
There always seems to be one what-were-they-thinking element in Nero suites. In this case, it's the nod towards Windows 8 in the form of the new launch center. It looks Windows 8-ish and works well, but it only runs full screen or minimized. As everything else in Nero runs in desktop mode, the approach makes little sense. Note that the Nero BackItUp program is no longer included, but there is a very large collection of pre-fab artistic content such as templates, backgrounds, video FX, etc.
In my hands-on with the suite, Nero 2014 seemed less buggy than the first release of Nero 12. That's a good start, but you should also know that the company is usually very quick with the bug fixes, should you run into any.
Nero remains at the top of the heap when it comes to disc creation, and it has more than enough video, photo, and audio creative abilities to satisfy the average user. It should definitely be on your short shopping list of budget suites, along with Cyberlink's Media Suite 11 and Roxio's Easy Media Creator NXT 2.
Note: The Download button takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software.
Nero 2014 Platinum
Nero is still one of the most capable of the burning suites, and it fills most users' needs in the creative department (video editing and production, slideshows, etc.), but most improvements in version 2014 are in the usability arena.
- Comprehensive disc and multimedia creation features
- Launch application doesn't fit the rest of the suite and runs only in full-screen mode