Thank you for reading the DVD Catalyst Newsletter 34,
It has been a busy week for me this week. Aside from the usual work-related stuff (support emails, forum visits, development), the holiday season is of course affecting my personal life as well. X-Mas parties, coming up with x-mas gift ideas, getting gifts, wrapping them, setting up the x-mas tree, outside decorations etc. I've always been more of a "bah, humbug!" kinda guy when it comes to these things, but the last couple of years, I've been warming up to it a bit more.
So let me start with this weeks' tech news.
Verizon started selling the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I'm still on a DroidX myself, and while I could upgrade to the Nexus, I'm not too sure yet. The last couple of weeks, I've seen a lot of issues reported with it, and while it looks great, large HD screen, Latest Android OS and all that, I believe it is a bit overhyped.
Of course with a new phone, the web is flooded with complaints regarding video playback on the Galaxy Nexus, but of course if you use DVD Catalyst 4, you don't have to worry about all that
Barnes & Noble released the NOOKtablet-killer update for the NOOKcolor. While the NOOKtablet is (slightly) better in most ways than the NOOKcolor, the one big edge it had over its older sibling (for me) was Netflix. With the 1.4.1 update for the NOOKcolor, Netflix now works on the NOOKcolor as well, and while the streaming video looks better on the NOOKtablet, it just shows that the NOOKtablet is somewhat of a limited upgrade rather than a new device.
DVD Catalyst News:
Not much new this week regarding DVD Catalyst 4. I have been working on some small bugs, but as I have done for the last 2 weeks or so, I've spent most of my time on an update for MovieGallery for the NOOKcolor/NOOKtablet, which I uploaded to the NOOK Appstore a few days ago.
I'll be writing a guide for it over the weekend, since a few things have changed, but here are some of the key new features (note: this is for the NOOK-version of MovieGallery only at the moment. The Android Market version will receive most of these changes soon):
*Folder selection. If you use ImageGallery, or have used MovieGallery 1.3.x on a device with access to the Android Market, you are already familiar with the folder selection part. Your movies will be sorted based on the folders they are located in.
*Thumbnail generation. One of the most asked questions regarding MovieGallery is about how to add images to it. Rather than using the color-blank placeholder images, MovieGallery now pulls a thumbnail for videos you do not have images for, making it a little nicer to look at.
*Write name on image. You can have MovieGallery write the movie name on the image, so if you use the thumbnails rather than your own images, you can easily differentiate between different episodes of a tv show for example.
*Volume and Brightness controls during video playback. While volume isn't an issue on the NOOKcolor or NOOKtablet, the brightness is a bit harder to change during video playback, so I added buttons for it.
*Runs smoother. I've made quite a few changes to make things run a bit faster. One thing, if you run it the first time without using your own images, it will create a thumbnail image for the videos, which takes about a second or so per video, making it appear slower. However, once the thumbnails are created, flipping through the images will be quite smooth.
*And lastly, something I'm really excited about, I added sample videos to it, but rather than including them into the actual program (and thus making it huge in size) they stream from the tools4movies website. This feature in particular is something I'm not too sure about for the Android Market version because of the excessive bandwidth needed for the streaming video.
If you have your NOOKcolor/NOOKtablet connected to wifi, it will look for the trailers, and load the cover images for them, so they appear like normal videos in MovieGallery. When you play them, they will start playing after a second or 2, without taking up space on your NOOK.
As mentioned above, the update is (finally) uploaded to B&N and is currently awaiting approval.
After last week's large amount of new movies, this week was somewhat of a letdown with new release movies, so I didn't pick up any for testing. I did put up 2 articles though:
NOOKcolor 1.4.1 update:
As mentioned earlier, B&N updated the NOOKcolor, and made it one of the best competitors for its own NOOKtablet. From a customer perspective, I think it is great that they continue to support and update the NOOKcolor, but from a business-perspective, what are they thinking?
