Thank you for reading the 44th DVD Catalyst Newsletter.
For as cold and gloomy as this week was, there were a few things that brighten up the days. This week was mainly PS Vita week. Of course for the pre-order people, they already got a head-start on the Vita system, but for most people, the Vita became available only 2 days ago.
Aside from the Vita release, I released an update for DVD Catalyst 4 with some bug-fixes and plenty of new profiles.
Let me start with the tech news of this past week:
PS Vita. Hard to miss. Everywhere you look, there are reviews of the PS Vita system. Sony is pulling out all the stops (supposedly $50 Million worth) in order to get people to purchase the Vita. It seems a hard sell, $250-$350 for a portable gaming system, especially when you can pick up its bigger brother, the PS3, for the same or even less.
The thing I noticed with the reviews on the web is that they are mainly positive. This could of course be a good thing, but there are certain things with the PS Vita that are not so great. The idea behind the Vita seems to be to do the same as what smartphones are doing. Phones are turning into portable gaming devices, and the Vita tries to work itself towards being a smartphone. Unfortunately, smartphones are doing a better job moving towards gaming than the Vita does into becoming more than a gaming system. To get a different perspective on the Vita, I recommend having a look at my own PS Vita review, which actually addresses some of the shortcomings that other reviews simply ignore.
Blackberry Playbook OS 2.0. This week, Blackberry finally released the Playbook. Of course, last year it released the actual hardware, but aside from a few gimmicks and basic apps, Playbook OS 2.0 finally adds some core functionality such as an email app. And of course it can now handle some Android apps, but unfortunately not all. No actual Android Market, and the Android Player app from early beta's is also nowhere to be found, but developers can wrap their Android apps with some Playbook code, and submit it to Blackberry Appworld. I updated my Playbook, and played with it a bit, but not enough yet to draw a final conclusion on it.
DVD Catalyst News:
DVD Catalyst 4 v4.1.4 was released this week. Not as big an update as the one from last month, but with almost 250 new device profiles added, as well as a couple of bug-fixes for name-overlay and a few others, still a good update.
This week I have been working on an updated conversion engine as well (boosterpack2.1) which I will be running in a public beta starting (hopefully) somewhere in the next week or so. The updated engine will resolve detection issues with certain Bluray's (Fast Five, Sherlock Holmes) and will likely result in some additional improvements regarding conversion speed, especially for HD video content.
For the release notes of DVD Catalyst 4.1.4, please visit this link:
Along with some new movies that were released this week (I'll run Puss n Boots later today), a few people reported complications with some older DVDs.
Becoming Jane (2007) DVD:
J. Edgar (2011) DVD:
Tower Heist (2011) DVD:
PS Vita Review:
After seeing all the super-positive reviews all over the web for the PS Vita, I am wondering if I have the same Vita as those reviewers have. While it works great for games, it tries too hard to be something it is not.
How to put movies on the Nabi Tablet:
Kid-tablets seems all the craze these days. During Christmas, the V-Tech Innotab sold-out quickly, and recently, the Nabi Tablet started to make its way into little hands. After seeing a few user-posted videos on how it works, I wrote a little guide on how to use DVD Catalyst with it.
The PS Vita.
My PS Vita review of course addresses my main thoughts on it, but with Netflix being released a day after I posted my review, I figured I add something on that. Last night, I used Netflix on the Vita to watch some South Park episodes, and honestly, it still has some ways to go.
The video playback itself is great, but the overall user-experience is somewhat clunky to say the least.
The actual interface looks the same as it does on Android devices, which makes it pretty easy to find your way, however, when you start the app, aside from connecting to Netflix, it also connects to the PSN network for some reason. My guess is that this is some security system wrap around the application, but it just takes a while for Netflix to load. This by itself isn't such a big deal, but it makes me wonder what happens if PSN is down, and I want to watch Netflix?
The time-out is also a bit of an issue. When you pause your show, and go for a fridge-run or a bathroom trip, if you don't make it back in time before the screen turns off, you end up having to exit out of Netflix, and start it again. Annoying.
The Apple iPad3.
With the web getting prepared for the iPad3, and with today being Steve's birthday (he would have turned 57 today), I figured I'd share my ideas on what I am hoping for with the iPad3.
If you have been reading my newsletters for a while, you have probably noticed that I refer to the second-generation iPad as iPad 1.5. Tablets in general seem to be battling like Intel and AMD did a couple of years ago. Increasing the processor-speed and adding multiple cores. While this by itself is quite a technological feat, I don't consider it a worthy upgrade by just improving something a little. With software this happens all too often as well, and I see it as just another way to milk more cash from your existing customers.
But, if the rumors for the iPad3 are true, this upcoming version will be a true successor for the original iPad. Aside from the processor change, it will supposedly include a retina display.
Retina by itself is somewhat of an over-hyped term, but it does work extremely well for portable devices. The ultra-high pixel density (really small dots on the screen) makes the core of a portable internet device such as tablets a lot easier on the eyes. For games and movies, while it adds some extra sharpness, it doesn't matter too much because of the movement, but for reading articles on websites, you can really tell the difference. If I compare my Xoom with my iPod Touch 4 (retina), even though the iPod has a smaller screen, the reading of eBooks and such is a lot easier.
Will I be getting one? This time I might.
And that is it for this week's newsletter. Thank you for reading, and enjoy your weekend,
PS: Later today (when UPS shows up) I will be testing Puss n Boots with DVD Catalyst 4.