Nero 8's new features include converting DVD files for an iPod, PSP, or other mobile gadgets; playing AVCHD and Blu-ray video; and backing up files to CD, Blu-ray, and both regular and high-definition DVDs. SecurDisc lets you digitally sign and recover data, and it can make bootable Linux discs--no more DOS. There's also a free one-month trial of Nero Mobile. And you can import and share videos via YouTube, MySpace, and MyNero. Nero can convert files to MPEG-4 and other formats you prefer.
Most of the applications, such as Nero BackItUp, retain their individual interfaces, which veteran users might mind. Overall, however, we wish there were a more integrated appearance to make it easier to learn the various menus and icons
Once you dig a bit deeper, however, you can easily get lost within Nero's many applications. For instance, when we tried to toy with creating backups, Nero closed the StartSmart window and took us to the entirely different BackItUp interface. We had to close that window for StartSmart to pop up again. However, some users might like this approach because it keeps fewer windows open on your desktop.
A similar thing happened when we selected options from the Home Entertainment menu, which froze our PC. We had to use the Windows Task Manager to reach the otherwise self-explanatory setup interface of Nero Home. Our Windows Firewall kept blocking Nero Home, but didn't tell us so until we tried returning to the StartSmart view.
Behind StartSmart, the look, feel, and features of the various programs remain largely the same. Nero Vision 5 helps you make DVDs, CDs, and slide shows. You can add chapters and markers to high-definition videos. There's a decent photo editing application, too.
Nero Express steps you through making music or video discs, such as a Jukebox Audio CD packed with your choice of audio files that can be played on discs supporting MP3, WMA, and AAC formats. You can burn a Super Video CD that converts your videos to formats that most SVCD and DVD players can read.
Nero BackItUp enables you to copy and create recovery discs, schedule periodic data backups, and so on.