ArcSoft’s TotalMedia Theatre is quickly becoming the Blu-ray player of choice for home theater enthusiasts. Cyberlink has dominated the Blu-ray player market since PowerDVD Ultra hit the street but TotalMedia Theater has slowly chipped away at Cyberlink’s lead, gradually fixing bugs and improving the overall movie experience. At a price of $89.99, TotalMedia Theater is slightly less expensive (by about $10) than PowerDVD Ultra too!
Arcsoft’s TotalMedia Theatre supports playback of all three Blu-ray disc video formats: High Definition MPEG-2, AVC, and VC1’s well as all kinds of other High Definition (HD) content: WMV HD, Quicktime HD, DivX HD, and H.264 HD. Support includes both 1280×720 (720p) and 1920×1080 (1080p).
Vista Media Center Plugin
The program comes with a Windows Media Center Edition plug-in built right in, a big advantage over PowerDVD Ultra if you use Media Center. The plug-in provides a “10 foot” user experience: big buttons and compatibility with your remote control mean you can use TotalMedia Theatre to watch your Blu-ray movies from the comfort of your couch. While the movies are still watched outside of Media Center, the plugin seamlessly transitions you to TotalMedia Theater and back to Media Center when the movie is finished.
New Features Constantly Added
The Blu-ray specification has not been finalized. Unlike standalone Blu-ray players, a software player can be updated to deal with the changing specifications. ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre has previously received certification for BonusView (Blu-ray Final Standard – Profile 1.1) and AVCHD. The software supports new audio technologies such as Dolby Digital Plus, True HD, and DTS-HD. For the best user experience and system performance, the player is also optimized for graphics-displays using NVIDIA PureVideo, ATI Avivo and Intel Clear Video technologies.
The requirements for Blu-ray playback are:
• Intel Pentium EE 3.2 GHz, Intel Core Duo, or equivalent; AMD Athlon 64 or equivalent
• 120 MB free hard disk space
• 512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended)
• NVIDIA GeForce 8500 and above, or AMD(ATI) HD2400 and above
• 256 MB graphics card or above
• HDCP compliant display for digital output (HDMI connection); TV or VGA monitor for analog output