Thank you for reading the 95th DVD Catalyst Newsletter.
A crazy, boring week this week. I've been doing testing in the evenings on my Windows 8/Windows RT app, but during the days, I spent my time working on the new website. In particular the device guides. It is coming along nicely, and it will be something totally cool, super easy and unique, but it is a lot of work.
But, let me get started with this week's
Nothing really big this week. Quite a few rumors on the Samsung Galaxy S4 came up, and of course, since there likely will be a 3rd, a few people started throwing rumors around on a Galaxy Note 3 as well, but nothing really concrete yet.
A few interesting things did pop up though.
Samsung announced it is stopping with its Windows RT line-up.
The move itself is, due to a lack of sales, understandable, but it seems harsh to put the blame on Windows RT though. More about that below.
Barnes & Noble announced a new deal for its video service with a few big movie studios.
With its disappointing numbers from last quarter, it has to do something to make the NOOK devices more interesting in order to compete with Amazon's Kindle devices, but I don't believe expanding its movie store is going to do it though.
Also more below.
For some time now, I've been working on an update for the existing website.
After I got DVD Catalyst - back after a long battle, I put up a new website on it that should have made things a bit easier for people to use DVD Catalyst, but with the main website, Home of DVD Catalyst 4 - convert fast and easy AVI DVD MKV to Bionic Droid iPad3 iPhone4 iPod Touch4 Iconica Innotab Galaxy Tab Nabi Playbook Transformer Prime Thrive Vita Xoom XyBoard and more, being a bit different, it actually made things more confusing it seems.
The website update I am working on is going to change all this (hopefully). It will result in both locations displaying the same look and content, and everything will be a lot more organized and easier to find. But, in turn, it's a lot of work to get it that way.
Of course as a developer, I created a few things that make it a bit easier for me to create the guides, however, there is still a lot of work involved to get them to look the way they do.
The biggest part of the guides on the new site is done, but there are still a few things to add and others to modify.
In addition, some of the more technical guides and feature descriptions still need to be moved over as well.
It's getting there though.
This week also saw the release of 2 new high-profile DVDs, both of which ended up being a little picky. Of course I received a couple of emails with questions about them, so I picked them up and did some testing.
Both can be converted with a small settings-change:
Wreck it Ralph:
Wreck it Ralph 2013 DVD | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
Twilight Breaking Dawn 2:
Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn 2 DVD 2013 | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
The problem is the pricing. The majority of Windows RT tablets are priced similarly to the Apple iPad, and this is where the problem lies. When the first iPad was released, Apple had the line-up of iPhone and iPod Touch apps to at least tie it over until true iPad-optimized apps were released. With Widows RT being a completely new operating system, it is more realistic to compare the current state of Windows RT to the early days of the first iPhone and iPod Touch.
I remember having to pay $19.95 for an upgrade for my iPod Touch (first gen) when Apple came out with the App Store a few months after its release, and after the upgrade, I was greeted with a small collection of $6-$10 apps.
When the Motorola Xoom was released, the first high-profile device that ran a tablet-optimized version of Android, Honeycomb, it was in a similar position. A lot of apps from Android worked on it, but all were phone-optimized. It wasn't until developers (and other manufacturers) caught up before the Android market started to fill with tablet-optimized apps.
Windows RT doesn't have this safety net. Apps already made for Windows Phone don't work on Windows RT without additional work from the developers, so the apps available for Windows RT are still limited. Slowly but surely things are starting to fill up, however, it doesn't have the "killer apps" to make it a viable alternative to Android and Apple just yet.
Samsung's pull-out doesn't surprise me though. While it makes some of the greatest portable devices available, tablets, phones etc, to me it seems the company follows rather than lead. Samsung seems to wait for the competition to come out with something and then take that idea and improve it where-ever possible.
It took Motorola to turn around Android from a geek-level to a consumer-need-to-have with its original Droid phone. Then Samsung stepped in with it's first Galaxy range of phones. It took Motorola to kick start the Android tablet-craze that we are experiencing now, after which, Samsung followed with its Galaxy Tab range.
If Windows RT does catch up a bit more, I'm sure that Samsung will un-shelf it's Ativ Tab devices, and put them back on the market.
As many of the readers know, I don't use much in terms of apps and games on my devices, so "app count" doesn't play a factor on my personal preferences. Performance in general is also mainly noticed by apps and games, so that too is not much of a factor for me. For me, the general use of the device itself, physical size, storage, battery life and network range are my main factors.
For full-blown Windows-tablets, things are a bit different. The Surface Pro or the Acer W700, those are made to run "applications", rather than "apps". Full-blown desktop apps (and games), just like a laptop or ultrabook would, but with the power required to do that comes the price of portability and batterylife.
I love my Surface RT.
I use it for email, news and video playback, and it works well. At night, I watch a few episodes or a movie on it, and when done, I use it to catch up with the news with the build-in news-app. My demands and needs are not that high, and I can do them on just about everything I have, but on the Surface RT, the bigger screen makes everything quite pleasing to work with.
I can do the exact same with the Surface Pro, but the battery-life of the Surface RT is considerably better, so for an evening of use, I don't have to drag over the power adapter for it.
As mentioned above, the problem is pricing.
Because the Windows RT tablets are priced similar to the competition, functionality comes into play. A direct competitor of the Surface RT is the Asus Transformer Infinity. Similar in price, and both with an easy way to turn the tablet into a laptop-type device.
