BDtoAVCHD

Burn HD video discs and play them back on both set top boxes and your Windows PC with this cool utility.

My optical drive has been getting quite a workout lately. It’s a good thing, too. I’ve got well over 500 movies in both standard and HD formats. That’s great for when I feel like watching a movie on my PC or on my iPad or with my AppleTV. However, sometimes, it would just be nice to be able to pop a disc in a set top box and watch it because the TV that the AppleTV is connected to is busy, or I don’t want to watch on my Mac or iPad. This is where BCtoAVCHD comes in. It’s a cool Windows utility that can burn HD video discs that can be played on your computer or on your set top box.

BDtoAVCHD creates AVCHD discs from Blu-Ray or HD MKV files. As output we get the folder structure ready to burn to a DVD5 or DVD9. The software compresses the video to achieve the desired overall size of 4.7 GB or 8.5 GB with the highest possible quality.

The AVCHD format allows playback of the same type of content that a Blu-Ray drive or player does while maintaining HD (up to 1080p) but on DVD5 or DVD9 media. It is ideal for backing up Blu-Ray discs to a much a smaller disc while maintaining high quality. Media is converted only when necessary; and you don’t need any special codecs or media splitters installed. The best part – your discs can be played on almost any desktop Blu-ray player or PS3.

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BDtoAVCHD would be a really cool program if I could get the app to work with some of the video files I have on my Mac. Unfortunately, it wants to use M2TS or MKV files, and that’s it. Unfortunately, I have none. While the app will work with Blu-ray discs directly, you have to have a Blu-ray drive to read a disc, and unfortunately, mine is on the fritz.

The fact that this app won’t use industry standard video files like MPG’s or WMV’s or other HD compatible file is somewhat upsetting, and greatly reduces the value and usefulness of the app in my eyes.

download BDtoAVCHD

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Watch your favorite movies on your PC with Leawo Blu-Ray Player

leawoIf there’s one thing that I like to do on my computer, it’s watching movies. I do it quite a bit, for that matter. Having the right app on your PC for watching movies is important. Finding the right app to use on your Windows 8 tablet or PC is also not easy. I think I’ve found a good one, though. I gave Leawo Blu-Ray Player a try and I think you should too. It’s a multimedia player for Windows and it’s kinda cool.

Leawo Blu-ray Player can play Blu-ray/DVD disc, audio discs and files, videos and up to 1080P HD videos smoothly on just about any Windows PC, including Windows 8 tablets and PC’s. The software can also play discs from varying regions, so it doesn’t really matter what country the disc is purchased in. Leawo Blu-Ray Player can handle it.

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The app offers a number if different playback modes, including windowed and full screen.  It’s also easy to adjust subtitles and audio. One of the things that I like about it most is that the software is free for playing most any media you have. However, if you want to play Blu-ray media, you’ll have to purchase a license after the end of your 30-day trial.

Leawo Blu-Ray Player is a decent application.  The one problem I had with it, however, was the inability to get it to eject a disc prior to playback. The DVD’s menu appeared, and the app didn’t give me a way to eject the disc. It should have been fairly easy to figure that out. Perhaps I missed it, but either way, it represented a small concern.

The app is very Windows 8 oriented, sporting tiles of its own, within its program window. It fits in very well with Windows 8, as you’ll see in the app’s screen shots. For a free DVD player, this is a decent choice. As a Blu-ray player, it’s a bit on the pricey side, but as of this writing, Leawo is having a 50% off sale, so please check the website for an awesome deal on a great app.

download Leawo Blu-Ray Player

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Xbox One and Only

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Microsoft revealed their new multimedia console on May 21, 2013. Also known as the Durango project, the new console is the third iteration in the Xbox family. Officially named as Xbox One, this console brings the series to the next level of gaming experience, at least from the hardware point of view.

Unlike Xbox 360 which featured a PowerPC architecture, Xbox One comes with a x86 based one, making the backward compatibility with Xbox 360 games just a dream which will never come true. The processing speed will be determined by 8 GB of DDR3 RAM from which 3 GB will be reserved for apps and OS, the rest of memory being left for the actual games. The graphics unit is based on an AMD GCM architecture. Also the the new Xbox will not have a composite or component video output. The video and audio input and output will be combined into a HDMI 1.4 support which is ready for a 4K video resolution (3840×2160) and 7.1 surround sound output.

Microsoft went to a more simplified design for their new console, similar to PS3 featuring a two-tone “liquid black” finish and a boxy look. By all means, Xbox One is like a black box, with no replaceable components. Even the 500 GB hard drive cannot be changed or removed. The good thing about this design is that the console looks much more compact, with no moving parts. Even the Blu-Ray drive features a fixed retractable system for a more secure way of reading the discs.

