Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 84.
Quite the week for me (when isn't it?). Thankfully MovieGallery 2's release went without any major complications, but time on the DVD Catalyst 4 update I am working on was a bit affected by putting up Christmas lights.
But more about that a bit later, let me start with this week's tech news:
Tech Support Scams:
A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of the phone scams that are being pulled these days. A few credit-fix companies got finger-slapped, but these things continue. Thankfully elections are over, so I'm not getting those darn "survey" calls anymore, but I'm still getting calls from "Ann with Credit Services" multiple times a day.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of other schemes around as well. Earlier this week, I read a nice article about how a sting operation was done on "Windows Support" companies that call random people to help them "fix" their computer problem:
How Windows tech support scammers walked right into a trap set by the feds | Ars Technica
Playstation 3 top Netflix device:
Sony announced earlier this week that the PS3 is the device most used for streaming videos from Netflix. This announcement coming from Sony seems a bit out of place. If it would come from Netflix themselves, considering that they are the ones who actually have this data, it would actually be believable, but with Sony not owning Netflix, or having access to the statistics from Netflix, it seems a bit out of place.
PlayStation 3 now #1 device for Netflix streaming - SlashGear
However, with all the "security" stuff Sony has build-in to the PS3, such as Cinavia, all of which causes complications for people who want to do a bit more with their PS3 than just play games, it wouldn't surprise me if it is actually true. Netflix makes the PS3 a lot more useful while people are waiting for fixes for game issues, or for developers that release new game content in the form of DLC for the XBOX, but are having a hard time making it work on the PS3.
Movie studios send takedown requests to themselves.
This one gave me a chuckle this week.
Movie studiosí automated takedown requests target legitimate links - SlashGear
True or not, it makes for a perfect April Fool's joke.
In order to reduce/eliminate piracy, movie studio's send out take-down requests to Google to remove links to illegal versions of movies. Of course it's a lot of work, so they use automated solutions for this, but apparently, these "robots" are not fully capable of determining if the content is legal or not, and even request take-downs for sites that are fully legitimate.
Releasing a big new release such as going from MovieGallery v1.x to v2.0 is always a bit scary. Even though it has been tested thoroughly, you never know what comes up if it gets into the public.
Thankfully all went well with the release. No major issue reports, except a few small things I had to work on.
One of the issues that came up was that on the NOOK color, if you use an SD card, movies on internal memory were ignored. I already uploaded an update to B&N that fixes the issue.
Then there was a request from someone on USB with the Nexus 7. I spent a considerable amount of time trying to access "Nexus Media Importer", but no luck as of yet. I did get the USB method with Stick Mount to work though.
(The update process on the NOOK is unfortunately a little tricky. I have no idea why it is happening this way, but to update from B&N, go into Apps, then archive MovieGallery, and then find the app again on B&N and unarchive it. This will install MovieGallery 2 on your NOOK.)
DVD Catalyst News:
This week I spent quite a bit of time on trying to get videos to work for the 3DS. Unfortunately, there are quite a few restrictions in this format, one being that it doesn't like videos longer than 10 minutes, so it requires quite a few changes in order to make it work. The format itself is also a bit limited, so it will take quite a bit of time.
2 big-name DVD releases this week, so of course I had to make sure all was well with the conversion of them. Thankfully both MIB3 and Batman 3 worked without any special tricks.
Men in Black 3: Men in Black 3 (2012) DVD | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
The Dark Knight Rises: The Dark Knight Rises (2012) DVD | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
I also posted up a few guides as well:
Nook HD+: Ultimate NOOK HD+ Video How To Guide | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
Kindle Fire HD 8.9: Ultimate Kindle Fire HD 8.9 Video How To Guide | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
December is always the busiest month of the year. A lot of people pick up gadgets for their friends and family, so I get a lot of questions from people who are interested in putting videos on them.
Q: I backup my DVDs with MakeMKV, and when I try and convert these MKV files with DVD Catalyst 4, the conversion stops after a minute or so.
A: The problem you are experiencing with your conversions is that a DVD movie contains the movie studio intro and the movie, which usually use a different framerate. MakeMKV just copies them over directly, without any modification, which, when you convert these files, can cause complications such as yours. If you convert directly from the DVD, the conversion runs in DVD mode, and counters automatically for this.
For your MKV's, please perform the following:
enable Power User, then go into Global Settings, and select the Engines tab. In there, switch the conversion engine for video files from Boosterpack2 to Original.
Q: I currently have DVD Catalyst 4 installed on my desktop but I would like to install it on my laptop as well. Do I need to purchase another license?
A: As long as it is for personal use, you can install it on more than one computer.
Just use the installer you downloaded upon purchase, or use the link from the order confirmation you received to install it on your other computer.
Q: Do you have any suggestions for DVD and Bluray conversions on a big-screen TV?
A: It depends on what device you use to play the movies on your TV, but in general MP4 files work with most.
