DVD Catalyst Newsletter 95 01-03-13
Thank you for reading the DVD Catalyst Newsletter. This week, the newsletter is a bit shorter than usual. I'm quite deep into development, and am hoping to get it finished within the next week or 2, and while I am making good progress, there is still quite a lot to do. More about that a bit later.
While there was a big conference this week, the MWC in Barcelona, noteworthy (for me at least) tech news was a bit limited.
Both Ubuntu and Mozilla (Firefox) had some displays of their phone-operating systems, and both look quite promising, and Nokia announced a fair amount of new phones, from low-budget to mid-range, but nothing really stood out.
Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 8.0, of which rumors were floating around the web for quite some time. I guess that now Samsung can finally start working on the Galaxy Note 9.0, with the Galaxy Player 4.0, Galaxy Player 5.0, Galaxy Note 6.0 (Note 2), Galaxy Tab 7.0, Galaxy Note 8.0, Galaxy Tab/Note 10.1, Samsung's Galaxy only has a gap in the 9" size.
This month Samsung is also expected to announce the new version of its flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy S4, and, just like with previous versions, will likely be another reason for cellphone carriers to make more profit.
New phones are released on a yearly basis, but most people get them by means of a 2 year contract. In order to get the next best thing, the more demanding cellphone users end up either getting the phone off-contract ($600-$800 price range) or try and upgrade with some form of upgrade fee.
I'm not sure about its specifications though. A FullHD screen is cool, but at that size, to me it looks more like a marketing feature than actual functionality. Movies can look amazing on it, but to actually make use of that resolution, movie files end up around the 6GB mark. This would be fine for local storage, and the (rumoured) 16GB of internal memory would be large enough to fit 2 full movies(!), for streaming over 4G, with overage fees of about $10-$15 per GB, you are looking at $80 for 1 movie to stream in fullHD quality from an online movie service.
Other news this week that caught my attention was B&N's end-of-year numbers, which dropped significantly compared to last year.
That, while they just released their new NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ tablets, is a bit worrisome.
Since release of the NOOK color, the NOOK's always had a special place in my heart. The NOOK color, to this day, is still used by many people because of its capabilities, but B&N's main issue since it started moving beyond the eReader functionality is content. Lack of apps, lack of media, all areas that it's nearest competitor, Amazon, had actually setup way before it released it's Kindle Fire.
With the NOOK HD and HD+ B&N placed a lot of focus (and invested a lot of money) on catching up with Amazon. Better specs in every way, and the addition of a media store.
Last year, when the new devices first came out, I wrote my thoughts about them, and while they are very powerful and better in specs than most devices out there (in part thanks to the inclusion of a memory expansion slot), I was confused about the NOOK HD+.
The NOOK HD+ is too large to take along with you and it is too large to use as an eReader. It is great for movies, but, with the new NOOK's yet another new online movie store was introduced, and of course, just like with any other online movie store, whatever you purchase from that store locks you down. Movies don't transfer over to an iPad or a Blackberry, and now, with B&N's numbers the way they are, who knows what happens to the digital movies people purchased through that store if (when) it shuts down.
And, similar as with the Galaxy S4's fullHD screen, to get a movie to make full use of the NOOK HD+ screen, you end up with files that are quite large.
This week, I've been spending almost all my time on Windows 8/Windows RT development. As I mentioned in last week's newsletter, I upgraded the development tool I use for DVD Catalyst development to the latest version for development of the Apple Mac version of DVD Catalyst, but due to the major differences between what I use for the current version, I started with porting over MovieGallery (or something that has a similar functionality).
One of the biggest gripes I have about the Surface RT is the build-in video playback app, XBOX Video. I've worked around the issue by just app-switching between the desktop with windows explorer open in the location of where I have my videos, but I'd love to be able to use a player that would just show the videos I want, without linking to a store view by default.
Programming-wise, things are quite tricky. Aside from the differences in programming language and the way the development tool works, Windows RT also imposes some restrictions that I have to deal with.
Similar as with Android development, Windows RT uses "permissions" that an application needs to request before it has access to something like internet access, memorycard access etc, but even with permissions, it doesn't mean that an application can do whatever it wants. The application can ask for permission to use the SD card, but in order for an application to be able to access the files on it, the application user has to point the app to the location. Overall, the way this works is very safe, but for a developer who tries to automate as much as possible, it requires some creative thinking in order to make things as easy as possible for the user.
But I am making good progress, and even got some features working that were on my wish-list for a long time, but never did get to implement on the Android version. One in particular will save people a lot of time when it comes to watching movies and TV shows on Windows 8/Windows RT devices.
With the availability of fullHD smartphones (Galaxy S4, HTC One) and super-high resolution tablets (Kindle Fire HD 8.9, NOOK HD+, Nexus 10, iPad 3 and iPad 4) becoming more and more mainstream, the visual quality of video files to play on these devices becomes more and more important, and for some, the quality of DVD isn't enough anymore.
This is where Bluray comes in. To experience the best possible video quality from watching your videos on a fullHD screen, Bluray is currently the best choice.
Below an article that explains how you can use DVD Catalyst 4 to convert your Bluray movies.
Bluray DVD Catalyst:
DVD Catalyst 4.1 Bluray Guide | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
With many tablets being released without a memory-expansion slot (microSD), storage space for movies on a tablet is becoming more and more limited.
Below a few links to articles on my website that can help with this:
Kindle Fire Video Streaming Guide Part 1 | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
This article explains how you can use our free Streaming Server application to stream your movies from your computer to your tablet rather than having to copy them over and take up valuable space.
Make video files smaller:
Tip : How to make your video files smaller | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
This article explains how you can make the movies for your tablet considerably smaller in file-size while still keeping the way they look great. A few small settings changes can make a huge difference, enabling you to put a lot more movies on your tablet.
Better video quality with CRF:
What is CRF? | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
This article explains in (technical) detail how one of the unique features in DVD Catalyst works, and can be used to produce amazing quality video files from your movies without affecting the filesize too much, or, make your videos considerably smaller in size without losing too much of your quality.
How To Guides:
This week I've been getting a lot of questions from people with different devices in regards of file-transfer issues. The actual DVD conversion part works fine, but after the conversion completed, people were experiencing complications with the connectivity between their tablet and their computer. While not an issue with DVD Catalyst, I do have a few things covered in the device guides on my website.
These guides cover just about everything I can think of, and include information on the basics, as well as black border removal, copying files over to your device and troubleshooting.
Below a collection of links to the guides for the more popular devices.
How to put movies on the Nexus 7/Nexus 10:
Ultimate Nexus 7 Video How To Guide | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
How to put movies on the Kindle Fire HD/Kindle Fire HD 8.9:
Ultimate Kindle Fire HD Video How To Guide | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
How to put movies on the NOOK HD/NOOK HD+:
Ultimate NOOK HD Video How To Guide | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
How to put movies on the iPad 3/iPad4/iPad Mini:
Ultimate Apple iPad 3 Video How To Guide | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
How to put movies on the Transformer, Xoom, Thive, Excite, Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Note:
How to : Convert DVDs and Video files for the Asus Transformer | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
How to put movies on the Blackberry Playbook:
Ultimate Blackberry Playbook Video How To Guide | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
Sorry for keeping this one a bit shorter than usual, but there wasn't that much going on tech-wise, and my thoughts are currently running in programming code, so they are not really interesting to read either.
Thanks again for reading the DVD Catalyst Newsletter, and see you next week,
About DVD Catalyst 4
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 device 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.