This version also supports dual layer discs which means your projects can contain more stuff at higher bit rates. Before too long dual layer burners and media will hit the market and Ulead is ready.

DVD optimized some of the code to take advantage of Intel hyperthreading. This means MPEG transcoding works better on faster machines. The ability to convert to MPEG in real time saves an enormous amount of time, especially when converting analog sources like old VHS and Hi-8 tapes. Workshop 2.0 features smart rendering that will use compliant files without rerendering them. This means Video that is DVD friendly does not get re-rendered. So, once files are rendered in the MPEG format that meets the quality level for the amount of video you want to fit on the DVD, Workshop 2.0 is smart enough to use the video in the finished ISO file without wasting time building files all over again. This feature seems to work better in this version of the software. You can check out all the specs at the Ulead web site.

We installed Workshop 2.0 on a fairly modest system, a 1.7gig P4 system with RDRAM and Ultra 320 hard drives. We used the real time MPEG capture for several VHS tapes. 3 worked just fine and 1 caused the program to crash. The frustrating thing about the crash was it happened at the end of the capture. So for now, we'll continue to use the Canopus ADVC100.

But back to Workshop 2.0. When it comes to DVD creation you can spend hours fiddling with the menu structure, adding Easter name it. Workshop really shines when it comes time to make a professional looking menu. Version 2.0 works better and faster for the most part but we did experience a few hiccups. While experimenting with a variety of highlighted colors in one menu we somehow deleted an element we meant to keep. After undoing our mistake, for some reason when we went to create the ISO of the finished DVD the program crashed. We rebooted, open the project file and attempted to create the ISO again and again, yet the program kept crashing. Frustrated we simply started over. This time everything worked just fine and we created the ISO of the DVD without any problems. We never figured out what caused the problem. I mention it only because I think it's the one weak link in DVD Workshop. The program can be fussy and I believe Ulead needs to really spend some time in the QA department to make this otherwise impressive program more stable.

That said Ulead continues to impress with it's line of affordable, powerful and easy to use programs. Photo Impact remains our favorite Ulead product, but Workshop 2.0 is really starting to shine.