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In case you want to borrow some games from your friend, you should know that the game discs can be played on more than one console, but only after you pay a fee in order to unlock it on your console. That’s because the games are tied to both Xbox One console and Xbox Live account. Even if the game features only singleplayer you need to have 24 h internet access in order to play it.

The Kinect sensor is now part of the whole system. This means that Xbox One will not function without the sensor plugged in. The new Kinect uses a 1080p wide-angle view in comparison to the VGA resolution of the previous version, and has the ability to process a huge amount of data to read its environment. Therefore the sensor can now track up to 6 players at once, including their heart rate, and their gestures performed with the Xbox One controller.

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The Xbox One controller maintains the overall look from the Xbox 360 design. If it works, why would you change it? The design of the directional pad has been changed to a four-way button while the battery compartment is slimmer. The big addition here are the triggers which will feature independent rumble motors which simulate directional vibrations. Imagine firing a gun with a trigger. On the xbox 360 gamepad you would get a vibration effect in the whole surface of the controller. But now, with the new technology, the vibration will focused only on the trigger.

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A digital video recorder is the new component available in Xbox One, which empowers the user to record his gameplay. The user can also edit and share their video creations using built-in video editing tools. Unfortunately no one known at the moment if the DVR component will be able to record video from cable or satellite TV services.

The console is schedules to be released at the end of this year. Overall it seems that Microsoft will mark a new financial success with Xbox OneMore, and will be able to attract new users in their ecosystem, because their gimmick  is not just a gaming console, but more of a media center which  can easily compete against with other similar products like Apple TV and Google TV platform. More details and info will be presented exclusively at E3 2013.

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Play all of your media files with VSO Media Player

Play all of your media files with this single, must have Windows player.

vmp_128x_128I like watching movies on the go. I take them with me wherever I go. When I do have them, I really like to use VSO Media Player to view them. It’s a multimedia player for Windows.

VSO Media Player will play videos, Blu-ray discs, DVD’s and audio files without having to install any additional, external codecs. The fact that most everything that you need is included is nice, and somewhat expected in today’s modern, multimedia age.  However, it is nice to know that it will support just about any media you throw at it, including DVD and AVCHD .ISO files.

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VSO Media Player not only supports Blu-ray and DVD ISO files, but its support extends beyond that. It also allows you to plug in additional decryption support, from AnyDVD, for instance.  Its also a decent media management tool.  VSO Media Player can manage  your media collection.  It can create and edit playlists as well as Edit the settings of Text subtitles: font, color, size, etc.

VSO Media Player is extra light and easy to use. It has a lot more support for hardware and software acceleration than I thought it would, given its pay model.  While there’s a great deal to like about this player, including its Blu-ray support, its really a simple player and organizer. If you’re looking for something to get you buy, this is an excellent choice. If you’re looking for something more advanced, you might want to look at the paid version or at something else, though it does have support for multi-cored processors, an audio booster and the ability to switch between GDI and Direct3D.

 

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Corel VideoStudio Pro

Quickly create professional styled video with this easy to use Windows application.

CorelEveryone is taking video today. Nearly everyone that I know has a smartphone or has access to a smartphone. As such, they’ve got digital photos and, more importantly, video clips flying all over the place. This is one of the biggest reasons why I like applications like Corel Video Studio Pro. It’s a video editing application for Windows.

Corel VideoStudio Pro is a powerful video-editing application, and has screen recording, built in. Its an all-in-one, video editor that provides editing, advanced effects, interactive web video and total disc authoring into a single package. The app is fast and packed with intuitive tools, that let you create family movies and slideshows, fun, stop motion animations, and screen recordings of presentations, tutorials and more. You can tap into the full power of your multi-core processor and share your creations everywhere with native HTML5 video support, or enhanced DVD and Blu-ray authoring.

Once you’ve got your creations completed, you can quickly share them online, or burn a professional quality DVD/ Blu-ray disk complete with menus, titles and transitions. Corel VideoStudio Pro has a huge template library. You can choose from a variety of Instant Projects, drop in your content and make a movie in minutes. You can drag your media and graphics onto the Timeline, add effects, transitions and more. You can reveal or hide tracks, zoom in and out, or customize the Timeline to your liking. VSP makes it very easy once you get a handle on the workflow.

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Corel VideoStudio Pro is a really cool app. It makes creating video less complicated than other apps and is fun to use. Non-experienced users may have a little bit of trouble getting used to the workflow and some of the tools, but it’s not difficult once you get going. If you have a lot of video and want to pull it all together into a disc that can be passed or sent to relatives or simply want to keep a hard copy record that can be viewed from any set top player, this is a decent choice for the task.

