We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Video software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

PowerDVD 13 Ultra media player review: a powerful DVD, Blu-ray, and media player

£79.99 inc VAT

Manufacturer: CyberLink

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

PowerDVD 13 Ultra media player is loaded with under-the-hood improvements. Read our PowerDVD 13 Ultra media player review to find out more.

PowerDVD 13 Ultra

The PowerDVD Ultra series have been the most powerful, feature-laden DVD, Blu-ray, and media players available at retail. On the other hand, each version has also been somewhat slow to launch and sluggish to respond. Version 13 starts up more quickly and is better all around, although it's not a startling upgrade if you already have version 12. That said, there are more than a few new features here, including a user interface that Windows 8 aficionados will find appealing. See all software reviews.

Before getting into the new stuff, a quick but impressive list of what PowerDVD Ultra already supports: Playback of DVDs and 2D and 3D Blu-ray movies with resolution enhancement; cataloging and playback of large collections of photos, music files, and videos; a 10-foot interface for use with a remote; and playback of media streamed via DLNA media servers (e.g., other PCs and NAS boxes). See all multimedia reviews.

PowerDVD 13 Ultra ($100) now supports every major video technology, including 2K/4K resolution, AVCHD 2.0 and 3D, and it comes with free players and remote-control apps for iOS and Android devices, plus PowerDVD Mobile for Windows tablets (both Windows 8 and RT). The Android and iOS apps are also free with the £80 Pro version, but you’ll need to pay £20 for PowerDVD Mobile. The Pro version drops support for 3D, 7.1-channel surround sound, and DLNA. You’ll need to pay for all three apps if you buy the £60 Deluxe version, which subtracts both Blu-ray and 3D support. Upgrades from previous versions of PowerDVD start at £45.

The last two versions of PowerDVD had the program morphing into a jack-of-all-trades media player, and version 13 continues that trend—albeit mildly. There’s a new a movie library with art for video files (not just movies), though as with many players, it's rather hit or miss on whether the art is correct. If the file name is explicit enough, it does okay. PowerDVD is also ready for Ultra Violet, the online movie storage/delivery service, and it already supports video streaming from most social networks (Facebook, YouTube, etc.)

PowerDVD 13 Ultra now provides its TrueTheater enhancements for 1920-by-1080p video. TrueTheater bypasses GPU hardware acceleration, though, so the hardware requirements are extreme. Even on a Core i7 965 test bed, enhanced video wouldn't play smoothly beyond about 25 Mbps. That’s fine for smaller downloaded files, but not for most Blu-ray movies. If you have the horsepower, TrueTheater really makes video look better. The ability to disabe BD-live to speed movie start times is another significant improvement.

Cyberlink added support for two lossless audio codecs that will endear it to hard-core music fans everywhere: FLAC and APE. There's also a software EQ with common settings, and you can use Dolby to produce more spacious sound, but there’s no support for bass enhancement such as Windows Media Player's SRS TruBass. A new mini-player keeps the program out of the way when playing music.

PowerDVD 13 Ultra Expert Verdict »

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista and XP SP3* (Windows XP Service Pack 3 is required)
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

With PowerDVD, CyberLink aspires to deliver the ultimate all-in-one solution for multimedia on the desktop. Version 13 is closer to that ideal, but still lacks a few features, including live TV support. It remains the best available video and movie playback application state-of-the-art technologies (there are no free Blu-ray 3D alternatives)

  • CyberLink PowerDVD 10 Ultra review

    CyberLink PowerDVD 10 Ultra

    CyberLink PowerDVD 10 Ultra is the most powerful and stable DVD and Blu-ray movie player available, offers an array of new features in the new version. The biggest boost, however, comes from 3D support.

  • CyberLink PowerDVD 12 Ultra review

    CyberLink PowerDVD 12 Ultra

    CyberLink PowerDVD 12 Ultra has long been the best DVD/Blu-ray player software available, and with version 12 it morphs into an organizer/player for all types of media.

  • CyberLink PowerDVD 9 Ultra review

    CyberLink PowerDVD 9 Ultra

    CyberLink PowerDVD 9 Ultra expands the media player's Blu-ray capabilities, and adds picture processing for standard DVD video too.

  • CyberLink PowerDVD Ultra HD playback software

    CyberLink PowerDVD Ultra HD playback software

    New DVD playback software probably doesn't seem the most crucial of purchases, especially since most PCs come with a suitable application. Indeed, the chances are you already have a version of CyberLink PowerDVD. But CyberLink PowerDVD Ultra wins a PC Advisor Gold Award. To find out why, read our review.

  • Cyberlink DVD Suite 7 Ultra review

    Cyberlink DVD Suite 7 Ultra

    Cyberlink DVD Suite 7 Ultra - Cyberlink Technologies' latest disc burning suite - is easier to use and almost as powerful as the competing offerings from Nero and Roxio.

IDG UK Sites

Acer Aspire R11 review: Hands-on with the 360 laptop and tablet convertible

IDG UK Sites

Apple Watch release day: Twitter reacts

IDG UK Sites

See how Framestore created a shape-shifting, oil and metal based creature for Shell

IDG UK Sites

Apple Watch buying guide, price list & where to buy today: Which Apple Watch model, size, material,?......