Nero recently refreshed its Multimedia Suite 10, which it had extensively revised only last spring. The Multimedia Suite 10 Platinum HD adds Blu-ray movie creation and playback to a broad feature set that already comprised audio and video editing and conversion, data disc creation, DVD authoring and more. The new Video Premium HD is a subset consisting of the video-oriented components, plus support for creating and playing back Blu-ray movies.

The high end version of the suite also offers the Move It plug-in, which automatically converts and sends media back and forth between your PC and mobile devices such as iPods and Android phones. Previously this capability was available only as a standalone product.

Nero supplements Platinum HD with 5GB of online backup storage, as well as with the company's Creative Collection Pack 1 containing a host of new content, such as picture-in-picture layouts, transitions and themes, for creating professional-looking DVD movie disks.

I did run into a couple of glitches with the installation process. The serial number on the disk sleeve was incorrect for the product, and I had use a sharp object to slice open the seal for the disc sleeve in order to avoid rendering the serial number illegible. Thereafter, however, my hands-on with Nero MSP HD was rewarding. Blu-ray playback and creation worked fine, and the Move It plug-in performed as advertised, though Move It would still benefit from some interface revisions.

One neat trick that Move It has up its sleeve is the ability to create transcoding profiles based on the media it finds on your device. If you have an oddball mobile device that Move It doesn't recognise, this feature is very handy. Another treat: You can export, not just read .flv (Flash video) files.

Nero Video Premium HD includes a nicely improved version of the Nero Vision Xtra video editing and authoring program, the Nero Media Hub player/media organizer/image editor/slideshow creator and the aforementioned Creative Collection Pack 1.

A host of small changes have improved the video modules, which are identical in both new versions of the suite. Among the enhancements are nVidia CUDA support, bypassing the encoding of video material that already matches the output format and multicore CPU support. MediaHub now recognises and imports from both Windows Media Player and iTunes libraries. My fondest hope is that Nero will apply its new-style MediaHub interface to Nero Vision in the near future. Vision is capable and easy to use, but it looks a tad amateurish.

OUR VERDICT

All of the upgrades to Multimedia Suite 10 Platinum HD and Video Premium HD are welcome, and they include quite a few minor usability tweaks that I haven't mentioned. Otherwise, the suites' strengths and weaknesses remain the same: Both are as powerful as any you can find, but neither is quite as easy to use as it could be. The cheaper Multimedia Suite 10 without Blu-ray will remain available, too.

A final note: The standalone Video Premium HD package is a smart move on Nero's part. Though free programs are available that cover most of the data, audio, and backup chores that Nero Multimedia Suite 10 handles, Blu-ray playback and creation remain strictly within the purview of pay programs. Obtaining authoring and playback tools in a £60 package is a very tempting offer.