As promised last week, this week (well, a few hours ago) I posted my review of the NOOKtablet. Without spoiling the read, I can say I am not impressed. I know there are quite a few people who love the NOOKtablet, and of course if you used your NOOKcolor to the fullest, the NOOKtablet will provide you with a better user-experience, but for me, it really isn't that much better than the old one. But, I do believe that it is more of an upgrade over the previous version than the iPad2 (or iPad 1.5 as I have named it a couple of times) was for the iPad1. The NOOKcolor, when I got it in the beginning of the year was amazing. Its performance was very similar to some top devices out there, and its pricing blew everything else out of the water. The NOOKtablet unfortunately has a lot more to compete with now, with the Kindle Fire, Playbook, A100 and even the HP Touchpad sitting around the same price-point.
This time, I am asking for your help.
If you have been reading the newsletter for a while, you might have read about my little hobby project, a "restoration" of my #3 dream car, a mid 90's Toyota Celica. If you have, you might have noticed that lately I've been pretty quiet about the subject as well.
I have had some work done to it, but unfortunately, I keep running into complications, and I think part of it is because I am car-stupid. It had too many miles on the engine, so I got a redone engine + tranny for it, and after all was put in, it ended up being a bad tranny (it lost reverse). Aside from the cost of the transmission and the expiration of the 6-month warranty, it also meant that the newer tranny needed to be taken out and the original (many miles one) needed to be put back in.
Aside from that, I ran into a few other question marks as well, so, I want to educate myself a bit on this kind of stuff. I don't want to become an ASE-certified mechanic, but it would be nice if I could cut some costs on doing things myself (without having to pay someone to fix my screw-ups), and actually understand what needs to be done and such.
Right now I am at the point of if I should continue, or just cut my losses and save up for one that is completely done or import a mint one from Japan or something.
So if you are a car-person, and have been through something like this before and have some tips to share, please share. Any pointers, books, whatever.
While these links are located in the FAQ section on the Tools4Movies.com website (on the right side), every day I get a lot of questions regarding these subjects, so I figured I'd include them in the Newsletter this time:
This article explains how you can use your own computer to act as a media server so you don't have to copy your videos over to your device all the time.
DVD Catalyst 4 can convert Bluray movies, however, it has some requirements in order for it to work. The full details can be found here.
Full screen video
Every day I get a number of emails regarding black borders, full screen video etc. This article explains why you end up with black borders, and how DVD Catalyst 4 deals with them. It also explains how you can get rid of them without much effort.
In order to prevent (I believe it is more a way to promote) piracy, movie studios sometimes release DVDs that are not fully compliant with the official DVD standard. Because of this, some of these DVDs can be a bit tricky to convert, so if I run into something, or someone reports complications with a certain DVD, I usually post some information on it on the tools4movies website.
Profiles (fast, standard, hq)
Aside from the large amount of different devices that DVD Catalyst has profiles for, many devices also have more than one quality profile. To get an idea of what profile to use for your own conversions, have a look at this article.
Along with black border removal/full screen, I also get a lot of questions regarding the screen resolution. Before tablets were available, most portable devices had a screen resolution lower than that of a DVD, but this has changed. Every day I get questions from people who are not really aware of the differences between DVD and Bluray, Standard Definition and High Definition, so when they convert a DVD to an HD device such as the Xoom or Galaxy Nexus, they don't know what is actually being done.
Lastly, I get a lot of questions about the conversion speed. This article explains why conversions run the way they do, what affects the speed, quality etc.
All the previous newsletters.
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Well, that is it for this week's newsletter. I hope you all have a nice weekend, and try and stay warm. I'm hoping to write an x-mas edition of the newsletter next week, so if you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know.
Thank you for reading, and see you next week,
Oh, before I forget, DVD Catalyst 4 is still 50% off, so for less than $10 you can convert your DVDs and video files to pretty much every device on the planet.