Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 109.
A bit earlier than usual this week. Tomorrow (Friday), we have some appointments and errands to run, and while we normally schedule those for the afternoon, this week we ended up with a few of them in the (early) morning. A lot of people read the newsletter at work (shhh) so I figured rather than posting the newsletter Friday evening, I'll do it a bit earlier.
Let's start with this week's Tech News:
A nice price-drop right before actual release!
nVidia announced that the Shield is going to cost $299, $50 less than that of the pre-order pricing.
NVIDIA SHIELD price gets prelaunch polish - SlashGear
If you have been reading the newsletter, you already know that I'm looking forward to the Shield tremendously. There are a lot of mixed comments on the web about why someone would want one, with pricing so close to that of "big" console (XBOX/Playstation), but for me, it appears to be the perfect device for me.
Supposedly it will be shipped starting June 27.
Nvidia Shield tablet?s price cut to $299 ahead of June 27 launch | Ars Technica
SHIELD Gets Final Touch Before Its Release ? a Better Price
The biggest tech news this week came from Microsoft.
All that stuff about used games and internet requirements has been pulled back. Microsoft announced (Your Feedback Matters ? Update on Xbox One) that it changed its ideas on this due to all the rants. The new XBOX will basically remain to work like the current one.
A logical move, based on the pre-order amounts some sites revealed (PS4 vs. XB1, 4:1), but of course it comes at a price. Other features such as being able to play a disc-based game without the disc in the drive, and sharing a game with your family, are no longer possible with this change.
Looking deeper at all these policies, the problem lies in the marketing.
The same thing that is holding back the Surface RT is what caused all the ruckus about the XBOX One. Microsoft sees both as a "PC". Instead of treating the XBOX One as a gaming console, aimed to take on the PS4, Microsoft was aiming for the success of Steam on the PC.
PC gamers are already used to all the restrictions Microsoft was planning to use.
A virtually non-existent used games market, both physical and digital download, games tied to an account and not to a physical medium (Steam), internet requirement etc, all already something PC users don't sweat over.
Many PC games you pick up in the store even require some form of account registration/activation with services like Steam and Origin in order for them to work.
But, with gaming systems, this is a completely different concept. People (including me) see an XBOX and a Playstation as a continuation of the old classic consoles. The old Atari's, Nintendo's, Sega's etc. They need to stay true to their roots of insert game and play, and add on top of that. A console-type content system is considerably different from a PC-type content system, so of course it causes quite a stir.
Earlier this week, I released MovieGallery 2.3. Amazon decided to trip over something that has been that way since the beginning, so I was forced to make a few adjustments before it finally got approved, but now the new version of MovieGallery can be found on B&N NOOK Apps, Amazon Apps and Google Play.
With the update, I made a few visual adjustments, such as a slightly larger play/pause button, and added something I find very useful, video file jump-buttons. With a simple tap on the button during video playback, you can skip to the next (or previous video). Near the end of a video, the next video jump button even appears automatically, making it really easy to skip past the credits.
Most of the content I watch on my tablets are TV episodes. Usually a few episodes a night, but sometimes it takes me a few days to get back to it, and I forget where I left off. With the jump buttons, I can quickly find the episode that I need.
DVD Catalyst 220.127.116.11.
I still have the DVD Catalyst 4 update planned for this upcoming week. The functionality is all in place, however, I still need to add some new device profiles.
Memory card Issues.
For some reason, this week, I have been getting a lot of emails regarding memory-card issues again.
Symptoms: Video files play fine from the computer, and also play fine when played from the device's internal memory. However, when copied to a memory card, these same files either don't play at all, or stop after a few minutes with a message along the lines of "Video cannot be played". If you copy over multiple working video files to the memory card, some might work correctly, while others would not.
* Files too big.
While this didn't apply to any of the emails I received, on devices running an older version of Android (3.0 and lower mainly) you might run into a file-size limitation of the memory card if your video files are larger than 2GB. Unless you are converting HD video sources or are using really (too) high quality settings for your DVD conversions, it is unlikely you will run into this if you use DVD Catalyst 4 for your conversions.
* Bad memory card.
Quite common especially with larger (64GB) memory cards.
I ran into this myself a few months ago with a SanDisk 64GB MicroSD (Class 10). I picked it up for my Surface RT, brand-new from Amazon, in order to be able to put a few TV Show seasons on it (Hogan's Heroes).
I had no issues with the conversion, and all the video files looked (and played) correctly on my computer, however, when copying them over to the card, I noticed that the file transfer from PC to card (Class 10 speed) was slower than an old 16GB card (class 4) I used for something else earlier that day.
