Merry Christmas, and thank you for reading the 35th DVD Catalyst Newsletter.
It has been a crazy week for me this week. With the home-improvement work being put into overdrive in order to get a room ready for the family X-Mas ordeal, a lot of people asking about DVD Catalyst, a new release of MovieGallery for the B&N NOOK store, and an early spring cleanup in the place, I've been torn all over in order to get things done. I could sure use a few days off, but I know that isn't going to happen.
Anyway, let me start with this week's tech news.
Of course last week we have seen the release of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. I din't plan on getting one, but after my DroidX dropped a few calls again, I started thinking about it, and since I didn't see any big new phones coming out anytime soon, I figured I'd pick up the first phone with Ice Cream Sandwich on it, the Galaxy Nexus. When I have time, I'll do a review on it, but so far, aside from the battery life and reception issues, I am quite pleased with it. I haven't had much time playing with it though.
B&N made the NOOKtablet a bit worse this week. With the latest update, they closed some loopholes that enabled you to install apps from other stores like Amazon/Android Market. With that capability now turned off, the NOOKtablet is limited to only access the apps offered by B&N. There is nothing wrong with the NOOKtablet, except B&N itself unfortunately. )ne of the reasons why there are limited apps is because it doesn't seem like B&N it taking its Android department seriously.
It took a bit longer than I expected, but it was bound to happen. Asus is being sued by Hasbro regarding the Transformer Prime name. I'm not sure what Asus was thinking when they picked the name, but this doesn't come as a surprise to me.
DVD Catalyst News:
Nothing new this week. I do get quite a few questions regarding the Tablet profiles (Xoom, Thrive, Transformer, Kindle Fire etc), so I figured I'll add some brief information on them.
Unlike for small-screen devices (phones/iPods etc), the standard tablet profiles (the ones with nothing behind the name) are perfect for DVDs and DVD-sized content such as AVI's. The video and audio quality of the standard profiles is pretty much the same as that of the original DVD/video file.
The "fast" profile (Thrive (fast), Xoom (fast) etc) is optimized for older computers. If you are using a single-core computer (pentium 4 and the like) the normal profiles can be a bit slow due to the high-quality video format, H264, used for the conversion. The fast profiles use a different video format, MPEG4-SP, which is less demanding. It does end up with slightly lower-quality video, but it is a good compromise if you want faster conversions. Using this format on dual- or quad-core computers will not gain much of a speed difference.
The recently added HQXT profiles are my personal favorites. They convert a little slower, but the quality is simply amazing if I may say so myself. Using the HQXT version of your device profile will result in awesome DVD conversions, and even if you convert HD-sized (720p) videos or Bluray, the quality is still really good for the small file-size you end up with.
The HQ1 profiles are intended to be used for if you convert HD content such as 720p MKV's or Bluray for example (for Bluray, have a look at the guide here: http://www.tools4movies.com/2011/08/dvd-catalyst-4-1-bluray-guide/) They produce good looking video files at the perfect resolution for your device.
The HQ2 profiles are for fast-action movies in HD. The HQ1 works great with slower (comedy/romance) movies, but with some fast action scenes (car chases, explosions) you might notice some minor quality issues. The HQ2 profiles will eliminate these, but of course the file-size gets a little larger.
Then there are some 1080 profiles for a couple of tablets. A lot of people automatically select the biggest baddest profile available, but if you are converting DVDs, selecting a 1080 profile will not benefit you in any way. DVDs are not in HD, and by using an HD profile, they still don't turn into HD.
There is a common misconception that Tegra2 tablets like the Xoom, Thrive, Transformer etc are not capable of playing 1080p video files, but they can. It is just a matter of using the correct settings.
The NOOK update of MovieGallery I uploaded the B&N last week finally got activated. Compared to the previous version, I made quite a few changes and improvements, including the thumbnail generation part and folder selection (both of which are available in the Android Market version already) but I also added brightness and volume controls to the video player in this version. I am planning to update the Android Market version somewhere next week, but it is a holiday week, so only if time permits.
For more information on the NOOK update of MovieGallery, have a look here:
To add a bit to the Christmas Spirit, I converted Four Christmases:
As mentioned above, MovieGallery 1.3.3 NOOK Edition:
I also had someone ask me about "The Lion King" re-release that was released a few months ago, so I ran it through its paces:
And of course the first thing I did when I got my Galaxy Nexus was playing video on it, so I wrote a guide on how to use DVD Catalyst 4 with the Galaxy Nexus:
DVD Catalyst 4 Give Away 2011
As promised last week, something special for X-Mas.
To enter, just visit one of the Forum Foundry forums I frequent, or add a comment on my Facebook or Google+. For complete rules and links, please have a look here:
In order to keep it fair, if you already purchased DVD Catalyst 4, you can still enter, but rather than getting a free copy, I'll refund you the purchase price through PayPal. Of course, if you win the free copy or the refund, you will still retain full support and the ability to update to newer v4.x versions for free.
I'm back to wrapping presents and getting the place ready,
Thank you for reading this week's newsletter. Merry Christmas,