Toast 10 is primarily a disk burning utility, and a very competent one at that. Although OS X includes a built in disk burning utility, it's basic to say the least. Toast has all the burning functions you would ever need - Data, Audio/MP3 CDs, enhanced Audio (i.e. Audio and Video on the one disk), Video DVDs, Blu-ray disks (you get a free plug-in to allow you to author blu-ray and you can even burn HD content to a standard DVD and play it back on your blu-ray player; a great way to get the quality of HD, although you can only fit approx. 20 mins of content on a DVD). Toast also taps in to Apple's iLife media browser, allowing you to easily take your media from iLife and export it using Toast.
As well as all of these fairly standard features, Toast is also an excellent file converter for video and audio. Take a Windows Media video for instance, and it can easily convert it for playback on your Apple TV, iPhone/iPod, Blackberry or games console. You can even convert a whole batch of files at one time. One really interesting feature is that you can import a multi-cd audio book, and Toast will automatically convert it to a singe audio file with chapter markers for you to send to iTunes.
The interface is really straightforward - just drag and drop. I've been a user of toast for 5 years now, and this is a great evolution of the product. It seems very fast and stable (I had problems with the previous version frequently crashing); it converted a batch of 35 video files without a problem.
To summarise, this is an excellent utility for the Mac - a great compliment to iLife, and in my opinion an essential program.
I suspect that very few Mac owners are unfamiliar with Roxio's Toast applications in one form or another. For me, this was an upgrade from Toast 7 - so a real change.
Installation seemed a little bit convoluted, - copying a folder to the apps folder and then running an installer... It seemed one step too many but it was up and ready in 10 minutes. It doesn't detect previous versions either and runs alongside. (this can cause problems with the embedded tools if you don't uninstall your old version first)
The interface is familiar and pleasingly simple. Lots of "drag and drop" - simple selections for disc types accommodating mac, pc, DVD, ISO 9660 and photo disc; which I have found a boon in not wasting optical media. There is a nice use of plain english for the options windows (which open discretely and unobtrusively) asking for example, if you wish to span content over multiple discs, add CD text to an audio CD and so on.
This version comes with a free add-on for blu-ray discs. As I don't have a blu-ray burner, I cannot say much about this, other than it seems good value to have included it.
3. Feature Set
A very broad feature set, contained in the spec for this product page, but leaping out as innovative and new are:
The integration for iDevices, the AppleTV and Elgato's EyeTV
There is also a very useful streaming media capture option for ripping live streams
Assistance in digitising Vinyl and magnetic cassette tape, and editing out hiss and pop (it integrates into iTunes by creating Apple lossless track data.
The ability to rip CD based audiobooks and export them to iPhones and iPods with all the audiobook features intact.
There are a number of features tailored for the users of HD Video camera users - but again, I have not tested this functionality
A very useful, feature rich suite of software offering way more than just disc burning. Roxio may have shot themselves in the foot by sticking to the toast brand-name, as I'd never have thought of it for the more useful (in 2009) features of ripping, capturing and converting media to the plethora of digital devices available. In fact, I can't remember when I last needed to create an optical disc, but I do convert media all the time for my iPhone and from EyeTV and this works admirably on all counts.
Well this gave me an excuse to bring my Mac out from storage and have a play around with a product I'd heard good things about. And, well, um, it's OK.
Installation was a breeze, which is always a bonus, but once things were up and running, it became a bit harder. Problem is, although some of the individual products are very good, it seems more like a bundle of separate apps, rather than an all in one package. Some of the things were very good, especially the core burning programme, but some of the add-ins like the CD cover maker and the Mac2Tivo app (hello! we're British) just seem to be there to fill in space.
The help was pretty threadbare and a lot of time was spent ploughing through websites to work out what the heck was going on, and DivX isn't included, so you might want to check that out. Taken back to its bare essentials, which is burning CDs and DVDs, it does the job very well, but I get the feeling that the "upgrade" from Toast 9, is more a selling tool than a great leap forward.
