There comes a point in almost every mature software program's life when its developers look at themselves and ask, "What are we going to put it in this now?" Roxio's disc-burning program Toast Titanium passed that point some time ago…
The base Toast software is the CD, DVD and – with the aid of a paid-for plug-in – Blu-ray burning program. Give it video or audio and Toast will burn it to a disc for you, in one of many formats, from data backup through to MP3 CD through to Video CD or DVD.
Like iDVD, it also comes with menu themes, so you don't have to stare at file listings or a blank screen. Toast 10 has 20 new menu styles, which replace those from Toast 9.
Too much of a good thing?
As well as this range of destination formats, there's a wide range of sources you can use: there's an iPhoto and iTunes browser, and tools for compressing videos down so they'll fit onto smaller discs, merging disc images and more.
New to Toast 10 are functions for creating AVCHD archives from your high-def camcorder, so you can archive video for use later; and a tool for creating compilation DVDs from VIDEO_TS folders. But, note that Roxio has removed HD-DVD and DivX disc authoring capabilities.
Unfortunately, to justify Toast 10's rather hefty £80- £120 price tag, Roxio has thrown in just about everything but the kitchen sink.
There's a conversion tool that lets you take video and convert it to play on iPods, PlayStations, PSPs, Blackberries, Treos, and other devices. You can extract clips from DVD Video for conversion. There's a new tool for converting audiobook CDs into iPod audiobook format while changing the playback speed. There's even a tool that enables you to capture streaming Flash video from websites such as YouTube.
Bundled with Toast is a plethora of other programs, some of which are obviously relevant, some of which take gilding the lily to a new level: there's DiscCatalog Maker RE for cataloguing disks and creating Cover Flow images for them; CD Spin Doctor for recording and manipulating audio files from LPs, tapes or web streams, cleaning them up and adding metadata; Get Backup 2 for file system folder synchronisation; Disc Cover 2 for making inlays; and the new Streamer application, which together with a free iPhone/ iPod touch application, lets you watch videos you have on your Mac over the net.
Since you have to convert the video anyway, why you wouldn't store it on your iPod, we don't actually know.
If you spend the £40 extra on the Professional version of Toast, you'll also get SonicFire Pro for authoring soundtracks; SoundSoap for improving the sound on video and audio files; FotoMagico for creating HD slideshows; and LightZone for touching up photos.
These applications are all available elsewhere for less, but with Toast 10 you will make a saving if you were planning on buying two or more of these.
There are some useful new features in Toast 10: the improved interface is easier to read and the media browser is easier to use, although, as a whole, the interface is harder to use, with a lot of the functionality hidden away.
Other features, particularly those in Toast 10 Pro, are largely superfluous. It still offers rock-solid disc burning, and if you want to do some professional authoring Toast is the tool to have, but if you already have an older version then stick with it.