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One of the many benefits of digital photography is the choice of display methods available. Traditionally people view their photos on computers, or print them via their inkjet printers. A limited number of people might use a digital projector and display their photos at a very large size. However if you don't print them out you might be wondering how you could take them to show a client or friend. With the increasing use of DVD players and software like Ulead DVD PictureShow you can now write your photos to a DVD or CD and this will play in many home DVD player sets.
The main features of this software package are:
- Custom-made slide shows, easily displayable on most DVD players.
- Drag-and-drop photo ordering and ready-to-use menu templates.
- Enhance slideshows with music, personalise menu backgrounds and multiple slideshows per disc.
- Built in CD-R/CD-RW/DVD-R writing software.
- Write your original image files to disc along with your show.
Ulead have done an excellent job of making this software straightforward and easy to use and many people won't even need to read the manual.
The animated image above shows the main parts of the program.
There aren't as many configuration options as we'd have liked, but this has the beneficial effect of making things easier to use for those that wouldn't need them. A feature of this program that we particularly liked were being able to select from a variety of backgrounds for the menu, or use an image of your choice. Also handy is the DVD simulator which allows you to see how your slide show will look before writing it to CD-R/DVD-R. A feature that will not appeal to everyone is the ability to add sound tracks to the show. The included MP3 sound files leave a lot to be desired but luckily you can select some of your own.
When you have your picture show set up as you want you can save it to a file, or write it to disc immediately. The program has its own CD/DVD writing software and it worked without a hitch on our external firewire writer. We recommend you check the compatibility of your own writer before buying this software, and you can do this here.
Playing the Picture Show
This is where things got a little bit tricky. Using our Sony DVD player we found it wouldn't read CD-RW discs, only CD-R discs, however when we'd figured this out the slide show worked fine. On wide-screen televisions the images will not fill the screen (illustrated right).
An important note is if you only have a CD-writer and not a DVD-writer your DVD player will have to be able to read VCD (Video CD) discs for the slide show to work.
For around 20 this software seems good value for money and is certainly easy to use. We'd have liked greater configurability but it performs the basic task of allowing you to view and share your photos on a DVD player very well. It's also good that you can archive your original files and choose between writing your slide show to a low cost, low capacity CD-R or a high cost, high capacity DVD-R. We recommend it and there's always the option of downloading the free trial to decide for yourself if you want to buy it or not.