"Few new features in a stripped interface"
Version: TMPGEnc Authoring Works 188.8.131.52
As a AW4 owner, I didn't waste too much time with AW5 to perform a thorough review, but it does indeed have a few needed additions and (I suspect) most or all of the functionality of AW4. My main reason for downloading the demo: the ability to have more than just two audio tracks (I'm working on Home Movies and need three tracks for Music, Narration, and Mixed music/narration, but AW4 only allows two.) AW5 allows (IIRC) up to four audio tracks, using tabs instead of input fields. I'm sure plenty of other improvements are in there as well, but didn't investigate too much further.
The first thing you'll notice is they completely stripped out the nice colorful interface, and instead went with a bare-bones text-only interface like you see in much cheaper software. This makes me think they produced this "update" on the cheap and rushed it out the door to make a few extra bucks rather than simply issuing a Patch to add the missing features to AW4. But you can't charge full price for "patches".
Next: Gone is the "DivX" output option, replaced with the sorely-needed "AVCHD" format (basically, a way to put HD video on a Dual Layer DVD). Why they couldn't keep DivX and just ADD the AVCHD format is a mystery. I don't like losing formats.
Whether there are other changes to the program I can't say. I already knew I wouldn't be laying out another $79 for the "new" version of a program I paid $99 for less than a year ago (at the base price, you must give up your old versions of AW. They want another $30 to allow you to use both), and uninstalled it minutes later.
Note to TMPG: If you're going to release a "major" new update, it should (at the very least) LOOK as good as the software you are replacing. And stripping OUT features is a definite no-no. It would of been WAY smarter (and probably more profitable) to release a major patch to AW4 adding the missing features and sell it for $49, instead of trying to charge another $99 for what looks like a cheap knock-off with new features. Very disappointing.
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