Hi, Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 114. A little over a week of a vacation, and so much to catch up on, it is unbelievable. Last week, my wife and I went camping, and since we've been back late last Friday, I've been running around like hell. My wife ended up with the flu, so I've been taking both her and her parents to (a pile-up of) doc-appointments. Then, yesterday when during one of my wife's appointments they decided to do a blood test, she ended up getting admitted in the hospital due to some numbers being way off. Through-out the week, I've been working on the newsletter though, so lets start with the tech news: Tech News: Kickstarter Risks: I wrote something about Kickstarter and "crowd-funding" in general a few months ago, mainly in regards of it being more of an extension to the pre-purchase model. The pre-order sales system is already getting quite ridiculous now, with full shelves filled with DVD/Bluray pre-orders for movies that just hit theaters, but at least you know you are getting your purchase eventually. With Kick starter, the only guarantee people get is that if it fails, you are entitled to a refund, but the question is when. Earlier this week, a developer who received $120.000+ in Kickstarter funding for a board game ended up being forced to cancel. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-07-26-kickstarter-game-raises-USD122k-then-gets-canned-after-13-months The money gained through Kickstarter is mostly gone, so while refunds are promised, it is unlikely that they will be done anytime soon. Of course Kickstarter themselves, regardless of if the project failed or not, already gotten its 10% ($12200) from the campaign. Nexus 7 v2: This week, Google announced the Nexus 7 v2. Same design, same manufacturer, but of course better specs. higher resolution (1920x1200) and a faster processor. But, while the last few years, nVidia has been dominant in mobile chips, it seems that the current generation are more in favor for Qualcom's Snapdragon CPU rather than the Tegra 4. Nexus 7 - Google Chromecast: Alongside the new Nexus 7, Google also released a new device, the Chromecast. A small USB-stick-like device that plugs into an HDMI port on your TV/monitor, and instantly turns it into a smart TV. Instant access to Netflix and other streaming services, by means of your pc, laptop, smartphone or tablet. Similar as the Apple TV, Chromecast lets you send content from your device directly to your TV, and best of all, Chromecast takes over the link from your device, rather than using your device to access it, so once the video starts playing, you can turn off your device. The device is designed for web-videos, so using it for your own movies would require the use of our own free MP4 Streaming Server application in order to be able to access them. MP4 Streaming Server (guide:https://www.tools4movies.com/mp4-streaming-server-guide/) runs as a web-server on your computer, providing streaming access to all your home-WiFi connected devices. Chromecast LeapMotion: This week also saw the availability of the LeapMotion. A small device that enables you to use your computer in a way similar as shown in the Minority Report movie. Projecting an invisible box in front of your computer screen, letting you touch, drag, move and manipulate on-screen stuff similar as a touch screen, but without touch (no more smears). But, similar as touch screens used for desktops, the main issue it has is the arm/wrist movement involved to actually use it. Having a tablet on your lap and move your arms over it to touch stuff isn't so bad, but moving your arms over your keyboard to the screen or the working area of the LeapMotion will be causing a lot of strain for many users. The technology itself is amazing, and I can see it being of great use for 3D artists, sculpting models with their hands and such, but for other use, I am afraid it still has a bit of time to go before it becomes mainstream. SlashGear posted up a review of the device here: Leap Motion Controller Review ? Airspace and Apps - SlashGear Thoughts: Android Phone Interfaces (Stock/Moto Blur/Sense/TouchWiz): Earlier this week, I stumbled upon an article on Ars Technica that provided a nice comparison/history of Android interfaces. There are a lot of people who prefer the "Vanilla" (stock) Android experience, rather than the factory-created ones, but there are some pro's and con's to that, some of which are highlighted in the article: The great Ars Android interface shootout | Ars Technica From a user-perspective, I don't consider myself a "power user". I mainly use my Galaxy Nexus for being reachable for my wife and to check on support emails, so I am fine with whatever is on the device by default. With the Droid X I did root and did some custom roms, and with my NOOK color I believe I went as far as I could, but the last 2 years or so, I haven't had much time for customizing. As an Android developer, I do run into complications with different factory-installed user interfaces, in particular TouchWiz, which, aside from just "adding" functionality, also changes some of the underlying core functionality of the operating system itself, forcing me to create work-arounds for certain functionality. High Resolution: For some reason, this week, I wanted to watch The Lord of the Rings. I'm not sure why, but I think it was because my wife doesn't like the Wilfred TV show (Frodo from LOTR plays in it, and it has a guy in a dog-suit) and I've been picking on her by rewinding the ad for it a few times whenever I run into it on the Tivo. Anyway, a few months ago, my wife spent some time re-organizing the DVDs and Blurays, and I couldn't find the discs. Looking through my backup hard-drives, I thought I still had a bluray conversion