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DVD Catalyst Newsletter 137 01-03-14 - Happy New Year

This is a discussion on DVD Catalyst Newsletter 137 01-03-14 - Happy New Year within the DVD Catalyst forums, part of the Supporting Vendors category; Hi, Happy New Year Everyone ! Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 137. Before I start, I have to warn you though. Last week ...

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Thread: DVD Catalyst Newsletter 137 01-03-14 - Happy New Year

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    Post DVD Catalyst Newsletter 137 01-03-14 - Happy New Year


    Happy New Year Everyone !

    Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 137.

    Before I start, I have to warn you though. Last week I slipped and fell of my *** and hurt my wrist, and as a result, this newsletter is a bit less than what I had hoped for.

    More about the fall down below, lets start with this weeks tech news:

    Tech News:

    Gadgets of 2013

    A new year, and all over the web, technology sites have been posting up their look-back articles on 2013.

    In last week's newsletter I mentioned that for me, technology didn't make too many big strides in 2013. Aside from the dawn (and dusk in my opinion) of TV-connected Android gaming systems like the Ouya, the introduction of the smart watch, devices of 2013 were merely upgrades of their 2012 counterparts. Some spectacular, but upgrades nonetheless.

    Below a collection of links to some of the look-backs on the web:



    Ars Technica:


    Droid Life:



    Samsung Shape:

    Samsung did a pre-announcement for a new speaker-system to be announced at CES next week.


    Plex Update:

    The popular Media Server/Streaming solution, Plex has updated things a bit. A new website, new apps and better integration:


    If you are using DVD Catalyst to convert your movies into personal media files for your tablets and smartphones, Plex is the perfect companion.

    DVD Catalyst:

    People are getting sick of the additional content such as movie trailers on discs, forced to be watched or manually skipped through before you even get to the actual movie. Based on the emails we received the last couple of weeks, it seems that, aside from tablets, a lot of people have been looking into digitizing their movie collection so they can access their movies without having to dig through the movies on the shelf to find the one they are looking for.

    There are a bunch of different solutions available that will enable you to do just that, but before we get to that, the one thing that all of them do have in common is that you will need to turn your discs into files stored on your computer.

    What to use depends greatly on your needs and the amount of storage available.

    The best solution is MakeMKV (www.makemkv.com). You are not reading it wrong, I am actually suggesting something from a different company.

    MakeMKV creates video files from your discs without making any changes to the video, audio and subtitles. It just copies everything over into a single video file. The visual and audio quality is identical, you can even decide to keep different audio and subtitles, just like you can with the movie on the disc. No quality loss whatsoever.

    Of course, because no modifications are made, the movie will also take up the same space as it does on the actual disc, so for a DVD, you end up with a 4+GB video file, and for a Bluray, it can go as high as 35GB.

    Second-best is to convert your discs with something like DVD Catalyst, or, (needed for using DVD Catalyst with Bluray) use both MakeMKV and DVD Catalyst.

    DVD Catalyst converts videos to video files on your computer AND compresses them to make them smaller in size. You could use it to create videos directly from DVD, or convert an MKV file to video files with a different video and audio format to save space.

    There are no settings to change in MakeMKV since it just copies the video and audio in their original format, however, if you use DVD Catalyst there are a number of options you can use to adjust quality to what you need or to reduce the size a bit.

    With DVD Catalyst, for best results with large-screen playback, I would suggest to start with the XBMC > XBMC profile:

    The profile is a "smart" profile, optimized for HD playback, but it automatically adjusts itself (so no adjustments needed) to whatever you are converting. It uses a fixed visual quality setting, which enables it to adjust the conversion settings, while the conversion is running, to whatever is needed to reproduce the same visual quality. For parts of the movie (faster movement) where more is needed, it will use more, and for parts of the movie (slower, romance scenes) where less is needed, it will use less.

    As a result, the files end up as small as possible while keeping the visual quality of the video as close to that of the source video/dvd as possible.


    While the removal of forced watching of trailers is one benefit of digitizing your videos, the main reason why people are going this route is to have instant access to their movies without having to dig through their collection. Its sort of building your own "Netflix" with just the movies you already own.

