If you ever want to travel back in time, there’s no need to have an eccentric pal named Doc Brown who can retrofit an expensive DeLorean for you. Instead, install a copy of Roxio Toast 15, the Mac disc burning utility whose user interface has remained virtually untouched for five years, even as the version number jumps higher.
Roxio Toast 15 offers little in the way of new features, aside from a one-click shortcut to open the new Secure Burn application.
Like last year’s edition, Roxio Toast 15 is available in two flavors: The $100 DVD-only Titanium edition, and a $250 Pro bundle which adds Blu-ray and photo-centric applications; the bundled Corel Painter Essentials, Corel AfterShot 3, FotoMagico 5 RE, and HDR Express 3 apps have little to do with burning discs, but if you’re in the market for such tools, Pro offers a lot of bang for the buck.
In terms of disc-burning functionality however, time has stood still for the software. The user interface and feature set remain unchanged from version 11, which debuted in 2011. One could argue this makes sense given the shrinking market for optical discs in the first place, and the fact Apple no longer produces Macs with an internal drive to read or write them.
My own work still relies on DVD and Blu-ray video discs, but Toast 15 is so unreliable, I’m ready to ditch this longtime favorite. Disc-burning itself isn’t the problem; I haven’t had a single coaster out of the dozens I’ve created. Switching to the Video tab is the real headache, which causes a spinning beach ball for up to 30 seconds the first time it’s opened.
Worse yet, if I leave the Video tab open when quitting the application, the software takes forever to launch next time. Given the stagnant UI, I suspect Roxio is only applying Band-Aids to the code in an effort to cash in on upgrades. Case in point: Although the app icon has a fresh coat of red paint, whenever I burn a disc it temporarily switches back to purple, the color used in the previous Toast 14.
A mixed bag
The highlight of Toast 14 was the inclusion of MyDVD, a new application with more comprehensive authoring tools for adding chapter stops, titles, and custom menus with music. The Pro version now includes over 100 MyDVD menu templates (which require a separate installation from the Pro Apps folder), but lacks support for ProRes files and suffers from some of the same stability issues that plague Toast.
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