The Mac already provides pretty good tools for creating and burning CDs and DVDs, so what's the reason for buying a separate product? Well the tools already present on many Macs tend to be focused on a single task, whereas Toast is the `Jack of all trades' approach.
As with most Mac applications, installation is straightforward and once that's done you find a Toast folder inside your Applications folder that contains the various Toast utilities. Launching the main application (Toast Titanium) lets you quickly choose the type of task, be it creating a data, audio or video disk, or copying and converting existing work. For the data and audio disk tasks, everything you'd expect is there and you're given a fairly intuitive interface (including drag & drop for content management) that gives you control over pretty much every aspect of what you need to do. In that respect Toast lets you tinker more than the default Apple apps. Video disk creation is also fairly intuitive, although you need to have a pretty good idea of what you're doing before you embark on creating the disk. This is because certain types of video files lend themselves better to processing in certain ways.
Copying (unprotected) disks and creating disks from (ISO) image files or even creating image files is as easy as you'd expect, leaving `Convert' as the last of the features of the main program. This is where you're most likely to encounter problems, although this isn't the fault of the software per se, it's more just down to the complexity of converting media from one type to another - some things work well, others don't. Toast boasts that you can convert video to play on the iPhone, iPods, Apple TV, PS3 and XBox 360, and if the media you've got sitting on your Mac lends itself to this sort of conversion, then Toast gives you an easy to use method of doing just that. For instance, I had an avi file of a TV show I wanted to put on my iPhone and it was as easy as opening Finder, dragging the file in to Toast, choosing Video under the Convert option, `iPhone' as the device, `Standard' for the quality setting and then specifying where to save the output (note that you can save the converted output directly into iTunes). The results were fine, although that won't always be the case depending on your source video.
In addition to all the above, Toast Titanium comes with a selection of other tools for watching and streaming content, a disk `doctor' and even tools for printing disk labels. The `Pro' version adds a few more specialist tools for dealing with soundtracks, processing audio, etc., but for the casual user the Standard edition is probably sufficient.
Broadly speaking, Toast is a worthwhile purchase because it makes everything easier where the basics are concerned. Where it may come unstuck is in helping you with the more complex video management tasks because while it gives you most of the tools to do the job, it can't give you the knowledge and that's where a little preparation will go a long way. Inevitably there's certain things it just can't do and there are other tools out there to fill the gaps (like Handbrake and MacTheRipper), but as part of your disk and video arsenal on the Mac, I'd say it's a very useful addition.
It's only recently that I started using Toast 9, and it's interesting to use Toast 10 and see if it's worth the upgrade...
...As with all software upgrades I expected a funky new User Interface, there's no overhaul here, but that's not a bad thing. One major thing I enjoyed about Toast 9 was the simple menus and the drag and drop facility, and that's still there.
If you aren't used to the Roxio Toast software suite then you may not be aware that it's a simple solution for burning CDs/DVDs/Data Disks and is very easy to use - though it might take a little playing around with to become comfortable with.
Toast Ten offers a few changes from it's predecessor. For a start there's One Click DVD Copying. For people fed up of ripping a disk with one application, only to then use another to burn it - this is a welcome addition. It doesn't work with copy protected DVDs though, so there'll be no naughty copies being made (I get the feeling that downloads of easy-to-use application 'MacTheRipper' will increase.) This was very easy to use compared to my usual method, it was actually an audio CD I copied and it plays better then the original, the original was scratched and skipped in one place - but Toast 10 'repaired' the disk error on the copied disk - it took quite a bit longer than usual, but the results were fantastic. As with Toast 9, you can 'shrink' content to compress content on a dual layer disk to fit on a (considerably cheaper) single layer disk.
A nice touch is the option to rip and burn parts of a DVD, so you can select the part you want to rip from several DVDs and create one DVD of your 'collage'. You can rip video from websites with video content (such as YouTube, etc) and include those on your DVD disks. If you wanted to do this before you had to use third party software (such as one of the many FireFox Add-ons) to download the video and then convert it using more third party software before burning to disk!
