Toast 10 Titanium marks a milestone in the long history of the Toast CD/DVD burning program. With this newest release, Roxio offers two versions: Toast 10 Titanium, which I review here, and Toast 10 Titanium Pro, which includes additional applications to assist users in audio and video authoring tasks.
The other major change is that Toast 10 requires OS X 10.5 (Leopard) as its minimum operating system. Roxio believes Leopard provides a better platform for delivering cutting edge HD authoring tools. The upshot is that Toast 10 is the last version that will support older Macs, including G4 and G5 PowerPC Macs.
Toast 10 Titanium: Installation
Toast 10 Titanium ships with seven applications, all of which are copied into the Toast 10 Titanium folder that the installation process creates in your Applications folder. Installation itself is a simple drag-and-drop affair that requires no special installation application to run.
Although drag-and-drop makes installation simple, it also allows the user to overlook the Documentation folder on the Toast Titanium disk. Be sure to take a moment to open the Documentation folder and copy the appropriate language user manual to your Mac.
The installation process creates a new folder in Applications called Toast 10 Titanium. By creating a new folder, Roxio allows you to keep earlier versions of Toast on your Mac. As far as I can tell, the earlier versions remain usable.
The seven applications Roxio deposits in the Toast 10 Titanium folder are:
- Toast Titanium
- Get Backup 2 RE
- DiscCatalogMaker RE
- Disc Cover RE
- CD Spin Doctor
Mac2TiVo is the newest member of the Toast Titanium application family. It allows you to copy home videos, non-encrypted DVDs, and other non-encrypted video files you may have on your Mac to your TiVo DVR. Mac2TiVo includes the option to stream the video during the copy process, so you can watch the video on your TV without waiting for the copy process to complete first.
Toast 10 Titanium: First Impressions
When you launch Toast you will see a very familiar interface, one that’s based on the previous generation of Toast. In fact, except for a title bar that says ‘Toast 10 Titanium,’ it can be difficult to spot any differences from Toast 9, but differences there are. The first place I noticed a difference was in the Video tab. Gone from Toast 10 is the HD DVD menu item. This makes sense because the HD DVD format is no longer actively supported in the video industry. Still, if you have HD DVD equipment, you might like to hold onto the option to burn DVDs. If so, you will need to keep Toast 9 around.
Toast 10 Titanium uses a three-pane interface consisting of Category, Project List, and Content panes. Smaller panes may also appear, depending on the function you’re currently performing. The Category pane contains Toast’s five basic functions (Data, Audio, Video, Copy, Convert); each is represented by a small icon.
The Project List, which resides just below the Category pane, lists the type of projects or tasks that can be performed, depending on the category selected. At the bottom of the Project pane is the Options area. This part of the Project pane will change, showing what options are available for various projects you select.
The Content pane, which is the largest, is where you drag-and-drop data (audio or video files) you want Toast to work with. Just below the Content pane is the Recording area, which can display information about your CD/DVD writer and its current status, as well as the basic controls to start the burning process.
Toast 10 Titanium: What’s New
Toast 10 isn’t just improved; it also has an array of new features that I think will appeal to a wide range of Mac users.
- AVCHD Archive. Allows you to back up video directly from your AVCHD camcorder to DVD or Blu-Ray discs. AVCHD Archive will automatically span video across multiple discs if needed, a good thing since many AVCHD camcorders can store more video than will fit, without compression, on a single DVD.
- Portable Audiobooks. Lets you easily convert audiobooks into a single audio file, complete with chapter markers, that you can play back on your iPod or other portable music player.
- DVD-Video Clip Extraction. Pick the clips you like and Toast will extract them and convert them to the format of your choice.
- Mac2TiVo To Go. If you have TiVo, you can use Mac2TiVo To Go to stream videos resident on your Mac to your TiVo.
- Compilation DVD/Blu-ray. Combines multiple videos into a single DVD or Blu-ray disc.
- Music Builder. Uses CD Spin Doctor to capture streaming audio from various sources. Once captured, Toast will decipher the music, create individual tracks, and tag them with artist and title information.
- New DVD Menus. Twenty new DVD/Blu-ray menus are available, in both fullscreen and widescreen formats.
- Web Video. Saves and converts web-based videos to formats you can use directly on your Mac or burn to a DVD.
Toast 10 Titanium: Hello Blu-ray, Goodbye HD DVD
The good news is that Toast 10 Titanium can burn Blu-ray discs; the bad news is that it can no longer burn HD DVD discs. This isn’t surprising, though, since HD DVD is a nearly defunct standard that is no longer being developed. If you need HD DVD capability, be sure to keep Toast 9 within easy reach.
Toast 10 Titanium supports a plug-in that lets you author and burn Blu-ray discs. The High-Def/Blu-ray Disc Plug-in is included in Toast 10 Titanium Pro, but it’s a somewhat costly $19.99 add-on for Toast 10 Titanium. If you need the plug-in, and you’re willing to pay the additional fee, it’s available for downloading from the Roxio web site.
Beyond the ability to burn a Blu-ray disc, the plug-in provides some additional features. One feature alone may be worth the cost of the plug-in: the ability to burn HD content to a standard DVD. A standard DVD can only hold about one hour of HD video, but when you consider that a single-layer, write-once Blu-ray disc currently costs around $10, and a high-quality blank DVD can be had for less than 30 cents, the $20 you’ll pay for the plug-in quickly seems like a bargain.
DVDs with HD content that you create with the Blu-ray plug-in will play in standard Blu-ray players or on your Mac, but they won’t play correctly in standard DVD players.