Roxio Toast 11 Pro Review
The last time I used Roxio’s Toast, DVDs ruled the media world and YouTube and the iPhone didn’t exist. Today, YouTube is the video king, many folks have an HD video camera in their pocket, and Toast goes to 11.
Now under the name Rovi Software, Toast 11 is a media conversion application for the Macintosh that originally was developed for burning CDs and then DVDs. The application sports a host of features that enable you to archive, convert, copy, and create audio CDs and video DVDs in a variety of formats, as well as video for playback on portable devices such as the iPhone and iPad, and via the Internet on such sites as YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo.
Toast 11’s interface is centered on project tabs. When you launch the application, you are greeted with a screen with six project tabs: Tutorials, Data, Audio, Video, Copy and Convert. In this review, I will cover each of the tabs and how they can enhance your workflow.
The Toast Assistant tutorials tab features tutorials on how to use Toast 11. They include an introduction on Toast 11 that includes a quick tutorial on how to create a DVD disc; a tutorial on sharing video online; converting video for iPad and iPhone; backing up your data; and creating audio CDs. In addition to the video tutorials, the same tutorials are included as PDF files for those who would rather read and follow along. The tutorials section should be the first place new users such as myself should go to learn how to work with Toast 11.
The Data tab is where you create data discs for archiving or backup. Here you can create Mac only discs, which are readable only by a Macintosh, Mac and PC compatible discs, DVD-ROM, ISO 9660 compliant discs, and Photo Discs, which enable you to use your full resolution photographs and create slideshows. Double click the format you wish to create and select the files you want to burn to disc. If the files are too large for a single DVD, you can choose to span the files over multiple discs.
The Audio Tab enables you to create a variety of audio discs, including audio CDs, Music DVDs, MP3s, and Enhanced Audio CDs. Once you click on the format of choice, the way in which you select the audio files are the same. It is a simple drag and drop. You select the Audio tab, which then locates your music files from your iTunes library. A bar at the bottom details how much disc space your file selections have used as well as how much disc space is left. After you’ve selected the audio files, you select the device you wish to burn to, how many copies, add your media, and then click the burn button. The software will do the rest, and after the burn is complete, the software will chime.
The Video Tab is where you can burn DVD videos, Blu-Ray, high definition DVDs, Video_TS folders, Video_TS compilation, BDMV video discs, and an AVCHD discs, which acts as an archive of the videos captured from your AVCHD camcorder. While importing your video into Toast 11 is the same as importing audio or data, you can preview your video and perform simple cuts in Toast. You can also add more text information (via the Info bars) to the clip before you click the burn button, and add audio effects.
Copy enables you to copy non-protected CDs, DVDs, and Blu Ray discs, create disc image files, and merge two disc images. This is fairly simple stuff here with no surprises.
The Convert tab enables you to convert your video to different video file formats. Your choices are fairly wide and include conversion support for Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, and video iPod, PlayStation 3, Sony PSP, Xbox 360, Blackberry, Palm Pre, Android phone and other mobile devices, as well as all the popular video file formats, including DV, HDV, MPEG-4, QuickTime MOV, DivX Plus HD, and MKV; and the popular internet formats, including YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Flash Video (F4V), and Flash Video (F4V with player). You can choose each format’s varying levels of quality, where to save the files, or if you want a direct upload to the video sharing sites.
In addition to the main Toast app, the suite includes Spin Doctor, a tool that enables you to capture audio from your computer, via the built in mic, streaming from a website, or via any other audio source that can output from your Mac; Tivo Transfer, which enables you to convert your Tivo’d video for playback on your Mac, Mac2Tivo, which lets you stream files off your Mac to your Tivo for playback on your TV; Get Backup 2RE, a backup tool that lets you back up your Mac, including your iTunes and iPhoto library, your mail, address book, and any other data/documents that you create; and DiscCatalog Maker RE and DiscCover 3 RE, a CD/DVD label application that enables you to print custom labels for your CD/DVD creations.
Toast 11 Pro adds the Toast 11 High Definition/Blu Ray authoring plugin, Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, Boinx PhotoMagico 3RE, BIAS SoundSoap 2 SE and Toast audio plugin, and SmartSound Sonic Fire Pro. Toast 11 Titanium is priced at $99, which is a fair deal for what you get. For $50 more you get Toast 11 Pro. In my opinion, and especially if you don’t have a nice collection of media creation tools, Toast 11 Pro is the deal, as you get the media creation tools, and when you are done creating the media, you use the tools in Toast 11 to distribute and archive that media.
That is the core of what Toast 11 does. The question is, who is still burning CDs and DVDs at any speed? It seems that optical media, at least here in the United States, may be on its way out. It has been a few years since I burned a CD, let alone a DVD, with the exception of burning media for this review. One of the better draws, at least for this application, is the tools for converting your videos for playback on mobile devices such as the iPad or iPhone, as well as for uploading to the social media sites. Optical media drives will more than likely be gone on the Macintosh very soon, given the popularity of the Mac App store, as well as Steve Jobs’ disdain for any optical media formats, or any format that can’t be sold via Apple’s online stores. This scenario has caused Rovi to at least hedge its bets with regard to the other features of the application, keeping the application somewhat relevant for the near future.
For more information, visit www.roxio.com
Roxio Toast 11 Pro