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DVD Catalyst Newsletter 121 - 09-13-13



Thanks for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 121.

In case you have been hiding under a rock, or haven't had internet access the last few weeks, this week was iPhone week. On Tuesday, Apple presented the world with new iPhone models, the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c, along with the operating system update for the new models, iOS 7.

With it being iPhone week, the web was flooded with Apple stuff, and most other technology companies decided (wisely) to hold off on announcements for a bit until the Apple avalanche is over.

But, a few things did grab my attention.


Tech News

Apple iPhone Announcement.

On Tuesday, Apple held its yearly keynote to introduce the new iPhones. Updated specs for the iPhone 5s, of course, but this time also a budget-model, the iPhone 5c.

The new iPhone does look quite interesting, and with my Galaxy Nexus being up for renewal, I am actually considering it, along with a few others. I am waiting for actual release to make sure that there is no "You are holding it wrong" fiasco with it, and will do a comparison of phones that I am considering as a replacement when that time comes. With the 5C available for preorder today, and the 5s next week, I'm sure reviews will start popping up pretty soon as well.

I did run into a funny thing during the keynote though, while following the live-blog on Ars Technica for the announcement, I was presented with some interesting ads:

Sony Vita Stuff:

Sony did take some of Apple's thunder this week by announcing new Vita stuff. In a couple of weeks (Japan only) it will release a new PS Vita, smaller and longer battery life, and a device it calls Vita TV.

The Vita TV is quite interesting, since it enables people to play (some) PS Vita games on the TV, but of course with "Remote Play" being mandatory on the PS4, it would also enable people to use one PS4 in multiple locations in the house. Rather than having to drag it to the bedroom, you can hook up a Vita TV, and play games from the PS4 that is located in the living room. Pretty cool I think.


Tools4Movies News:

DVD Catalyst 4 v4.4.3.1:

With the announcement of the new iPhones, and the new Samsung Galaxy Note devices, I updated DVD Catalyst to v4.4.3.1 to include support for the new devices. While working on that, specifications of the upcoming Kindle Fire models from Amazon appeared on the internet (link), so profiles for those are now included as well.

More information can be found here:


Tips & Tricks:

How to split DVD video:

Earlier this week, someone asked me if it was possible to convert a DVD that had a scratch on it.

Of course when you try to convert such a DVD, when the conversion reaches the part that is damaged, the conversion process will fail. While in some cases a scratch (when on the bottom of the disc) can be fixed, if it is too deep (or on the top in the foil layer), the DVD is basically ruined.

But, it is still possible to convert the DVD if you bypass the damaged area. If you know where abouts in the movie the damaged area is, just make sure that the conversion stops right before it, and continues after the damaged area. You will of course miss the part that was damaged, but the rest of the movie is still perfectly watchable.

Aside from the above scenario, there are a multitude of different reasons as to why you would want/need to split a DVD.

* Some TV show DVDs (Dukes of Hazard season 1 for example) do not have the episodes listed in separate tracks, so when you try and convert the DVD, you would end up with a single, large video file containing multiple episodes. While this is handy if you do a multi-episode run, my own preference is to convert the episodes into individual files, making it easier to remember where I left off.

* A music DVD or concert DVD, that you want to keep just that one epic performance, or convert the songs to individual MP3 files (in DVD Catalyst select Audio only > MP3 as a profile for that).

* Taking one particular scene from a DVD movie for personal video editing purposes or something similar.

* While not such a big deal with current devices, but having the movie in a single file might be too large for an older device due to limited storage, and by splitting the video you can keep a higher quality video.

Of course there are numerous other reasons as to why you might have a need to split a DVD, but the above should give you an idea as to what is possible.

Because of all these different needs, DVD Catalyst offers multiple ways of splitting a DVD into different parts.

For the different scenarios, I am using a run-of-the-mill DVD, and of course DVD Catalyst 4:

DVD splitting is not something people do on a daily basis, so DVD Catalyst considers it a "Power" feature, which by default are hidden unless you enable the Power User checkmark at the bottom right:

After enabling the checkmark, DVD Catalyst 4 displays a bunch more options:

In particular the scene selection options, the duplicate and split options are the ones that are quite handy when it comes to splitting movies.

Lets pick a few of the scenarios mentioned above, and explain how you can accomplish that with these options.

* File size too large. Maybe you are using an older device, and have to deal with storage capacity or limitations, or if you want to backup your movies to CD or something like that.

The "Split" button will cut the movie into 2 equal-length parts.

* TV DVD with all the episodes in a single large video, and you would like to have it split into individual episodes.

The "Split in parts of x scenes" is your friend here. Based on the amount of episodes on the disc, and the amount of scenes on the disc, you can set this to the amount of scenes per episode. If there are 5 episodes on a disc, and there are 20 scenes total, set this to "split in parts of 4" (20/5=4). In some cases, there might be an intro-clip that could throw this off a little, in which case you would adjust the start-scene setting.

* Music/concert DVD and you want the songs as individual files, or just one particular scene or music video.

Similar as above, the "split in parts of" setting, along with the start-stop scene settings will enable you to do that.

* a damaged DVD.

There are a couple of different ways to do this with DVD Catalyst.

When I run into a damaged DVD (my wife has a habit of picking up DVDs at a pawnshop), I usually run a "scene-split" on it. I just enable the "split in parts of" setting, and leave it set to "1".

The conversion will then convert each individual scene into its own video file. When it runs into an issue such as a scratch, of course the file it was creating at that point would be corrupted, but rather than stopping the conversion completely, it will just continue with the next scene.

After all the scenes are converted, I just look at the files I have, and from that I can determine where there is an issue in the movie:

Just looking at the thumbnails makes the bad area stick out like a sore thumb.

