Happy Holidays Everyone,
Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 86.
Christmas is almost here, and I'm still scrambling to get everything prepared. Unlike previous years, I didn't have the time to go out and scavenge for gifts in the local stores, sp this year, I did most of my shopping online, mostly through Amazon.
But, more about that later. First, let me start with this week's tech news:
Asus $99 tablet leaks:
Not much is known about this mystery tablet at the moment, but images have been popping up on the web of a Nexus 7-like tablet from Asus, which is scheduled for the upcoming year.
The Google Nexus 7, also created by Asus was groundbreaking upon release. A $200 tablet that was actually able to compete with (and win from) the bigger $500 class of tablets.
While I doubt that the $100 version would have a similar impact, it might, considering the time-difference between release of the Nexus 7 and this one, feature similar specs.
Acer $99 B1 tablet:
Following hot on the heels of the Asus leaks, pics of a $99 Acer tablet have popped up as well.
Looking at the information known about the new Acer, and the way it looks, it might be a good idea for B&N to bring back the NOOK color, and price it around the $89 price point.
I've mentioned it in previous newsletters, I'm not too fond of cloud-solutions. Sure, they make it easy to share content with your friends and family, they provide an easy way to share your own files between different devices, but in the end, you are using something that another company provides, and unless you pay for their service, they will always try and find ways to make money from you. Facebook uses advertising, based on the things you like and the things your friends like, Google uses your emails in gmail to provide you with related advertising etc.
Of course Instagram, considering it has been bought by Facebook, is looking for similar ways to benefit from its popularity. Equipment needs paid, people maintaining their service need paid, and of course the owners would like to get paid as well.
(earlier today Instagram changed their mind)
This week, I've been taking it a bit slow in regards of development. Aside from a LOT of questions the last few weeks, of course I had some Holiday stuff to take care of as well.
Of course some Christmas shopping for gifts and for the family meal, but we also had issues with the decorations we put up outside, in particular with overloading the main fuse (apparently, putting 50 or so net-lights in a tree is a bit more than that the fuse can handle).
I have been working a bit on the file-finder app I mentioned last week, and have done some tweaks to MovieGallery, but the release for both will likely be after Christmas.
Q: Remove Black Bars.
I just purchased DVD Catalyst, and I have converted 3 different movies, both full and wide screen, and all continue to have the black bars when I play them on the Nabi 2.
From everything that I have read, it is my understanding that the black bars will be automatically removed during the conversion process. I have the latest version of DVD Catalyst 4 and made no changes to the default settings.
Please let me know if I need to make a setting change in order to get the black bars removed without distorting the image.
A: There are 2 types of black borders.
* Many wide-screen DVDs have Black borders added to the video to comply with the official DVD standard. These borders are the ones that DVD Catalyst automatically removes.
* If you play a video of a different aspect ratio, then the video player will display black borders as well.
To remove these borders, something needs to be changed with the video, so DVD Catalyst doesn't do this automatically.
To have DVD Catalyst make all your movies full-screen, enable "Power User" mode at the bottom right, then go into Global Settings, and look for the "Borders" tab. In there, switch it to "completely remove"
For additional information, please have a look here:
Tech Tip (guru stuff): Use MovieGallery with a NAS:
There are quite a few people use a NAS for storing their videos as well as personal data at home. Rather than having to drag a standard external harddrive from computer to computer, having a Network-Harddrive enables you to access the data on the drive on whatever device you have connected to your network, without having to switch cables.
If you are using MovieGallery, you are likely aware that it works great with our free MP4 Streaming Server application. Rather than having to move your video files over to your device directly, or messing around with memorycards, you can just leave the videos on your computer, and with MP4 Streaming Server, you can access them on your device either through the web browser or with MovieGallery directly.
The drawback is, MovieGallery runs as an application on a computer, so in order to be able to access the videos, you will need to have your computer on.
If you use a NAS for your videos, you will of course need to leave both running.
If your NAS has a build-in web-server, you can use MovieGallery directly, eliminating the need to leave your computer running.
Here is how it works:
The MP4 Streaming Server application is in its basic form nothing more than a web-server. When you tell MovieGallery to connect to the computer, it accesses this web-server and accesses the videos that are setup for it.
The first thing it looks for is a file called MP4SS_LIST.TXT in the location you provided.
If you are using MP4 Streaming Server already, you can simply access this file by using the normal link to access the web-interface, for example
and put the filename behind it like this:Code:http://192.168.1.111
which brings up the content available in MP4 Streaming Server, and looks like this:Code:http://192.168.1.111/MP4SS_LIST.TXT
If you have playlists setup, those will appear in a similar manner also in this file./list.txt&library
MovieGallery then loads these "lists" to find the links to the actual video files. To get such a list, you can use the /list link directly, similar as before:
which brings up the video files you have in your MP4 Streaming Server library:Code:http://192.168.1.111//list.txt&library
Code:/library*Pirates Of The Caribbean 1.mp4 /library*Pirates Of The Caribbean 2.mp4
MP4 Server runs a customized webserver which has some special functionality that is triggered with some of the special characters (* and &) in the link names, which is not found in other web-servers, however, you can use the basic workings of these files to connect MovieGallery to the web-server on your NAS.
Lets start with making a list of videos.
