I received an e-mail from Netflix today informing me of yet another price increase, due to the fact that I rent Blu-ray movies. I was paying $11.99 for 2-discs-at-a-time and 4 rentals per month. And this did include the Watch Now online viewing. But over the past few months, Netflix removed the Watch Now from this plan, created a $1 fee to rent Blu-ray movies, and then changed it to a $2 fee monthly fee to rent Blu-ray movies. So two price increases (from $11.99 to $13.99/month) and one feature removal (no online steaming.) Is this enough to get me to leave Netflix? No. I’veRead More →
To get the best video quality playback possible for movies in a home theater, it’s necessary for the refresh rate of the source component to match the refresh rate of the display. One of the most common problems stems from the fact that most movies are 24 frames per second while most televisions are 60 frames per second (approximately.) It’s not a simple mathematical conversion to get 24 fps to scale to 60 fps. There are processing fixes (reverse telecine) to overcome this problem, but the frame rate of the source material must be properly detected and the proper correction applied. The best solution isRead More →
Note to readers: this information was current as of early 2010. Since then, ATI, Intel, and Nvidia have all released video/audio solutions to allow bitstreaming of the original Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio streams with the use of playback software such as Arcsoft TotalMedia Theatre. The below content, from early 2010, is for historical reference only. If you’re a home theater enthusiast, you want the highest-quality audio and video possible, and that means Blu-ray with lossless audio (Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio) and the best video compression codec (VC-1 or MPEG-4 H.264 AVC HP.) Most people would choose a Sony PlayStation 3 orRead More →
I just finished reading an interesting article by Amir Majidimehr (former Microsoft VP, video compression) in Oct 2008 issue of Widescreen Review. I was surprised that there are 4 different, incompatible versions of MPEG-4! Here are some facts from the article; I recommending picking up a copy of the magazine for all of the details and background. MPEG-2 was created in 1993 and gave great improvements of JPEG. Real Video and Windows WMV-9 were alternative compression codecs created for internet video streaming and are about 200% to 300% more efficient than MPEG-2. The MPEG association wanted to get into this segment and created MPEG-4 (laterRead More →
I’m very annoyed by the fact that I spend $30+ to purchase a Blu-ray movie and yet still forced to watched advertisements, trailers, and FBI warnings. Several years ago, SlySoft released a version of AnyDVD that allowed users to overcome these User Prohibited Actions for regular DVDs. Today they announced version 22.214.171.124 of AnyDVD HD that gives users the same features for Blu-ray. AnyDVD is a program that runs in the background on your Windows computer. When a DVD or Blu-ray disc is inserted, it dynamically re-authors the content of the disk so that when you use your favorite DVD or Blu-Ray software player, allRead More →
I firmly believe in paying for the movies you own. By doing so, I believe you should be able to move them to your media server and play them back however you please. BD+ protection (DRM) prevented this with recent Blu-Ray titles, but latest version of Slysoft’s AnyDVD HD overcomes this limitation. Here is the update notification: 126.96.36.199 2008-03-19 New (Blu-ray): Removes the BD+ protection from Blu-ray discs! (for increased compatibility with titles released by Twentieth Century Fox 🙂 ) New (Blu-ray): Added option to enable / disable BD+ removal New (DVD): AnyDVD ripper no longer uses the Windows filesystem, it has now its ownRead More →
I’ve read various articles debating the importance of the 1080p. I want to set the record straight once and for all: if you are serious about properly setting-up your viewing room, you will definitely benefit from 1080p (and even 1440p.) Why? Because the 1080p resolution is the first to deliver enough detail to your eyeball when you are seated at the proper distance from the screen. But don’t just take my word for it, read on for the proof.
There are a few obvious factors to being able to detect resolution differences: the resolution of the screen, the size of the screen, and the viewing distance. To be able to detect differences between resolutions, the screen must be large enough and you must sit close enough. So the question becomes “How do I know if need a higher resolution or not?”. Here is your answer.