Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 103.
A quiet week this time. Most of my time this week was spent on development. I am working out a few ideas for MovieGallery and ImageGallery, which, hopefully, will make both apps more user-friendly and fun to use. Aside from that, I don't have much to write about this week. There was not much in terms of interesting tech-news that caught my interest, but there were a few that did.
NOOK HD NOOK HD+ get Google Play.
NOOK HD gains access to Google Play, apps required - SlashGear
As of today, Barnes and Noble is rolling out an update for its latest generation of NOOK tablets that adds the ability to install the Google Play Store.
Great on one end, because it opens up the NOOK HD and HD+ completely to installing whatever is out there for Android, but to me it looks like Barnes and Noble is throwing in the towel.
While B&N had issues getting apps in its app store, mostly because of a block against free apps with ads, with this move it gives something that many of its customers want, but in turn, it gives up the child safety and device security by no longer monitoring what is being made available for apps for the NOOK, and more importantly for them, the revenue stream associated with their cut from the apps sold through their own app store.
Only a few weeks ago, B&N released its own in-app purchasing system, and I'm sure a few developers were working with it, but I don't see them continue if their apps are already available through Google Play and can be accessed on the NOOK.
In addition, which developer is now going through the hassle of putting their apps through B&N testing procedure if the app can be uploaded without that to Google Play and be ready for sale/distribution in minutes, rather than weeks.
With Google Play becoming a part of the NOOK, the NOOK will become a more of a tablet than it was before, but all the digital content B&N offers can now eailly be obtained through Google Play directly, and likely even Amazon as well by installing the Kindle App through Google Play.
Of course, this will result in more NOOK's being sold, but is B&N really making anything from just the hardware sales? Amazon's Kindle Fire devices are fully rooted into Amazon's commercial world, which enables it to sell the hardware with a lower profit margin, and making more profit from sales of digital goods (music, apps, games, videos). B&N is likely following a similar strategy, but by enabling its competitor app stores to be installed, it seems to me that they have given up.
One last effort to compete with the Kindle Fire, and in turn, they will just enable both Google and Amazon to profit from the NOOK. It is great for the NOOK users, but I think that with this update, the NOOK HD and HD+ will mark them as being the last of the NOOKs.
Earlier this week, a particular game developer gained a lot of attention with a unique way of dealing with software pirates. In order to be ahead of the pack, the developer released a special "pirate" version of his game to popular file-sharing sites. The game itself, a game about becoming a game developer, was modified in such a way that when the pirated version was played, in-game, pirates were doing the same thing as what the player did.
Whatever was created in-game was always being pirated.
Game Dev Tycoon developers give pirates a taste of their own medicine | Ars Technica
This by itself is of course quite unique, but it also resulted in quite a few posts on websites from people who were playing the pirated game and complaining about the in-game piracy.
"Why are there so many people that pirate? It ruins me! ... Not fair"
"I can't make any profit... I mean can I research a DRM or something"
of course ignoring the fact that they are actually playing a pirated version themselves.
The article also shows some scary statistics as to paid vs pirated. 250 vs 3000, but, I don't see this as being correct. On the day of release, the developer was actually seeding his pirate-version of the game, and posted up a torrent on a few popular websites. These sharing sites receive a lot of visitors, and many pirates seem to just download something try it for 5 minutes and then ignore it/delete it etc.
A few months ago, a developer used a popular sharing site in a slightly different manner.
How one game developer is making The Pirate Bay work for him | Ars Technica
Again scary stats, but with a big banner image on such a site, I don't see how these numbers can provide a developer with a real indication of piracy of their work.
What does give a better perspective on the piracy rate is the popularity of their game or software on these sites without developer interference. A Google search for pirated versions of my own software brings up over 650.000 links, which is painful. Big companies sent out take-down requests to whatever they can find, but the time and money involved for this purpose is something I can not afford. Implementing some form of DRM/protection is of course another option, but all this does is giving the "crackers" a challenge for a few hours, and no matter which method is used, it never holds up and results in more work for the developer in assisting people where the DRM causes issues, or people lost their codes.
When it comes to cleaning my desk, I'm always a bit behind. Whenever I am testing something, I end up with a collection of different gadgets, tablets, computers, phones etc, and I don't always put them away when I am done with them.