Same hardware specifications, except for the operating system. The Transformer has access to 100's of 1000's of apps and games, many free/ad-supported, and the Surface RT, well, not so much.
The big advantage the Surface RT has over the Asus is recognition. Windows RT looks visually identical to Windows 8. So people who are used to Windows 8 on their computers are more comfortable in using a Windows RT tablet as their first tablet. But, With both Windows 8 and Windows RT being released at the same time, people are still using computers running an older, completely different looking, Windows version (or a Mac), so it doesn't have much benefit from this just yet. Once Windows 8 starts to become more mainstream, in a year or so maybe, then a tablet like the Surface RT might gain a lot more popularity.
Digital Movie Stores:
Digital movies can now be obtained on just about any phone and tablet. They all offer movies and TV shows for rent and purchase, and while it is convenient to be able to just pick a movie you want to watch, you are basically stuck with it on that device.
If you get a movie from iTunes, you can only watch it on Apple devices or through iTunes on a computer. If you purchase a movie from Google Play, you are stuck watching it on an Android device, or through a web browser on a computer. For TV playback you need to use something like a TV-out cable or an Apple/Google TV of some sort.
Amazon has a lot of success with its Prime service. A $80/year service, which offers content similar as Netflix, streaming and free. For subscribers, it gives Kindle owners instant access to 1000's of free movies and TV shows. If it wasn't for this service, B&N numbers would have been considerably different.
I don't like paying for something that is completely restricted to a certain device, so I tend to stay away from obtaining movies and TV shows from these digital services, however, with Amazon's Prime service, I actually have picked up a few shows here and there. They are good at this. They offer a bunch of seasons of a TV show for free, and when you really get into it, you find that the next season is no longer free. Not really nice, but since the credit-card is already hooked to the account you use to watch the video, it's just 1 tap to get the next episode and watch it within a matter of seconds.
For most of the shows I watch, I rather pick up a DVD box set, and just convert them with DVD Catalyst to watch on my devices, which is usually cheaper as well, but with access to the free seasons first and then so close to watch the next episode without having to go to the store and all, it's a bit too easy and convenient, genius.
If this free service wasn't there, I don't believe Amazon's Kindle Fire devices would enjoy the popularity they have now. B&N offers great hardware, but, just like Blackberry, Sony, Microsoft and Google, the video services they offer through their online store options are more of an afterthought, rather than Amazon's strategy of making it a core feature.
Of course on almost everything there is a Netflix app, but a subscription service without an option to purchase (hint for Netflix) content that isn't offered for streaming, it just falls a bit short.
Adobe Customer Support (Billing).
It's been a while since I posted a rant, but I figured it was time again for one.
A few weeks ago, my credit-card got "hacked". I have no idea how it happened, but somehow, someone got a hold of the number, and decided to do 2 large ($500) "cash-backs" at a fast-food restaurant using my card number, on the other side of the country. Thankfully, I have (great tip if you use your card online) email notification tied to it, so whenever the card gets used, I have an email with the information within less than a minute, so I noticed it right away, and was able to cancel the card within minutes of the charges.
The money-part has since been resolved, however, with a canceled card comes the hassle of updating the payment information for the services it was tied to.
One of those services I use is Adobe's Creative Cloud.
A great service on its own, charging a monthly subscription fee for access to all of the applications Adobe has in its portfolio. The price is very affordable, especially considering the pricing for the individual apps.
Anyway, like with the other services I use, I figured it was just a simple log-in to the site, update the information and done. Well, not really. It turns out, the site was experiencing some issues, so I was unable to update it myself. For my first attempt, the link on their website to get to the area was dead. It was during the weekend, so their support phone-number was non-functional, so I used their online chat-system.
After about an hour, I was told it couldn't be done, and I had to call their support department instead, and they gave me a phone number to call. I asked if they were there during the weekend, since on the site it showed that phone support was only during work-days, and I was told that they were there.
Well, they were not, so I tried again 2 days later.
Surprised to find that the link on the site was working now, I tried that, but when I got in the area I needed to be, there was no way to edit.
I called the support number I was given, and with a wait time of 30-45 minutes, I hung up, and contacted them through chat again, asking for where I would need to go to update the payment information. I should have left the phone on, since it took that long to be told to call.
So, I called, waited, and I was finally able to update my payment information by telling the person on the phone my card number and the rest of the details.
Thinking it would be all done now, I received a suspension notice from Adobe for my account due to a failed payment. So I logged back into my account, and to my surprise, my payment information was not updated at all. I wasted my time on the phone, gave someone from Adobe my CC information in order to update my account, and nothing happened with it.
But, I was finally able, thanks to an edit button that wasn't there the day before, to update the information myself, and all is well now.
So, for something as simple as updating payment information on Adobe's website, which should be a matter of a few seconds, I ended up I wasting quite a few hours. Fun fun fun.
Thank you for reading this week's newsletter. I hope you have a great weekend, and see you next week,
About DVD Catalyst 4
DVD Catalyst 4 converts your movie and TV show collection (DVD, AVI, MKV, ISO etc) to great quality video files that are perfectly optimized to play on portable devices.
Convert DVDs with a single click of the button, convert 1 or 100 video files in batch-mode by using Drag & Drop, remove black bars, include subtitles or closed captions.
It includes pre-configured device profiles for 1000s of devices, including the latest Apple devices (iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPhone 5) Barnes & Noble NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, Amazon Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire HD 8.9, Google Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and much much more.
Regular price $19.95, for a limited time only $9.95
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