ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 6 – Review

very good
key review info
application features
  • Smooth playing of all media files
  • (5 more, see all...)

In order to benefit from cinema-like experiences, three things are generally in order: a big screen, HD video and audio quality and a player that can render such content. ArcSoft’s TotalMedia Theatre can accommodate you with the latter.

Available for $99.99 / €76.12, the application is a hefty purchase but it brings to the table some amazing features.

You can get ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre with a 40% discount from Softpedia until August 15. We have significant price cuts for other three applications from the same developer as well.

Getting the application on the system is not a complicated procedure, but a restart is required for all the changes to take effect.

With a simple and elegant interface, looks are quite appealing. Most of the application window is reserved to showing the last played video as well as the disc drives and the media already loaded.

From the top left hand corner of the screen, you can open the media manager, a component that provides access to diverse video content stored in local folders as well as on discs and you can organize it in playlists. Alternatively, the quick start menu (docked in the lower part of the screen) lists the last 25 clips in film strip view.

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YouTube is also accessible from this part of the application and TotalMedia Theatre lists the most popular, top rated and featured videos in a scrollable grid and there is also a search function available. Unfortunately, some content cannot be played, although the same clips are watchable when accessed through Google’s platform.

Nevertheless, this is an improvement compared to our previously reviewed version of the product, which would not play them at all.

TotalMedia Theatre features some cool options, such as SimHD, which is designed to enhance the experience with movies of lower quality. The high definition view is basically emulated by increasing the sharpness of the picture, but in a very smart way.

The component is set to “automatic" by default and works very well, but some knobs and buttons are present if you want to make adjustments. The application processes the frames on the fly and can do it using either the CPU or the GPU (NVIDIA CUDA or AMD Stream required). Furthermore, you can enable upscaling and modify the sharpness level.

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If processing is done through the CPU, there is the possibility to change the dynamic lighting, denoise and smoothness levels.

Several playback modes (Normal, split image or side-by-side view) let you check the result of the custom configuration.

We recommend keeping SimHD set to “automatic,” but mind that this also needs a good share of system resources since processing is done in real time. On the upside, there is a clear difference between the original video and the enhanced version.

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If you are equipped with the necessary gear, TotalMedia Theatre can render regular 2D movies in 3D. When enabling this, 2D Blu-rays won’t be processed at all. If the source file is already prepared for 3D view (passive), there are options for selecting the method used in the source file for being viewed in 3D (side-by-side images, top/down, red/cyan or line interleave). Adjusting the depth perception level is also available.

The customizations settings for audio and video are extensive enough to cater to all types of users. Audio output panel offers Dynamic Range Compression (DRC) modes that contribute to a better experience in accordance to the surrounding environment.

Audio Effects panel features three preset modes for enhancing the sound (Bass Management, Neo:6 and ArcSoft Matrix 6). Additional control refers to tweaking the bass and the volume boost as well as enabling volume balance.

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A 10-band equalizer (EQ) also brings to the table various sound presets, while under Display there is the possibility to enable hardware acceleration, which puts the strain on the GPU instead of the processor.

A Video Effects section should allow you to modify the brightness, hue, saturation and contrast of the playing movie, and switch to different viewing modes more appropriate for the picture and the environment.

ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre bundles in general configuration settings that allow control over actions such as resuming playback, file profile for YouTube videos, default DVD and BD region and language, parental controls and file association.

If you’re running it on a laptop, the program can issue warnings when battery life goes under a user-defined threshold.

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The Good

It packs great features for enhancing the movie-watching experience: real-time HD simulation and 2D to 3D rendering, various sound effects, access to YouTube content, hardware acceleration for smoother playback, parental controls.

Looks are clean and appealing and there is support for plenty of video formats, including less popular ones.

The Bad

Not all YouTube videos will play. The application froze on us a few times when we tried to play a video and it also crashed a few times, mostly as a result of our interference with the hang state of the application, but it happened while playing YouTube video too.

The price may be a problem for most users.

The Truth

ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre provides a spectacular set of features in order to enjoy your videos, HD or not, as much as possible. It also comes with a downside, as some of the options do not work properly and we have experienced several stability issues.
user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 3
pricing / value 3


final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
 

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