Toast 9 had the option for high definition burning, but only with a seperate plug-in upgrade, you normally need to purchase an additional plug in for Toast 10 to burn High Def too, but this edition came with it bundled for free - though I don't know whether this is just for a limited time or not as it usually just comes as standard with Toast Pro. Toast 10 drops support for HD-DVD, but seeing as the format is now pushing up the daisies it seems natural that only Blu-Ray is supported.
Overall Toast 10 offers much of the same but with a nice few extras to make sure it it up-to-date with the media people are now using 1 year on, but with one omission - DivX. Now I don't use DivX myself so it's not something I'll miss, but I know that for a lot of people DivX is the media format of preference. I'm assuming that Roxio had good reason for leaving out DivX burning - but for some it rules out Toast 10 as a viable piece of software.
I haven't used all the features on Toast 10 - in fact I've barely scratched the surface, but I've used it for the features I need at the moment and it works well, very well. I've used Toast 9 and Toast 10 side by side now and for someone who uses it for basic DVD burning (as I suspect many may) then main thing Toast 10 offers above Toast 9 is a selection of additional DVD menu styles, and the possibility of using Blu-Ray in the future.
Want web streaming of video and more integration with i-Tunes? Then Toast 10 is a definite improvement and well worth the purchase.
In a nutshell: Toast 10 reduces the need for several pieces of software - it's not quite a one stop solution but it's the closest thing there is to it. Worth the upgrade? That all depends on your requirements. If you require DivX burning then you're better off with a previous version. If you require Blu-Ray burning then yes. Personally, for me Toast 9 has met my needs perfectly and the additional i-Phone and TiVo facilities are of no interest to me, but will be for others out there. If you're buying for the first time then this is the best piece of DVD Burning Software there is and should be at the top of your list (if you don't want to burn DivX), but if you have Toast 9 then you may want to stick with it.
Toast 10 is a move in the right direction - one piece of software to rule them all! I'm sure that future versions will offer even more and this is an easy 4 stars from me, though I know that the lack of DivX makes this a show stopper for a lot of potential purchasers.
I started using Toast 8 when after reading a recommendation in a Scott Kelby book and I am glad I did. I always tended to believe that the software shipped with a Mac was the best stuff to use, but once I used Toast I never looked back.
The latest version of Toast has a few new applications including streaming where you load up programmes on the Roxio website through the Toast application and view as and when required by streaming the programme through your iphone/Blackberry or computer. Saves space on your hard drive and whilst it may seem something of a gimmick I have loaded up stuff from my portable player to the site and can now use that space for other stuff but still be able to retrieve my footage as and when required.
I use Toast mostly to back up my photos and its fast and accurate and I have never had a problem with it. Not dynamic but does the job I need.
I have now discovered the advantages in using toast to burn recordings to a disk. With Toast you are able to blend your recordings together to make seamless transfers between tracks. I really like it the programme even gives you warnings about the level of the recording and the possible mis-match of the blending between tracks. Awesome.
I have been burning DVDs of football matches and even though they are 1hr 50 minutes long they take minutes to copy after the first burn. The standard is very good and Toast even allows you to burn to Blu-Ray, though I think to get the best out of that facility you do need to record in Hi-Def and at the moment I haven't got a High-Def recorder but when I do get one I wont think twice about burning the disks on Toast.
All in a great package at a great price - those people who bemoan the price will soon realise that the cheaper programmes just aren't in the same leage as Toast 10.
on 20 April 2012
Easy to load, fast and functional. I love the slick appearance and quick fire applications that make burning and sharing easy as pie. The user interface is fantastic and bright, I can play for hours with this and it makes short work out of compiling and editing and file sharing.
on 9 January 2011
Doesn't handle Matroska .mkv's, and judging from the forums, the Dev team don't really care unless Apple fix it for them.
The whole point of Toast these days is 'everything in one place' so that you don't need to root around for flakey file converters that may or may not work to get your data fit for whatever picky app you want to put it in.
