Ditching that premium cable subscription and bulky television in favor of accessing video content on the PC isn't for everyone, but software solutions like ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre are aiming to make that option more attractive. The multimedia program developer updated its all-in-one media player today, bringing it to version 5 with plenty of new features designed to appeal to early adopters. And what is the hot video feature of the moment? If you guessed 3D, you're right on the money.
One of the main focuses of ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 5 is to incorporate plenty of new 3D functionality. First off, you get support for Blu-ray 3D, which is supposed to offer the most realistic 3D experience for home viewing. You can also play back native stereo 3D, which includes 3D-DVDs, YouTube 3D files, and 3D videos that are encoded in Left/Right, Up/Down, Anaglyph, and so on. In addition, the app offers something called Sim3D, which uses ArcSoft's in-house technology to simulate 3D viewing for 2D photo slideshows and DVD movies. The technology provides 3D depth restoration as well as adjustable depth perception, and it lets you switch between 2D and 3D in real time. Perhaps most importantly, the software is compatible with various types of glasses, so you won't have to worry about purchasing a new pair just to work with the program.
Although not as up-and-coming as 3D, high-definition video viewing is perhaps even more important to most viewers, and TotalMedia Theatre 5 doesn't ignore this point. The software also has a feature called SimHD. which upscales standard-def DVDs and video files into "near HD quality." I saw a demo of this and can attest that the program does an admirable job increasing the quality of videos. It accomplishes this by balancing overexposed and underexposed areas, reducing image noise, and smoothing out jumpy playback.
Of course, any media player these days has to have an online and social aspect. In addition to playing back videos from your own library, TotalMedia Theatre can play back content from YouTube and other online and networked sources. You can share these videos with your friends via Facebook as well.
There's also a mobile feature of sorts, although it's not cloud-based viewing, which may be a shame to some. Rather, the software offers an app called TotalMedia Remote for Android. It lets you control video playback from the comfort of your couch--an essential feature for any program trying to help you replace your TV with your PC.
ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 5 doesn't come cheap: a license will set you back about $100. But you don't have to commit to it without trying it out first. The software is available for a 15-day trial period. You can find it exclusively on Download.com until 9 a.m. tomorrow.