So over time, charger cords end up being knitted into a sweater, tablets end up piled on top of each-other, you get the idea.
Last weekend I figured it was time to organize them a bit, so I untangled the cords, matched them up to the correct device, and placed them into the "gadget cabinet".
While putting them away, I ran into a few of the older devices I don't use that often, and noticed the resemblance of those with the current devices such as the Microsoft Surface, and figured it would be cool to post up an article and put them next to it for comparison.
For the article I used 3 devices.
The earliest one is the HP Jornada 720, one of the early Windows CE handheld PC's, which falls more in line with the Surface RT. Both share similarities in running on a mobile-optimized (arm-based) processor, and run an operating system that is not fully compatible with that of their bigger counter-parts, but offers familiarity in use. And of course, both operate by means of touch-screen and keyboard.
The second one is the Sony Vaio UX, one of the first real Pocket Computer devices out there. Similar in specifications as laptops from that time, but about half the size of a DVD case, and of course capable of running a full desktop operating system.
And the third one is the successor of the UX, the Vaio P. A bit larger , but its size increase is mainly caused by the inclusion of a more usable keyboard.
The article includes pictures of each of these devices alongside the Surface Pro, highlighting some of the features they have in common, as well as features I wish one or the other should have taken over.
Tips & Tricks:
Streaming videos to Apple, Android and Blackberry.
Some of the most popular tablets, including the Google Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Apple iPad 4 are designed for media consumption from their respective app stores. While some are offered with different storage capacities, once you picked one, there is no way to actually expand the storage without jumping through hoops to get it to work.
Of course there is enough room to store a couple of movies of your own, but with no storage expansion, you can only put a few of them on your tablet, and to add new, you have to remove the ones that are already stored on it.
I mainly use my tablets at home. In the evenings, when my wife is watching "Housewives" or something similar, I watch a movie or a few episodes on one of my tablets.
Because I usually don't have an idea which tablet I'll be using in the evening (I have a few, and tend to just grab which one has enough of a battery charge), and what I want to watch until late in the afternoon.
When I know which movie I want to watch, usually right before supper, I often have to start a conversion of it with DVD Catalyst, so when supper is done, the movie is ready. Rather than getting up, connecting the tablet and copying the movie over, I just stream them instead.
Here is how I do it.
1. Make sure you have a movie in the correct format.
Obviously, I use DVD Catalyst for my conversions, but just make sure that your video file is in (for Apple, Android and Blackberry devices) the proper MP4 format.
If you use multiple, fairly recent devices (Tegra 2 or newer Android tablet, such as the Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy Tab 2, Xoom, Transformer, Thrive, iPad 3, iPad 4 and iPad Mini, Kindle Fire HD, Blackberry Playbook, Q10, Z10 etc), you can actually use the same video file to play on all of them.
2. Make sure the movie file is "streaming-capable".
In DVD Catalyst 4, there is an advanced setting (Power User > Global Settings) near the bottom in the "Tweaks" tab called "enable streaming for MP4 files" which will, after the conversion of a video is completed, make the video file streaming-capable.
(If you use a different conversion tool, or have a collection of MP4 files already created without this setting enabled, you can use the streaming application to enable it as well.)
3. Install the free MP4 Streaming Server.
The following guide explains how to install and use it:
The MP4 Streaming Server is accessible through any web-browser, or if you are using an Android device, our MovieGallery video player application.
Note: If, after tapping on a video to play it, it takes a long (minutes) time before it starts to play, it is likely that the video doesn't have "streaming" enabled. To make the file streaming-capable, select the video in the MP4 Streaming Server application, and tap on the small orange lightning-icon at the bottom, next to the search box.
If you use DVD Catalyst, and have it automatically enable streaming, it is as simple as starting a conversion and adding the file to the MP4 Streaming Server app, and you can access the video on your tablet from anywhere in the house.
If you would like to stream your movies outside of your house, so you can watch your videos at Starbucks or something similar, things are a bit more involved. For details on how to stream your videos over the internet, have a look at this guide:
And that is it for this weeks newsletter. Thanks for reading, and see you next week.
About DVD Catalyst
DVD Catalyst is the easiest and most affordable software available for archiving 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.
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
Purchase Now and save over 50%