After they were finally copied over, I noticed that the thumbnail image for half of them were missing.
Not thinking much of it, I stuck the card into my Surface RT, and during the evening I ran into non-working videos.
I went through the files on my computer to see what was wrong with them, but they all worked fine.
So, I formatted the card, and copied the same videos over again.
Now, ones that worked before didn't work, and others that didn't work were now working.
* Fake memory card.
Quite common with memory cards of 16GB and up. 32GB seems to be the most common ones.
There are a lot of companies that sell fake memory cards on sites like eBay and Craigslist. These cards are actually 1GB or 2GB memory cards made to look like a larger one. The companies that do this usually target bulk-buyers, people who purchase large amounts for cheap and sell them for a few bucks more a piece on public sales/auction sites. The packaging and the card itself are made to look like the larger ones, and they even go as far as using a special formatting on the card to make it look like a larger one when you stick it in a device or card reader.
For the people who buy them in bulk, that is usually as far as they check, however, when these cards are actually used, anything that goes over the original size of the card ends up corrupted.
If you have a 2GB card made to look like a 32GB one, you can copy the full 32GB (29GB usually), but only the files that exist completely in the first 2GB (the first video, your first 50 songs) will work.
Unless you do a lot with video or music, chances of going over the 2GB mark within the refund period are slim, so these fake memory cards continue to be sold.
Because bad/fake memory card issues are quite common, I have posted an article on my website containing additional information.
It includes some links to external websites with tips, as well as a link to a memory card test utility.
Audio volume with videos.
One of the biggest grips people have when watching videos on tablets and Smartphones is the volume. Speakers are often under-powered, so trying to listen to a video can be quite a struggle.
Headphones and ear buds often help with this, but if you are in a noisy environment, such as on a plane, unless you are using some of the best active noise canceling headphones, the movie watching experience is significantly diminished.
The volume-problem is particularly evident when you are converting from DVDs. While many conversion tools offer some form of volume adjustment, this is accomplished by increasing it statically. By default, the conversion tool just converts the video and audio, and only afterwards do you realize that explosions are like whispers. Converting the movie again, you set the conversion tool to increase the volume by a certain fixed amount, hoping it would end up correctly.
With different movies and different types of content, the volume adjustment is different as well. For one movie, you might have to increase the volume 2 points, and for another maybe 5, in order to be able to hear the words being spoken.
With no sure solution for these different volume levels, getting your movies to play with a proper volume is a trial and error process.
The people who use DVD Catalyst 4 benefit from something I call "Volume Maximizer". A feature, enabled by default, that automatically adjusts the volume to be as loud as possible without causing distortion or making your movies too soft.
The feature actually measures the volume of the original, and based on that, it increases the volume for the video file it creates. This also results in all your conversions, regardless of the type of movie or video source you convert, to have the same volume level.
Below a visualization of what it actually does:
The red area in the picture represents the volume level of the original (DVD) source video.
The green area in the picture represents the volume increase applied to it when converted with DVD Catalyst's Volume Maximizer.
Stephen King Reddit AskMeAnything (AMA)
While I haven't done much reading the last couple of years, one of my favorite writers is Stephen King.
Yesterday, to bring some extra exposure to his upcoming TV show, Under the Dome, he participated in a Reddit questionnaire:
I am Stephen King - novelist & executive producer on UNDER THE DOME - ask me anything! : IAmA
Very interesting to see his responses to some of the questions asked.
Downey Jr is still Iron Man.
Starting with Iron Man 1, Marvel has been doing an amazing job with movies. While the Spiderman trilogy overall wasn't that bad, they hit a homerun with casting Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man.
For a while it was uncertain if Downey. would continue to play Tony Stark/Iron Man in Marvel's upcoming action movies. Due to the success of his previous movies, he has been renegotiating his contract, and today, Marvel announced that he will remain for both Avengers 1 and Avengers 2.
Robert Downey Jr. To Return As Marvel's Iron Man | News | Marvel.com
Thanks for reading the newsletter, have a great weekend, and see you next week.
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.
Here is how it works:
Step 1: Download and install DVD Catalyst 4 on your computer.
If you have not done so already, download the free trial version (link) or purchase the retail version for a limited time for only $9.95 (link).
Note: DVD Catalyst works on Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.
Apple MAC/OSX or Linux are NOT supported at this time.
Step 2: Start DVD Catalyst 4 and select your device profile.
Step 3: Insert your DVD or drag your video files over onto DVD Catalyst 4, and tap Go to start the conversion process.
After the conversion is complete, connect your device to your computer and copy the created movie file over.