Archive for HD DVD

Half Off Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 Video Editor and DVD Maker

For longer than I can remember, I have been using and recommending Corel’s VideoStudio Pro package for excellent, affordable, and easy-to-use editing of digital video and for making your own DVDs.

Corel never rests in their efforts to keep these product competitive, modern, and up-to-date with the latest home video standards. The latest version, VideoStudio Pro X4, is no exception.

At its regular price of $100 it is still a great buy, but currently you can acquire this software for half that, $50.

VideoStudio Pro X4

VideoStudio Pro X4

Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 is the powerful, creative and easy way to take your video footage from shoot to showfast. Quickly load, organize and trim SD or HD video clips. Easily cut together your production from templates and get creative with amazing effects, music, titles, transitions and more. Explore new Stop Motion Animation and Time-Lapse tools, then export to 3D! Share anywhereon iPhone and other mobile devices, disc, your favorite website or your TV. …







Weekend Sale at Corel! Ends Midnight May 31.

Corel, the makers of WordPerfect, VideoStudio, and Paint Shop Pro, is having a special online sale which ends at midnight on May 31. Here are some links to some of their products. The links will let Corel know you found out about the sale from Skylarking.

bs_pspx2ult_lgSave Up to $40 on Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate. Full $99.99 $59.99. Offer ends Midnight 05/31/09: Paint Shop Pro is a very popular and easy to use photo and image editing program. It’s popular with high school and college students, and very handy for web site developers, too.

Save $40 on Corel VideoStudio™ Pro X2. Full $99.99 Only $59.99. Offer Ends Midnight 05/31/09: I have been using Corel VideoStudio for many years now to edit my home movies from my digital camcorder. With VideoStudio you can import video from most digital camcorders, edit them, and burn them onto DVDs which can be used in most DVD players and game consoles like the Xbox 360 or PlayStation. You can even use VideoStudio Pro to upload your videos onto YouTube. It’s a great product, and I recommend it highly. And this is a great price.

Save up to $30 on WordPerfect Office X4 Standard. Full $299.99 $269.99. Offer Ends Midnight 05/31/09 : WordPerfect Office includes the WordPerfect word processor, the Quattro Pro spreadsheet application, the Presentations slideshow application, Visual Intelligence SE for creating charts and graphs, the WordPerfect Lightning notation application, and WordPerfect Mail for email. It also includes tools for opening and creating PDFs and web sites.

bs_painter11_lgFREE $40 GelaSkins laptop Cover & Photo Painter webinar with Corel Painter 11 from $199.00. Expires Midnight 05/31/09: If you purchase a copy of Corel Painter 11 online through Corel.com before this offer ends, you will receive protective GelaSkins laptop cover (a $40 value) for your laptop, and an invite to attend an online seminar to learn more about using Corel photo Painter 11.

photo_video_bundle_lgSave $30 on Corel Photo & Video Bundle only $149.99 $119.99. This package deal provides you with the tools for editing your digital photos and videos with your personal computer. This bundle contains Paint Shop Pro X2 Ultimate for photo editing, and Video Studio Pro X2 for video editing and video CD and DVD burning. You can also create videos which can be played back on your video capable iPod, iTouch, iPhone. or T-Mobile G1. This package also includes a 2 GB USB flash drive, and WinDVD for playing DVDs on your PC using your PC’s DVD drive. Read more about each of these applications in my descriptions above.

bs_windvd9plusblueray_lgSave $40 on WinDVD 9 Plus Blu-ray. Full $99.99 $59.99. Ends Midnight 05/31/09. WinDVD9 Plus Blu-ray allows you to play DVDs and Blu-ray DVDs on your PC’s DVD or Blu-ray DVD drive for enjoying Hi-Def video discs on your computer. If you’re not sure your computer is equipped to handle Hi-Def Video and Blu-ray you can download Corel’s Hi-Definition Advisor Tool to check your computer system’s compatibility. WinDVD 9 also supports Dolby Digital EX Pro Logic II, Real Player, QuickTime, DivX, AVCGD, and DTS Digital Surround. And it’s compatible with Windows Vista.

Feel free to contact me about these products, or add your comments on this offer and the products with the links below.




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Video: To Stream or Not To Stream

That is today’s question.

Apple iTunes

I’m referring to the video streaming services that are available for the home consumer market today: Netflix, CinemaNow, Amazon’s Video on Demand, and Blockbuster. Streaming video, for those unfamiliar, allows you to watch a video while it downloads. This was available to computers originally, and has since moved on to include televisions via game consoles and set-top boxes, and mobile phones most recently through YouTube and MySpace among others.

Netflix, Inc.

