The venerable set of multimedia utilities, Nero, has seen a relatively minor revamp for the 2014 edition of the suite. Like many mature and comprehensive suites, it's hard to see what can usefully be added, but Nero has highlighted four key areas: TV streaming, disc to device conversion, Ultra HD editing support and improved mobile device support. The Platinum version is top of the range and costs £80 for a single PC. See all software reviews.
The most obvious cosmetic revision is a new, full-screen, Windows 8-style panel showing all available applications. It slides out of the way once you select one and has to be relaunched if you want to fire up another. It looks a bit tacked-on and can't be run in a window. See all CD/DVD autoring reviews.
While we can see Nero's argument that its customers prefer the interfaces of their favourite applications to stay familiar, components like Nero Burning ROM have seen little change since they first came out. The designs of the apps still reflect the dates they first appeared so, for example, Nero MediaHome looks a lot more current than Nero Express.
The main applications are divided into four categories: Manage & Play, Edit & Convert, Rip & Burn and Backup & Rescue. Manage & Play includes the media organiser MediaHome, which automatically scans and categorises videos, photos and music and can now stream video and slideshows direct to a smart TV. Media Browser does much the same in a more compact format, and Blue-ray Player includes all the necessary codecs and decrypters for commercial movie playback.
Running Nero Blu-ray Player was held up by an error message, stating that ‘d3dx9_43.dll was missing'. It was missing, but our test machine was running DirectX 11, so the Nero application shouldn't have been demanding a dll from DirectX 9. We had to download a DirectX archive and extract and copy the required dll to the System32 folder to get the player to run – not what should happen. After that, playback was fine.
The Edit & Convert category includes Nero Video, which can now cope with Ultra HD and Nero Recode, designed specifically to convert from one video format to another. While it's good to see Nero staying ahead of the pack with Ultra HD support, they're currently playing to something of a niche audience; those who can record and playback at video resolutions at or above 3840 x 2160.
Nero Recode really does enable single-click conversion of video from SD and HD sources to a wide variety of portable devices, with presets for iPhones, the best known Android devices and consoles. If you regularly copy TV shows, for example, for viewing on the train to work, this App makes things very simple.
Nero Burning ROM and Nero Express make up the Rip & Burn category and there's little new here, though they still combine to offer one of the best disc-creation packages available. Backup & Rescue offers Nero BackItUp, though for some reason it has to be downloaded separately from the rest of the suite. There is a generous 5GB of Cloud storage provided, though.
Tools such as Nero WaveEditor, Nero SoundTrax – which helps recover and transfer old vinyl and cassettes – and Nero CoverDesigner, are also optional downloads.