Nero 12 gets ready for Windows 8

The latest release of Nero Multimedia Suite brings Windows 8 support, AVCHD authoring, and upgraded functionality to Nero Recode.

Nero 11 Multimedia Suite was already a monster collection of production tools. Though the last iteration provided a solid collection for both the casual and advanced enthusiast, Nero 12 continues to push toward becoming a go-to tool for people's growing network of devices at home.

Nero streamlines workflow with its own built-in file management system, Kwik Media. Applications are accessed from a single interface to avoid fragmentation and reduce confusion. Windows 8 users will be glad to see that the suite integrates smoothly with the new redesigned tiled UI. Kwik Media intelligently organizes your frequently used media based on face recognition, similar to face tagging on social networks. Though it's not always perfect, it's a welcome addition, especially when working with lots of pictures of friends and family.

Since its disc-burning days, Nero has evolved into an all-encompassing production station that enables you to edit MP3 files, manage and produce HD videos, create slideshows, back up data, and more. Nero wants to help you produce content for your home entertainment ecosystem, no matter what device you own. You can convert just about any media format for any device, plain and simple.

The tools are solid and simple enough for any novice or advanced media enthusiast. Nero 11 users should feel right at home, since most of the applications and workflow should remain relatively intact, with a couple added enhancements.

Nero 12 trumps 11 by expanding compatibility with updated HD formats, particularly with Blu-rays and AVCHD 2.0-level file types. Blu-ray importing is improved as well as exporting files that are playable on just about any device and vice versa. Nero Video creates and encodes media in higher (50p/60p) formats, including AVCHD3D for stereoscopic 3D videos, as well as performs batch ripping from online content sites. Edits can now be made directly within Recode. The video-editing suite is packed with extra add-ons and features. People who film their videos with smartphones can take advantage of Nero's built-in stabilization to reduce the shaky cam effect.

When combined with an already large collection of popular filters and effects, you can make some surprisingly high-production-value-looking home movies. Nero 12 also made it easier to apply effects to videos; simply drag and drop a premade effect directly into the timeline. These little tweaks are definitely a welcome improvement.

Nero 11 users may have trouble being compelled to upgrade unless they plan on exclusively working with Blu-ray formats or working with legacy content on Windows 8. However, new adopters will find that Nero remains a sufficient multimedia option capable of handling most tasks with its full editing and management suite.

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