Cyberlink MediaShow Expresso Overview
(Courtesy of Cyberlink)
Cyberlink MediaShow Expresso video conversion software is being marketed as a “hassle-free solution for converting all your favorite videos for playback on iPhone, PSP, Xbox, YouTube and more”. The user interface is so simple that the only input consumers will need to make is choosing their preferred media player or medium and then click the start button to let Expresso transcode their videos. The built-in profiles make adding custom settings to transcode each video type a non-issue and something novice video users will use and appreciate.
Initial startup page with flash tool tip
While Cyberlink MediaShow Expresso doesn’t have all the video editing features of applications like PowerDirector 7 and vReveal, it’s prowess lies in it’s ability to expeditiously transcode video and utilize a system’s hardware to its fullest capacity. Expresso is “optimized” to work with Intel’s Core i7 platform as well as ATI Stream and CUDA respectively. Like most GPGPU apps, it leverages the combined performance of the CPU and GPU to convert files quickly and efficiently.
The first screen after closing the tool tip pop-up is shown above. As the UI states, users just need to drag and drop their video files (or entire folders full of videos) and Expresso give them options for transcoding their video to different video formats that are shown in the top right-hand corner of the screen. The main video formats listed are for Apple, Sony, Microsoft, and YouTube. Each company has different video formats that are compatible with different devices like the iPhone, Zune, and PSP.
Clicking on the coffee mug in the top left-hand corner reveals a couple options for importing files into expresso, showing tips on using the program, and configuring user preferences.
General preferences page with concurrent transcode process number drop-down menu
In the preferences sub-menu, there are only two options to configure — UI language and concurrent transcode process number. The language option isn’t as inportant as the concurrent transcode process because that determines how many threads can be run simultaneously during transcoding. Since this program is optimized to support Core i7s, it can transcode up four movies at one time. What is also interesting about this menu is the lack of options for configuring ATI Stream and CUDA settings. It would have been nice to have some more advanced features for video saavy consumers who can tailor Expresso to their individual video requirements.
Conversion menu after right-clicking on imported video clip
We dragged over one of our test clips and right clicked on the video and this is what we are greeted with. It’s basically the same options available in the top navigation bar, but in a different format. I actually like these quick links to choose which video format I want to output our test clip to, and it covers every preset as well as the ability to create other formats that don’t fall under Apple, Microsoft, Sony, or YouTube.
Apple video conversion menu
Converting video to various iPod formats is quick and easy because Expresso has several preset configurations for different types of iPods including the iPhone. Users can also enable hardware acceleration in this screen to get a boost from ATI Stream or CUDA.
Sony video conversion menu
Here’s a quick shot of the Sony device conversion menu. There are only two video output options – PSP and Playstation 3. The Playstation 3 profile allows users to output high resolution video at 1920 resolutions.
Microsoft video conversion menu
As with the other conversion screens we’ve presentation above, Expresso also have preset profiles for users who want to output video files for their Microsoft Zunes. The same features are available in this menu as in the other vendor profiles.
YouTube video conversion menu
The last vendor-based profile users can convert their videos with is the YouTube conversion menu. Users can create several different formats that will transfer over to YouTube seamlessly. Users can also upload their files after Expresso is done transcoding their output video files.
Other formats video conversion menu
For those users who want a little more flexibility in how their video is transcoded, Expresso included a custom menu for outputting custom video files. This screen has presets for MPEG4, MPG2, and WMV file formats. Users can create custom file names as well as set the output location for their video files.
Expresso video playback screen
Here’s a quick shot of an finished video file being viewed in Expresso’s video playback screen. It has a simple UI for pausing, rewinding, fast forwarding, and changing the volume. It also uses the GPU to help accelerate playback, which keeps it from lagging or skipping during playback.