DVD Catalyst Newsletter 131 - 11-22-13 - XBOX One

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    Hi,

    Thank you for reading the 131st DVD Catalyst Newsletter.

    XBOX One week this week. Last week it was Sony who caught all the headlines, but as of today, the PS4 will have its primary competitor to deal with, created by none other than the almighty Microsoft, the XBOX One.

    Of course the entire web is flooded with XBOX and PS4 stuff these days, but through it all, a small headline in the form of MovieGallery 2.4 finds its way in this newsletter as well.

    More about the MovieGallery update a bit below, lets start with this week's tech news:

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    Tech News:


    XBOX One release:

    As of today, the successor of the popular XBOX 360, the XBOX One, is available for purchase. Well, if it has anything similar in popularity, available might be a bit too big a word, considering the PS4 sold out at over a million in the first day (unless you are counting the crazy eBay and Amazon Marketplace prices from people who purchased a bunch of them at retail in order to resell them with a big markup for the desperate ones).

    Sony has a focus on "gamers" with the PS4, while Microsoft envisions the XBOX One taking up a more prominent place in the living room by offering more than just games.

    For months rumors, facts and reviews have been posted all over the web on which one is better, more powerful, but seemingly the most important question has been widely ignored. Which one is actually more fun?


    WinAMP no more:


    Winamp killed after 15 years of media playing - SlashGear

    If you have been around computers and internet since the early days, there is little chance you never heard of WinAMP.

    When MP3's first came out, WinAMP was once the most popular music player on the planet. Competing alongside Sonique, MusicMatch and RealPlayer, WinAmp was the lean mean fighting machine that bested them all. Until they released v3. After that, things ended up going a bit downhill. To this day, there are still people who are using the latest 2.x versions of WinAmp, and are likely to continue to do so.

    For many, including myself, WinAmp was the first step into digitized music collections. While I haven't used WinAmp on a regular basis the last 5 years or so, I do run it every once in a while due to its plugins and ability of playing (and converting) less common audio formats, so it will be sorely missed.


    Android Benchmark Stuff:


    With just about every new device launch, benchmarks appear, and of course companies try their best to make sure their devices come out on top in these performance testing applications. For many people these benchmarks are so important, that the manufacturers actually build-in something that would speed up the device a bit when certain benchmark apps are detected.

    Earlier this week, Engadget had an article on a new benchmark app that is being developed that might change this a bit:
    Samsung and HTC phones go head-to-head in an 'uncheatable' benchmark test

    Similar to a well-known computer app called Fraps, this benchmark app runs in the background while real apps are ran on the device, unlike the common benchmark apps that just run repeatable content.


    Injustice Android Game:


    This week, WB released an Android version of its popular comic-based fighting game, Injustice Gods Among Us.

    It is a high-profile game, released for free with in-app purchases. The game looks great, but you might need a recent high-end device to be able to play it smoothly.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wb.goog.injustice


    (it has been out on iOS for a while, iTunes link)


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    DVD Catalyst News:


    After DVD Catalyst Free and DVD Catalyst GT last week, this week it was time for an update for MovieGallery.


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    MovieGallery 2.4:

    A few small tweaks here and there in the code to improve stability and functionality, but in addition to that, I did implement a few big changes:

    * On some devices running newer versions of Android Jellybean and Android KitKat, including the nVidia Shield and the Galaxy Note 3, the SD card location wasn't detected properly. MovieGallery already included 2 different ways of searching for files, which could be switched in the settings, but to be able to access all the videos on the device without switching the setting, I ended up merging both methods. Now, both scan methods are used when you start / refresh MovieGallery, ensuring all the videos are accessible.

    * Individual background images for videos. A long requested feature, which enables you to use individual backgrounds for videos.

    If you include a jpg or png file of the background you want to use for a movie in the same location as the movie and name it the same with _bg at the end (My Movie.mp4 + My Movie_bg.jpg for example) MovieGallery will load that background when you select the movie in the Gallery or CoverFlow image display.

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    The individual image is loaded first, and if it does not exist, the background image in the selected folder is used.


    * With DVD Catalyst GT and DVD Catalyst 4 on the 50% off Holiday Pricing, I also decided to cut MovieGallery's pricing in half, from $1.99 to $0.99. On Amazon Apps, NOOK Apps and Google play, the changes are already active, on FuhuApps (Nabi Appstore), its waiting for them to activate the changes (and the update).


    Important Note:


    Many people use MovieGallery with Amazon's "Freetime" on their Kindle Fire HD and HDX. Unfortunately, with the Kindle Fire HDX and the Kindle Fire HD 3.1 update, Amazon decided to put more focus on their child-oriented cloud subscription, and decided to block access for personal files (including videos and music) when using Freetime. As a result, video players, including MovieGallery, but also all other video players available in Amazon Apps, can no longer find or play your personal videos and converted movies.


