Newsletter 21 - Thor, Windows 8, Tablets etc
Thank you for reading #21 of the DVD Catalyst Newsletter.
This week was all about Windows 8. Microsoft released a "Developer Build" for Windows 8 this week. I played with it a bit, but for me it isn't ready yet. The interface looks cool, but I was encountering some complications with apps not starting, and missing drivers. I did use a fairly low-spec machine, but the same system runs Windows 7 just fine.
DVD Catalyst News:
DVD Catalyst 4 v184.108.40.206 was released, which tackles a few small bugs.
MovieGallery 1.2.6 was released for the NOOKcolor. The normal Android version is still being worked on due to some additional new features.
How to : Put movies on the Droid Bionic
How to : Put movies on the Droid Bionic | DVD Catalyst 4, the ultimate app for movies & tv on the go
A step by step guide on how to use DVD Catalyst 4 with the newly released Droid Bionic.
Thor (2011) DVD
Thor 2011 DVD | DVD Catalyst 4, the ultimate app for movies & tv on the go
A lot of conversion tools are having a hard time with the new Thor movie DVD, but thankfully, if you use DVD Catalyst 4, you don't have to worry about that. Thor does have the fake-track issue, but once you have determined the correct track to use, the Thor DVD will convert just fine. Make sure that you do turn off other DVD-related utilities (AnyDVD/DVDfab etc) you might have installed though.
MovieGallery Help | DVD Catalyst 4, the ultimate app for movies & tv on the go
A few people are having a hard time getting MovieGallery to display images. I created a few sample files, with matching images, which should make it a lot easier to get it up and running.
DVD Catalyst 4 v220.127.116.11 Release Notes
DVD Catalyst 4 v18.104.22.168 Release Notes | DVD Catalyst 4, the ultimate app for movies & tv on the go
As mentioned above, DVD Catalyst 4 has been updated. The full details of the release can be found in the release notes article.
So what is the big deal about tablets?
Besides being the year of devices being released with more promised features than actual features (see my previous newsletters for that), 2011 is also the year where many device manufacturers have released tablets to catch up with the iPad.
Everywhere you look, the tablet-craze is going on. advertising on TV, magazines, prominent displays in stores, all intended to lure you into touching one, playing with one, to get you to purchase.
Unfortunately, there is no real, clear-cut market for tablets, which makes it hard to come up with a reason why you should buy one. Adding to that, there is a lot of misconception on the capabilities and limitations. For many people, a tablet is more like a gadget, or a tech-toy, something different, but at prices of $500 and up, they are quite pricy for most of us.
Earlier today my brother asked me about tablets. He's not a geek like me, but he does have an interest in technology, and of course he has been eyeballing tablets. He found a few cheap ones, and asked me if they would be any good. While I do know his usage scenario, I asked him what he actually expects to do with a tablet.
Games/Apps: He mentioned he just wanted to use the tablet for some games and maybe some apps for his son. If you go with a cheap, no-name brand, you will be missing things like the Android Market, which will limit your options a lot. While for some there are "fixes" available to enable this, for many of them, you will be limited to use other "App Stores" to obtain your games and apps, many of them not having the full range.
Video: My brother has a fairly extensive video collection in a variety of formats. Most of his content is in AVI (DIVX/XVID) format, but he recently made the move to HD, so he's been migrating to a WDTV with files in MKV format. While it is possible to play these kinds of files on tablets using players like Dice, Mobo, Rock and MX, the files will often play in "software" mode, which takes quite a bit of performance from your processor, especially for HD video. The sad thing is, most tablets are advertised as being great for video playback, but only the Apple iPad actually has something (iTunes) to make it easy to obtain movies and TV shows. For Android tablets, really the only way to get new movies to use a conversion tool such as DVD Catalyst to convert your movies. On some devices, Samsung included either Avatar of Transformers 2, but without an actual movie store to obtain other movies, things get pretty boring watching the same movie over and over again. Hollywood doesn't seem to care too much about Android either, since the "Digital Copies" they give away "for free" with some DVDs and Blurays are so DRM-loaded that maybe 1% of the Android devices out there are capable of playing these files.
Internet: Of course one of the main uses for a tablet is to have quick access to the internet. Checking your email or looking up something on IMDB while you are watching a movie, all great uses for a tablet, but it is still not up to par with using a laptop. Things like Flash don't work (iPad) or work partially, forum websites run laggy or certain functionality is not available, preventing you from logging into your bank's website to check your account online for example. So for many, the idea of having a tablet results in more aggravation and disappointment than actual use.
For my own use, tablets work great. Of course as the developer of DVD Catalyst, I have no issues with converting my videos, and for checking my email, they work great as well, but beyond that, I really don't use them as much, and with email, it is often easier to actually get up and type on a real keyboard rather than trying to type on a tablet.
Because of my limited use, I accept tablets for what they are, and don't run into the limitations and disappointment that many other people do. Most of the people who have gripes about the Xoom, Thrive, Transformer, iPad or whatever other tablet they picked up had high expectations, mostly instilled by the fancy advertising campaigns used to market the capabilities of the tablet, but run into limitations or compatibility issues the moment they got it out of the box.
A tablet can be used as a desktop-replacement for many, but of course it all depends on what you actually use your desktop for. When you are shopping for a tablet, make sure you have an idea of what you want to do with it, and use that to make your decision, or be prepared to adjust your expectations based on its capabilities and limitations.
If you already have a tablet yourself, what do you use it for?
Thank you for reading this week's newsletter. Have a nice weekend,