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542 of 557 people found the following review helpful
Such a bad experience so far that it's almost comical
on June 21, 2011
Roxio has made an enemy today.
Unless their e-mail tech support produces stellar results, their name is forever tarnished in my mind and I will never purchase their crap software again.
Okay, installed smoothly, has nice tutorials, looks pretty good. Doesn't work.
Before you claim pilot error: I am using the latest Mac OS on a new MacBook Pro with 4GB. I was running no other apps at the time. I used the built-in OEM DVD drive. I used new, clean media. I installed updates to Toast. I did everything correctly.
First project was to burn some sample files taken with a FLIP camera onto a DVD. That actually went smoothly. It was about a 1:1 conversion time. My minor complaint are that the media browser is kind of slow and clunky and is not good when you have hundreds of files, and doesn't support drag-and-drop (although it supports the "finder's" drag and drop. Oddly inconsistent.) It's much more convenient to simply drag-and-drop your video files from Lightroom 3, or perhaps the finder, than to use their browser.
I've never fully understood the full concept of this software since so many of the things (like making audio or data discs) you can do natively in the Mac desktop or from inside of iTunes. The ONLY REASON I wanted this software was to burn HIGH-DEF files onto a standard DVD. (Yes, I know it will hold much less than a Blu-Ray disk would - that's not the issue.)
Then things got bad...
FIRST - in microscopic type you'll find that this particular feature, which is highly touted on the packaging, isn't included!!! That's like buying Macaroni and Cheese and finding out the cheese is sold separately. Idiots. You have to pay another $20 to download the HD plug-in! And then these rip-off artists, straight out of sleazy used car dealer school, try to sell you a backup disk for a whopping $17 extra, AND THEN, they try to sell you undercoating, er, I mean, a $6 insurance policy. Apparently if you lose your computer or have to otherwise re-download the software THAT YOU PAID FOR, they won't let you unless you coughed up the six buck insurance UP FRONT. WHAT A SCAM!!! If you fall for it, you end up paying an extra $43 on top of what you already paid, to get a feature that is supposed to be part of the package!
Then things got REALLY bad...
Okay, so I went to burn 10 minutes of high-def Flip video. It chugged away for OVER AN HOUR and then LOCKED UP at the 99% mark. For kicks, I tried it again, with 1 minute of some different video. Again it LOCKED UP at 99%. IT LOCKED UP BAD. I couldn't eject the disk - I couldn't exit the program ("Abort" was active, but it too locks up). You have to use Activity Monitor to force quit the app. EVEN AFTER A RESTART I couldn't eject the disk! DISK UTILITY wouldn't even eject the disk! I did a hard-power restart, and the Mac wouldn't boot - you could hear it trying to make sense of this bad disc, but never got past the blue screen. I've never seen such behavior in a Mac. Finally, on the SECOND HARD POWER CYCLE, the Mac said "enough of this s***!" and kicked the disk out and proceeded to boot fine again.
If you look on Roxio's own user forum, YOU'LL SEE THAT THIS IS A COMMON PROBLEM, YET THEY CONTINUE TO SELL BAD SOFTWARE, and they continue to rip you off for the plug-in that doesn't work either. This software has a lot of other features, most of which I don't care about, and based on this experience, I doubt I'll take the time and suffer the frustration of trying them, so you're on your own there.
As a software engineer myself, it's hard to say this, but this company needs to fail, or reorganize or something. Every engineer responsible for shipping this P.O.S. code should be booted out of the industry. If you worked on this project, don't even dream of submitting a resume to my company. Go to work tomorrow and punch your boss in the nose for limiting your future opportunities.
I spent hours of my life composing this review so you won't have to suffer my frustration.
Please click that this review was helpful, so these jokers get the message that they can't sell non-functioning products.
Another lame finding, and I'm not sure this Roxio/Sonic's limitation or the Blu-ray standard, but it limits you to 98 video files on a disc. That might sound like a lot, especially considering you only get about 30 minutes of video or less on a standard DVD, but as most home movies (such as done with the Flip) are made up of dozens of 3-10 second clips, I had only filled up half the DVD before Toast complained that I couldn't add any more files.
Yet another lame finding: and again, I don't know if this is their fault, or the DVD standard - but as Toast burns all these clips as individual movies (rather than chapters) you can't skip any scenes by pressing the CHAPTER+ keys! And you know how boring some home video can be! I hope future editions (if they're still in business) can support generating these files as chapters.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: ;^)
While the shameful sales practices remain, I will give them half-credit that not long after my rant, they released an update that fixed the "stuck at 99%" bug and the resulting disc appears to be recognized on all BluRay players - however I then ran into another bad problem. The navigation formatting of the disc was not correct - it was not playing the correct clip with the correct "chapter". Many of the clips would end up jumping back to the first clip, and most would never get played at all. I wish I could give you more information on this, but I got so exhausted with trying to figure out their bugs that I just worked around it...
I am now successfully using their software, but in a very limited way: when I want to make a disc of my home movie clips, I pull them all into iMovie, add my titles, and then export a single HD video file of the whole project (I've exported as 720p and 1080p), which I then drag into Toast. After several discs, I think I can now proclaim that Toast has no problem with transcoding a single HD video file onto to a standard DVD-R disc for playback on a BluRay player, but I hate software that "trains" you to work differently or limit your options in order to work around their bugs. If you can live with this major limitation, go for it, but let's hope a better product is on its way someday.
Also keep in mind: I am reviewing this single feature. I have not used Toast for its other capabilities.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE TO THE UPDATE:
WILL THE AGONY EVER STOP???
Here we are, almost 3 years later, and this product is still giving me headaches. I use this product maybe once every 6 months, so it's hardly been any kind of value for me considering all the grief it has caused. Now a new thing...
A couple of months ago, I switched Macs. I couldn't just clone the old one, so I basically just transferred my apps and data from the old Mac to the new one. Of course, the one piece of software that did not work was the HighDef plug-in that I complained about so bitterly in the past. Now, as you recall, I did not pay for their idiotic "insurance policy" and had long since forgotten about it, so today, when I tried to re-download the plug-in THAT I PAID FOR to the new computer, it would not let me. EVEN IF I HAD paid for the insurance policy, it expires after 2 years, so it still would have refused me. So... I'm completely screwed by Roxio AGAIN. Apparently I have no right to access a digital file that I paid for unless I pay them another $20 extortion money. Is this even legal? What would the trade commission say about this? - they don't give you a hard-copy and you're screwed if you switch computers in the future. I HATE THIS PRODUCT, AND THIS COMPANY IS THE MOST INFURIATINGLY NON-CUSTOMER FOCUSED COMPANY I'VE EVER HAD THE DISPLEASURE OF WORKING WITH. ALL THEY WANT TO DO IS NICKLE AND DIME YOU TO DEATH INSTEAD OF PROVIDING A PRODUCT THAT THEY WILL SUPPORT. I think I'm going to spend the $300 and just buy Apple's Final Cut Pro - assuming IT has high-def capabilities built in. How are these clowns still in business?
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE TO THE UPDATE TO THE UPDATE:
OK. Since I was taught to say nice things as well, I will commend Roxio for one thing. As I mentally prepared myself to do battle over the stupid HD plug-in fiasco, they actually responded to my inquiry. The fist answer wasn't very good, but when I explained it again, they actually sent me a pointer to a utility to help me reinstall the plug-in and it worked... and I didn't have to give them another twenty bucks. So, thank you Roxio, for resolving this issue in a proper manner.