Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 110.
Another big week for Tools4Movies this week. As promised in previous newsletters, an update (v188.8.131.52) for DVD Catalyst 4 was released earlier this week, and also a bug-fix release for MovieGallery, v2.3.3, was released as well.
This week, I wanted to try something a little different with the newsletter. Of course the usual content, but I included a more links to external sites for additional information on certain parts, and I hope that, for the people who are interested, the additional links will make it easier.
Anyway, lets get this newsletter started with this weeks tech news:
Windows 8.1 Preview:
This week, Microsoft held its annual Build conference, which of course contained a lot of Internet Explorer and Windows stuff.
Following in Apple's footsteps, Microsoft is aiming for a yearly update for its operating system, Windows, and this year marks the first time with Windows 8.1 aka Windows Blue.
Last years Windows 8 release wasn't as successful as planned, partially due to the radical changes Microsoft implemented. In an attempt of creating a unified interface for tablets, smartphones and computers, one feature in particular that has been part of Windows since Windows 95, the Start-button, was taken out with Windows 8, in favor of the new touch-optimized "Metro" graphical shell, a move that didn't go over so well with most users.
In order to gain more momentum, a "start" button has been a main focus with Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 Hands-on: The hidden gem features - SlashGear
Hands-on with Windows 8.1 Preview: Windows 8 done right | Ars Technica
If you are interested in installing the preview version of Windows 8, visit the link below:
Download Windows 8.1 Preview - Microsoft Windows
Don't forget to backup your existing files if you do though.
Yesterday was supposed to go down in tech-history as "Shield Day". Last month, nVidia started taking pre-orders for its new Shield gaming device, and a little over a week ago, the shipping date of June 27 was announced.
But unfortunately, a few days before shipping, a technical issue was detected, which prompted nVidia into delaying the release.
Nvidia Shield pushed back to July due to mechanical issue | Joystiq
A wise but risky move from nVidia. With the release-date announcement, a lot of people who did pre-order are now canceling, because the release date of "July" is nearing the end of summer and closer to the release of the new gaming systems. If you look at the comments on Shield-articles on technology websites, it is obvious that the Shield is a device that isn't fully understood by many. People see it mainly as an Android gaming device, a tablet with a build-in controller. With a price-point of $300, it places itself between pure gaming handhelds like the PS Vita and the Nintendo 3DS and the big living room-consoles such as the PS4 and XBOX One, and many people compare it with the $100 Ouya Android console.
While the Shield is an Android gaming system at its core, the thing where it differs is the PC connectivity. Being able to access full desktop-games on it is only matched by the Wii U and its tablet-like gamepad, and of course the upcoming PS4 and PS Vita combination. The Wii U has issues with content, and not all games that are out there work on the gamepad directly, and with Sony, the "Remote Play" functionality was promised with the PSP release 9 years ago, but never did get any further than using the PSP as a rearview mirror in a racing game. While Sony did make it mandatory for developers to support remote play for this upcoming generation, who knows how that will turn out.
Barnes and Noble NOOK tablets:
Something I suspected a few weeks ago when Barnes and Noble surprisingly added Google Play to the NOOK HD and HD+ tablets, it seems they are throwing in the towel with running their own Android devices. While the NOOKs are quite popular, for some reason, B&N is having a hard time making it a profitable business, so they are now hoping to partner with a hardware manufacturer.
While nothing else is known about this point, I would suspect Samsung to jump on this. The NOOK's have been priced at the lower point of the market, which happens to be an area where Samsung doesn't have much in terms of line up, so a Samsung Galaxy Nook to take on Amazon and Apple would be an interesting step.
Barnes & Noble to stop building Nook tablets, seeks hardware partners | Ars Technica
NOOK tablets on death row as B&N shifts to third-party brand licensing - SlashGear
The Ouya hit the stores this week, and supposedly sold out within a matter of hours. While congratulations for the Kickstarter success company are in order, unfortunately, many of its backers are still waiting for their Ouya's to arrive.
Ouya Arrives at Retailers Despite Backer System Delays - IGN
The concept of the Ouya is very interesting, but I don't know what to think of it. I participated in the Kickstarter for it last year (I like to support innovation), but now that it is finally here, the whole concept seems so "last year". Mine arrived a few weeks ago, and it is still in its shipping box. Normally when a new device comes in, I put everything aside in order to figure out what I can do with it (both personally and with my apps) but with the Ouya, I keep putting it off.
