SOFTWARE REVIEWS: MediAvatar Media Toolkit Ultimate

MediAvatar’s Media Toolkit Ultimate is the Swiss Army knife of modern multimedia convertibility.

By ECM Plus Labs Staff

ECM Plus +++ Billing itself as making it possible to enjoy ‘media anytime anywhere’ the software is indeed a veritable smogasbord of must-have’s for media in all its forms.

MediAvatar’s Media Toolkit Ultimate boasts a Five Knuckle shuffle of apps within its box – the five being: Blu-Ray Ripper, DVD Converter Pro, Audio Converter Pro, Video Converter Pro, and last but not least, for all the narcissists out there, YouTube Video Converter.

Installation:

Installation comes on 2 discs, one for PC, one for Mac. In our case review, the test machine was a standard Windows 7 PC installation, which, due to no fault of MediAvatar’s software, initially balked due to a shortage of disk space on Drive C.

Despite pointing the installation files to Drive E:, the installer seems to force the installer to transfer files into a temporary directory on the user’s local file directory on – yes, you guessed it, Drive C. There appears to be no way to alter this forced files transfer, so this required us to halt the installation, cancel out of it, and go to Disk Cleanup and Control Panel to clear out other applications already installed. Again, this isn’t a criticism of the app, per se, more that the installation procedure really ought to be more controllable as to where exactly it puts its temporary files.

After the requisite disk space had been recovered by removing other apps installed on Drive C, the intallation proceeded smoothly until the point at which the registration procedure began. In fact, registration procedures, plural. There are five in total, one for each of the main apps in the suite.

This was rather cumbersome in our view, given that most people would be buying this suite for all the apps, there seems no need to have to go through five separate registration processes just to uncripple the trialware versions that come on the installer CD.

That said, the registration process is fairly quick, despite the fact that the accompanying paper card that comes in the box would very easily get mislaid on the normal user desktop space, so would render all the apps un-installable, or un-reinstallable if the user wanted to install the apps at a later time.

We began with the YouTube converter app, for no other reason that there are a lot of freeware apps out there that do, or claim to do, the same thing. So why would anyone bother to buy an app that can be had on the net in freeware? Well because, probably, MediaAvatar’s version of such an app is quite frankly brilliant.

And we take no big credit for bigging it up just for the sake of it. This thing is awesome. Why? Well because it does just what it says on the tin. There are no messy menu items to hunt down, no fancy graphics that confuse and offer no help, this app just rocks. We had our first few videos flying down the line onto our machine within seconds and all of them rendered perfectly, first time. How cool is that? Job’s a good ‘un.

The other four apps in the suite, Blu-Ray Converter, DVD Converter, Audio Converter and Video Converter are each simple and straightforward format converters that doubtless do what they do, but, and there’s always a but, these apps were particularly difficult to use, not because they are particularly complex or convoluted in their GUI or in their layout, but because the software developers decided in their infinite wisdom to force a bright white colour scheme on the user, without any discernable way for the user to customise it with either a skin or with another contrast in colours. For users with visual impairment, as per the W3C accessibility protocols, this forcing of a white background when used with white text on a high contrast system colour scheme, renders all these apps useless. They are simply impossible to navigate as it is impossible to see what you are doing or where you can navigate to in order to customize the colour palette.

Conclusion

That said, for those with no visual disabilities, the apps do as they claim and as a whole, the suite is a handy addition to any arsenal of software tools particularly in this multimedian age.

Pros: Good at what it does,

Cons: Excludes people with accessibility issues such as those with visual impairment

VERDICT: 3/5

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