.mkv's aren't a new format and more importantly aren't proprietary. Possibly a little more complex in terms of what might be in there (.mkv is a media containing envelope that may have many audio/video streams within - this is it's major strength), but with playback available easily on free-ware, there's little excuse for something that's main selling point these days is format-handling and costs money still not supporting a format a couple of years after it became popular.
If I still need to go hunting for converters that I may need to buy licences for to ruin my files by compressing them coarsely and forcing them into ancient formats to use this to burn a simple dvd, why do Roxio think it's still worth the asking price?
Toast is the equivalent of Creator on the PC, it's main aim is to help you write CD/DVD and now Blu-Ray disks on the Mac. Not only that, but it allows you to copy them (legalities apply) and rip CDs too. Not only that, you can watch DVDs and listen to music CDs all in the comfort of the OSX environment.
Not only that, but you can import AVCHD from camcorders and put them on DVD, watch them on the Mac, or even just archive them for later use. You can copy DVD9s to DVD5, and there are 20 different styles of menu, for both DVD video and blu-ray.
Musically, you can do a lot, like produce CD copies of your vinyl, rip AAC and MP3 from CD, you can even capture streaming music and save it as MP3. Audio book lovers are going to like the fact you can convert your CDs to characterised MP3 or AAC, and use them on the iPod and iPhone.
If you think it's all audio, forget it; this product can covert video, download YouTube video and put it on DVD and much more. You can make any video on the Mac DVD ready too, for quick burning.
If you thought this was superb, there's more; you get a free blu-ray plugin so you can burn to blu-ray media, 25 or 50 depending on your drive. As the Mac doesn't have blu-ray drives yet, it's more likely you have a drive like this one that will do the job.
The system requirements for Toast 10 are a PowerPC G4, G5 and Intel processor, a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray recordable drive, Mac OSX 10.5.x, 15 GB hard disk space for temp files and 800MB for the program and QuickTime 7x.
This isn't a bad suite, but you do wonder why some of it is in Toast, after all, iDVD will let you watch DVD films, iTunes is good enough for your musical requirements and finder can burn data files onto your media very easily. Well that is partly true, but Toast doesn't have a DVD player or media player, nor does it act as an audio player; which is a bit misleading of the box. One of the good things is that it can burn and convert any file for DVD, which is very handy, otherwise this is quite a bulky package, especially if you have a MacBook 13" and it only has an 80GB drive. Another thing is if you don't have Leopard, then this is not much use to you.
The installation went well and was easy to do, and the software is easy to use. Burning a disk was easy and took little time to achieve - I have not used it to make DVD videos yet, so I have no idea how capable of video production it is, but I did make a little clip to convert ready for DVD and it took little time to produce.
Good for certain things, otherwise this is quite bloated. If you have all sorts of HD materials then get this, otherwise this is quite a big and expensive package just for burning the odd DVD data disk, or ripping a CD.
Toast 9 was already an incredibly useful program, making the task of burning all manner of CD/DVDs easy an problem free, as someone who has to do this task very often, anything that makes the task simpler and easier whether for work or play is very welcome indeed!
Toast installs a handy ToastIt contextual menu item into your system, making it a snap to control click or right click on a folder and choose ToastIt.
The package of programs that come with Toast is well rounded and helps with many tasks:
CD Spin Doctor - For making CDs from your old Vinyl etc, a very nice package, gives a lot of options for a throw in program.
Disc Cover 2 RE - For making CD labels, simple and easy to use.
DiscCatalogMaker RE - For cataloguing your CD/DVDs, you will find this absolutely indispensable!
Get Backup 2 RE - An excellent and very easy to use Backup app, worth upgrading to the full version!
Mac2Tivo - Not applicable to me as I don't use Tivo
Streamer - Makes streaming video content over the web from your computer to your iPod Touch or iPhone easy, I don't have either, so can't say how good it is, but it looks simple enough to be useful to those that have one.
All in all a well put together package, the only thing that has been omitted from this release is DivX, so you may want to check the Roxio website for more info before buying.