Some reviews if you are interested:
Ouya or ou-nah? • Articles • Android • Eurogamer.net
Ouya Review & Rating | PCMag.com
Ouya Official Launch Version Review: No.
Review: Ouya is the little gaming console that couldn't | TechHive
Blackberry Playbook not getting new OS version.
When Blackberry first announced their new Q10 and Z10 models, they mentioned that the Blackberry Playbook (still one of my favorite tablets) would be getting an update to the new OS as well.
Now, likely thanks to a combination of the limited success (profitability) of the Playbook and disappointing sales despite the release of their new phones (BlackBerry posts $84m loss in Q1 2014; predicts more losses to come - SlashGear), they have announced it is no longer happening.
XBOX One doesn't ship with a headset:
On various gaming websites, there are comment threads with people complaining about the XBOX One not shipping with a headset.
The PS4 comes with one, so a lot of people believe Microsoft should include one as well.
Microsoft reveals Xbox One headsets aren?t included with base system [updated] | Ars Technica
Xbox One Will Not Include a Headset - IGN
Xbox One doesn't come with a headset because it includes Kinect, Microsoft explains • News • Xbox One • Eurogamer.net
I don't understand why this is such a big deal to these people. The Sony headset is a cheap earbud with a microphone, which will, in my opinion, work badly for long gaming sessions with your friends anyway. Microsoft has the Kinect system, which will work in a similar way, but without something uncomfortable hanging on your ears.
Either way, the people who really care about using a headset will end up picking up a third-party (Turtle Beach for example) one that will work best for them anyway. Better audio, more comfortable, better microphone etc.
While it is understandable that people do a direct comparison with Sony and Microsoft in regards of their new gaming systems, these companies are going in different directions. Sony sticks to the core-gaming experience with added sharing features. Microsoft holds on to the gaming, but it's XBOX Experience goal is a tighter integration in the living room. With its TV-loop through and of course added services like HBO Go, it wants to make the XBOX One useful even if you are not playing a game. If it works, who knows, but I do remember that Nintendo broke some gaming rules with the Wii, and it paid off for them.
A small bug-fix release for MovieGallery.
The previous version had an issue on some devices where the video playback wasn't centered, resulting in a grey bar at the bottom. The video playback itself was fine, but with the video being stuck to the top of the screen, the viewing experience was a bit "different".
On Tuesday, the update was uploaded to all the Android stores (where MovieGallery is available), but due to different publishing methods, it might be a few days before it is live on Amazon Apps and B&N Apps.
DVD Catalyst 4 v184.108.40.206:
A big update for DVD Catalyst 4. New device profiles (including the nVidia Shield this time) are a given with every update, but this time some interesting new (and unique) features were added as well.
For full details, have a look at the release notes here:
Of course the update is free for existing DVD Catalyst 4 (and DVD Catalyst 3) users. Just use the download link you received when you purchased, or simply tap on the cat-eyes in DVD Catalyst to update to the new version.
If you run into complications with the update please send me an email (email@example.com), and at least mention the email address you used for your purchase.
For the last couple of months, I have stopped sending out the newsletter by email. When I started with the newsletter, it was email-based, and I posted them up on my website. After a couple of weeks, I started posting them on the forums as well.
I have stopped sending out the emails due to complications with the newsletter plugin for the website. Throughout the 2+ years I have been doing this, I kept running into issues with it, and while I was able to work around some of its quirks, it was a weekly struggle to get it to work properly, and it was always a surprise as to how the email actually looked when it was sent out.
The last drop in the bucket was something else. I still don't know if it was the email server or the newsletter plugin that was causing it, but during the last email-run, things got "stuck" and a few people ended up with more than one newsletter copy in their email inbox (some over 10), which prompted me to turn the darn thing off completely.
I am still looking for a proper solution to continue sending out the newsletter by email, but for now, the easiest way to stay in touch is to use one of the following links:
Our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dvdcatalyst
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116750894987781701156/posts
Or the website directly: https://www.tools4movies.com/blog/
If you use an rss reader, you can use this link as well: https://www.tools4movies.com/feed/
A newly added feature in DVD Catalyst 4, and one that I believe is up with the best features in DVD Catalyst 4, along with CRF and the HQXT profiles.
The basic idea quite simple, but it takes a bit of creative thinking to get a full grasp of what it does.
Simply put, it speeds up your movies a little. Not the conversion, but the actual playback.