In the above example, the 7th scene is the one where the DVD has an issue, so in order to be able to convert the movie, we perform these steps.

* First, undo the checkmark for split in parts, since we are not going to need that anymore.

* Change the end-scene setting from the last scene to the scene where it needs to stop, before scene 7 in this case, so we set it to start scene 1, end scene 6.

* Now we need to convert the part after the bad part, so tap the duplicate button, which will create a copy of the selected track in the conversion list, and change the settings for start scene 8 (start after the bad portion), and the stop scene to the last one, and then start a conversion, which will produce 2 video files, one for the first section, and the other for the second section.

The above method is the easiest way (I think) to bypass a damaged section on a DVD, however, you will be missing a full scene of the movie. If it is a small scratch, losing a full scene might be a bit much.

For this you can use the DVD Catalyst preview to set a more exact position.

* Again create a duplicate of the track, since you will need to convert the part before and after the scratch. (if you tried the scene stuff from before, don't forget to turn them off)

* Select the first track, and tap the preview button.

* In the preview, move the position slider for the video playback to somewhere close to the part of where the scratch causes the playback/conversion to stop prematurely, and tap on the button on the right of the slider (the one that shows the movie playlength) to mark that point as the end position for the conversion.

* Close the preview, and do the same for the second track, but move the position slider past the bad area, and tap the left-most button, 0:00:00, to mark that point as the start position for the conversion.

* Close the preview and start the conversion.


Can DVD Catalyst convert DVDs to music files?

I get questions like these every now and then, but for some reason, this week, I had quite a few people ask me about this.

The main purpose of converting video to MP3 is of course for music/concert videos, but there are many people who use it as a quick way to turn a movie into some sort of audiobook. Of course an actual audio book is more descriptive with what is going on, but if you have movies that you have watched a lot of times, just hearing the movie alone is enough to bring the visuals back in your mind.

The answer is yes. DVD Catalyst can convert DVDs, as well as everything else it converts to an MP3 music file.

As a "video player device", select Audio only > Movie to MP3, and whatever you convert will end up as an MP3 audio file, playable by anything that can play MP3's.


DVD Catalyst Time Saver:

I wasn't sure where to place this in the newsletter, since it could be considered a tip as well, but since it is a personal preference of mine, I figured the "Thoughts" section would be a better fit.

In a recent update of DVD Catalyst, I added a feature I call "Time Saver". A setting that will, when enabled (not by default though) speed up the playback of a movie by 10%.

The original reasoning for me to come up with the Time Saver feature was to free up some personal time for me at nights. By speeding up the video playback a little, without making everyone sound like chipmunks, it would save me a couple of minutes per movie. But, after watching a few of my favorite movies, I realized that the speedup also resulted in making the movie experience a bit more intense. Especially with action movies like Death Race, it changes the entire experience for the better.

Since implementation, I have been using it for all my own conversions, but this week was the first time for me that I used it for a movie I never watched before.

I converted the new Star Trek movie from Bluray (read the bluray guide first) to nVidia Shield HQXT format with everything in "Magic Hat" (link) enabled, including "Time Saver".

The movie itself was great, but I am glad I watched it with Time Saver enabled. While watching the movie I noticed a few sections where the activity slowed down quite a bit making it a bit less entertaining for me.

Another bonus of using Time Saver is that the framerate of the video is adjusted accordingly (higher fps), so it makes the playback a lot more smooth.

Time Saver is not a feature for everyone though. If you want 100% perfect conversions, it is best to leave it off, but if you are, like myself, more concerned about actually being able to watch the movie and not too concerned about a slightly different experience than originally intended by the people who created the movie, try a few with Time Saver enabled.

New Smartphone Search Part 1:

As mentioned earlier, I'm looking for a replacement for my Galaxy Nexus, so in the next few weeks, I'll be doing some research on how the different smartphones would fit my needs. Of course I have seen the specs and such because of DVD Catalyst, but in my opinion specs alone don't really give an idea as to how good a device runs. Before this week, the smartphone rush was controlled by companies trying to put the most Ghz in a phone, and this week, Apple upped it a bit by releasing the first "64bit" phone.

The 64bit isn't important or even interesting to me at this point, and having a phone with the highest Ghz processor is also not something that matters much. In fact it would actually be more of a deterrent due to the amount of battery-juice it consumes.

Since I am not changing my plan in order to keep my grandfathered "Unlimited Data", I'll be stuck with the phone for another 2 years, so I will be going for a high-end one, which gives me a choice of the LG G2, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, HTC one and iPhone 5s. I might even go for a Windows Phone model this time as well, but I'm not sure yet.

Anyway, more on this next week.


And that is it for this week's newsletter. It has been a while since I shared some tips and tricks, so this one was a bit more "DVD Catalyst" focused than usual.

Thanks for reading this week, and if you have any suggestions, requests, tips, feel free to let me know.

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, DIVX, XVID, MKV, ISO etc) video files so you can play them on just about anything capable of playing videos, including all the popular Android/Apple tablets and Smartphones.

For only $9.95, you can watch your own DVD collection on your tablet or smartphone, without having to purchase or rent movies you already paid for from an online movie store such as iTunes or Google Play.

In addition of converting your DVDs, DVD Catalyst also optimizes videos that do not play properly on your device so that you can watch them without stutter or freezing.

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.

DVD Catalyst 4 includes profiles for all the latest tablets and smart phones, including the Apple iPad Mini and iPhone 5, Amazon Kindle Fire HD, Barnes & Noble NOOK HD, Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2 and much more.


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.


Quick, easy, and the best quality,


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