We’ve become so accustomed to the ease and convenience of iTunes and blink-and-you-miss-’em CD rips that we forget how in the mid-1990s, ripping a CD was a time-consuming process fraught with peril. Shoot, ripping a single disc to a 128Kbps MP3 could take eight hours on a 200MHz Pentium! Fast forward a decade and faster hardware and better software have made CD ripping so mainstream your mom does it.
Now, ripping DVDs is our great challenge. Copying and transcoding the disc’s video into more efficient formats involves math an order of magnitude scarier than what’s required to rip audio CDs. A machine that will rip the latest Miley Cyrus CD in mere moments could take hours to extract and convert your copy of Alien vs. Predator to an iPod-friendly format. But with the right software, a quad-core-equipped PC, and a little know-how, you can cut your disc-rip time from hours to 30 minutes. Plenty of tricks and traps still await first-time rippers, but we’ll show you the basics and then walk you through some of the most valuable power-user ripping secrets.
Your first decision is simple: What player are you ripping your discs for? Are you ripping for a portable player, like the PSP or iPhone? Would you rather stream to a device in your living room, like the Xbox 360, PS3, or Popcorn Hour? Or are you simply interested in making archival-quality DVD rips in case you lose your collection? More likely, you’re looking for a combination of all three of these things. We’ll show you how to rip your DVD to a file suitable for streaming that consumes a fraction of the disk space of a DVD but maintains full video and audio quality. Then you can take that file and convert it for whatever other devices you might have, like a PSP or an iPod.
With the preliminaries out of the way, let’s get started.
TunerFreeMCE's Martin Millmore posted an example of what Hulu is doing to restrict its content, which at first meant that "no new programs will be added to Hulu in TunerFreeMCE at the moment." However, Millmore was quick to update the Vista MCE add-in to version 2.6.7, which he says works with Hulu's new encoding, albeit while running a fair bit slower.
According to Engadget, Boxee will also have an update available for Windows and Linux users before long with a workaround in place. Once that happens, it will be interesting to see how Hulu responds, who some feel is at the whim of its content providers, and not evil aliens (if such a separation exists).
As Blu-ray players and media continues to go down, the cost of adding Blu-ray to your Netflix subscription is going up. Again. Back in October of last year, Netflix implemented a $1 surcharge to customers who wanted to add access to Blu-ray rentals to their monthly subscription plan, saying the price hike was to cover the "significant cost difference" between Blu-ray and standard DVDs. Netflix called it a "pretty modest" surcharge at the time, but now you could be paying up to $9 extra per month to add Blu-ray to your plan.
"We’re committed to providing a high quality Blu-ray experience for our members who choose to add Blu-ray access, and in order to do that we need to adjust Blu-ray pricing. As a result, the monthly charge for Blu-ray access is increasing for most plans and will now vary by plan," wrote Jessie Teitz, Netflix's VP of marketing, in a blog post.
Hit the jump to see how the new pricing breaks down.
Earlier this month Boxee, the ambitious new program that’s looking to bring a full Web content experience to your living room (that’s currently only available for Mac and Linux), announced that it would introduce a brand new, overhauled application program interface (API) and a workaround that will allow Hulu’s content to work… for now.
The new API will introduce a few applications right off the bat, including built-in support for Pandora and RadioTime. But, the new API will also allow developers to build more complex applications for the platform.
The workaround that will allow users to view content on Hulu will work by detecting video in a regular web page and then attempting to put it into full-screen view. In the past, Hulu was available as a channel right though the API, but it was blocked at the request of content partners. Not long after Boxee just grabbed the data they wanted from Hulu’s RSS feed, but they blocked that too. With any luck, this new change will allow users to view all the video content they wish.
Being a native (and current inhabitant) of the Pacific Northwest, I’m very used to seeing the Seattle PI around. The giant iconic globe above their building and the fluttering pages used as makeshift blankets for the homeless are all too common, but it looks like those days are officially over. The Seattle PI (known as “The PI” to Washingtonians like myself) has printed is last edition, and has become exclusive to the Internet.
The PI’s swap from print to electronic news is something of a landmark though, because this makes it the largest American newspaper to make that leap. Plus, with so many newspapers closing down and others in danger, this move will be closely watched by the entire industry.
“We clearly believe we are in a period of innovation and experimentation, and that’s what this new SeattlePI.com represents,” said Steven R. Swartz, the man in charge of the entire operation. “We think we’ll learn a lot, and we think the Seattle market, being so digitally focused, is a great place to try this.”
Are you ready for some f... reeware? It's Super Bowl weekend at Maximum PC, and we're doing all we can to find you the best, quick-hit freeware applications that will make a profound difference in your computing life. It's hard to manage the grill and install freeware, so we're giving you a mix this week: Tiny applications that don't require much of your input at all to interact with, as well as a pretty big application or two that should easily distract you if football-watching isn't your thing. We're covering a lot of field this week with our applications. Be prepared to check out everything from efficient file unzippers, to 3D designing programs, to pretty desktop RSS feed readers.
So what are you waiting for? Put on your helmet and get ready to go third and long with our latest batch of freeware applications!
B-list actors and Hollywood washouts taking refuge on YouTube may soon find competition from more talented (or at least more popular) A-list actors. According to The New York Times, the social video site is close to inking a deal with the William Morris Agency that would have the Hollywod talent agency putting its clients in made-for-web shoots.
The deal is not yet complete and neither YouTube or the William Morris Agency are commenting on the situation, but The New York Times claims to have talked with people close to the situation who say this is YouTube's most ambitious attempt to date to expand its video library with professional level content.
Should the deal go through, it remains to be seen how many prominent actors will show an interest in acting for YouTube, but it should be noted that the William Morris Agency represents the likes of Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Quentin Tarantino, and more, as well as famous producers and musicians.
What’s a USB key good for? Carrying files from one computer to another? If you think that’s all, then you’re missing out. USB thumb drives can be used in almost all the ways a regular hard drive can, including storing all sorts of useful apps. We think that this presents a great opportunity for savvy PC users to keep their favorite programs at hand, no matter what computer they end up using.
In this article we’re going to show you a number of different loadouts for USB “tools.” With these on hand you’ll be able to do everything from checking your email to recovering data off a damaged hard drive on any computer you find yourself sitting in front of. We'll also show you a couple of cool tricks, like how to run a virtual, encrypted drive from a thumb drive, so gather up some of those spare USB keys you have lying around and read on.
When talk turns to digital media players, Apple’s iPod and Microsoft’s second-generation Zune (with its third-gen firmware) dominate the conversation. But if you’re a Rhapsody-to-Go subscriber ($15 per month), there’s only one media player you should consider: Haier’s Rhapsody Ibiza.
You know a product is uncommonly designed when each of its successors looks and functions pretty much like the original. Such is the case with the latest revamp of the Sonos multiroom audio system. All the latest changes are inside the product or the software or are related to third-party services linked to the product. But that doesn’t mean they’re insignificant.