somewhere, but all I could find was the ones I did 5 or so years ago for my (first generation) iPod Touch. Surprisingly, despite the low (480x320) resolution and the low (500Kbps) bitrate (all 3 movies, extended version, 3GB total), they looked pretty good on a bigger-screen (Surface RT) device. With all this hype going on about 4K resolution, it makes me wonder though. Companies are heralding it as the next 1080p, and are putting new TVs with it on display all over, but they tried that with 3D as well, and that hasn't gained the foothold that they were hoping it would get. The thing is, I don't believe that 4K matters that much in the living room. Sure, when you sit quite close to the TV (as TV walls at the electronics store are setup for) you can tell a difference in sharpness, but if you sit at a reasonable distance from the TV, a couple of feet away, on the couch, with a coffee table in front of you, then the visual difference dissipates considerably. I can understand a high resolution screen when working on a computer or tablet. It gives you a lot more room to use for reading website articles and the like, but now we are at a point where resolution is used differently. When Apple released the first "retina" devices, the iPhone 4 and the iPod Touch 4, I was hoping for more screen estate, but instead of making things smaller to provide more room, Apple opted for using the additional pixels to make the text and icons more detailed. Disappointed at first, after I started visiting websites and reading books on a retina screen, I was amazed at the clarity of the text. With video, it also helped somewhat, but not as much as it did with text. With the pixels so close together, it was quite hard to tell the difference between a video encoded using the exact screen resolution and one that was encoded for the older half width and half-height resolution. The higher resolution one did look a little sharper, but when you moved away from the screen a little more, there was visually no difference. Similarly with my iPod Touch-optimized Lord of the Rings videos (480x320) on the Surface RT's higher resolution screen (1366x768). I was expecting it to be all blocky and such, but while there (obviously) were some quality issues I noticed, they were of no effect on my viewing experience. When I got the Xoom a few years ago, I was considering to delete my iPod Touch movie collection and redo them all for the Xoom at a higher resolution, but I am glad I didn't. The small size enables me to fill up a single 32GB memorycard with about 40 movies or so (at 500Kbps, its about 300MB an hour) so that makes it great for travel/camping, and saves me from having to convert all the movies again or increase my storage. Hospital: As mentioned above, my wife is currently in the hospital again. Unlike the previous 2 stays she had there this year, which were for her heart, this time it is more of a safety concern. Yesterday she had a couple of appointments in the morning, and while we were there and they took her vitals, they decided to do a few blood tests. The tests would take a couple of hours to do, and since her dad had another appointment in the early afternoon, we went home, and I took him to his. During his appointment my wife called, and asked me to take her to the ER. Nothing big danger, so an ambulance ride wasn't needed (thankfully, since her insurance doesn't seem to cover them anyway), but it needed to be done. Since the appointment for her dad would be a couple of hours, I went home and took her to the ER (same hospital). While waiting, we heard the most ridiculous thing ever. An accident happened about 500 feet outside of the ER. A lady who left earlier walked up to the registration desk of the ER and asked them to send an ambulance out there because of the accident. The lady at the counter told her she couldn't do that and told the other lady to call 911. The lady who walked up to the desk told her she didn't have her cellphone with her, so after a few minutes of back and forth, finally a few nurses walked out to investigate. We didn't see it ourselves, but from what we heard, the accident itself was caused by someone whom had a seizure while driving, and it caused an accident with a truck. No deaths or blood, but the person who had the seizure was taken in (on an ambulance bed). We have no idea as to what happened after that, but my wife and I were stunned, like the lady who walked up to the ER's desk, that a hospital would tell someone to call 911 when asking for help. Of course it is understandable that 911 would need to be called for police and fire department assistance, but you would think that at least within seconds a few healthcare people, even nurses or aides, would run towards to see if there was anything they could do. Anyway, with that new experience, my wife and I continued to wait for an hour and a half before she was assigned an ER diagnosis room, and then 5 hours later she was admitted in the hospital for observation. She is doing fine and in good spirits, and some of her numbers have settled already, so hopefully she can come home tonight. Closings: An that is it for this weeks newsletter. 5 more days before my Shield is being shipped, so it might make it in time for me to do a write-up on it for next weeks newsletter, but who knows. Maybe nVidia will find an issue with the tape used on the shipping box, and decide it would be better to send it out late August instead. Anyway, I'm heading off to visit my wife at the hospital and hopefully packing up her stuff to take her home. Have a great weekend, Sincerely, Mitch About DVD Catalyst: 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, M2TS 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). 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.