Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 116.
A crazy week for me this week. While I'm never short of things to do, the last 2 weeks or so, I've been working on a new application, MKVShrink.
Aside from MKVShrink, Build 18.104.22.168 for DVD Catalyst 4 was released this week as well, and I've spent some time with the (for me at least) long-awaited nVidia Shield.
More below, but first this week's Tech News:
MotoX and LG G2 close off high-end smartphones for 2013.
Of course Apple is still keeping the curtains closed on the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, but for Android, with this week's release of the MotoX and the announcement of the LG G2, and with nothing big in sight, it appears that all the cats are out of the bag for this year.
Engadget did a nice round-up of the specs of the 4 biggest Android phones of this year, which might come in handy if you are looking for a new phone.
LG G2 vs. the competition: flagship Android smartphones square off
I'm still rocking a Galaxy Nexus, and still have a couple of months to go before I can switch. I am interested in the LG G2 myself, mainly due to its size and minimal border, but I might hold-off for a while and see what 2014 will bring instead.
Mario Kart saves the day:
Earlier this week, a 10 year old boy saved the lives of his family by taking control of the steering wheel after his great-grandma passed out:
10-Year-Old Credits 'Mario Kart' For Helping Him Save His Grandma's Life
Considering all the negative attention the media gives to video games, it is nice to see something positive mentioned about them once in a while.
As mentioned above, I've spent some time on a new app this week, MKVShrink.
There are a lot of people who use DVD Catalyst 4 to convert their MKV files, but on a regular basis, I receive emails from people who are interested in reducing the file-size of their MKV's while keeping the audio and the subtitles in their original form in order for the files to be used with media-server devices such as the WDTV or a MediaCenter-type system.
Usually when I have to make deep changes in code to get something working, I build a small test-app with just the new functionality, which makes it easier to test and troubleshoot. Then, when everything is working as intended, I merge the code from the test-app into the full code.
MKVShrink is such a test app. I created it to try some different ideas on shrinking MKV files, and rather than keeping it as an internal app, I figured since it works pretty good that it would be a shame to not share it.
Please understand that MKVShrink is and will remain (for now) a test-app, and even though it is publicly accessible and fully functional, there are no guarantees and I do NOT provide support for it.
MKVShrink is what I consider a testing-ground for new functionality for DVD Catalyst, a work-in-progress as you will, and it may or may not see an official release.
More information, as well as the download link, install instructions and known issues can be found here:
DVD Catalyst 4 Update
Earlier this week, I released DVD Catalyst 4 v22.214.171.124.
Aside from the usual new device profiles (Nexus 7 v2, Lumia 625, Moto X, Xperia Honami etc), I tweaked a few things internally, such as the HQXT conversion format (and thus the HQXT profiles) and the "Time Saver" feature.
Full release notes can be found here:
Video Games and the Media:
Video games are the root of all evil, at least that is what the media wants you to believe. Whenever something bad happens where children are involved, its video games that get the blame, and of course the media is all over it. But, when things go the other way, when video games are credited as being used for good, the media seems to ignore it.
For example, take the news item above, the boy who managed to steer the car to safety, and credited Mario Kart. It is a great story, but if you look on the internet, only a collection of technology-related websites posted it, but none of the big news media companies appear to have given it any light of day.
But, like Elliot Carver said in the James Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies, there is no news like bad news.
On Google Plus, a few people posted up some of their own experiences on how games saved their lives:
and I can say that I also have to credit a game for keeping me from harm, more than once.
A few years ago, I was caught in a blizzard while driving a very light pickup. Even when it rains, it slides all over, so when I know the weather gets bad, I don't drive it.
I had to do some computer work for a friend, and it took a bit longer than expected so on the way home, I was caught in the blizzard. Sliding all over, but, thanks to spending hours of drifting in Need For Speed, I was able to keep it on the road. Of course I wasn't doing the fancy sideway corners and the high speeds, but the "feel" of the car in the game was similar as that of what I was experiencing with the pickup in the snow.
Another time, it was on a rainy day, and I came home from getting groceries (same pickup) and an accident had happened right in front of my ramp of the interstate. I always keep my distance, and with bad weather even more, but the cars in front of me were quite late in braking, and with the pickup being bad on the wet road, I was sliding towards them at a steady speed.