I’ve read a lot of articles with a lot of opinions on which is better or best, but it seems clear to me there is no one service that works best for everyone and every viewing platform:

  • Not everyone wants to watch video or TV on their computer or mobile phone
  • Not everyone wants to pay $300 for a phone or a box
  • Not everyone watches videos on a regular monthly basis

As Tim Berry at business planning site Bplans.com says, “Not everyone is your customer.”

What Services are there?

Computer Services

For streaming video to your computer you have many choices: Netflix, Blockbuster, Amazon’s Video on Demand, iTunes, and CinemaNow among others. Some of these, such as iTunes, aren’t true streaming services since the video must be partially or completely downloaded first in order to be watched, but broadband Internet access is sharply reducing the amount of time one must wait for the video to download.

All you need is some video playing software on your computer in order to watch the videos. Some services use popular pre-existing programs such as Apple’s Quicktime (which is included with iTunes) and Microsoft’s Windows Media Player. Some services, such as Amazon’s Video on Demand use their own software. (Amazon has their Unbox Video player software.) Others, such as Google’s YouTube and Hulu from NBC Universal and News Corp. can be watched in your browser.

Some of these services charges have a monthly subscription fee you can use, or you can pay on demand. If you watch videos frequently, they are bound to have a monthly subscription plan that you will find suitable. Otherwise you can expect to pay at least $1.99 or $3.99 per video for on demand service. New releases tend to be harding to get as not all film distributors are willing to make their videos available in this fashion.

Television

Netflix Devices

Netflix Devices

The number of television services are increasing rapidly, but, in my opinion, still has a way to go. Quality is still not dependable from the true streaming services.

For example, Netflix, a perennial favorite, allows you to stream to your computer, and a variety of network media boxes are available which allow you to connect your computer to your television though your home computer network. You also have the option of streaming to a TiVo digital video recorder, a Xbox 360 game console, or a LG BD300 or Samsung’s BD-P2500 or BD-P2550 Blu-ray disc players. The video will download at the highest possible speed with the highest possible picture quality, but if there is a increase in demand the picture quality reduces to maintain the download speed necessary to keep the picture moving. A recent increase in usage by Xbox 360 owners caused such an increase in demand that some experienced picture qualities they considered “unwatchable”.

Vudu
Take control! Get movies on-demand. Watch instantly on your TV at anytime. Learn more.

As with the computer services mentioned earlier, there is either an on-demand fee or a monthly subscription plus the boxes themselves cost upwards of $150 and $250. TIVO has a monthly subscription of about $8 to $12, and Xbox 360 requires a $8 monthly subscription to their Xbox Live Gold service, or a $49 annual fee.

There are other set-top boxes to look at, too, such as Vudu and Roku.

Special Recommendation

Take a look at the LG BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player for accessing Netflix video on demand service. This player sells at Best Buy for $349, but you can get it at Amazon for $290 now.

Mobile Phones

Blackberry

Blackberry

Principal among the mobile phones are the Blackberry and iPhone. These new phones, along with Google G1 phone from T-Mobile, allow you to watch videos from any of the web based services. You laso have the option of storing video files on some of the phones with large storage capability. For example, the iPhone allows you to download videos from the iTunes service. Verizon offers it VCast television service which allows you to watch television programs on your cellphone.

Google G1

Google G1

The phones cost over $179, and then your phone service is about $39 a month (but you already knew that) plus there is a data service fee of $30 per month as well. The data service is needed for either Vcast or Internet access on your Blackberry, G1, or iPhone.

My Issues, Maybe Yours

Many of us watch too much TV, and in many cases too much video. Which is worse?  That all depends on what you watch and who you talk to.  Monthly subscriptions make me feel forced to watch video or feel as though I’m throwing my money away. I was an early adopter of Netflix, among other things, and paid the monthly subscription for a whole year and only watched one video, so that was a $96 rental. Big waste. I’m more of an on-demand video watcher, not an on schedule video watcher. I prefer to be informed over entertained, and when I’m informed I like to be informed honestly and objectively whenever possible.

I also like to have maximum picture quality. I had a laserdisc player, still do, and I have several DVD players. I think some of my laserdiscs look better than some of my DVDs. The engineering quality isn’t always equal. Some manufacturers put a little extra care into the transfer, but streaming video currently has a variable picture quality to account for levels of demand. Some days are better than others. I’m just thinking about digital TV right now. The occasional picture scrambling drives me nuts. We get to look forward to that 24 hours a day when analog TV broadcasts go offline in February 2009.

I hope you’ve found this post informative today. Let me know what you think of streaming video, the different services, and anything related. Or send me a question for a future post.




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