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.

BDtoAVCHD-main

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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Make free audio and video phone calls with Skype

I live in Chicago, IL. My family lives in Houston, TX. My wife’s family lives in Scottsdale, AZ. We have three children and unfortunately, they don’t get to see their grandparents much. Before my father passed away earlier this year, he wanted to spend as much face time with his grandchildren as possible. Thankfully, we had Skype to fill the void. It’s the premier, consumer voice over IP (VoIP) calling solution available for Mac and Windows.

There are a couple different consumer video calling solutions on the market today. Many of them come with either the web cam you buy. Some, like Apple’s FaceTime and iChat are proprietary. However, Skype is the one that most everyone thinks of and reaches for when you’re looking to share special moments with long distance loved ones.

Whether you want to share a special event, that new outfit, some stunning scenery, or the results of the big game, Skype allows you to share all this and more with Jetson’s style video calling. You’ll never miss out on the moments that matter most, regardless of the reason you’re apart – a business trip, vacations, etc.

Skype provides a way for small to medium sized businesses to collaborate and save on travel. As long as the call is between two points, Skype won’t hit you for the cost of the call, but they also include business plans with better connections that better facilitate the sharing of ideas, meeting of new team members, etc., effectively minimizing the cost and time of unnecessary business travel.

The latest version of Skype also includes support for HD audio and video. Providing everyone on the call has an HD quality webcam, you can see the video call in HD. However, you’ll need to understand that video of just about any quality, HD most notably, takes up a lot of bandwidth. HD video is likely best sent and received through a wired, vs. wireless connection to your home or office network. If you’re experiencing audio sync or video quality issues, then you will likely need to check your network connection and make any necessary adjustments.

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