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Roxio’s Toast has long been the gold standard for going beyond the types of disc-burning capabilities that Apple has built into the Mac OS. In recent years, Toast has expanded beyond that role into media conversion and extraction.

Toast Titanium 10 ( ), for example, added the abilities to extract clips from unprotected DVDs; save and convert Web-based Flash video; archive AVCHD files from camcorders; convert audiobook CDs for iTunes or iPod/iPhone playback; transfer video to a TiVo DVR; and capture and tag audio from external sources.

In Toast 11, the latest version of the $100 CD/DVD burning and video conversion software, big changes include a new user interface, built-in tutorials, multiple burner support, subtitle suport, and hardware-assisted video encoding.

As in the past, Toast also includes a bunch of additional apps: Disc Cover 3 RE, DiscCatalogMaker RE, Get Backup 2 RE, Mac2TiVo (for sending files to a TiVo DVR) and TiVo Transfer (for pulling content off your TiVo), and a new version of Spin Doctor (formerly CD Spin Doctor). The Streamer app is no longer included, however.

Here’s how the new version fares.

Installing and updating

The first change longterm users of the software will notice takes place very early on. Rather than a folder you drag to your Applications folder, there’s now an installer. While not a big deal in itself, it does signal an important change to the way Roxio handles the various apps in the Toast package.

Toast’s Software Update window shows you what’s new and lets you updates without downloading huge disc images.

With previous versions, any time there was an update to Toast and/or its bundled apps, you’d have to log into the Roxio site, download a disc image with the entire suite of apps (even if nothing changed in the majority of them), and then replace your Toast folder with the updated folder. I’ve always found this process to be annoying and needlessly complicated. With Toast 11, that pain is a thing of the past. Toast and many of the included apps now take advantage of the Sparkle update-checking and -installing framework (and those that don’t have options to help you find updates as well). What that means is no more logins and downloading huge disc images to make sure your apps are up to date.



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