Here’s a piece of advice for you all: don’t buy Sonic MyDVD, and don’t listen to those fuckers on PC Magazine and ZDNet who recommend it (PCMag even gave it an “Editor’s Choice” award). I made the mistake of buying based on those reviews, and naturally, I got burned.
Well, it’s only a hundred bucks, right? That’s true, and it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but the fact remains that I wasted time and money on a shitty product because I was stupid enough to think that a software review might actually be telling the truth.
First, both ZDNet and PC Magazine highly tout the software’s comprehensive DVD authoring featureset, and neither of them mention any serious bugs. All I can say is BULLSHIT. I bought the download edition of MyDVD Deluxe 6.1 online, and where can I start? First, I discover that the software absolutely refuses to import MPEG2 streams intact; it insists on transcoding them (decoding from MPEG-2 and then re-encoding to MPEG-2) even if they are already DVD-compliant. This has rather huge implications if you want to use this software to rearrange tracks from an existing DVD, because it means that each time you do it, the quality will drop. Congratulations, we’re back to VCR technology.
But it gets better! You see, first I signed up with their support site (yes, you have to register to get support) and asked about this missing feature. I received the terse reply that no, this feature would not be added. No apology, not even a sheepish “aw shucks” tone, no vague promise that they might add this feature someday, just a flat No. Go away.
Oh, but does the story end there? No sir! Because when I tried to author a DVD, not only did it insist on clumsily transcoding imported MPEG-2 video clips even if they didn’t need it, but it crashed with a “Vobulator error”. So I go back to the support website and ask what the fuck is going on. Well, it turns out that if you edit a video clip in their software (even if all you do is cut out a blank portion at the beginning), it can’t author the DVD. If you edit a clip, you have to export it out to a video clip on the hard disk, then re-import it as a fresh video clip. And of course, it will be re-encoded both ways. Thanks a lot, Sonic.
Am I done yet? No! At this point I discovered that even without video editing, I still got the error! The support people said that one of my video clips might be imperfect, and I should blame the video clips. Fair enough, I used a process of elimination to identify the “bad” video clip and removed it from my composition. Now, I can author the DVD, right?
Sort of. Because now, I discovered the final insult: it’s slower than fucking molasses. When I use the software, the machine bogs down to a crawl for hours, and there is no way of configuring its task priority.
Is the story done? Almost. You see, by now I was so fed-up with this piece of shit software from a well-reviewed leading brand name (these are the same guys who make Easy CD Creator) that I decided to buy a competing product from a tiny and not very well-known vendor. So I shelled out some more money and got TMPGEnc DVD Author 1.6, from Pegasys Inc.
And guess what: all of my concerns have been addressed. I can now import my MPEG-2 DVD-compliant streams without forced transcoding. The speed is vastly improved. And remember that video clip that I had to remove from my composition because it wouldn’t work? DVD Author sailed through it without any crashes.
Moral of the story? ZDNet reviews aren’t worth shit, Sonic software support staff suck, and these people should learn to understand that this shit is why so many people use piracy rather than going the legal route. You really don’t know what you’re buying beforehand, and even if the product is defective, you can’t get your money back. And to add insult to injury, ever since I signed up for Sonic’s support website, I get a constant stream of spam, encouraging me to buy … Sonic MyDVD 6.1. Is it bad enough that they make a buggy, slow product with critical feature holes? Is it bad enough that their support staff is totally unapologetic about this? Is it bad enough that they spam me? No, they have to spam me repeatedly with offers for the same POS product that I just bought from them! Fuck you, Sonic. Fuck you long and hard.