DVD Catalyst Newsletter 63
Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 63.
For the last few weeks, I've been having some complications with the email-version of the newsletter. Something on my website-host has changed recently, which prevents it from sending out the newsletter emails. I haven't had the time yet to look into it deep enough to fix the issue, I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Of course the newsletter is also posted on my website, and a couple of forum websites on the web.
For your convenience, this link will take you to the newsletter archive on my website: http://www.tools4movies.com/category...vd-catalyst-3/
As usual, I've been quite busy this week. Aside from posting up a new Beta of DVD Catalyst, v4.3 Beta 1 (with a new conversion engine), I also managed to address a few issues and a request in MovieGallery (v1.5.5) and of course been working on an update for DVD Catalyst 4 for next week that includes Nexus 7 profiles. More about all that later. Let me start with this week's tech news.
The Nexus 7 is nearing release. Actually by the time you are reading this, you might already have one in your possession. There were rumors regarding Staples selling the Nexus 7 before Google actually managed to ship its pre-orders, but those were put "on hold". Of course all over the web, reviews and posts about the Nexus 7 are out, and when Google decides to ship mine, I'll likely write a review on my experience with it as well.
Along with the Nexus 7, of course the new Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean code was posted on the web by Google, and as a result, a variety of different devices, including the Kindle Fire, have been seen running ports.
Also this week, more and more companies have begun offering the Galaxy S3 smart-phone in their assortment. The phone itself looks pretty impressive, but I don't see much use in upgrading from my Galaxy Nexus to the Galaxy S3. It has some cool stuff though.
Angry Bird specialists Rovio released their new game, Amazing Alex yesterday for iOS and Android. The game is similarly captivating as Angry Birds, but it is quite different. Rather than shooting birds around, this is more in the style of "The Incredible Machine" where you use a variety of different house-hold objects to get something from point a to point b. I played a few levels on my Xoom last night, and it is pretty addictive. Rovio is milking the Angry Birds franchise beyond apps, and while my yorkies do like to tear the birds up, I can see Amazing Alex turning into a Disney TV show really quick. If you are into casual games on your phone/tablet, Amazing Alex is definitely worth the download.
DVD Catalyst News:
Last week, I released a new Beta version of DVD Catalyst 4 with a new engine and some pretty big tweaks regarding subtitles. Somewhere next week, I'll be releasing an update for DVD Catalyst 4, which will include some of the changes found in the beta (not the new engine though) and of course include some new profiles. If you have a device that you would like to see profiles for, let me know, and I'll try and add them in the upcoming update.
For more info on the Beta, have a look here:
This week, I released another small update for MovieGallery. Again some tweaks to the scrolling, but aside from that, I fixed an issue regarding file-names. A few people reported complications with wrong images being displayed if they had movies on their device named like "Toy Story", "Toy Story 2". this has been fixed. I also added, upon request, a few new backgrounds to choose from.
More information about the update can be found here:
Aside from the Beta 1 posting,
and the MovieGallery 1.5.5 release notes:
I added a small "guide" for the new-release movie "American Reunion". Since it is a popular movie, I figured it would be best to put it through its paces in case it decided to cause complications, and it worked fine.
DVD Catalyst 4 and the Google Nexus 7:
Based on the amount of emails I have gotten the last few weeks it seems a lot of people are looking forward to the Nexus 7. Pretty much every day, I have people asking me if (and when) I will be adding profiles for it in DVD Catalyst 4, and of course the answer is Yes. This week, the questions started to catch up a bit more than previous weeks, partially thanks to the rumors of Staples offering the Nexus 7 in-store this week. I guess Google stepped in, and pulled the plug on that.
I have a Nexus 7 on pre-order, and while I will add profiles for it in the update for DVD Catalyst 4 next week, I'll likely "pull a Xoom" with it when it comes in, and spend some time pushing its limits.
If you happen to have received your Nexus 7 already, and would like to use DVD Catalyst 4 for your conversions, I'd suggest to just pick one of the Motorola > Xoom profiles. My own preference is the Xoom HQXT, which works great for both DVDs and HD videos for the Nexus 7.
The Expendables 2:
In preparation for the next installment, I watched The Expendables (unrated) on my Playbook this week. Of course when it came out, I watched the original release, but I always like the unrated versions of movies, and this was no different. As a fan of the old 80's action movies, the whole idea behind The Expendables is a dream. The combination of the majority of action stars from past and present in a single movie, Stallone, Lundgren and Schwarzenegger, something you would have never dreamed of back then, it just seems surreal.
For the new one they added Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme to the mix, so it should be even better. Only a little more than 1 month (Aug 17th) to go to find out :).
Google Order Cancelation Process:
Earlier this week, I decided, after reading a lot of reviews, to cancel my pre-order for the Nexus Q. I know that some of the guys from XDA managed to make the Q a lot more useful than it actually is, but to pay $300 for something that my $99 Apple TV does a lot better is just a waste.
Anyway, after spending half an hour of digging on the Google website, the only option I could find was to call their "device support" department from the Google Play Store, so I did. After about 8 minutes in the Q, I finally got to talk to someone, and I was told that my order was already in the processing stage, so it could no longer be canceled. I had to "refuse" the package on delivery, and then after 2 weeks or so, I would get my money refunded. Not really nice and user friendly, but I guess I'll just put up with that. When I asked, since it was already in the processing stage, if I would be able to expect it in 2 days, I was told that it would ship in the last 2 weeks of July.
