The install process is just as easy and painless as normal, and within minutes I was up and running.
CyberLink haven't really made any massive changes to the GUI. It looks a little leaner, and a little cleaner, but overall quite similar. I guess if it's not broke, don't fix it.
The configurations tab is generally the same. Take a look at the settings before you start. If you have a 5.1 system be sure to change the audio output settings, otherwise it will default to plain old stereo sound. You may want to change a few of the colour profiles depending on your monitor, but I chose to leave them at default levels.
CyberLink's CLEV2 is back, a feature which pumps up contrast levels and changes colour values, but as before, if hardware acceleration is turned on this cannot be used. I chose to leave it off as I generally don't like effects that change the look of a film, especially when I need to review a title. That said, most users with a relatively good processor shouldn't need hardware acceleration at any rate.
Performance remains around the same as before. The video quality for standard DVD looks to be around the same high standard as before. I eagerly went in and checked a few of my Blu-ray discs to see how they stacked up. On a 24" screen, man there are a lot of pixels being squashed down, but damn it looks good. Ratatouille looks flat out beautiful. I saw no evidence of pausing or stalling, but then again, on a quad core system I wouldn't expect it either.
One of the simplest features, yet one of my favourites (well, it's something I have to refer to frequently when I am reviewing a movie) is the information box, which displays bitrate, video and audio codec information. It's still here, unchanged, in the latest version.
Unfortunately, it seems that PowerDVD 8 still struggles with one of the discs that PowerDVD 7 did; Across The Universe, which I reviewed a few weeks back. The disc loads to the main menu, but unfortunately cannot get further, nor can I navigate the menu, or force the movie to start any other way. I have sent this issue on to CyberLink, but I am relatively sure it's due to the BD Java structure of that specific disc. That said, I've tried other BD Java movies and they play fine, so this looks like an isolated case.
Unfortunately the anomalies didn't end there.