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Cyberlink PowerCinema 4 review

It's a one-stop replacement for Windows Media Center

As a TV tuner, Power Cinema 4 has its problems.

Our Verdict

Full of features - and irritations


  • Impressive features list


  • Needs a rooftop antenna

    Doesn't support teletext

Most TV tuners offer quality hardware with some basic software thrown in, but this is different. CyberLink PowerCinema 4 is a powerful package, along the lines of Windows Media Center, that aims to provide for all your multimedia needs.

The tuner is a small PCI card based on a common Philips chipset that handles digital and analogue TV, with FM radio thrown in for good measure. You get a lengthy FM antenna, and surprisingly a little TV antenna. However, it's effectively useless: you need a rooftop antenna to get a decent image.

What you don't get is a remote control, although it's available separately for around £15. Whether it's worth the investment depends on what you think of the software.

PowerCinema looks similar to Windows Media Center, with a straightforward, appealing interface that you can use right away. It walks you through the TV setup process in the minimum amount of time and you're soon flicking through the various channels. The NexTVieW EPG enables you to see what's next, and with a couple of clicks you can have PowerCinema record whatever programme you choose.

That's just the start, though. Using the same simple interface you can browse and play or view digital photos. There are DVD, video and music players. More active features enable you to retouch digital photos (remove red eye, fix brightness, contrast, colours), rip CDs, burn audio or video files to disc.

It's an impressive feature list, but there are problems. PowerCinema doesn't support UK teletext, it's slow to move between menus and the lack of a remote is a weakness. It's worth considering if you need Media Center-type features, though.