After some googling, I found out that something similar was said to other people a week or 2 earlier, also regarding a pre-order.
I'm not sure what Google is trying to do here, but it seems a bit off to force people to refuse a package in order to cancel an order. I can understand that the order taking and the order processing is done by 2 different departments and/or companies, but if I pre-order something with an unclear shipping date, and want to cancel the order a week before the vague shipping date time-frame starts, I should be able to do that. They are easy enough with selling people my MovieGallery program, and then a month later send me an email that I should not ship the order because "billing authorization" didn't pass, but for me to cancel an order I have to let the order process and ship is normal?
For the people who are wondering how the processor works, here is the procedure:
At this point it is no longer possible to cancel this preorder. Preorder shipment processing on your order has begun, which means that our shipping provider is moving forward with delivery preparation.
Once you receive shipment confirmation and tracking number via email, I recommend leaving a prominent note on the door to let our shipping provider know that you're refusing delivery of the package. In some cases our shipping provider has returned packages if their drivers see a note for refusal of delivery. The note should include the following:
- Refuse delivery-Return to Sender
- Include signature
- Include tracking #
If your package is returned due to refusal of delivery, your order will be cancelled and refunded within 2 weeks.
If the package is successfully delivered in spite of the delivery refusal note on your door, you can still refuse delivery of unopened packages within 5 days of delivery.
To do so, contact our shipping provider directly to schedule a pick up of your package. Make sure to let them know that the pickup is specifically because you're refusing delivery.
IMPORTANT: Don't open the package. Our shipping provider will not allow refusal of delivery for opened packages.
I used to get upset with negative reviews and complaints. I started software development as a hobby, making apps because I couldn't find anything that did what I needed to do, and because of this, I put my heart into my work.
But, since I released MovieGallery, I have been forced to let go, to not letting things affect me on a personal level.
If you look at the reviews on the different Appstores (Google Play, B&N Nookstore, Amazon App store), there is a lot of confusion regarding MovieGallery.
From the 3 locations, only Amazon lets me respond to individual reviews, but on the other 2, most of the negative reviews are because they don't read the product description. Complaints about trailers, complaints about no movies, complaints about Digital Copy movies (those DRM-loaded ones you get with some DVDs) not working, and then I am not even counting the one-star ones like "lame worst app ever sucks who ever made this is a terd" and "No need just player movie. I want to see new movie".
I can take constructive criticism, and if there are complications, I do what I can to fix the issue or refund, but for both Google and B&N allowing "reviews" like that to be posted and affect the overall rating of the app is just sad, and for me not being able to respond at all to them makes it even worse, and reporting them to Google/B&N doesn't result in anything either.
I try to include as much information as possible in the product description, post up links to detailed guides on my website that explain everything, but nothing of that does anything if people don't read.
I don't expect Google/B&N/Amazon to let developers pick and choose what reviews remain and should be deleted, however, the way they currently deal (as in don't do nothing) with BS reviews is also not the way to do it.
They should realize that while they are enabling developers to make money through them, it is also these same developers that make them money as well.
Many people rely on the rating system to get an idea about a product, and in its current state, it just doesn't provide an accurate indication about a product.
My DVD Catalyst Settings:
A few days ago, I had someone ask me, considering the major feature additions of HQXT and CRF, what settings I use for my own conversions these days.
Lately I've been using my Blackberry Playbook for watching movies at night. I have bigger and better tablets for this, but for some reason, the screen on the Playbook, along with its size just seems perfect for what I use it for. It is only a 16GB one, so I don't have that much storage space on it for super HD movies, but since the majority of what I watch comes from DVDs anyway, it is plenty.
Ever since I implemented the HQXT profiles, I have been in love with them. They do convert a little slower than the standard ones, but it makes up for that in quality.
(more info: http://www.tools4movies.com/2011/10/...7-oct-28-2011/)
With the HQXT profiles, DVD Catalyst 4 also uses CRF, which results in optimal quality throughout the entire movie without wasting anything in regards of file-size.
(more info: http://www.tools4movies.com/2012/03/crf/)
Due to the way DVD Catalyst works with videos that are of a lower resolution than that of the selected profile, using the Playbook HQXT profile or something with a bigger resolution like the Xoom HQXT or iPad3 HQXT profile doesn't make a difference, but because I do convert Blurays (guide) as well, I tend to stick to the Playbook HQXT profile.
(more info: http://www.tools4movies.com/2011/08/...en-resolution/)
Even if I am not using the Playbook to watch the videos, the 1024x600 screen-size set (and thus used as a limit for the video file resolution) looks amazing on higher-resolution screens as well, and it keeps the file-size down a little.
(more info: http://www.tools4movies.com/2012/05/...files-smaller/)
But, while I do use a slightly lower resolution than full 720p, I make sure that in "Modify", I set (with Power User enabled) the CRF setting to 20.
With those settings, my own video files look pretty much identical to that of the original video, either from DVD or from Bluray, and the files are manageable in size (from Bluray between 2-3GB a movie, from DVD about 1-1.5GB, depending on the length and scene activity of course).
So, in short, Blackberry Playbook HQXT, CRF at 20, everything else at its defaults.
And that is it for this week's newsletter. Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a great, cool, weekend.