DVD Catalyst Newsletter 145 – 02-28-14

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    Hi,

    Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 145.

    Despite some new technology stuff being announced at the World Mobile Congress, this newsletter will be a bit short like previous ones again. Earlier this week, my wife ended up into AFIB (link) again, with her heart rate fluctuating between 70 and 170. We spent most of Tuesday evening and night in the emergency room, and after shocking her heart twice things finally calmed down enough so she could get admitted in a room. Things are going well enough now that she is coming home later today. But between staying with her at the hospital and taking her parents to appointments, I haven't had time to do much else.

    This week a few things did caught my interest this week though:


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    Tech News:

    Samsung:

    This week at the WMC, Samsung unveiled some new devices.


    http://www.samsung.com/uk/discover/mobile/samsung-unveils-galaxy-s5-and-new-gear-range/


    Of course the Galaxy S5 was announced, and while impressive, I wasn't overwhelmed by it. Basically a better camera and a fingerprint-sensor, but the rest like the Galaxy S4.


    What did interest me is the new Smart-watch lineup. The new Galaxy Gear 2 looks fine, but for me, the Gear Fit, a bend-screen, health-monitor-type device looks cool and actually, thanks to a heart-rate monitor build-in, useful. I already use one of the fit-apps of Samsung on my Galaxy Note 3, and with my wife's heart-issues, having a "bracelet" like this keep track of her heart rate will be very handy to use. Right now she uses a finger-reader, a clamp-on little gadget that does it, but of course it only displays the number, and nothing else. In particular the linking to a phone and have it keep track of it throughout the day (with optional warning messages and such).



    Barnes & Noble:


    With disappointingly low numbers for the past holiday season, it came as a big surprise that B&N is still planning to release a new NOOK tablet.


    http://www.slashgear.com/nook-tablet-refresh-this-year-as-bn-outsources-26318589/


    The past year and a half, it seemed to me that B&N lost focus with its own business plans. The NOOK HD and HD+, both great devices, were somewhat held back by the lack of content. While B&N does have their own app and video-store for the Nook, Amazon offered more content. In an attempt to fix this, a deal was made with Google to include the Google Play services on the NOOK's, but as a result, some of the core advantages were lost.


    Just like Amazon, B&N uses a "monitored" app-submission process, however, B&N offers considerably less crap than Amazon. With Google Play, its a wild west when it comes to apps because anyone can upload anything as an app, and put it up for sale, so running into something not so "friendly" is sort of expected. Amazon has been getting more and more loose in terms of what it lets through, something extremely noticeable with its Free App of The Day strategy.


    B&N didn't have all the advertising and in-app purchase systems in place for its own Appstore, effectively making the NOOK the cleanest of them all, but now with Google Play, this is no longer valid. Sure, the apps on the NOOK store are still clean (most of them) but with Google Play on the same device, the same risks apply to the NOOK as they do to all other Android devices with Google Play.



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    Thoughts:

    I was looking through some of the old, old newsletters to see if I could find something to write about from a different perspective.


    Newsletter #1 dates back to April of 2011, and in it I write about the Xoom and the newly released Blackberry Playbook. Funny enough, I actually dug up both devices this week. I haven't used the Xoom for a long time. Once in a while, when I am working on a big change in MovieGallery, I take it out of the box to make sure my changes don't break compatibility, but other than that, it is stored away in my "gadgetcabinet". While less functional, the Playbook I actually play with every couple of months. Install updates when available, and of course play with it for a couple of evenings.

    A good friend of mine is going through medical treatment, and I offered him the Xoom to use instead of his phone to keep himself entertained. While a bit old for technology-standard, the Xoom is still perfectly capable, and his needs don't go much further than some Facebook, email and basic bubble-type games.


    The Playbook I charged up earlier this week, but unfortunately with my wife in the hospital, it didn't get much use. I'm hoping to put a few hours of movies on it either this weekend or somewhere next week.



    Newsletter #3
    also brought up something that is hard to imagine today. It mentioned the first Android app release of Netflix!


    Especially in the US, it is almost impossible to imagine a wifi-enabled device, let alone an Android device that doesn't have access to Netflix, but back in 2011, it was just starting.



    Newsletter #5
    contains a nice rant about my then brand-new Tivo Premiere, a forced upgrade of my beloved TiVo Series 2 because my cable company wanted to offer more pay-per-view channels rather than keeping its promise. I wrote about my TiVo experiences a couple of times since, even only a few weeks ago, link, with a suggestion to TiVo to go back to their roots, rather than trying to make an "do everything" box.


    I didn't get much further than those (I looked at the first 10), but if you have time and are interested in looking back at how things "used to be", you can find the entire newsletter collection here:

    https://www.tools4movies.com/newsletter/



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    Closings:

    Well, not much of a newsletter this week. I'm hoping that my wife's health is better under control now, and that she can stay out of the hospital. On Tuesday, it was quite scary for the both of us. More for her obviously, but for me trying to calm her down as much as possible isn't getting any easier either.


    Anyway, I'm heading out to pick her up so I'm signing off.


    Have a great weekend, and see you next week, with (hopefully) a much better newsletter.


    Sincerely,
    Mitch

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    Perfect, full-screen, video playback without stutter, freezing, audio-sync or other issues.

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    DVD Catalyst 4 converts your movies and TV shows to small, great-looking video files that are perfectly optimized to play on the latest devices.

    The app includes profiles for 1000's of tablets and smartphones, including Amazon Kindle Fire HD/Kindle Fire HDX, Apple iPad Air and iPhone 5s/5c, Barnes & Noble NOOK HD/NOOK HD+, Fuhu Nabi, Vtech InnoTab and of course the latest Galaxy S4/Galaxy S5, Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note devices from Samsung.



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