Download Corel VideoStudio Pro

 

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CyberLink Media Suite – All You Need to Enrich Your Digital Life

CMS10If you’re like me, then you have digital media coming out of your ears – photos, music, video – and more coming nearly every day. It’s not always easy to manage when items are coming at you from all directions. That’s one of the reasons why I like CyberLink Media Suite. It’s a media management tool for Windows.

CyberLink Media Suite is a 10-in-1 software suite featuring PowerDVD for movie playback, PowerDirector for video editing, PowerProducer for DVD authoring, Power2Go DVD burner and 7 other, additional CyberLink apps, including CyberLink WaveEditor for editing your digital audio. It’s an all-in-one DVD & Blu-ray Media suite that allows users to view and work with HD content, including Blu-ray.

One of the biggest things in HD TV as of late is 3D. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of 3D content out there to be had. With PowerDVD, you can use TrueTheater 3D to transform 2D Blu-ray videos into 3D movies in real time. PowerDVD also works wonders for SD DVD’s, too. TrueTheater HD up-converts your DVD’s and vides to near-HD quality. Your SD movie collection is now free of pixilation and other distracting artifacts.

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If you have an HD video camera, PowerDVD is the ultimate media player for viewing your HD videos right on your PC. You can watch AVCHD home videos captured on your camcorder or MKV and FLV files. PowerDVD also supports two new 3D formats – MVC Transport Stream 3D (M2TS) and MK3D – in addition to MVC 1080i 3D PowerDVD also supports quality of 5.1 channels Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD soundtracks for truly HD quality entertainment

When it comes to your digital photo collection, CyberLink Media Suite has you covered there too. You can use MediaShow to organize all of your photos and home videos. You can sort items by date, album or people. MediaShow automatically organizes your photos and videos into a calendar view by the date they were shot.

Once in MediaShow, you can use its FaceMe technology to identify and tag people in your collection. The app is surprisingly accurate. Once faces are tagged, MediaShow makes it easy to locate every photo that a person appears in.

Download CyberLink Media Suite

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View DVD’s on your computer with this must have Windows-based DVD player

Back in the day, I remember that playing DVD’s on your Windows based PC wasn’t always cut and dry. While Windows media player could actually display the content, it didn’t by default, as it didn’t have the appropriate video codecs installed for it by default.  In order to do that on Windows XP and any version of Vista other than Vista Ultimate, you needed a third party DVD player installed.  That’s when I found and fell in love with WinDVD Pro. It’s one of the best soft DVD players available for your Windows PC.


WinDVD Pro is advanced 2D, 3D, AVCHD and Blu-ray player software. The newest version supports not only 3D playback technology, but 2D to 3D conversion, and HD upscaling. If you’re into the 3D experience, its conversion capabilities allow you to convert and enjoy your movies in full 3D definition.

2D to 3D conversion is supported for DVD-Video and standard and high-definition video files. WinDVD Pro provides you not only with support for Blu-ray 3D, NVIDIA 3D Vision Shutter Glasses and XpanD Polarized Glasses, it also includes anaglyph 3D glasses the box version of the software.


You can use WinDVD Pro to quickly search online video sites and find your favourite movies at the best prices with the new Corel FlixFinder. With it, you can browse videos by category, compare prices, and bookmark and select your favorites, all from its convenient search screen.

read full review | download WinDVD Pro 11

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Read and backup data from scratched CD/DVD/Blu-ray discs with AnyReader

Anyone with children has this problem – you’ve got CD/DVD’s running around the house without the protection of their jewel cases, and they’re scratched beyond belief. Disc Doctors and other physical repair tools are great for optical discs, but not for other faulty media like floppies, hard drives and flash drives.  This is the reason why I like AnyReader. It’s a must have data utility for Windows.

AnyReader copies files from scratched CD/DVD/Blu-ray or defective floppy or hard disks. When your computer is unable to copy files from a damaged disk it aborts and deletes the part of the file it has copied. AnyReader will continue copying the file right to the end. Any data that hasn’t been recovered after several retries is replaced with blanks. This will allow you to effectively read every byte of information that can be read at all for the media in question so that it can be copied to the destination of choice.

AnyReader effectively copies corrupt data from erroneous network and/or internet connections if standard copying methods fail. It supports resumed downloads from the remote server if the connection was broken during the copy process.  This is especially useful for unreliable or spotty Wi-Fi networks.

AnyReader is an awesome tool. If you’re trying to pull data off corrupt or damaged discs or media and nothing else you do seems to work, AnyReader is the type of application that can save your bacon. Its affordable and reasonably priced and is a welcomed edition to my stable of utilities.  The only real downside to the app is that it won’t work with Macs or Mac discs. This would be a stone-cold ringer if it was a multi-platform utility.

download AnyReader

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