Thank you for reading the 41st DVD Catalyst Newsletter,
This week was still mainly MovieGallery week for me. With the update from last week, I changed something regarding the way an external video player (MX player/Dice Player) was accessed (basically made it detect/use it automatically, rather than a checkmark) but it appears there were quite a few people who preferred to use MovieGallery with an external player even for supported video file types, so I added it back in. More on that a bit later.
Aside from the work on MovieGallery, I had a fair share of ďProblem DVDísĒ reported to me, so yesterday I did a run of the ones I ordered to troubleshoot them. Fortunately, all the DVDs (and Blurayís) I tried worked fine.
Unfortunately, itís still a bit of a drought when it comes to new products. With the (likely) iPad3 announcement later this month, Iím sure manufacturers are holding back announcements to counter whatever Apple is cooking up.
An interesting find today on SlashGear was that Blackberry is giving away free Playbooks for Android developers, hoping to get more apps available for the Playbook when it releases the 2.0 update (which delivers the promised Android support).Develop an Android app, get a free Blackberry PlayBook -- Engadget
Other than that, there really was nothing that grabbed my interest.
DVD Catalyst News:
Nothing new with DVD Catalyst, Of course, I did a bit of work on it this week, but it was mainly adding some new device profiles people suggested. Someone did report an issue with Star Trek (original series) on Bluray, so I fixed that in code. I still want to include a couple of additional profiles, so the update will probably be somewhere next week.
As mentioned, I spent most of the week working on MovieGallery. Last week, after a couple of small version increases, MovieGallery finally got approved by Amazon, but then they denied MovieGallery Free. The main reason why I want MovieGallery on the Amazon Appstore is for the Kindle Fire, but unfortunately, they donít have an option for just that. Their testing process involves using old devices with the very latest Android OS available for it installed, and due to MovieGalleryís need for memory (the images), this can cause some complications. It doesnít help that certain custom interfaces (Samsungís TouchWiz) also cause some compatibility issues.
As mentioned above, I got some feedback on the 1.4 release of MovieGallery regarding the change in use of the external video player option. In 1.4 I made it detect additional players automatically, and use the MovieGallery Player for supported videos, and an external player for files like AVI and MKV.
The main reason why people were using the external video player was because on Honeycomb, the buttons in the menu bar stayed lit. So this week, I spent most of my time getting that part taken care of, as well as hiding the menu-bar on Ice Cream Sandwich. In addition to that, Iíve been working on improving the memory usage among other things.
Iím not sure when I will release the update, but I am currently waiting on a delivery of a Samsung Galaxy Player (5″) so I can tackle the Touchwiz issues.
In addition to that, I picked up a Logitech Revue this week ($99 sale) and have been working on getting MovieGallery to work on that better as well.
Since I spent most of my time in code this week, I havenít had a chance to write much regarding articles this week, so I will include a few older ones that I believe are a worthy read:
Tweaks I use Myself:
DVD Catalyst 4 Tweaks I use myself | Tools4Movies
Unlike most conversion tools out there, DVD Catalyst 4 is setup properly when you install it. While it is possible to change just about everything for a conversion, the default settings (after a fresh install of DVD Catalyst) are actually setup to provide the best results without the need to change anything.
However, there are a few small settings I do change (if I remember) for my own conversions, which are explained in this article.
The DVD Catalyst 4 v184.108.40.206 Release Notes:
DVD Catalyst 4 v220.127.116.11 Release Notes | Tools4Movies
I still have to write a more detailed article regarding the newly added CRF feature in DVD Catalyst, but at the moment, the release notes contain the most detailed information regarding this feature.
Aside from the changes mentioned in the above article, since I added CRF, I always enable it for my own conversions. Not because it saves some space, but mainly because of, combined with the HQXT profile, it produces better quality.
Stream DVD AVI MKV M2TS movies and tv to Kindle Fire for free | Tools4Movies
How to stream movies to your phone for free | Tools4Movies | Tools4Movies
Since I use my tablets mainly at home, I donít transfer my movies over as much anymore. I always keep a few stored on the actual device, but with MovieGallery now being able to connect to MP4 Streaming Server, it is a lot easier to just start the server app, grab a tablet, and watch a movie.
As an added benefit, it doesnít really matter which device I use, I donít have to switch out an SD card, or copy movies to multiple devices in order to be able to continue when I run out of battery charge. Earlier this week, I was watching a movie I converted earlier that day on my Kindle Fire and forgot to charge it, so midway a movie it shut down. I grabbed my Xoom, and within a matter of seconds, I could continue my movie.
Full screen video:
DVD Catalyst 4.1 User Guide
Every day I get questions from people who would like to watch their movies in full-screen.
There are 2 ways this can be done, either during conversion, which is what the article explains, or you can do it with a video player app (such as MovieGallery). For me, I donít care too much about black borders anymore. Because I use a variety of different devices with different screen sizes and aspect ratios, making the movie full-screen during conversion is not an option. I can make it full-screen for one device, but it will have borders on another. By using MovieGallery, I just tap the zoom button during video playback, and its full-screen.
HQ, HQXT, Fast Profiles:
DVD Catalyst 4 – Device Profiles Explained (4.1.x) | Tools4Movies
Another question I get a lot is regarding the different profiles. I am still working on a solution to make this process a lot easier, and with the newly added CRF setting, it actually doesnít matter as much anymore, but a lot of people automatically go for the biggest, baddest profile listed for their conversions. But, without CRF enabled, using a 1080p profile for a 480p video source (DVDís) is major overkill. The files created are super-large, and there is no visual quality difference between the same source converted using a non 1080p profile. When you enable CRF, using a 1080p profile on a lower-size source doesnít matter, since it will just use what is needed, but without it, you just end up with a ridiculously large video file. It does look great though, but you can achieve the same results using less.
Problem DVD Articles:
While some of these were reported to cause some complications, actually all worked without any tricks or settings changes.
Star Wars The Clone Wars Movie (2008) DVD
Star Wars The Clone Wars Movie (2008) DVD | Tools4Movies
Moneyball (2011) DVD
Moneyball (2011) DVD | Tools4Movies
Water for Elephants (2011) DVD
Water for Elephants (2011) DVD | Tools4Movies
Apollo 18 (2011) Bluray
Apollo 18 (2011) Bluray | Tools4Movies
The Thing (1982) DVD
The Thing (1982) DVD | Tools4Movies
The Thing (2011) DVD
The Thing (2011) DVD | Tools4Movies
The Thing (2011) Bluray
The Thing (2011) Bluray | Tools4Movies
The Wolfman (2009) DVD (and how the black border detection process works)
The Wolfman (2009) DVD | Tools4Movies
In (many) previous newsletters, I have mentioned that I think Amazon is pretty smart in doing business. By combining the Kindle Fire with Amazon Prime, and of course their own physical goods store, they truly have a great bundle.
Most of my DVD and Bluray orders now go through Amazon, and this week, I ran into something that really made me enjoy their combination and integration of products a lot more.
I ordered the Bluray+DVD+Digital Copy version of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and to my surprise, Amazon included a free rental of the movie through Amazon Prime, so after my order, I could actually watch the movie right away, rather than having to wait the 2 days before the order was delivered. I have had received a few movies this way before, however, since I just needed those movies for testing, I didnít bother playing them, but with Planet of the Apes, I actually did want to watch the movie, and was happy to be able to do so the same day.
Well, that is all for this weekís newsletter.
With the Apple announcement looming, I am expecting some more tech news to be coming out next week, with rumors turning into fact or fiction, but until then, Iím back on working on MovieGallery.
Thank you for reading, and see you next week,