Thank you for reading the 102nd DVD Catalyst Newsletter.
As mentioned last week, due to time-constraints, I had to make a choice on either writing a longer one every other week, or one that is a bit shorter every week. Based on some of the feedback I received, I opted for continuing to do one every week, but just a bit shorter than before.
This week, on Sunday, I released the update for DVD Catalyst 4 I mentioned in the previous (101) newsletter, DVD Catalyst 4 v126.96.36.199. I also released a minor update for MovieGallery, v2.2.4 as well, and this coming week, I'm hoping to update ImageGallery as well.
But first, this week's tech news.
In less than a month, on May 21, Microsoft will be revealing the new XBOX (playxbla.com » The Next Generation Of Gaming Will Be Revealed On Tuesday, May 21st!).
Of course for quite some time, rumors have been floating around the web around the new system, and of course with the announcement date officially set, the rumor mill continues.
Supposedly, it will be launched in November (Here Comes the Next Xbox | Paul Thurrotts WinInfo content from Windows IT Pro), and be released in one version with 2 pricing options, a full price of $500, or $300 for one with some form of subscription plan(Veteran Tech Blogger Spills Xbox 720 Reveal Date, Pricing and More - IGN).
Microsoft experimented with the subscription plan last year by offering the XBOX360 for $99 with a 2 year XBOX Live plan (Microsoft Confirms $99 Subscription Xbox 360 - News - www.GameInformer.com) but with the system being near the end of its life-cycle, interest was a bit lackluster. By offering it upon release of the new one, it will be able to undercut the initial price of the Sony's Playstation 4 considerably, and with XBOX Live being a very large part of the XBOX experience, it is quite likely that many people will jump on something like that.
Other rumors that caused a bit of an uproar on the web regarding the XBOX720 are a restriction/block on the ability of playing used games on it, and an "always on" requirement.
I hope Microsoft has seen the arguments people posted on the used games ordeal, and decided against it. The used games market is quite big, and I'm sure that MS wants to make at least some money from sales that way as well, but one of the reasons it is so big is because the high prices of games. I understand that development of games is expensive, but $60-$70 for a new release game is a bit much for most (some are worth it though), especially when you take into account that the most popular ones (Call of Duty, Battlefield, Fifa, etc) are not really that much different from the one before. Being able to wait a few weeks after release, and pick up the same game for half the price is something many people benefit from.
The "Always On" requirement is not too much of a concern for me. It is annoying, but after playing games through Steam on my Surface Pro for a while, you get used to the online check/account verification stuff. I just hope it will be non-intrusive.
Amazon has set its sights on Netflix, and rumors are that this fall, Amazon will release its own media player device(Amazon TV set-top box rumored to be in the works - SlashGear). Similar as Netflix with the original Roku box 5 years ago (Review: Roku Netflix Player | Macworld), the AmazonTV will connect to your TV and your Amazon account to provide access to its ever-growing collection of free (with Amazon Prime) movies and TV shows and of course the ability to rent and purchase new release content as well.
While Netflix has more content available for streaming, Amazon is a bit cheaper with its prime subscription ($79 vs. $96 yearly), and it also provides easy pay-options for non-free content such as new releases, making it a bit more interesting to use than Netflix in my opinion.
10 years of iTunes.
Hated and loved by many people, often at the same time, iTunes(Apple) turned 10 this week.
Originally released as a music player with playlist abilities, it has grown into the foundation of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, and if that wasn't enough, turned into the most popular music store, turned the way we look at songs, apps, books, video and games upside down in the process as well.
Of course while it has grown into much more than what its original design, it does stay true to its roots thanks to the quirks and annoyances that plagued the early releases.
Samsung Galaxy S4.
The successor to the most popular Android smart-phone is now available. This week, most carriers will be offering the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Yesterday, I read a review on the S4 (Samsung Galaxy S 4 Review - SlashGear), and it looks quite interesting.
But, as many of you, I'm still stuck with the phone I have at the moment (Galaxy Nexus) for a while, so who knows what will be out then.
If you are interested in the Galaxy S4, of course the review above is quite interesting, but here are a few more:
Samsung Galaxy S 4: The empire strikes back with a faster, sleeker handset | Ars Technica
Samsung Galaxy S4 review | The Verge
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review: The S Stands For Super, Not Simple | TechCrunch
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review: Better, But Not Best
Samsung Galaxy S4 review | Android Central
DVD Catalyst 4 v188.8.131.52 was released earlier this week.
As mentioned in last week's newsletter, there was an issue with converting video files for the Kindle Fire HD, which has been fixed, and, thanks to an update from VTECH, the video abilities of the InnoTab2 and InnoTab2s have been changed (reduced), rendering the higher-quality video format that DVD Catalyst was using for the conversions no longer playable on them (making the original InnoTab 1 actually a better choice for video playback in my opinion). As a result, the format used for the InnoTab conversions have been changed to reflect the VTECH update.
MovieGallery 2 v2.2.4 was also released this week.
A minor update (2.2.3 > 2.2.4) but the changes are actually quite visible this time. I (again) modified the settings for 2 of the view-modes to make the image-viewing experience more smooth.
Earlier this week, I read an article on a tech-site on how one of their reviewers tried to go without their Smartphone.
One Week Without A Smartphone? Impossible - SlashGear
For me, going without a Smartphone wouldn't be an issue. The phone-part is a requirement, because it gives comfort to my wife (because of her health) that she can reach me. Whenever I have to go somewhere by myself (she usually comes with), a quick groceries run or something similar, she always makes sure I have my phone with me.
But aside from that, I can (and actually prefer to) go without, and when my wife comes with me, my phone stays at home.
Before I started doing what I do now, I worked in various IT job positions, and all of them involved offering some level of phone support. One of them was in a small, but extremely busy local computer shop, and with 3 people building computers and phone support, it was up to me to assist the people in the store AND handle the phone-sales as well. As a result of this "phone-overload" I have had enough phone dealings to last me a lifetime, and build up some form of allergy towards phones.
But email is a different matter. With an online business, web access and email access are something I cannot go without. Out of the multiple ISPs that are available to me, I actually use the slower but more expensive one, purely because of reliability. I tried the others, but I need my internet access to actually work when I need it. With the others it is more luck that anything else.
But, if it isn't work-related, I think I would be able to go without technology for a while.
Thank you for reading this week's newsletter, and have a great weekend,
About DVD Catalyst:
DVD Catalyst 4 is the easiest and most affordable software available for converting and optimizing your movies and TV shows from DVD and for converting popular (AVI, MKV, ISO etc) video files into the right file format for PCs, smartphones and tablets.
With the click of a button, convert your own DVDs or video files, remove black bars, include subtitles or closed captions.
With 1000's of tablet and smartphone profiles, you can easily select your device, and get the best quality videos for it. Of course DVD Catalyst 4 supports the latest devices, such as Apple iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3,Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 2, Barnes & Noble NOOK HD, NOOK HD+, Amazon Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, Google Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and much more.
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