In brief: mixed.
I am able to use it, and I like the feature set, and the price. I did have some frustrating experiences that required kludgy work arounds. If I had it to do again, I'd evaluate more competitors products first. However, now that I'm invested in this one—both in the time of creating projects, and money to buy the software—I'll probably stick with it, kludges and all. In the end, it does create a nice finished product.
What it does
MemoriesOnTV is designed to be a low-cost commecial downloadable program to allow you to create DVDs that are scrapbooks of digital photos, complete with menus, background music, and "Ken Burns Effect" (panning, zooming, etc.). It has a basic set of features that make it more flexible than, for example, the Click To DVD program that came bunded (at no extra charge) with my Sony VAIO desktop, but not as feature rich as a professional quality DVD creator program. That is, if it works, it hits the sweet spot of value for money.
That's of course a big if.
An evaluation copy of MemoriesOnTV can be downloaded for free from www.download.com.where there are several user reviews of the product, including one by me.
All the features of the regular product are in the trial version, and there is no expiration date, but there is a big "EVALUATION COPY " banner across your created video right where the faces in your pictures probably are (the center of the screen.) To remove it costs $30-$45.
Before you try or buy, read this
Here's what you should know while evaluation, and before purchasing (lot's of this was NOT well explained in the documentation at first; I had to hunt for it after making mistakes.)
If you plan to create DVDs, you MUST download BOTH the trial version of the basic program AND the MPEG2 plug-in. If/when you purchase, make sure you purchase them together to save yourself some money; they are cheaper when bought together in a bundle. Without the MPEG2 plug-in, you can only create one kind of Video CD format.
- Before you purchase, be sure to actually try burning a DVD, even with the "Evaluation Copy" thingy on it. I tried everything BUT burning, only to find out that the program wouldn't talk to my DVD burner. There is a work around, as I explain below, but it was annoying to find this out. I would not have spent so much time creating projects in this software if I had known I'd have to use a kludge to work around an incompatibility with my hardware.
Work arounds for common problems
The manufacturer has a FAQ, but it either didn't address—or didn't completely address—the most common problems I had (and still have). This list does.
- If you are unsuccesful in burning
The work around is to use MemoriesOnTV to generate the video files, but another program to burn the DVD. Here's how (details not explained in the MemoriesToTV docs; I had to figure it out myself).
On the burn screen, click "Generate new Video" (button near bottom of screen; top one of three options.) Point the "Save Video into Folder" at a newly created empty folder with the same name as your project. Then click the Start button.
When it finishes, your new folder will have subfolders in it called AUDIO_TS, PHOTOS, VIDEO_TS. These are the folders that a DVD player expects to find. So now, you can just take these folders, and use a regular DVD burning program (like you would use to back up data files) and make a DVD-ROM with those folders in the root directory, and it will work. I happen to use Sonic RecordNow! because it came bundled with my Sony Vaio Desktop, but that isn't an endorsement. I do the following in that program:
Use MP2, not LPCM to avoid problems with audio quality on created disc
- Click on "Data Disc"
- Open a windows explorer window containing the folders AUDIO_TS, PHOTOS, VIDEO_TS
- Drag folders AUDIO_TS, PHOTOS, VIDEO_TS into the window
- Change the Volume Label to something appropriate (short name for the project)
- Click the shiny bright red BURN button, and stick in a blank disk.
On the burn screen, click Advanced Settings (button center right), and then the "Video Generation" tab (second one). At top, under DVD generation, click "Use MPEG 1 Layer 2 encoding (mp2) (second button down.).
Problems with entering and modifying text on slides
The text creating tool is buggy. Sometimes if you enter text, and then move it, once you click the "move" button, you can't do anything else (i.e. enter more text, change fonts, change colors, etc.) until you exit the text creation tool, and reenter it. So, that's the work around. Also, be aware that if text is selected, the color may not show up; so when you are changing the color of text, you might think it isn't working, when in fact it is. Finally, note that the color selector has both a hue and saturation control; you need to pay attention to both to be sure you are getting the color you want.
Disclaimers: When it comes to this product, I'm just a poor dumb user. I'm not offering any tech support for this product, and reserve the right to ignore any email that you send me about it. That being said, maybe i won't ignore your email, so its worth a try. These are only my personal experiences and opinions, and don't reflect any official position of anyone; certainly not the University of Delaware or any department or unit thereof. Your mileage may vary, and I could be totally wrong. Be nice to people of all races and creeds. Rotate your tires. Eat your vegetables.