Years ago, long before the dawn of the DVD or Blu-ray formats, consumer video was strictly all-analog, from the very first broadcasts right up to the introduction of the LaserDisc. The 12-inch, double-sided LaserDisc looked like a giant CD, but the video was analog encoded on two single-sided aluminum discs layered in plastic. The discs that debuted in 1978 had analog audio soundtracks, but later discs featured stereo digital sound. Millions of players were sold in the U.S., but LaserDisc was, even during the height of its popularity, a niche format that appealed mostly to videophiles. It had much … Read more
AoA Media's Easy DVD Converter can convert entire DVDs or just the parts you want, and save them in a wide range of formats, including high-quality files, widely compatible file types, and even Flash video for sharing online. It can also extract and save audio tracks from DVD movies. Easy DVD Converter is shareware that is free to try, though the trial version limits conversions to 10 minutes of video. The latest release, Version 3.0, features a new engine, and it's also compatible with Windows 8.
Easy DVD Converter's user interface is small and fairly plain, … Read more
It's one thing to burn a DVD disc and another to create a DVD that anyone can pop into a tray and play. For making DVDs out of your videos, Xilisoft's AVI to DVD Converter is a good place to start. It converts not just AVI files but also MPEG, MPG, M2V, VOB, and DAT to DVD disc, DVD folder, or ISO file. The flexible output options mean you can create DVD disc images that you can store on your hard drive yet play like regular DVDs (with a disc-mounting tool). But AVI to DVD Converter does much … Read more
There was a time when Sony was the first name in consumer electronics. The company's Trinitron TVs dominated the TV market for decades. In 1975, Sony's Betamax was the first widely adapted consumer video recorder format. The Walkman hit the market in 1979 and changed the way people listened to music, creating the personal audio market category. In 1982 the CD, which the company developed jointly with Philips, changed the way we listened to music even more. Sony extended its reach when it purchased CBS Records in 1988 and Columbia Pictures in 1989, and scored a triumph in … Read more
Streaming video may be cost-effective and convenient, but consumers are still renting more movies via the mail and physical retailers.
People renting DVDs and Blu-ray discs through retail stores, kiosks, and Netflix's mail service totaled more than 62 percent of all movie rentals in the first half of the year, according to NPD Group. In contrast, those renting digital movies via subscription streaming, pay TV video on demand, and Internet VOD added up to only 38 percent.
Though physical discs still lead the rental landscape, their popularity has been waning. Rentals of DVDs and Blu-ray discs dropped by 17 … Read more
Despite recent advances in streaming media, when it comes to watching movies, you still can't beat Blu-ray.
Indeed, it's precisely because of Blu-ray's unsurpassed picture and sound quality, to say nothing of its copious extras, that many movie lovers still prefer to own their favorite films on those shiny silver platters.
Shiny, expensive silver platters. I kind of feel like now that I've bought and paid for a Blu-ray of "Despicable Me," I should be able to make a backup copy -- just in case the original gets scratched. And what if I want … Read more
Since most people listen to music on free earbuds, plastic computer speakers, or car audio systems, it's easy to understand why great-sounding new recordings are rare. Even so, exceptional ones sneak through from time to time, and when I have a stack of candidates, I cover the best new releases here.
"The Raconteurs: Live in Montreux 2008" (Blu-ray) The Raconteurs were formed in 2005 by Jack White of the White Stripes, but this show from 2008 has just been released. The band's ferocious performances sound great here in DTS Master Audio. I like the two Raconteurs … Read more
Although public libraries, university libraries, and other large lending institutions typically have fairly sophisticated software to manage their collections, there are smaller entities like churches, nonprofits, and even individuals who could use an electronic hand when it comes to keeping track of their holdings. Granthaalok: The Book-Library Manager aims to provide a simple solution for the user who needs a way to keep track of what gets checked in and out and by whom. Unfortunately, the program's unattractive interface and generally unintuitive functioning make it hard to recommend.
Granthaalok's interface consists of a large gray rectangle with a … Read more
A worldwide zombie invasion is the perfect hypothetical setting for survivalist tips, and Jeff and I can't help but explore a few of them after watching this week's episode of "The Walking Dead."
After we get that out our system, the rest of today's rundown consists of AOL laying off the majority of its AIM unit, waving goodbye to the printed Encyclopedia Britannica, and a city in the U.K. shaming away loitering youth with pink lighting that exposes acne.… Read more
Happy Valentine's Day, peeps! (Actually, shouldn't that be "cheeps"? Hey, I like that. From now on, you're all my cheeps.) I love you guys and gals--even when you accuse me of running scams, ha-ha.
I thought I'd switch things up today. Instead of my usual deal (see this early-morning Marketplace post if you still need your fix), let's talk about something a little more abstract.