Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 22.
It was a slow week this week when it comes to news. The popular forums were fairly quiet, no major new device releases or announcements. It seems, just like the retail stores, that the tech companies are calming down a bit after the summer, in preparation for X-Mas. But, I think that if something new was released right now, it would stand a good chance. The iPad2 and Tegra2 Tablet craze has dried up quite a bit, and while some new phones such as the Bionic are gaining ground, there really isn't anything "new" out there that is actually interesting. Sure, there are rumors about Apple's usual iPod refresh, and a few 7" Honeycomb Tablets in the pipeline, but nothing really ground-breaking.
As mentioned above, nothing major happened this week that really grabbed my attention. Maybe one point of interest is the release of the Star Wars Saga (all 6 movies) on Bluray. Of course a lot of controversy on Mr. Lucas playing with the material a bit more than what most people would like, but for me, the biggest gripe on the set is the actual box. While the book-idea is cool and all, its nearly impossible to actually get the BR's out of their spots. You have to either lift it up on the edge with a nail, or you have to bend it back a little so you can slide it out. It really was not designed to be opened I guess. I wasn't happy with the case for Wall-E, but while a lot of people are complaining about the actual content, the box of Star Wars is by far the worst box I ever had to deal with. Thankfully, eventhough there are plenty of conversion tools having some complications with the Star Wars box set, DVD Cat (with AnyDVD HD) works just fine with it, so once I have all 6 done, I can leave the box alone
As for the content itself, it has The Empire Strikes Back on Bluray, which is all that matters for me.
DVD Catalyst News:
Not too much new officially. In 188.8.131.52, I did make a small mistake with the automatic file transfer part. Originally I had it turned off for the Xoom, because the way it connect to a computer is incompatible with the way the auto-transfer works, but in the last version I accidentally enabled it again when I added the other Honeycomb Tablet profiles.
I have been working on some new and improved conversion formats this week that will make quite a few people happy. If things like High Profile and Level 4.1+ ring a bell, you will be quite happy with the next DVD Catalyst update, I promise. On top of that, a recent post on the forums reminded me to incorporate XVID into MP4, so that will be in the update as well. And of course I have been working on adding some things from the original 4.1 release back into the current releases, so some of that will find its way in the next update as well.
I know I've been a bit quiet when it comes to the Android version, but I have been working on cleaning the app up a bit internally, as well as some cool new features, one being external video player support. The next update of MovieGallery will let you select an external video player to play your video files, which of course will also add support for video formats like divx and mkv that are not supported by the hardware itself. Personally I still prefer MP4 files though.
A new app I am working on. A lot of NOOKcolor MovieGallery users asked me about doing something for pictures and photo's. I figured it would be quite easy, just take MovieGallery, and strip-out the movie-file filter part, and voila. Unfortunately, it turned out it was a bit more than that, and of course things like slideshows and captions needed to be possible as well. I'm making good progress on it, so hopefully only a week or so away.
X-Men First Class (2011) DVD & Bluray
X-Men First Class (2011) DVD & Bluray | DVD Catalyst 4, the ultimate app for movies & tv on the go
This particular movie uses an unusual method for "forced subtitles", subtitles that only show during non-original-language portions of a movie (the alien scenes for Avatar & District 9 for example). Normally a DVD/Bluray use the "forced subtitle" flag to have the player automatically enable them, but i this case, it's actually a selectable subtitle language that gets enabled by default if you actually play the movie.
Star Wars 1 The Phantom Menace (2011) Bluray
Star Wars 1 The Phantom Menace (2011) Bluray | DVD Catalyst 4, the ultimate app for movies & tv on the go
Of course this week's major new release was the Star Wars Boxset on Bluray. Gripes and complaints aside, quite a few people were experiencing issues due to the Bluray's are organized. For most Blurays, the movie is actually in a single large m2ts file, but for these, they added a scrambled one, and added another track by the use of a "playlist", which has the proper order. When you are converting these Bluray's with DVD Catalyst, just pick the longest one. On the first 4, the actual "track number" is 66.
