The core component of Nero has always been its CD- and, latterly, DVD-burning tool, Burning ROM, which provides admirable user control over what is recorded. For instance, there's a Test Drive app that tells you whether you need to worry about data corruption.

Over the years the package has been refined and the central application combined with a number of programs that enable you to edit video and audio before burning them.

The weak point was that the tools functioned as standalone apps with no unified interface. In version 7.0 this has been fixed with a far simpler front end known as Nero Smart Start.

Here you select tasks such as creating and recoding video and DVD. Simply import an existing DVD you want to recode or select clips file by file. Nero makes a point of being ahead of the game with both video and audio codecs and posts regular updates on its site so customers can access the latest versions. Clips can then be trimmed, edited, and backing tracks and subtitles added. The Recode feature will then produce a copy in a format of your choice making it easy to transcode files from varying sources and combine them on a single disc using Nero Digital.

There's also a highly capable sound editor in the Premium suite which functions as a virtual mixing desk in which you can specify fairly advanced effects – assuming you know your way around such things.

As with the video-editing side of things, Nero Premium aspires to the simplicity of rival package Roxio Easy Media Creator, but isn't quite there. But it does offer a couple of useful extras, notably the Scout which can perform desktop searches and index your media files. Refreshingly, it then allows other programs to access details. And if you don't already have such a thing, Nero Home provides a media centre with which you can navigate to and launch recorded TV, DVD, photos, music and so on.

Nero 7.0 Premium: Specs

  • 800MHz Pentium III 800 or faster
  • Windows 98/Me/2000 (SP4 or later), XP or 2003 Server
  • 128MB RAM
  • 600MB hard disk space
  • 800MHz Pentium III 800 or faster
  • Windows 98/Me/2000 (SP4 or later), XP or 2003 Server
  • 128MB RAM
  • 600MB hard disk space

OUR VERDICT

Nero Premium 7.0 has grown up to become a proper multimedia hub. But it's from a techier background than some consumer products and could benefit from a few refinements.

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