Hi dear reader,
Thank you for reading the 119th DVD Catalyst Newsletter.
After a couple of crazy weeks, things should be back to normal now. This week was more spent on catching up on some things, a few guides on the website for newly added devices and a couple of lengthy emails to people who asked for more (technical) information and tips than the average "I have a new tablet, can I use this to put movies on it" questions.
Even on the go, I try and answer all the emails I receive, but when the word-count gets close to that of a newsletter, using the keyboard I use for work makes things considerably easier than using a touch/type keyboard with the Surface, so for these, I usually end up answering the questions later.
Anyway, lets start with this week's tech news.
Samsung Keynote Sept 4, 2013:
Rumors about smart-watches from companies of Apple and Samsung have been around for over a year. Starting with the Pebble smart-watch hitting Kickstarter and availability earlier this year, rumors spiked up on bigger companies like Apple and Samsung working on them.
With Apple's keynote not that far off, Samsung is aiming for a one-up on Apple with a week's headstart on their Samsung Galaxy Gear smart-watch.
Report: Samsung?s smartwatch coming Sept. 4th, won?t have a flexible screen | Ars Technica
Samsung Exec Confirms September 4 Unveiling of Galaxy Note 3 and Gear Watch, Front Panel Leaks ? Droid Life
Galaxy Gear smartwatch confirmed by Samsung executive for September 4th - SlashGear
While supposedly not intended for actual release, Samsung hopes by displaying it publicly that it would help developers gain interest and focus on coming up with applications for it. And, by displaying it 6 days before Apple's keynote, which might include an iWatch display/announcement (or not), they might even avoid a new legal battle.
My own take on smart watches is mixed. I don't know what to expect.On one side, it would be cool to be able to watch content from your phone on the watch, such as videos.As a child, I always wanted a TV watch. Seiko came out with one in the early 80's. I never did get one, but I think that the reason I do what I do now stems from that.
But, since I've been using a mobile phone, I haven't worn a watch anymore. It has been almost a decade since I last worn one, and I've gotten so used to just grabbing my phone when I need to know the time that I just don't see the need for one.
Galaxy Note 3:
In addition to the Galaxy Gear, Samsung will also use this event to display (and likely release) the Galaxy Note 3.
When originally released, Samsung broke ground by introducing a new device group, commonly referred to as phablets, devices small enough to be able to hold up to your ear, yet large enough to be usable for more demanding work-tasks, the Galaxy Note has been one, aside from the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab series, one of their most popular devices, so expectations for the Note 3 are high.
Some rumors have been floating around the web, but nothing concrete about specs.
Samsung Galaxy Note III detailed with nine carrier editions - SlashGear
Of course as soon as both the Galaxy Gear and the Galaxy Note 3 are available, you can use DVD Catalyst 4 to put your movies on them
Apple Keynote Sept 10, 2013:
As mentioned in last week's (well, Sunday) newsletter (link), Apple's yearly iPhone/iPad keynote is coming up in a little over a week.
New iPhone models, the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C are all but confirmed, the iOS7 update, announced earlier this year, has been in beta for a while, so will likely meet release. Also announced earlier this year, a new Mac Pro should be available, and with that, the current line-up of iMac and Macbook's will probably see a refresh as well.
There might be a new iPad Mini, but I would guess that Apple will either release half an update for the iPad Mini (similar as the iPad 2 was over the iPad 1), or none at all, and save it all for their March announcements instead.
Earlier this week, Nintendo announced a "budget" handheld, the 2DS.
Basically a cheap version of its best-selling 3DS portable game console, able to play the same games, but lacks the 3D display mode and is not foldable.
Rather than trying to do something horrible like this with its successful 3DS device, it should do something with the Wii-U instead. Maybe drop the tablet-controller and release a set for $89 or so in order to compete with the Android (Ouya) consoles.
Dropping the 3D part from the 3DS is understandable, however by making the device non-foldable (the 2 screens are actually just one big one), the portability is considerably reduced, and since it managed to lower the price by only $10, why even bother?
