Video Converter

2011 was a big year for digital entertainment. It brought us expanded content options for the Apple TV, the tenth anniversary of the iPod, iTunes Match, AirPlay to the masses, and more.

Apple TV makes new friends

The second-generation Apple TV may have been released in 2010, but it was 2011 when the diminutive set-top streaming device really expanded beyond its borders. Sure, it shipped with Netflix streaming built in, but in March Apple added support for streaming sports subscription content from MLB.TV and NBA League Pass (in addition to supporting Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound for Netflix streaming). And in October, the Apple TV got another major software boost, this time gaining National Hockey League subscription support, as well as a Wall Street Journal Live section, and AirPlay Mirroring for the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

Rumors also swirled mid-year about Apple buying up streaming video service Hulu, which would have added another facet to Apple’s video-delivery business. But like so many rumors, this one has not come to pass.

At the same time, Roku delivered the latest editions of its portable streaming devices, with the Roku 2 lineup—all of which cost the same or less than the Apple TV. The new Roku models look strikingly similar to the Apple TV (the sincerest form of flattery, no?) and add support for games and a Bluetooth remote control. In October, the company added a somewhat stripped-down LT model for $50, giving users even more options.

For those interested in how the Roku models stack up against the Apple, check out “Apple TV vs. Roku: Which is right for you?”.

It seems that the living room is no longer a hobby when it comes to delivering digital media. In addition to the Apple TVs and Rokus of the world, there are many TVs, Blu-ray players, and game consoles with streaming video and music services built into them. Yet the content remains the elusive piece of the puzzle, as media companies continue to avoid fully embracing the New World Order.

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    Want to make your DVD library more travel-friendly? Rip those movies and load 'em up on your iPad. It sure beats paying iTunes for stuff you already own. Speaking of paying, there's no need to spend money on a DVD ripper, either. For a limited time, you can get uRexsoft iPad DVD Ripper (Win) free of charge. It supports not only the iPad and iPad 2, but also the new iPad. To get the software, click the above link, then click the Free Download button below the product. After installing the program and running it for the first time, paste in activation code 08A123DCF36E2268EE59B46A75DCE42CBA93CCC4. I've done this myself and everything worked as expected, so if you run into trouble, please contact uRexsoft directly. iPad DVD Ripper works like most products of its kind. Just pop in a disc, choose your output format, and go find something to do for a while. True to its name, it includes output profiles for the iPad, iPad 2, and the third-gen iPad. (It also has presets for "iPad HD" and "iPad 3 HD," the differences mostly relating to video bit rate and resolution.) Keep in mind, however, that no ripped DVD will match the new iPad's 2,046 x 1,536-pixel resolution. That's because most DVDs are encoded at 720 x 480 pixels, so anything higher will actually be upscaled. How will a ripped movie actually look on the new iPad's screen? I'm not sure--quite good, no doubt, but comparable to, say, Blu-ray? Not likely. Anyway, iPad DVD Ripper can also convert movies to Apple TV (including "Apple TV HD") and iPod Touch formats. The latter should also work for iPhone and Android devices, as they're fairly generic MP4 and H264 formats. I used the program to rip my copy of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," and it worked just fine, if not especially quickly. However, the program threw an error when I popped in my "Despicable Me" DVD. Your mileage may vary. It's worth noting that uRexsoft is also giving away its iPad Video Converter, the only requirement is to like the company on Facebook. (Don't like Facebook? Don't like "liking" companies in exchange for free software? That's cool. Your complaints have been heard loud and clear in the past. Just saying.) iPad DVD Ripper normally sells for $25. Here's your chance to grab it free of charge, with no strings attached.
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