Confusing video viewer

Transparency runs amok in this poorly designed program.

TMPGEnc Karma is a well-intentioned but confusing video organizer and viewer. Although its interface attempts to be flexible, it ends up being headache-inducing.

At first glance, the program's interface looks sleek and modern, and it has some aspects that we like, such as the capability to view video files both in a list format and as thumbnails. Continued use of the program, however, results in mounting confusion, with transparency running amok. We selected a video to play, and rather than opening a separate viewing pane or window, it played beneath the transparent library file display. It turns out that this can be turned on and off easily enough--and that the video can be played in a new window by accessing menu options--but it's still irritating. Once a video is finished, the final frame is displayed underneath the library interface until the Stop button is pressed. These might sound like picky complaints, but the net result was a program that was visually confusing and hard to navigate. We admit that the program started to make more sense as we spent more time with it, but it could have been more intuitive to begin with. Its built-in Help file isn't bad, but it isn't particularly detailed. Overall, we felt that the interface needlessly complicated what is actually a very basic video player.

TMPGEnc Karma is free. It installs desktop icons without asking, but uninstalls cleanly.

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