Review: Toast 8 Titanium Bundled Software

Toast adds new meaning to your digital lifestlye (March 30th, 2007)

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Product Manufacturer: Roxio, A Div. of Sonic Solutions

Price: $99.99; $59.99 Upgrade US

The Good

  • Easy to use. DiscCatalogMaker catalogs discs quickly. Good iLife Integration. Fit to DVD works with TiVo. Excellent Blu-ray support.

The Bad

  • Disc Cover RE is a bit unstable. Cropping photos for disc covers works oddly. Motion Pictures HD not Universal Binary.

Toast 8, as with previous versions, includes a number of value added applications. While Toast 7 gave us CD Spin Doctor, Discus RE for labeling CDs, and Motion Picture HD, Toast 8 replaces Discus with Disc Cover RE, and adds DiscCatalogMaker RE. In addition long-waited for TiVo support is here, not to mention Blu-ray burning, Blu-ray disc reading on newer Macs, disc recovery, and backup support.

TiVo compatibility with your Mac

If you watch TV and have a TiVo, you know the TiVo digital video recorder can alter your life. For a long time Mac Users have lacked a TiVo feature called "TiVo to Go" that allows you to easily network computers to the TiVo to record shows and transfer them to disc. Roxio Toast 8 brings "TiVo to Go" and the Mac together, enabling us to enjoy our favorite TV programs on the Mac, burn them to disc, or easily convert them for viewing on a mobile device such as an iPod or PSP. Simply network your TiVo to the Mac, launch TiVo Transfer from the Extras Menu, put in your TiVo Media Access key and your TiVo DVR should appear in the Finder-like window. Just pick a recording from the list, click Start Transfer, and the recording should start downloading to your Mac. On my slow wireless 802.11B network, a 1GB hour-long show took a little over an hour to transfer. A faster network will allow much faster transfers. You can also set up the software for Auto Transfer; similar to a Podcast in iTunes, so that when you launch the software it automatically connects and downloads the show to your Mac.

Once the TiVo show is on your Mac, you can burn it to a DVD with a few clicks or just view it on your Mac. Roxio does note that, "This will not work with DIRECTV DVRs with TiVo service." Toast 8 also includes the Toast Video Player, which is built around Elgato's Eye TV player, for great compatibility and a slick interface on the Mac.

Bakup with Déjà vu

If Music and DVD authoring isn't your cup of Tea, Toast 8 is still very useful for backing up, manipulating and sharing your Data on your Mac. As with past versions, Déjà vu is still included as back up software, but Toast 8 and its bundled software now offer automatic disc cataloging, cross-platform data spanning, and disc restoration. It allows you to burn files and folders of any size across multiple discs. Now you can safely backup massive video files or your iTunes library, and easily access them on any Mac or Windows PC. Toast breaks through the size limitations that the Mac OS and all other burning software have.

Catalog your Discs

Also now bundled in Toast 8 is DiscCatalogMaker, so you can automatically catalog and browse the contents of your discs, even when the discs are no longer in the Mac. Disc Catalogue works great on discs burned with any program. Now, when you need a find a file on a backup disc, just search your DiscCatalogMaker catalogs instead of shuffling your discs in and out of your Macintosh.

Photo Disk

If you have a lot of pictures and you want to share them with others, Toast 8 allows you to easily share your photos with friends and family with the new Toast Photo Disc, which can store thousands of pictures at full resolution on a standard format disc for any Mac, PC, or Photo finishing kiosk. Each disc displays a high quality slideshow, so you can enjoy the photos right away on your Mac. In addition, for PPC Macs, you can use Motion Picture HD to create slideshows with music.

CD Spin Doctor

CD Spin Doctor is updated to version 4.0 with Toast 8 allowing users that wish to convert Vinyl and analog recordings to digital with ease. New features include better integration with Toast and a new Dashboard Widget that allows basic controls of the software, plus a helpful set-up wizard that walks you through the hardware connections.

Disc Cover RE

New labeling software called Disc Cover RE also comes bundled with Toast 8, which provides support for Lightscribe Burners, direct to printable CDs and DVDs, plus tons of label and printer formats. The software is more intuitive and easier to use. It adds integration with iTunes playlists, iPhoto, and iDVD. More clip art and preconfigured templates are also included, plus it supposedly allows for Google Image searched directly from the software, but that didn't work for Art. Changing from iPhoto folders to another folder isn't exactly intuitive, but it does work. Disc Cover also prints to media on media-enabled Epson printers. It was significantly easier than using Epson's print to CD software, which Ilene can only use in Panther. Disc Cover RE still has glitches and gave Ilene's G4 a kernel panic or two, but after rebooting, the CD covers printed successfully. While definitely not a 4-star product in this iteration, Disc Cover RE is a big improvement over Discus RE that came with previous versions.

Cost Benefits

If you were to purchase any of the bundled software like the audio recording CD Spin Doctor ($39), or the full version of the Disc Cover label software, you may be out about half of the price of the full version of Toast 8. This is definitely a bundle worth the upgrade cost too.

Note, if you bought version 8, updates for all the applications are available from Roxio as a version 8.01 update.

by Art Payne and ilene hoffman


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