For settings, I would suggest to use one of the HQXT profiles with a few modifications. This is what I use for my own conversions. They play on almost everything I have.
1. start with a HQXT profile such as the Acer A500 HQXT or something similar. The profile itself doesn't matter, as long as it's a HQXT one.
2. in Modify, change the screen resolution to 1920x1080. DVD Catalyst uses the resolution as a "MAX Size". If the content has a resolution lower than what is selected, it will use the original resolution instead. The reason for this is because upscaling video to a higher resolution during conversion is bad. It just blows up pixels, and requires more data to store the information for those pixels, and if you play it on a TV/phone/tablet, it will scale anyway.
3. in Modify (with Power User enabled) change the CRF setting to 20. The default 24 results in good quality at a reasonable file-size, lower is better. You can go lower than 20, but I cannot tell a difference between 20 and 16, aside from a file 3x larger in size.
The rest of the settings leave as they are.
With the resolution set to the max, and with CRF automatically adjusting to whatever is needed, the settings work for whatever you convert, and adjust automatically. for DVDs, it will use the DVD resolution, and just enough data to convert the DVD with the desired visual quality, for Blurays, it will use the higher resolution, and also adjust automatically to whatever is needed.
One thing I'd like to point out, if you do contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org), please make sure that your email address is actually functional. It doesn't happen too often, but for some reason, this week I ended up with 3 people sending me an email, and I had my reply bounce because the mailbox didn't exist.
I always reply within 24 hours (usually right away though), so if you didn't receive a response within a day, there was an issue with your email.
All 3 email accounts that I couldn't reply to were from @yahoo.com email addresses. I don't use Yahoo myself, but I recall that you need to log in to the website every couple of months in order to keep your account active. If you use Yahoo by means of an external email application, it could be that if you haven't logged in to the actual site that your account is suspended, and thus people can not send out emails.
When I run into these issues, I try and send out my response by email twice. If that still doesn't work, the only way I can contact the person is by using a message trick through PayPal. I refund one penny, just so I can use PayPal's messaging system. It gives me enough room for a small message to let the person know that their email address doesn't work.
This week, I spent quite some time outside. Last week, we put up lights into the big tree in the yard. I tried it a few times with strands and rope lights, but we ended up using (a lot) of net-lights. In total, there are about 8000 lights in it, and that only covers about 1/3rd of the tree (the side visible from the road).
Earlier this summer we had some electrical issues, and while we were at it, we also had the electrician put in a special "Christmas Socket", but unfortunately, it's not strong enough to hold up the tree, so I ended up having to split a few nets off to another plugin.
The wife put out some other things as well, so I'm sure the power company will be having a good time this month.
I used to be into this for quite some time, but since I started MovieGallery development (well, the first official release) I ended up running everything stock, unrooted.
With development on a rooted device, I was unknowingly accessing locations that are not accessible on a stock device, so during original testing, some testers were experiencing weird crashes I couldn't replicate.
This week, I ended up having to "root" again. Earlier this week I rooted my Nexus 7 in order to get Stick Mount to work with MovieGallery, and yesterday I spent some time with CM7 on an SD card for the NOOK tablet for MovieGallery testing as well. In both cases it was pretty easy to do. I ran into a few complications with the SD card, but got it to work regardless.
I will be doing an unroot on the N7 though, With Stick Mount now working, it will go back to stock. I don't use my devices enough to spend the time tweaking and trying everything so I don't have a need for root.
As mentioned last week, I'm in the process of setting up a media server so I can access my videos when and where I want.
The PC I got for it came with Windows 8, and the last week, I've been fighting with it in order to get it to listen, and do what I want, but it has been a big battle.
I'm a "multitasker" I always have 10-12 different things open at the same time, and with Windows 8, almost everything runs full-screen. Even if you are running in Desktop mode, opening something with a Win8 app results in things switching back to full-screen, and to get back to the desktop, it's another couple of clicks or keyboard taps to get there.
For a tablet-interface, it works fine, but one of the biggest things missing from all the devices I have is the ability of running multiple apps visible on one screen. Yesterday I saw a commercial for the Note 2, where the dual-app functionality is promoted, and I realized how sad our current tablets actually are.
Over 20 years ago we had Windows already doing multiple apps on one screen, with a screen resolution of 640x480. Now, look at these super-HD tablets like the iPad3-4, TF700, Nexus 10, why are we still restricted to 1 or 2 (Galaxy Note) apps onscreen at the same time? With the retina iPad screen, 4x the resolution of that of the older ones, why can't we have 4 apps running on screen? Sure, things will be a bit smaller, but it will work a lot easier for most people. Web browser open, drag image over to photo app to import, email app open to type the email and drag pics over from photo app to email etc. Now, it's all flipping back and forth between full-screen apps.
Now, with Windows 8 the desktop is going the mobile route as well. Even on a screen as wide as the Surface, running 2 apps next to each other is something you can only do from the desktop. But, the apps you can get for it are all "metro" style apps, so what is the purpose of a screen that size?
