Graphic Toast 8 TitaniumToast 8 Titanium

Toast 8 Titanium
Manufacturer: Roxio
Retail Price: $79.99

Since I was familiar with Roxio Toast, and use it almost exclusively for all my burning needs, I was eager and excited over the plethora of new features and enhanced functionality in Toast 8 Titanium. Among the new features are Deja Vu backup software, CD Spin Doctor, Disc Cover, and Motion Pictures HD. The one that piqued my interest the most was being able to burn a show taped on my TiVo series 2, the only model supported at the moment.

I opened TiVo Transfer, an application included in Toast 8 Titanium. The TiVo may be either connected directly to the computer or via a wireless connection. I have a wireless connection and there was no problem seeing my taped shows on my TiVo. You have to first move the programs from the TiVo to the computer. It takes real time to transfer a show. On my G5 it took 52 minutes to transfer an hour show.

The window in TiVo Transfer shows an iTunes-like menu in the left column. There is a Library with a submenu called TiVo Recordings where all the transferred programs are housed. I then selected the one I wanted to burn. I loved the new feature of selecting custom DVD menu backgrounds. I picked Cinema. Toast puts the name of the show, the episode name, the length of the show and the audio and video formats on the screen. It took 40 minutes to burn the DVD.

You can create an auto transfer of shows from your TiVo so that all current and future episodes are automatically transferred to your computer whenever it is connected to the same network as your DVR. Very, very cool.

I watched the newly burned DVD on my Sony HDTV. It played flawlessly with excellent resolution and great audio through my surround sound system.

Note: During the course of my review I found out you don't need Toast 8 to transfer TiVo shows to your Mac. You can do that with the free TiVoDecode Manager http://tdm.sourceforge.net/. So, you don't have to set yourself back $80 if this is the only feature that entices you.

Restore data discs

There is a new welcomed feature for recovering your precious photos, music, and files when CDs get scratched and damaged and data are unreadable by the Finder. Choose Copy > Disc Copy and select Use Disc Recovery in the Disc Options area. Insert the damaged disc and select Record and Toast begins copying the disc. If Toast can't read a damaged area, it continues to try until it is satisfied that it can't and moves on or bypasses the damaged area. This can take a long time depending on the damage and the file sizes.

Each disc in a Mac Only and in a Mac and PC disc set also contains a small software application called Roxio Restore. It allows you to easily restore an individual file or folder, or the entire disc set. The Mac version of Roxio Restore runs on Mac OS X v 10.3 or higher; the PC version runs on Windows 2000, XP, or Vista. This is a small app that comes on the ROXIO Mac or Mac/PC master disc. The computer does not have to have Toast 8 installed.

Span files

You can span files of any size across multiple discs. This was a welcome feature for me and I discovered it inadvertently when I was going to burn a CD having larger files than the capacity of the CD and Toast let me know that it would burn the files on two CDs. It partitioned everything automatically and made it readable either on a Mac or a PC.

Support for LightScribe-enabled burners

I have the LaCie d2 DVD+-RW with LightScribe (direct disc labeling) external burner. I had to update the Firmware and the LightScribe labeler software to be compatible with Toast. Toast 8 includes Disc Cover RE, a disc labeling software compatible with LightScribe-enabled drives and media. Getting it all to work was not intuitive, and I had to go to the Help menu for the steps.

Once the CD label was designed, it was simple for Toast to see the LaCie external drive and etch a beautiful disc label. I found the Disc Cover RE application included with Toast better and easier than LaCie's LightScribe Labeler to create disc labels and case covers for printing or laser-etching to Lacie's LightScribe-enabled external disc burner. There were better templates and a wider variety of designs and templates and it is not limited to just LightScribe support. It has a myriad of paper choices and other printers that print labels directly on the CD/DVD.

Complement to iLife

The Toast Media Browser provides quick access to your photos, music, videos, and other files stored on the Mac. That includes shows taped with EyeTV tuners. It also works beautifully with Spotlight. However, there is a bug which does not allow viewing the current iPhoto Library. I have many iPhoto Libraries in my Home>Pictures folder. When I choose a Library to work with, Toast 8 defaults to a particular library which is not the one chosen by the user. I tried renaming the Library folder to plain iPhoto Library but it did not solve the problem on my G5 Dual 2.5 GHz. Toast 8 chooses a Library and nothing I do changes it. When I tinkered with the names of the iPhoto Libraries, I had two named 'iPhoto Library'—which is strange, as iPhoto usually gives an error message that the name is already used. Now the Toast browser does not display any photos.

On my MacBook Pro, it defaults to the iPhoto Library so named. It does not see the one titled 'iPhoto Library Calendars' which is the selected one I am working with.

I spoke with Roxio's Adam Fingerman, Director of Product Management for Mac, to ask about this problem. He said that it is not possible to access many iPhoto Libraries within Toast. The workaround is to drag photos to Toast from iPhoto. He also suggested making an alias of the iPhoto Library desired and placing it in the Pictures folder. Toast looks for aliases.

Blue-ray support

Other enhancements include support for Blu-ray Disc burners, enhanced audio CD burning with features from Jam, media conversion from Popcorn, slick photo discs and disc cataloging software so you can find files on your CD/DVD archives without the need to have them in your computer. There is generally better Windows support than earlier Toast versions.

I couldn't test the Blu-ray disc media as I don't own a Blu-ray disc player or recorder. Fingerman also stated that the BD (Blu-ray disc) acts like an external drive to which you can click and drag files till you fill the 50 GB capacity.

What's in the box

Roxio Toast 8 came in a well-designed box containing enough information that you don't have to wait to read the well-written 128-page manual, which does not overwhelm. By reading the box captions, especially the table comparing features in versions 8, 7, and 6, you will know whether or not you want to buy this update.

May I dream?

One of my disappointments with this upgrade was that it does not see my Aperture Library. Of course, they don't promise this feature but it would be GREAT to include it in future versions. Aperture does not have a friendly way to burn CDs or DVDs and therefore a better way is needed. Right now to burn a DVD of photos from Aperture one must export them to a folder on the desktop and then use Toast to burn a DVD.

My other letdown was the inability to burn DVD multiple sessions. BurnAgain DVD ($24.50) has this capability. Fingerman is committed to making a reliable product and doesn't feel this feature is ready yet.


Review by NCMUG member Maria O. Arguello