Digital Innovations has clearly made a statement with Virtual Music Jukebox. With an ever-growing wish list from digital music consumers, developers of the best multimedia jukebox software continue to look for ways to stand out from the crowd. And Virtual Music Jukebox certainly does that. Functionality remains king, but eye-pleasing features and interface options help set the program apart. Not only does it have all the standard playback and playlist functionality that users would want, but this TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award winner comes packaged in a simple and fun-to-use interface that genuinely brings the look and feel of a genuine jukebox the desktop.
Be sure to read our reviews of other top-ranked jukebox software packages to help you choose the one that best meets your individual needs.
Virtual Music Jukebox has a full screen option that completely hides the desktop, thus providing an even more realistic jukebox look. If you own a touch screen you’re in luck; the program fully supports it, giving users the option to navigate and choose music with simple touch commands.
The interface is almost completely customizable. Users can create a variety of skins and free skins made by a community of users are available for download. Font styles, color and sizes can all be edited within the skins.
Visualizations are also available that further enhance the visual experience. The product comes with several built-in visualizations, and you can also create your own using the handy Visualization Editor. Even the size and location of the visualizations can be set. Unfortunately audio visualizations are not currently supported for users of Windows Vista or later.
Customization of the experience even goes beyond skins and visualizations. A Button Editor allows you to create and customize your own product buttons. Mappable function keys give you the option of creating specific keyboard shortcuts. You can display song lyrics, either full-screen or next to the album art of the title being played. With dual monitor support, you can even display the controls of the interface on one monitor and the lyrics on another.
While the look and feel of Virtual Music Jukebox is its most striking characteristic, the product also comes with impressive functionality that further supports the concept of a realistic jukebox.
Searching for songs is easy and flexible. Sort by album, artist, or number. Intuitive “jukebox style” controls on the screen allow for browsing or selecting specific track numbers.
Playing songs is as easy as selecting them. A Select All feature even allows users to play an entire album. The only minor difficulty comes in initial setup of your music collection in order to create playlists. But once done, the required folder structure is created (using a utility built into the program) and playlists are easy to create and use.
One area in which Virtual Music Jukebox lacks punch is in the variety of file formats supported. We were disappointed to learn that the product only supports two of the most popular audio formats - MP3 and Windows Media. Many other formats, such as OGG, FLAC or MIDI are not currently supported. And since there is no functionality for converting file types, users with files of different formats will have to first use another product to convert files to MP3, WMA or WMV for video files. Not a deal breaker, but certainly an inconvenient workaround for collectors of music in various formats.
The feature sure to first grab you after installing Virtual Music Jukebox is the user interface. Digital Innovations has obviously put much thought and effort into developing an interface that will provide a true “bar-style” digital jukebox experience. Navigating through music is a snap, and can be done using the keyboard, mouse, or even arcade-style controllers. With album artwork or other images displayed, users can “flip” through album collections. Album artwork can be scanned in or downloaded from online sites.
Virtual Music Jukebox is very straightforward and easy to use. Perhaps the most difficult task occurs as part of the setup. Music files must be arranged in a specific folder structure to be displayed properly and to create and manage playlists. However, there is a menu option within the program, complete with step-by-step assistance, that enables users to accomplish this task.
Once the initial setup is complete, routine tasks are simple to perform. Five primary menu options provide access to most of the program’s functionality. An on-screen keypad allows users to search for specific albums or titles, or to browse just as easily.
Anyone familiar with a modern digital “bar-style” jukebox will immediately take to the Virtual Music Jukebox interface. Users should find themselves browsing for music and performing routine tasks like skipping or replaying songs with very little thought.
The easily-accessible help option embedded in Virtual Music Jukebox is a standard collection of help topics that cover basic functionality of the product, but don’t provide much coverage of troubleshooting-related issues. There is also a “Tip of the Day” option that by default will display on startup or can be accessed via the Help menu.
Online help is also available through the product’s website, which users can navigate to through the Help menu. The site is simple to use, with options to request a new registration code, access a section of frequently asked questions, or submit a support request via email. The FAQ’s cover a few more advanced topics than the product’s help menu, but we would have liked to see a few more topics here. There is an option for users to submit their own FAQ, as well as a community section of the website and a message board, so perhaps the volume of topics will grow more over time.
There may be more powerful jukebox software programs available in terms of supported file formats and playlist management, but few applications can match the “fun” factor of Virtual Music Jukebox. With full screen support, an on-screen keypad and visual browsing of albums, your PC will quickly and easily be transformed into a realistic-looking digital jukebox.