The Phantom Menace_066 (3GB, Xoom HQ2), Attack Of The Clones_066 (3.1GB, Xoom HQ2) and Revenge Of The Sith_066 (3GB, Xoom HQ2), A New Hope_066 (2.7GB, Xoom HQ2). I haven't gotten to the other 2 yet, but my guess both would be the same.
Profile Sample Videos for DVD Catalyst 4
Profile Sample Videos for DVD Catalyst 4 | DVD Catalyst 4, the ultimate app for movies & tv on the go
To make it a lot easier for people to understand the quality difference between the different profiles for devices like the Xoom, Thrive, Bionic etc, I created a collection of sample videos to show the difference in results. I used 3 trailers, all of which are completely different in scene activity, to give an idea of how scene activity affects the quality of the video.
If you watch a lot of action movies, look at the Amazing Spiderman trailer to see how the quality holds up using the different profiles. Especially during the part where you look through the eyes of Spiderman, jumping, flipping and swinging around you might notice some quality differences in the lower-quality profiles.
If you watch a lot of romance, there is the Twilight 4 trailer, which has some faster activity, but not as much as the Spiderman one. Then there is the Harold and Kumar 3 trailer, which is a mixture of both slow and fast scene activity, providing a good baseline for the average movie or TV show.
This week's gripes:
Playbook WiFi. A month or so ago, I had to take my wife to the ER (all is well), and took my Playbook along. The Xoom is a bit big to lug around, so I was hoping to make use of the free wifi at the hospital to be able to answer some support emails and such. After about an hour of fighting, the *** thing finally decided to connect, but ever since I have not been able to connect it to wifi at home again. Earlier this week, we ended up in the ER again, and again I took the Playbook due to its size. I figured that since it did connect there the last time, it would be easy, but unfortunately, it was another hour battle to get it connected, and again, back home no wifi. What a blast. I have refrained from doing a full reset, but I guess that would be my only chance. With all those updates to it that don't seem to do anything but slow it down, you would expect Blackberry to at least fix something as trivial as wifi. Don't get me wrong, I still prefer the size of the Playbook, but as soon as a decent 7" Android Tablet is available (the rumored Xoom 7" ?) it will nicely go back in the box for a while, right next to the box that contains the Nintendo 3DS.
Emergency Room. I guess a bit of a dangerous subject I guess, but this week's ER experience was just plain wrong. It turned out to be a severe stomach flu, but we came in with my wife buckled over in pain. The ER was full with people so we knew there was a bit of a wait, but after the initial intake exam, we ended up sitting there for 4 hours. I understand that an ER works based on a "severity" system, but we seen multiple people come in after us, laughing and smiling, that went in before us and many other people that obviously were in a lot more pain than they were. After 3 hours I questioned the intake lady on what was going on, but of course some lame answer that shoved the problem to other people who of course were no longer there due to shift-change. Anyway, we ended up having to wait another hour, and when we finally were assigned a room. Then of course at half-hour intervals a nurse coming in asking questions. All in all, it was an 11 and a half hour experience in total, with of course quite a few useless tests and a lot of wasted time on both sides. While I can understand the waiting, the thing that I have an issue with is on how the decision is made on who goes before someone else, and what criteria are used for that decision.
Star Wars Bluray Boxset Box. As mentioned above, the box itself is just plain stupid. The idea is cool and all, but having to use your nails or to bend the page a little in order to get the actual disc out is pretty bad. The Wall-E DVD I have is in a cardboard box that slides-out halfway is aggravating, but at least the disc comes out easily. It is just a pain to get it back in the box, but with the Star Wars Bluray book, it seems they didn't actually expect you to watch it, making it so problematic to take the discs out. Putting them back in is a breeze though.
Well, that is it for this week's newsletter. 5 months, every week, I never thought I would be able to keep it up like this, but I am still happy to do it. I could use some ideas though. If you do have some news you would like me to write about (or get my opinion on) or maybe something tech-related you would like to know more about, let me know.
Thank you for reading the newsletter, and enjoy your weekend,