Using the default setting, Time Saver speeds up the movie by about 10%, which translates into 1 hour ending up as 54 minutes (6 minutes per hour less). Of course the setting can be adjusted, (from running at 1% speed (1/100x realtime) through to 300% (3x realtime)), so you can tweak it to your own liking, but at the default 10% speed increase (1.1x realtime), the movies are perfectly watchable. Speeding it up more will result in high-pitched voices (chipmunks).
The 6 minutes per hour doesn't seem like much, but with movies often being over 2 hours long, you are looking at saving nearly 15 minutes, and this grows with each video you watch.
But, this isn't the only thing about Time Saver though. With many movies, I often have the feeling that it is slowed down purposely to make the movie play longer than it otherwise would. By increasing the playback speed a little, and I've tested this myself with a variety of different movies, it just feels a bit more natural, less boring.
Especially with action movies (The Avengers, Death Race etc), speeding the movies up a little makes the action considerably more intense, and (with Death Race 3 for example) it almost seems like a completely new movie.
For many people, the idea of speeding up movie playback seems a bit strange, but if you have the time, give it a shot. Try a few movies. At first, it feels "different", but after a movie or 2, chances are you will never want to go back to "normal" again.
Android Gaming Console:
With nVidia joining the consumer race, and the Android Gaming Console console category appearing to gain popularity (or thats what manufacturers seem to think) Google appears to be joining in as well.
Google relies on market leaders with its Nexus line-up of devices, but it appears that Google has already moved on from its unsuccessful Nexus Q device from last year, and is now developing its own gaming console to take on the Ouya.
Report: Google looking to create an Android-based game console | Ars Technica
Google Android console, smartwatch and ?Nexus Q 2? tipped in works - SlashGear
I must be getting old, because whenever I try and think of the Ouya, all I see is big question marks. One of the reasons why games on Android are so unique is because of touch support. A perfect example is the iPad Cat Game, iPad Game for Cats: The World's Best Video Game (for cats, not humans) Home, something that wasn't possible without a touch screen. Sure, my cat is always chasing after my mouse pointer on screen, but with a touch screen, there is a reaction to it. The same with games like Angry Birds, sure, you can pull back the slingshot with a controller, but it is more fun to do the aiming and tension adjustment with a finger.
Sure, there are some games that work well with a controller, and those will translate to an Android console perfectly, but while great accomplishments, these games are usually based (NOVA) on big console counter-parts (HALO). Don't get me wrong, the developers do great work in trying to bring that experience to tablets and smartphones, but if you intend to play these games on an HD TV, often the original provides a better experience.
And while the $100 price point is quite interesting, the price of an XBOX 360 and a PS3 are getting closer to that every day, especially when the release date for their successors is around the corner.
On top of that, and considering Microsoft got a huge of complaints about this with its initial XBOX One announcement, all the big gaming consoles also enable you to play (and sell) used games, something that isn't possible with a digital distribution platform such as Google Play (and Apple's Appstore).
But who knows. The Nintendo Wii broke some records as being an affordable "secondary" console for many people, maybe these Android consoles will make a nice addition to the living room as well, next to an XBOX One, Wii U or PS4.
HTC One Nexus and Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus:
I'm still stuck with my Galaxy Nexus for a while myself, but if you are looking into a pure version of one of these top-end smartphones, you are in luck.
Earlier this week, Google opened up the ordering for these mighty devices, and reviews are popping up all over the web for them.
AnandTech | HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 Google Play edition Review - Nearly Nexus
Pure Android: Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One 'Google Play editions' review | The Verge
Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review - Watch CNET's Video Review
HTC One Google Play Edition Review - Watch CNET's Video Review
Real version of Skyfall's Dead Island:
Just a cool video I ran into on Engadget earlier today.
Dead island that inspired Skyfall comes to Google Street View (video)
If you have seen the movie Skyfall, you might remember the baddie's hide-out being on a deserted island. While the movie wasn't recorded there, it was modeled after an existing island used as a mining colony.
The video show a Google employee mapping out the island for Google Streetview. The area there reminds me of the I Am Legend movie.
Thank you for reading this weeks DVD Catalyst Newsletter.
Have a great weekend, and see you next week,
About DVD Catalyst:
DVD Catalyst 4 is the 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.
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.
Easy, quick, and great quality, and, for a limited time, only $9.95.
Regular price $19.95, for a limited time only $9.95
Purchase Now and save over 50%