    Similar as Netflix, the devices (tablets, TV etc) you use to watch the movies on doesn't actually have the movies on them, but they are streamed from a computer located elsewhere. They don't take up space on your iPad or Nook, but you are still able to watch them with the tap of your finger.

    Streaming Solutions:

    MovieGallery + MP4 Streaming Server:

    If you are using DVD Catalyst and use an Android device, you might have found our Android app called MovieGallery already. MovieGallery is an app for NOOK, Kindle Fire and other Android tablets and phones that enables you to browse your movies using cover images. It has a bit more functionality than than, one being its ability to connect to our free desktop application called MP4 Streaming Server. We created MP4 Streaming Server to enable us to access our entire video collection from anything with a color screen and a web browser, and recently we included integration with our MovieGallery app.

    For information on how to use MovieGallery with MP4 Streaming Server, have a look here:



    Originally started as a modification for the original XBOX, XBMC turns an average computer into a media center, capable of playing just about everything.

    It is designed to be connected directly to a TV, providing a great looking, easy to use interface to access the content you stored on it, but over recent years, they have added some additional connectivity options that enable access to the files from Smart TV's and the like, and the release of apps for mobile devices such as Android and (jailbroken) iOS devices.

    Official site:


    Setup guide:



    Similar in design and functionality as XBMC, Plex also works with a client/server setup. You install the server application on a computer with access to your media content, and with a client app, all this content can be accessed easily and in a visually pretty way.

    Unlike XBMC, Plex has apps for numerous device groups that enable easy access from just about everything.

    Official site:


    Setup guide:



    With many tech sites doing a write-up on devices, of course a few sites posted up something about their favorite apps of 2013 as well. There are quite a few gems on them, so definitely check them out:









    Kindle eBooks:


    NOOK Top 100 eBooks:



    My wrist:

    As mentioned above, I fell last week, and hurt my wrist. I was able to get up though, so while I am getting older, there is no need for Life Alert yet.

    I was shoveling snow from the driveway (with a shovel), and stepped on an icy part, and instinctively braced myself with my hand. The landing wasn't that hard, but the impact combined with carpel tunnel didn't feel good to say the least.

    My wrist swell up a bit that day and remained swollen the next day, but aside from a small consistent pain, it went down.

    For some reason, this week it flared up again, along with something in my back that doesn't feel good. The fall apparently did a bit more damage than I thought, and now it feels like I reverted evolution a bit. I don't walk straight because of the back, and the pain in my wrist is preventing me from using my thumb.

    Thankfully its on the left side, so it doesn't bother me too much, but with typing and especially with turning a door knob, it does remind me that something is up.

    Galaxy Note 3 Week 12:

    It has been a while since I did an update on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3, so I figured I'd pick it back up.

    A few weeks ago, I started on the big review I promised, and as I do with everything I review, the first thing I did was a factory reset to get "clean" screenshots of everything.

    But, after the reset, my usage of the Note 3 changed a bit. I did restore some things like the data for S Health and my contacts, but aside from that, the weeks since have been busy with holiday stuff and I haven't done much with the Note 3 since.

    I do carry it around with me everywhere, but more because the case I have for it is a "wallet" type, and contains my ID and bank cards, but not so much for anything else. I had a few eBooks on it I was reading, but haven't bothered to put them back on it or even setup my Nook and Kindle apps. Earlier this week, I did install Oil Rush (link) on it and played a few levels while waiting at a restaurant, but beyond that, the only use it has seen these last few weeks is my nightly movie with MovieGallery on it.

    Things are starting to slow down a bit, and hopefully that will give me some time to get more use from the Note 3 as well as get the review done.

    One thing I do have to point out is that the pictures I took with it on Christmas ended up pretty bad. I think I mentioned it before, but I'm having issues with picture quality with the Note 3 when there is even a small amount of movement, and for a family thing like Christmas, its a bit problematic to ask everyone to stand still for a brief moment to snap a picture, let alone it is something that was supposedly eliminated a couple of decades ago, so should happen with current generation devices.


    Well, this is is for this weeks newsletter. My wrist has seen enough abuse for today, hopefully the burning sensation in the muscles of my hand and wrist will reside soon.

    Thanks again for reading, and have a great weekend



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