How do you update something as seemingly simple as CD burning in the year 2005? Pyro and Toast are adding lots of extras, like a quick cell phone ring creator (Pyro) and video features (Toast).

First, a look at Windows: Pyro 5 is a feature-packed tool from our friends at Cakewalk, with new ringtone creation and delivery (easier ripping and export right from the disc), disc burning and ripping enhancements, improved audio editing right in the program, enhanced support for portable players, and more. Best of all, it’s only US$39.95. Steve Thomas from Cakewalk suggests it as a stocking stuffer. (Obviously, that comment was geared at the print publications, planning their December issues, but I’m all for hanging stockings in August if it means I get prezzies!)

Pyro 5 for Windows

Roxio’s Toast 7 Titanium is all about HD: make HD slideshow DVDs from your iPhoto library, convert DivX to DVD, and more. Audio mastering seems to have been forgotten here, though it does have an intriguing iTunes feature: “50 hours of music on a DVD, and enjoy on-screen menus for navigation to your favorite song, automatic “SmartLists,” Shuffle play, and Hollywood-style Dolby sound—with integrated, fast, and easy access to your iTunes library.” US$99.95.

Roxio [site not updated at press time]

Should you upgrade? Pyro 5 has some great features for music, with an elegant interface and lots of audio-centric features; I can’t wait to try it. And the price is right. Toast looks more useful for video than audio, but I’ve used it for all kinds of quick video tasks. Stay tuned . . .