Roxio Toast 10 Titanium Pro - Mac review

The latest incarnation of Toast brings the renowned Mac burning software as a dual set of software that provides for a "Pro" version that adds even more tools for your digital media creation, production and burning needs.

The Toast 10 Titanium Pro part of the equation is pretty much business as usual from Toast 9 offering a deceptively simple work space to burn just about any type of disc, or stream video to, say an iPod or an iPhone.

You get single workspace window with tabs for Data, Audio, Video, Disc Copying and finally Convert. Each provides a set of new tools down the left side of the workspace for you to select from according to your needs.

Improvements to the key application include better AVCHD format support allowing direct back up of content from high-definition cameras to Blu-ray, archive or DVD. Like Toast 9, there’s a plug-in for supporting Blu-ray disc burning but on the down side, the version 10 has had both DivX and HD-DVD removed from options when burning video.

Another neat touch is the improved Media Browser, activated by a small icon at the top right of the Toast workspace. Photos, audio, movies can all be browsed here ready to drag into the content area depending on the work you want to do while additions to the media browser include a neat Web Video mode that allows you to add web videos for DVD burning or conversion to iTunes, iPhone or iPod formats for example.

With a web browser launched and web clip playing or streaming, it appears in the Media Browser window. You must ensure any clip has stopped streaming before adding it to a project, but this works really well and is as simple to use as the rest of Toast 10’s interface.

Features such as pause and restart a burning job remain for, say, freeing up processor power during a long burn project and disc burning support for streaming video to your iPhone or iPod is included. As before in Toast 9, during data burning, the data can be split (or spanned) across multiple discs without breaking it up while the excellent, automatic tagging of unknown audio files, using their audio "fingerprint" remains as well.

In use, the large Toast content area and add or remove buttons (for content from) are straightforward enough while Toast’s signature big red button sits ready at the bottom of the content area once the project's ready to burn.

An easy to understand visual confirmation runs across the bottom of Toast’s window that indicates the amount of space left on a particular type of disc inserted to burn and you can assess the space needs by clicking on the media type button adjacent to the large red button to see if there might be enough space on a CD rather than a DVD for the project you’re working on.

Other cool kit includes video conversion for an Apple TV, iPhone and batch conversion of TiVo and EyeTV recordings is in there too. The Roxio Streamer feature that can stream video from your Mac over a Wi-Fi network to another suitably connected Mac or, say, an iPhone. Just like the rest of Toast, the Roxio Streamer feature is very simple to set and use but beware, a stable Wi-Fi connection is essential for larger files as it can take long time for large video file streams for example.

As usual, there’s a lot of additional bundled software in addition to the Streamer software includes automatic back up software Get backup RE, CD Spin Doctor (for digitising LP vinyl records), DiscCatalogMaker RE, TiVo Transfer and Disc Cover 2 RE for creating and printing labels onto compatible CDs and DVDs, plus you also get Toast Video Player too.

Significantly, with the Pro version you also get a set of other powerful applications including LightZone, my favourite among the apps. This is a photo editing application that uses non-destructive editing tools, similar to Photoshop’s layers, but each edit tool sets a new layer so you never affect the pixels being altered. It works well and provides quick and powerful image enhancements. One regret however, is the LightZone RE version supplied does not have the ready mixed recipes of adjustments available to non-Roxio bundled versions.

Another powerful tool with the Pro version of Toast 10 is FotoMagico, a simple to use slideshow generator while SonicFire Pro and SoundSoap SE are two clever audio applications that allow you to add soundtracks to video or slideshows and clean up audio tracks respectively.

Verdict

Toast 10 Titanium Pro provides a comprehensive set of burning tools and media creation applications that make it a stunner at the price. The lack of DivX and HD-DVD support may irk users of Toast 9 that include these.

However, it is none the less powerful and feature-rich burning software, which is still quite simply a must have package for any Mac owner; the Pro version’s extra array of applications make it even more so.