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The Interface

The first thing you notice about the CoolDVD interface is the happy little animated door. It is an animated cover door that closes over the panel buttons, and slides open before your eyes when you point the mouse pointer at it. When you first see it, you are filled with a sense of "Hey, it MOVES! That's so neat! How Cute!!!"

About 30 seconds later, when the novelty of the happy door has begun to wear thin, you start looking for a baseball bat so you can beat the happy little interface until the obnoxiously happy door breaks off and dies forever! Fortunately, a Door Disable button will put the happy door out of its (and your) misery if you so desire. (Thank gawd!)

The CoolDVD interface panel is on the smallish side. It is perfectly useable, but at resolutions above 1024x768 it is a challenge. The CoolDVD interface has a TIME-SLIDER for movie position seeking. It is a clone of the older WinDVD "Micro" Time-Slider! Its TINY! Don't even TRY to find it at 1280x1024 without a magnifying glass! Although the slider button is insanely small, they didn't cut down on its engineering. The CoolDVD TIME-SLIDER is one of the smoothest operating sliders I've tested. If you grab it (No small feat!) and move it, it will instantly seek to any point in the movie with very accurate results and only a minimal delay. Some sliders are inaccurate, too hard to position, or only work when the slider button itself is grabbed and moved. This one works with the slider button, or you can simply click any point on the time-bar and both movie & button will jump straight there. Smooth. Just make the button BIGGER and it would be great!

The main panel is a fairly generic design with a single row of main control buttons. They could benefit from changing the button order, as FF/RW scanning can be laborious. They put FF at one end of the button panel, and RW at the other. When I am searching for a particular scene, I want to dial it in via FF/RW with as little effort as possible. Having FF and RW near each other and near the PLAY button allows you to easily quick click all 3 to find your spot. The current button layout seems to be designed for symmetry rather than convenience. Also, FF and RW require 2 mouse clicks to use. The 1st click brings up a menu with speed options, the 2nd gets it rolling. For quick use, FF/RW should start at the 1st speed setting on initial click and cycle other speeds with additional clicks, and a right-click to access the speed list.

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