Sorry for missing last week's newsletter.
It was a big week last week with the CES and all, so there was quite some news, but unfortunately, my wife spent the entire week in the hospital. On Monday last week, she was experiencing complications with her heart-rate. It happens every now and then, but unlike before, this time it didn't stop after 5 minutes, so she ended up in the ER. They managed to control it somewhat, but decided to keep her for further diagnosis for safety. Throughout the remainder of the week, they did some procedures, some more risky than others, and finally this Monday, she was safe to come home.
Of course, throughout this ordeal, I spent the majority of my time by her side, with trips back and forth to take care of other things as well.
I did manage to respond to all the support questions every day, but aside from that, I obviously didn't get anything else accomplished, and have some things to catch up on.
This week, I did update MovieGallery to v2.2.2, and updated the DVD Catalyst 4 Beta to 4.3b3. Somewhere next week, I am planning to release the update for the official DVD Catalyst 4 version, which will be 4.2.6, but more about all that later.
Let me start with Tech News:
Well, I missed it, but looking back at the announcements and new products, it appears I didn't miss much. There were a few big things that stood out, but overall, it was just more of the same.
New stuff includes a few "smart watch" products, such as the Pebble. They look cool, but I guess I just don't get it. To me, it seems that these watches are simply additional screens for your phone. A few widgets on it such as the weather, news etc, but aside from that, it's just a watch.
I guess it would work great if you have a bigger phone such as the Galaxy Note 2, but really, if you have such a large phone, why would you look at a small screen on a watch for news and such. You could have saved yourself a few bucks by getting a smaller phone.
Also in abundance was the next generation of HD TV, 4K. All major TV makers had their latest and greatest on display. For the last 2 years, it was 3D TV, which doesn't seem to catch on as well as they expected, and now it is turning into even higher resolution TV's.
These TV's are nice if you have the room, but do they really add that much more to a person's viewing experience?
With DVDs, watching them on a 40"+ TV, you can see quality issues, but that is where Bluray's 1080p comes into play. From a normal viewing distance, I am unable to tell the difference between a 4K movie or a Bluray one.
Sure, if you sit up close, you can tell, but the only benefit a 4K screen would have for most people is that it would look great on sizes of over the 100" size. For companies to use with presentations, or for a bar maybe for a game, but to use something like that at home, I would rather have a 1080p projector that works well in a normal lighted room instead. Something that doesn't take up an entire wall.
One thing that did catch my interest were the new Razr Edge gaming tablet.
Full blown Intel i7, Desktop-Windows, nVidia graphics, it packs a bigger punch for gaming than even most gaming laptops and desktops on sale today.
For a few weeks now, I've been playing a bit with an Acer 700W, which features an Intel i5 processor and an Intel HD4000 video chip, both considerably less than that of the Edge, and it has actually been working well, performance wise for some games. Not everything on the highest visual settings for the latest games, but things like Fallout 3 and even Skyrim work quite well on it.
But, the problem with using a tablet for this is the controls.
You will need to use an external control system, such as a keyboard, a game controller or a mouse. A few games work with touch alone, such as Civ5, but it takes a while to get the gestures figured out to get it to do what you want to do. I've been using an XBOX360 controller, but unfortunately, you are stuck with a dongle hanging off the usb port in order to make it work, making it considerably less portable.
The Razr Edge has handles on the sides, which look weird, but should overcome that issue with tablet gaming.
DVD Catalyst News:
As mentioned earlier, I updated the DVD Catalyst 4.3 Beta this week.
The Beta, mainly called Beta because of the new scan/conversion engine that fixes some complications with Bluray, is not recommended for use unless you are somewhat experienced with DVD Catalyst, or if you are experiencing complications with conversions (with help from AnyDVD HD or something similar) directly from Bluray.
Aside from the new engine, it now includes the same profiles as the official version (profiles like the NOOK HD+, Nexus 10 etc were missing in the previous Beta) and it includes some new settings that a few people requested.
