I'm more than a little confused by comments that DVD-lab keeps crashing on them. I've experienced no such crashes -- none at all during this, my first 30-day trial period -- on my Win2K (Service Pack 4) machine. My hardware is an Athlon XP2000 on a Via-based motherboard, 1GB RAM, and an NVidia GeForce4 4200ti with 128MB RAM. There have been times when it appears the program is consuming more than its share of CPU cycles, but it's never caused anything to crash on me, and it's not entirely clear that DVD-lab was the real culprit.
DVD-lab is not the easiest program to use, but it's not too difficult either, and once you get the hang of it, it lets you do things that, as far as I've seen, no other program in this price range lets you do. For example, one maddening thing about every authoring program I've tried around this price -- products from Pinnacle, Ulead, Sonic, Pegasys, Roxio, and Ahead -- DVD-lab is the only one that lets you create menus that have real graphic buttons and "hot" text rather than forcing you to use thumbnails in frames. It seems every other package restricts you to menus designed around snapshots in frames. DVD-lab lets you design menus that are far more sophisticated than those from other products in terms of graphics, layout, and interactivity. Really, there are very few design limitations in DVD-lab; for example, like more expensive professional packages, you can import layered images from Photoshop and work with those layers in DVD-lab.
Another nice thing in DVD-lab is the ability to create libraries of templates, menus, styles, and objects. Some other packages in this price range let you save some level of custom templates, but none allows you this much flexibility and component reusability.
The only thing I had problems with DVD-lab was in demuxing VOBs for an entire titleset. It seems I'm able to demux the first VOB in a set, but then DVD-lab gets confused on the subsequent VOBs. I'm sure there's an answer out there, but in the meantime, when I want to work with VOBs, there are other tools I can use, like DVD Decrypter.
Bottom line: I like DVD-lab enough that I do plan to pay the registration price when my 30-day trial is up (about four more days to go). I'd like to be able to sort out the VOB demuxing issue, but aside from that, DVD-lab provides more "bang for the buck" than any other authoring program in this price range.
Review by sfordin
Feb 16, 2004 Version: 1.3
OS: Win2K Ease of use: 8/10
Value for money: 9/10