So, my media server received a nice wipe a few days ago, and is currently humming along nicely with Windows 7.
I struggled with Win8 on it, and even had some weird crashes going on for no apparent reason, losing wifi all of a sudden (including the access code after a reboot), and win Win7, which I have been torturing for 2 days now, no crash, no lost settings, just doing what it is supposed to be doing.
Hopefully this week I'll have the time to get things set up a bit more.
DVD Catalyst 4 Tech Tips:
A lot of people see DVD Catalyst 4 as a simple, easy, but limited, DVD conversion tool. With its one click DVD conversions, quick selectable device profiles, DVD Catalyst 4 is one of the easiest DVD conversion tools you can find, but it is a lot more.
One thing many people don't expect is that DVD Catalyst is a "TOTAL" conversion package. Even though it has DVD in the name, DVD Catalyst is also capable of converting the majority of popular video formats. AVI files, MKV files, MPEG files, DVD rips created by other software, DVD iso files, etc.
Many conversion tool companies like to split these up into multiple applications, A DVD converter that only converts DVDs, and then charge an additional fee for a Video converter, or, you can buy both with a special discount.
But, in essence, DVD is the same as a video file. Both contain video and both contain audio, so just because it is on a disc doesn't mean that it should be treated differently, which is precisely why DVD Catalyst does both.
But there is a lot more:
By default, DVD Catalyst runs in a "basic" mode, simple, friendly, and just enough things to play with to get the job done. This simplistic look makes it a lot easier for new users, even people who are not experienced with computers at all, to convert their movies, and often with better results that the so-called Guru's at work. Even some reviewers who claim to be well-versed in technology made the (false) assumption that DVD Catalyst 4 is more limited that other conversion tools available.
But as soon as you enable the "Power User" checkmark, it's true colors come out.
Numerous settings and options, previously hidden, appear, enabling you complete control over whatever you want to convert.
There are too many to list and describe, so it is easier to describe the main idea behind DVD Catalyst 4 instead.
The main thing I wanted when I developed DVD Catalyst was to eliminate as many clicks as possible. Most conversion tools take you through a bunch of steps by means of a wizard, and once you worked through these, it would finally do its thing. While this is all easy, after doing this a few times, it gets old. I have a collection of 1000's of DVDs, and to click through 5-6 steps for each one of those, even if I just want to use the same settings, is a waste of time.
So with DVD Catalyst 4, the main idea was to eliminate all that.
The very first time you use DVD Catalyst, you start the program, select your device, insert your DVD, and start the conversion.
For all your conversions after that, DVD Catalyst remembers your settings, so it's just start program, insert DVD, and start the conversion.
DVDs are automatically recognized and scanned, and when no longer needed, DVD Catalyst will eject the disc, making it all really easy.
But, there are of course differences between DVDs. If you convert foreign films, or if you are located in Europe, movies often contain a variety of languages and subtitles. If you just insert the DVD and tap go, your movie might come out with a different spoken language, either because the one you want is in a different location, or maybe because it is not available for that movie.
So DVD Catalyst 4 is capable of automating the language selection as well. It can look for an audio language, and if the one you want to use is not available, it can automatically select a second-choice language. You can even tell it to select a specific subtitle language if the first audio language is not available, so for example, if you want English, and there is no English, it would pick Spanish and enable English subtitles.
The settings for this are located in the Language tab in Global Settings.
Earlier I mentioned DVD Catalyst can also convert video files. This is where DVD Catalyst 4 really excels. With most conversion tools you have to add your videos one at a time, and then set things up and even convert them one at a time. There are a couple of tools out there that enable you to set up a batch conversion, so you can setup a conversion of a bunch of videos to run overnight, but they still require you to work through the application's steps to get it all setup.
With DVD Catalyst 4, this is as easy as a simple drag & drop. Just find your videos, and drag them on top of DVD Catalyst. Folders, files, DVD isos, DVD folders, just drag whatever you want on DVD Catalyst, and it will sort out what it wants and determine the best way needed to convert them all. 1 file, 100 files, DVD Catalyst always runs in "batch mode", so one click and all will be converted.
On top of that, with DVD Catalyst being a "total" conversion tool, you can setup a batch of DVDs (multiple DVD drives supported) and video files.
Of course, if you are converting video files, the files likely come from somewhere else and are stored in a folder on your computer. You can tell DVD Catalyst to "monitor" this folder for new video files, and whenever it finds something new, it will automatically convert it using your own settings.
These settings are located in the Automation tab.
Everything you can do with a "standard" conversion tool can be done with DVD Catalyst 4, but, unlike other conversion tools, everything can be automated. So aside from taking away the guesswork for converting your movies for your devices, it is also capable of taking away the "click" work as well
And that is it for this week's newsletter.
Thank you for reading, and have a great weekend,
For previous newsletters, have a look here:
Newsletter | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
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About DVD Catalyst:
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 profiles 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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