Clarity was adequate on all titles. Not in the WinDVD or Cinemaster
realm, but very acceptable. Playback of newly released collectors
edition of THE CROW was very nice. Sharp edges to objects, and good
light/dark transitions. Color saturation on CoolDVD was good, though
after just seeing SoftDVD-v6, I'm spoiled by great color! But it was
good both on the monitor and TV-OUT, though the monitor seemed better.
Fast-Forward and Rewind both work adequately, but neither is perfect.
Both have settings of 2x/4x/8x as selected from the button sub-menus.
The 2x speeds are very nice actually, Especially the RW. At 4x there is
some flutter, mostly on the FF control. It speeds up fine, then slows
down to a near crawl, catches its breath and speeds back up. 8x shows
the same issue as 4x, but worse to the point I don't recommend it for
general use. On the Celeron, 8x actually locked the player a few times.
This is likely another example of the power issues when a player
doesn't use DVD Hardware Acceleration. DVD playback is one of the most demanding
tasks a PC can perform, especially when using FF/RW. Hardware assistance really
lightens the load on the system and prevents problems. The 2x and 4x
speeds were perfectly useable, but the poor response of the 8x FF made
me switch to the TIME-SLIDER when I wanted to seek more than a small
amount forward or backward. Amazingly, the FF and RW at 2x, and even
4x; were smoother than most players that have good DVD Hardware Acceleration
support. CoolDVD isn't perfect with speeds, but they are definitely
doing something right.
Subtitles affected playback slightly. The subtitles themselves were
clear and sharp, but they increased the frequency of the previously
mentioned minor hesitations. There is no support for Closed Captions,
which is probably because even subtitles cause some strain, and on most
players I've tested Closed Captions can really slow down playback. Since
both Subtitles and Closed Captions perform a similar function, it is
likely they decided to do without the one (Closed Caption) that would
most strain the player and possibly degrade playback excessively.
CoolDVD is not the playback equal of the powerhouse Hardware Accelerated
players such as Cinemaster and WinDVD. FF and RW actually were far better
than I expected without Hardware Acceleration, but the minor hesitations noted above
were seen in nearly every title. They tell me this player was at times
straining. The strain was only badly apparent at 8x FF, but always
there even at normal speed (Especially with subtitles on). Also the
dark pulsing effect sticks in mind a bit. Single colored areas of the
screen pulsing when similarly colored areas were moving seems to say
the players engine was not at the level of the Big-3. However, I must
say CoolDVD was a VERY decent playback experience in most
circumstances. The images were sharp, the colors decent, and the
playback was not bad at all. Though CoolDVD lacks the Hardware Acceleration support
of its competition, it did a very decent job, and in many respects was
better than several of its competitors in certain aspects of playback.