Windows 8 promises a new kind of pre-installed software next month, with the latest operating system featuring third-party pre-installed apps for the tiled interface formerly known as Metro.

This will be in addition to the often unwanted software pre-installed on the Windows desktop, although some programs, such as those being promised by CyberLink, are likely to prove superior to the Windows accessories included by Microsoft. Read more

Rendering and encoding video can still seem to take the longest time even with today’s multi-core processors and faster graphics chips, with software often not written well enough to squeeze the maximum out of the hardware.

This makes much improved rendering in Cyberlink’s PowerDirector 10, introduced on Tuesday, a key feature of this upgrade of the well-established movie editing program.

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The number of ways to transfer and enjoy your personal media on any device continues to grow.

Cyberlink this week announced significant improvements to its MediaEspresso transcoding software, which formats PC files for smartphones and portable media players. Or if you prefer streaming media directly from your PC to your portable device, there are new options from PlayOn, ZumoCast and HomePipe. Read more

Nero Multimedia 10 box shotWith improved multimedia handling in Windows 7 and plenty of free options for manipulating video and photos, media software companies have their work cut out persuading consumers to pay extra money for their products.

Nero, with its Multimedia Suite 10 launched on Monday, and Cyberlink, with its PowerDVD 10 are the latest to try. Read more

Consumers worldwide spent nearly half a billion dollars on digital video software last year, according to a new study by John Peddie Research.

The firm predicts flat spending this year, partly due to the economic downturn but also because “consumers have made it very clear that they are not interested in difficult-to-use video editing software.” Read more

RealNetworks is piling on the functionality of its RealPlayer software in the face of strong competition for its well known video and audio player.

Apple announced Quicktime X this month, adding editing capabilities to its player. Mozilla’s Firefox 3.5 browser now has the same ability as RealPlayer to download web video. Meanwhile Apple, Mozilla and Google are pursing HTML5 standards that can do away with the need for separate video-playing software and plug-ins. Read more