CyberLink PowerEncoder MPEG-4 AVC Edition is a long name for a "video capturing and file conversion application for converting video into high-quality compressed files using the MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) standard," with a long description, but what it boils down to is a tool for encoding video as MPEG-4 files. This is necessary step for posting video online in streaming media applications, especially at low bit rates. It supports playback via a plug-in for PowerDVD 6 and also is compatible with Windows Media Player on PCs that have the developer's MPEG-4 codec.
The program's sleek interface features an embedded media player display; a clean, efficient layout; and intuitive controls and navigation. Most of the program's configuration options are on menus instead of the interface, which reduces clutter. The Capture Files window displays your file selections, and there are fields for entering information for both video and audio files. We tried several compatible file types, and PowerEncoder quickly converted each into MPEG-4s that appeared to retain the quality of the originals. One feature we especially appreciate is Dolby Digital audio support for converted DVD files, which preserves the audio quality of your films.
PowerEncoder downloads as a zip file and installs desktop icons without asking but uninstalls cleanly. Dolby support for VOB files is disabled in the free trial download. PowerEncoder only works in Windows versions up to XP, though; we tried to install it in Windows 7 but didn't succeed. Some users, especially commercial and studio-based users, are still running XP. If you're one of them, it's worth a look.