As mentioned in the last few newsletters, I'm working on an update for MovieGallery to make use of the nVidia Shield controllers. In addition to that, I am also working with the Chromecast to see if I can do something with that as well.
nVidia Shield Review:
Well, sort of a review. I haven't tried everything there is to try with the Shield, and I haven't put it through a lot of endurance testing either, but since release about 4 weeks ago, I haven't used any of my other devices as much as I have the Shield.
The main purpose for me with the Shield is its ability to play/stream PC games.
The type/amount of games I play is quite limited. I love playing "wander: games, games like Fallout 3/New Vegas, Oblivion/Skyrim, games where you can just lose yourself wandering around without being forced to a single purpose.
Unfortunately with my wife's health issues, I don't have much of an opportunity with playing these types of games. I can sit in my office, but I already spent most of my waking hours on a computer chair, so I avoid going there at nights as much as possible. The living room has an XBOX360 setup, which is great for games, but I can not hear my wife in case she needs help, so thats not an option.
I tried a gaming setup in the bedroom (where she is usually watching her shows), but whatever setup I tried, it was always a spaghetti mess with the cords, or too much trouble setting up and taking it back down. I tried it all. Windows PC tablets (barely) capable of playing a game, along with an XBOX controller, Android tablets with remote software, Gaming laptop etc, and it all ended up being a big hassle, and not worth the effort.
Then the Shield was announced, and it was an instant pre-order. It had a video card requirement I didn't meet, but that was an easy upgrade, and since the games are older ones anyway, I didn't need the top end version of the card.
4 weeks ago, the Shield arrived, and it delivered precisely what I wanted it for.
With the Shield, I can play the games I have on my PC anywhere in the house without having to mess with cables, controllers etc. At nights, I just grab the Shield, and go where I want/need to.
Out of the box:
Initially when the nVidia Shield arrived, I had some issues. Of course I had everything prepared, Steam (the game "media center" software that the Shield connects to on the PC) was fully updated, I previously played with some modifications for some of the games, so I cleaned those up by re-installing them, and of course the drivers for the nVidia card was fully up to date as well, but out of the box, the Shield needed a firmware update first.
After that was done, I was able to play some of the "supported" games on the Shield, but not the ones I wanted.
With a bit of key-fighting, I changed the screen resolution of these games to that of the nVidia Shield (I was using 1920x1080), and then they worked.
Fiddling around a bit more, I managed to get non-supported games to work as well, and even managed to get other apps, including DVD Catalyst, to actually stream to the Shield. Not really usable, but cool nonetheless.
After a few hours, I was able to play all the games I wanted to play on it, but unfortunately, both Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas are a bit unstable. I haven't been able to spent too much time on the issue yet, but after a few minutes, the games just seem to lock up. I am experiencing this directly on the PC as well, so it is likely a driver issue somewhere.
But, Skyrim runs perfect on it. For me better than perfect, since it works anywhere in the house. The video card upgrade, even though I went with one of the cheapest ones that would work, enables me to run Skyrim at its highest possible quality settings, save for the resolution, and it looks absolutely stunning on the Shield.
Aside from racking up a couple of hours on Skyrim, I also took the Shield with me on our recent camping trip, and on the road, I've been using it mainly to watch Hogan's Heroes. PC Streaming doesn't work remotely, and while there are plenty of Android games that work with the Shield, I didn't get into any. I played the included Expendable and Sonic a few times, and while cool, its not my cup of tea.
For me, the Shield is perfect. I absolutely love the ability of playing my PC games anywhere in the house without having to setup a laptop/tablet, controller, charger etc. The battery last plenty long (a couple of nights of playing Skyrim for me), build-quality, screen quality all excellent.
But, the Shield isn't for everyone. While it can do almost anything any other Android device can do, the physical design only has one purpose, games, and particularly ones played with a controller.
I played a bit of Plants vs Zombies on it, but for that, the controls just get in the way. PvsZ is more naturally played on a tablet.
And that is it for this week's newsletter. Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend.
DVD Catalyst 4 is the fastest, 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.
About DVD Catalyst:
For only $9.95, you can watch your own DVD collection on your tablet or smartphone, without having to purchase or rent movies you already paid for from an online movie store such as iTunes or Google Play.
In addition of converting your DVDs, DVD Catalyst also optimizes videos that do not play properly on your device so that you can watch them without stutter or freezing.
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.
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