I created a sample list on my website named trailers.txt, which can be accessed by visiting this link:
The links are relative to the link to access the web-server, so if we take the first one,Code:/trailers/800w/thehobbit_trailer.mp4 /trailers/800w/towerheist-trailer.mp4 /trailers/0712/bournelegacy-tlr_h720p.mp4 /trailers/0712/expendables2-tlr1_h720p.mp4 /trailers/0812/oz-tlr1_h720p.mp4 /trailers/0812/thehobbit-tlr1_h720p.mp4 /trailers/1012/Alex Cross.mp4 /trailers/1012/Broken City.mp4
it shows that there is a "trailers" folder directly in the root of the webserver. In there is another folder named 800w, and in there it has the video.Code:/trailers/800w/thehobbit_trailer.mp4
again the "trailers" folder, but in there, a folder named 0712, and the video is located in there.Code:/trailers/0712/bournelegacy-tlr_h720p.mp4
To access these videos directly (to make sure the link is correct) you would put the NAS' location in front of the link, and try and access the video through a web browser, like so:
Since I set these up on my own website, these links point toCode:http://192.168.1.111/trailers/800w/thehobbit_trailer.mp4 http://192.168.1.111/trailers/0712/bournelegacy-tlr_h720p.mp4
MovieGallery recognizes the folders used, so if you organize your videos in folders like Movies/Action/, Movies/Romance/, TV Shows/Friends/Season 1 etc, MovieGallery will enable you to select a folder containing just the content you want, rather than having to dig through all your videos.
With the list created and the links checked, now simply put the name of the list in the MP4SS_LIST.TXT file mentioned earlier. Since this is the file where MovieGallery looks for the list-files.
the file I used for the list is called trailers.txt, so in the MP4SS_LIST.TXT I added /trailers.txt
After that, make sure it can be accessed by using the link
or, since I set it up on my website,Code:http://192.168.1.111/MP4SS_LIST.TXT
Now to have MovieGallery display the videos on your NAS, just enter the NAS address in its MP4 Server location, or, if you want to test, enter www.tools4movies.com in there instead.
If you don't use cover-images on your NAS, it can take a second or so per movie in order for MovieGallery to generate a screenshot, so if you run it the first time, or if you scroll through your videos the first time, it might stutter a little.
The Tools4Movies website is loaded with tips and tricks, but the most-used part are the guides.
While the majority of them are available directly in the side-menu on the website, I figured it might be handy to include some of the more popular ones here.
How to put movies on the Apple iPad 3, 4 and iPad Mini:
How to put movies on the Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9:
How to put movies on the Nabi and Nabi 2:
How to put movies on the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10:
How to put movies on the NOOK HD and NOOK HD+
Holiday App Sales:
Almost all the app-stores are offering some form of Holiday Sales.
This year, regardless of how tempting they are, I'm staying away from them. With previous sales-specials, Google's 10ct sale during summer, 75% off sales during X-mas, I always loaded up on a pile of apps that looked interesting, but in the end, I never ended up using them.
Of course at some of these prices, it's hard to pass up, and with a good game or app for only a few pennies, it is likely worth it, only if you play it once, but it adds up.
More often than not, I've found myself to uninstall them to make room for something else, without even looking at them.
With some, I picked them up on purpose to play later, but with companies like EA great games are offered for a limited amount of devices. I have a few that will only work on my Droid X, a phone I replaced over a year ago.
So this year, I'm just ignoring the app sales. Rather than planning ahead, and hoping it would work on whatever I use when I get to it, I'll just pick it up, likely for a similar price anyway, if and when I actually get to do something with it.
Amazon Christmas Shopping:
Aside from having an extensive collection of just about everything, their "suggestion" system is actually becoming a bit too useful. While this sort of ties in to the "app sales" I am staying away from this season, for X-Mas gifts, a proper suggestion system is quite handy (and very lucrative for Amazon).
It seems to know me really well now, and especially when looking for gifts, it tends to provide me with plenty of other ideas. Some right there, but others related, leading me to other areas.
When it comes to gifts, I tend to shop "outside" the box. Of course we write lists for friends and family, but for me, the true value behind a gift is the actual effort of someone coming up with it, rather than just going to a store with a list and picking up what is on it.
With Amazon, I can simply look for something someone wrote on a list, and either by "people also bought", or the various similar/related items suggested, I get an idea of what else I can do with it. Sometimes it leads me on a trail of a movie character to other movies from the same actor, other times, it leads me from a simple calendar to a limited edition deck of cards.
Completely unique, and something you just wouldn't get from skimming through stores and isles in the mall.
It also makes it a bit easier to keep track of what you ordered. As long as you keep other people from looking into your account, you can see what you ordered, when it was shipped, if it was delivered etc.
But, if there is one thing I would like to ask from Amazon as a feature, it would be to let me create lists of items I ordered. Especially if you order stuff for kids, you try to keep it fair in amount of gifts and value, so it would be great if you could mark things you ordered for a certain person-list; all items intended for Jack in a Jack-list, and all items for Jill in a Jill list. It would eliminate the need for making a note, and thus reduce the snooping factor a bit more.
Well, its back to wrapping some gifts for me again. A few gifts came in this morning that still need checking and wrapping.
Thanks again for reading the DVD Catalyst Newsletter, and have a great Holiday,
About DVD Catalyst:
DVD Catalyst 4 converts your movie and TV show collection (DVD, AVI, MKV, ISO etc) to great quality video files that are perfectly optimized to play on portable devices.
Convert DVDs with a single click of the button, convert 1 or 100 video files in batch-mode by using Drag & Drop, remove black bars, include subtitles or closed captions.
It includes pre-configured profiles profiles for 1000s of devices, including the latest Apple devices (iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPhone 5) Barnes & Noble NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, Amazon Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire HD 8.9, Google Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and much much more.
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