For more information, please have a look at the release notes here:
This week I also updated MovieGallery to v2.2.2.
A few people requested the return of the "do not scan on startup" setting that was in MovieGallery before the big 2.0 update, so I added that back in. Especially if you have a large amount of files, and don't change then that often, you can now enable that setting, and MovieGallery will just use the last scan-results for the files.
This week, MovieGallery also made it into the Nabi App Zone (thank you Scott). It took a while, but it is finally there.
I have had a few questions regarding the Fuhu Nabi2 already, so I ended up ordering one so I can make things even better, and maybe do some better integration with Mommy Mode.
New App: File Digger
In a few previous newsletters, I mentioned something about a new app I am working on. It is getting close to release, so I figured I'd share some information.
Of course an image does more than a 1000 words,
The app is very spartan. I wanted to keep it small and quick, so no flashy images and such.
The idea behind the app is to search quickly for files, so a tap to start it, and another tap to start the search.
For a few common file-types, videos, music, it has default buttons, and a single tap on those will have it searching for those files.
Of course it has a manual search option as well, which will let you enter parts of a filename to look for.
The rest of the search buttons are configurable. Upon first run, it will show a collection of supported file types, but you can edit this list to add your own.
After the search is complete, it displays the results. A simple tap on the file will start the app you have set to open that type of file.
File Digger is currently in the approval stage on B&N and Amazon, and should be available within a week or 2, for free.
Hauppauge HD PVR 2.
A few months ago, I started working on providing a more visual guide experience. I wanted to do something with youtube videos that showed the process of putting movies on tablets and phones from start to finish.
With many of my devices having an HDMI-out connection to hook it onto a TV, I picked up a Diamond GC1000 device, a gadget that basically enables recording of HDMI sources. After having a hard time in getting it to work, I did something I hardly ever do myself, I read the manual. No help in that, I contacted their support department. First by phone, but I just got someone who was taking calls, then by their support system, and after 3 weeks, I finally got a reply back.
Needles to say, the GC1000 was already returned by then, but I still needed something to do what I wanted it to do.
Earlier this week, I stumbled upon something similar from Hauppauge, the HD PVR 2.
Basically the same thing as the Diamond GC1000, but the big difference is, this one actually works.
It takes a little to get used to, but after a few hours of playing with it, I managed to get a few recordings up and running. I'm still playing with how to do these videos the best way, but the ones I did do, I uploaded to YouTube.
MovieGallery 2.2.2 running on my Motorola Xoom (stock, original 3G model)
Recorded directly from the hdmi-out on the Xoom. Unfortunately, the controls for video playback don't show up, and, it seems the video playback gets redirected directly to HDMI, rather than a screen mirror like the rest of it. Also the sound aftr the upload to Youtube doesn't quite match up to the video. This is likely a setting in the export of the recording app used for the Hauppauge.
I didn't edit the video after recording, so I might just have to run future videos through something like Adobe Premiere.
DVD to Kindle Fire HD:
A full conversion of a DVD to Kindle Fire HD format, recorded from the HDMI out on a PC, and at the end of the video I stitched the actual Kindle Fire HD interface (recorded directly from HDMI-out on the Fire HD), using the Personal Videos app and MovieGallery to play the movie.
I did not edit the video in any way, so it actually shows the full conversion of the DVD. Normally it would be cut or that piece would be split-up a bit, but I decided to keep the recording as true as possible. No tricks.
DVD to Playbook:
Similar as what I did with the Kindle Fire HD video, but then with the Playbook.
Still one of my favorite devices. I'll be doing a few more videos on what I like about it so much, but the video shows a bit of the interface.
Of course after a few days, I cannot give a full conclusion on the HD PVR2 from Hauppauge. I'm sure I will run into something later on, but considering that it actually works, and the quality of the recordings is quite good, I am very pleased with it. Just like with Diamond, I have had quite a few products from Hauppauge in the past, but, unlike Diamond, they have never let me down.
Thank you for reading this week’s newsletter, and have a great weekend,
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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.
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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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