With some wheel turning and adjusting pressure on the brake pedal, I was able to slide in-between the 2 lanes, passing 3 cars before coming to a safe stop. Again, if it wasn't for Need For Speed, I would have probably hit someone.
nVidia Shield Mini Review:
Ever since the initial announcement of the nVidia Shield, I've been waiting for the release, and after a delay, last week it finally arrived.
I've been rambling, eh, expressing my thoughts, hopes and opinions on the Shield for quite a few months now in the newsletter, and I am pleased to say, after a week of playing with it , that it does what I hoped it would do.
But, as many newsletter-readers already know, when it comes to using electronics, I tend to use only a small portion of a device's capabilities.
With many companies trying to move Android into the living room with game consoles like the Ouya, nVidia is attempting to take on the PS Vita and the Nintento 3DS.
One of the biggest grips people have with portable gaming devices is that for the more serious gamer, the controller options just don't cut it, so nVidia opted for something a bit different.
The nVidia Shield is a cross between an Android tablet and a game-controller.
On the tablet-side, it features a great-looking 1280x720p HD touch-screen, and is powered by the latest nVidia Tegra 4 chipset, making it one of the fastest tablets around.
On the controller-side, it is shaped like an XBOX360 game-pad, and features the same controller options, albeit slightly re-arranged. Thanks in a large part by the Halo game, the XBOX controller was one the first controllers that was actually usable for first person shooter games, so for nVidia to base the Shield around that design was a great choice.
Whats different with this setup over using a bluetooth/wireless gamepad with tablet is that the nVidia Shield has these 2 parts merged into a single device, making it truly portable.
As an Android device, the Shield is fast, runs everything Android, and runs it fast, but while nVidia tries to market the Shield as more than just a gaming device, doing anything other than that on the Shield is cumbersome.
For me, the only reason why I wanted the Shield is for its ability to stream PC games.
Ever since portable game systems came out, starting with the original Nintendo Game Boy, Game Gear, through to the current 3DS and Vita, the companies that released them focused on child-use only. Games were reduced in length, more bite-size and optimized for playing on the go. With the Shield, finally full, high-caliber games can be played from something other than the living room or office room. No kiddie version with reduced graphics, but a virtual world so graphically intense that only a "big" system is capable of in delivering. Skyrim, Fallout 3, Battlefield, Call of Duty etc.
And that part is where the Shield delivers.
Being able to walk through desolate landscapes in Fallout 3, fighting dragons on the top of a mountain in Skyrim, while laying on bed is priceless for me.
Of course I ran into issues though. For the most part it works fine, but some of the games I tried are not "officially supported". Fallout 3 for example, while it works, I ran into stability issues within the game itself (it is known for that), and it forced me to get to the PC and kill the app from there. In other cases, I ran into some network issues, losing connection mid-game. Reconnecting did bring me back where I left off, so it was a minor nuisance.
All in all, the Shield is great, but not perfect. It has a limited user-base, techies, tweakers etc, but for that user-base, it is a killer device.
The only thing that might come close is the upcoming Sony PlayStation 4 with PS Vita combo. With a (at the moment) mandatory "Remote Play" functionality being forced upon developers for the PS4, it should be interesting as to how things turn out. I'm hoping it will be more than just the ability to use the Vita as a rear-view mirror for Gran Turismo, but I'm not holding my breath.
Thank you for reading the 116th DVD Catalyst Newsletter, and have a great weekend.
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, M2TS, VOB, MPG, TiVo, DIVX, XVID, MKV, ISO etc) video files into the right file format for PCs, smartphones and tablets.
DVD Catalyst beats
most similar applications
in terms of conversion speed AND visual quality
of the created videos and with smaller file-sizes
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, and ready to be played using the build-in video app on your device.
The video files that DVD Catalyst creates are fully "hardware-decoding" compatible, so they play without stutter/freezing issues on your device, and even work (if your device supports it) with TV-out capabilities.
Quick, easy, and the best quality,for a limited time, only $9.95
Regular price $19.95, for a limited time only $9.95
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