Apple turned its back on optical media years ago. But many Mac owners still rely on those once ubiquitous shiny round CDs or DVDs for backups, transferring larger files, or sharing home videos with friends and family not yet hip to web streaming.
Although Apple and others offer the external hardware necessary to read and write discs, good software capable of more than basic burning capabilities remains elusive. (Forget the Mac App Store, it's mostly a wasteland of multiple apps with the same clunky user interface sold under different names.) Roxio hasn't abandoned OS X yet, although recent versions have become something of a Frankenstein's monster stitched together from various pieces and parts.
At the heart of version 14 is Toast Titanium, which remains largely unchanged from last year's version 12 release. (That's not a typo: Roxio actually skipped an entire version number this time around.) The core $100 package tackles just about every conceivable way you might want to burn or copy CDs and DVDs, while the Pro version adds Blu-ray and a suite of photo and audio products for $50 more.
The only improvement this time around is the ability to convert video files to a wider range of devices, with built-in presets for the latest iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 models. The list now includes nearly 60 video game systems, Apple hardware, mobile devices, streaming and file formats, as well as the ability to create custom settings.
Toast 14 Titanium also feels a lot more stable in general--the previous version would occasionally crash for no good reason. Otherwise, the user interface and features are identical, right down to support for legacy formats and options like faster video encoding with Elgato's now-discontinued Turbo.264 accelerator.
But while Titanium's feature list has plateaued in recent years, Roxio continues to sweeten the deal by throwing in everything but the kitchen sink. While much of this software is unrelated to the core task of burning discs, this year's release offers a compelling reason to upgrade.
My media, MyDVD
Toast has long been equipped to author basic DVDs complete with motion menus, titles, and chapter stops. While that's likely enough for the average home user, there have been few customization options, such as the ability to add music to menus or use existing photos as the background image.
That's exactly what Toast MyDVD does. An entirely separate application bundled with both Titanium and Pro versions, MyDVD is more like a stripped-down version of the late, great DVD Studio Pro or Adobe Encore. Users choose from a variety of slick-looking themes, dropping media onto a flowchart that provides an overview of how everything is linked together.
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