As I’m sitting here looking at the shelves in my office, I notice they’re loaded with boxes of software that say Toast on them. As in Roxio Toast the digital media software. I have boxes of almost every version of Toast from the last 10 plus years, starting from Toast 4. So it really didn’t surprise me when I found myself sitting at this desk last week with a box that said Toast 11 on it.
For those of you not familiar with Roxio Toast, its software that lets a Mac User capture, copy, convert and share files, documents, music, photos, video, movies and TV from discs, devices or online and then copy or convert them to use on your Mac, your TV, a CD, DVD, iPad, iPhone, AppleTV, mobile device, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or many other online services. Sounds amazing doesn’t it? It certainly can be amazing if you know how to get the most out of it.
The philosophy behind Toast is to ensure users can easily create expert digital media projects without having to be a digital media expert. This new Toast 11 version takes some major steps in accomplishing this feat. Let’s look at what’s new with Toast 11.
Toast 11 includes a new out of box experience, the Toast Assistant. The Assistant was created in response to customer feedback on navigating the number of projects and features that Toast offers, and in response to growing number of consumers who are not only new to the product, but new to the Mac platform as well. The Assistant also acts a learning center, featuring a number of video tutorials and downloadable PDF guides stepping users through an introduction to the application as well as how to complete various projects and tasks. Additional videos will appear automatically on the Tutorials tab as they are added online during the lifecycle of the product. This was an important new addition in my mind, I’ve always felt that new users were overwhelmed and easily lost in what to do first or where to go first using Toast.
The next big improvement in Toast 11 is the new, re-designed user interface. As I just mentioned, I thought the older versions could become a bit confusing and new users were wasting a lot of time getting a simple project completed. One of many changes to the workflow included relocating commonly used options so that they are more easily accessible. The easiest way that I explain it to you is the whole interface has become more Mac-Like in design. That’s a nice compliment.
Roxio also enhanced and improved the Media Browser. The Media Browser provides you fast and simple access to the library of media you’ve collected on your Mac without leaving Toast. The Media Browser lets you search, preview, and select media and libraries of content already organized by another application for inclusion within a Toast project. The Toast 11 Media Browser can be viewed in place of the options panel, or removed from the main window to a location of your preference, even a second monitor, which I really appreciated.
Although Toast extends beyond disc burning, the ability to burn a disc was the very first features introduced in the product. Toast 11 now includes the ability to burn disc-based projects to multiple CD, DVD and Blu-ray recorders at the same time.
Another new feature is VideoBoost. VideoBoost is available to users of systems with an NVIDIA graphics card who are converting video for their favorite devices in the H.264 format, including iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV. By taking advantage of the unused processing power in modern NVIDIA cards, VideoBoost speeds up video conversions. Check out the Roxio Web site to see if your Mac can take advantage of VideoBoost.
The latest generation of Spin Doctor – SDX – is included as part of Toast and makes it fun and easy to capture, convert, and enhance audio from LPs and cassettes. MusicID technology allows for automatic track tagging with title and artist. The all new SDX also lets you capture sound from any application running on your Mac, so you can capture audio from a single source without worrying about beeps and dings from email and IM applications making it into your recording.
When you convert video from one format to another, Toast 11 now gives you a wide variety of pre-sets to make certain the converted video will play to perfection on you devices. You can also create your own custom profiles if the ones provided by Roxio are not what you need. I’m a big user, so the fact that you can turn video from almost anywhere, including your TiVo DVR or EyeTV tuner, into video for almost anything. Setup and queue video conversions to run at a later time of your choosing. This lets you run CPU-intensive conversions when you’re away from the computer so you can avoid slow-down. Of course – you can still Pause and Resume conversions in process.
I could, and will spend a month of Sundays playing with the new features in Toast 11, Roxio really out-did themselves with the latest version. Quickly, here’s a list of some of the other features in Toast 11.
DVD Clip Extraction
Subtitles are preserved when viewing on an iPad, iPhone or iPod
Toast will automatically break your audio up across multiple CDs and let you move tracks between discs to help you make the perfect disc for your car or stereo.
Built-in Video Trimming and Editing
Toast 11 now lets you playback your Toast-authored High Definition DVDs right on your Mac.
Publish to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo or Twitter
There are other features that you’ll want to check out for yourself. I am having a great time learning what’s new in Toast 11 and I have to say that to this point, Toast 11 is the best upgrade Roxio has ever done to Toast. There are two versions of Toast 11, Titanium and Pro. With both you get Toast along with: SDX audio capture software, Disc Cover 3 RE labeling software, Get Backup Pro RE backup software, DiscCatalogMaker RE, TiVoToGo for the Mac.
With the Pro version you also receive: Toast 11 High-Def / Blu-ray Authoring Plug-in, Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, Boinx FotoMagico 3 RE , BIAS SoundSoap 2 SE and Toast audio plug-in , SmartSound Sonicfire Pro. The price for Titanium is $79.99 and for Pro, $129.99 with upgrading prices available. You have to visit their Web site, www.roxio.com and see the new Toast 11 and all the new features for yourself. I am very excited with the direction Roxio took in this new version.