    About MovieGallery:


    With DVD Catalyst, you can put your own movies from DVD onto your tablets and smartphones, however, for some reason, the most-used mobile operating system, Android, is quite limited in how it displays your own movies. Since the first public release of Android, the build-in video player has been designed around video recordings, and as of such, it displays a thumbnail of the video for identification purposes. While for home videos this is a great way to identify which is which, for movies and TV shows, these thumbnails can be very non-descriptive. With some extra taps, it is possible to get some additional information from each video, but especially with a bunch of TV episodes from the same series, its a bit of a hit and miss to find the right episode.

    So as a companion app for people who like to use their tablets and smartphones to watch movies, we created MovieGallery. A video player replacement for Android that displays file-names alongside the thumbnails to make it easier to find the droids videos you are looking for.

    But it has a bit more features than just that though.

    * MovieGallery has a powerful video player that includes features such as skip forward/back, position slider, different zoom modes (fullscreen for example) and has the ability to play SRT subtitles.

    * MovieGallery remembers the position you left off for ALL your videos. You can watch part of a movie at night, and show some other videos to your colleagues during the day, and MovieGallery remembers where you left off with your movie.

    * MovieGallery picks thumbnails for your videos, but you can also set your own cover images for each of your movies with the tap of a button. It will search for covers on the web and with a tap on the one you want, MovieGallery will use that to display your videos.

    * MovieGallery can display all the videos on your device, or you can browse using folders.

    * You can set background images for your videos, individually or for folders.


    For more information, have a look at the guide:

    https://www.tools4movies.com/moviegallery-guide/



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    Tips:


    With the holidays around the corner, I'm sure a lot of people will be getting / giving a new iPad, Kindle Fire, Nabi or other tablet.

    Because converting movies for these devices is somewhat time consuming (unless you are using a nice quad-core PC for the process), you can get a head start by starting early.

    Below a collection of DVD and video conversion guides for some of the most popular tablets for this holiday:

    Amazon Kindle Fire HD:
    https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-amazon-kindle-fire-hd-guide-2/

    Amazon Kindle Fire HDX:

    https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-amazon-kindle-fire-hdx-guide/

    Apple iPad Air:

    https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-apple-ipad-air-guide/

    Apple iPad Mini:

    https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-apple-ipad-mini-retina-guide/

    Asus Nexus 7:

    https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-asus-nexus-7-v2-guide/

    Barnes & Noble NOOK HD:

    https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-barnes-noble-nook-hd-guide-2/

    Fuhu Nabi2:

    https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-fuhu-nabi-2-guide-2/

    Samsung Galaxy Note:

    https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-samsung-galaxy-note-10-1-2014-guide/

    Samsung Galaxy Tab:

    https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-samsung-galaxy-tab-2-10-1-guide-2/

    VTech InnoTab:

    https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-vtech-innotab-2-guide-2/


    For more device guides, have a look here:
    https://www.tools4movies.com/devices/

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    Thoughts:



    Galaxy Note 3 Week 6:

    With the new and updated software releases the last few weeks, I haven't been able to spend a lot of time with the Note 3 yet, so I don't have enough to work with to write a full review, but I figured I'd share some of my experiences this week.

    * Camera. The quality of the camera is really good, but it is a bit hard to get them this way. It is probably something that I am missing, but for some reason when you tap the camera button, it does some processing stuff for a second or so, and the end result isn't always great. I'm used to snapping pictures and after tapping the camera button and hearing the click, I move to a different angle, but I can't do that with the Note 3 (yet?).

    * Performance. Above I mentioned the newly released Injustice game for Android, which of course I tried for a few on the Note 3. It runs really well, and despite the grapihical quality of the game, I haven't encountered any hickups or other performance issues.
    Yesterday I also briefly fired up Minecraft on it, and that too runs just fine.

    * Batterylife. Something that keeps coming back for me. With MovieGallery development, as well as a few other development-related thingies I have been playing with, the battery continues to hold up really well. With my previous phones (Droid X and Galaxy Nexus), spending a few hours back and forth with testbuilds and testing caused a big drop in battery-life, but the Note 3 doesn't seem to care about any torture I put it through.

    * With the changes I implemented in the 2.4 update, MovieGallery runs on the Note 3 like it was made for it. Even high-resolution images for covers and backgrounds don't seem to phase the Note 3, and scrolling between videos located on memory and sdcard transparently don't show any sign of hickups either.


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    Closings:


    And that is it for DVD Catalyst Newsletter 131. Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend.

    Sincerely,
    Mitch


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