Aug 082013

Experimenting with Spotify, throw (Sony), DLNA, uPnP and knowing that my Squeezebox server is something that will obsolete in a while, I found something that might just be right. Of course it does not have the nice hardware like the Squeezebox itself, but I get some stuff in return.

I found Plex. It is a mediaserver that you run on a computer in your home. It indexes your music, your movies, and your pictures. And with the Plex clients, you can browse and even play that content. DLNA browsing is not so surprising, but DLNA by itself does not help if the browser/client does not know how to handle a specific filetype. My phone does not know how to handle a movie in MKV format. It does not recognize my camera’s RAW format. Plex does. And it does it well.

The client app on my phone was not free, it was € 3.71 or something like US$ 5.

When connected to WiFi on my local LAN, I can play content (movies will be the main bottleneck) in any quality, even 20Mbps in 1080p is no problem. But you don’t always have your own WiFi at your disposal, that’s why you can connect your server to myPlex. On the server you enter the myPlex account information, and you enter the same credentials in the Android app. This is how they find each other, much like the Squeezebox has.
Now I can still see everything on my server, and from within the client I can choose the quality I want the data to be streamed to me. If you’re on a tight data-subscription, you can turn the quality down, but when that is of no concern you can turn it up as much as you like (or as much as your provider lets you).

Just tested all this, and tonight in the restaurant I could show a movie in full HD with subtitles. Over just 3G. Don’t worry, it was just a test, we had a lovely dinner with no movies 😉

Oct 292011

The first time I watched The Interpreter it was a different time. I was different. Watching it for the first time made me look different. Made me look at Nicole, and forget about the movie. A blond Nicole, and for the first time I think I loved it.

This evening I watched The Interpreter for the second time. On bluray, which I bought this week for only 4 euro’s. A strange price for such a movie.

Second times are different. Or maybe I am different. Nicole was as beautiful as ever, that will never change. But this time I got it. This time I did cry. You don’t always get a second chance. Some things only happen once in you life. I guess that’s what made me cry.

Oct 032009

From a colleague I got to view the DVD of Donnie Darko. Wow. This is a MUST! OWN! DVD! Don’t argue with me. You don’t know shit. MUST OWN. Yes I did hear good stories about the movie earlier, no it’s not a new movie, but for some reason I never got around viewing it earlier. So I’ll say this to you again: go buy the DVD, or better yet, the BD (there is no Dutch version of it, so I’ll have to order it abroad).

Thank you. Now go on living.

Mar 232009

I’m addicted to HD. I bought even more BluRay-movies. Constantine, Wanted (A MUST SEE!), The Bourne Trilogy (can’t get enough of Bourne) and because of the sheer audio quality (as I read in a review on the net) Celine Dion’s A New Day, which indeed is so real that you can actually imagine that you were there at the concert.

BluRay is a new format, and you can see that the studio’s are still experimenting with the possibilities. Some use the same boring menu over and over again, others (the Pirates of the Caribbean movies) think people like to wait for the menu-buttons to appear, while others don’t include a disc-menu but only a popup-menu (not known on the DVD format). It’s confusing, but on the other hand, it makes the experience per movie even more exciting. What have they done with this movie, are there any nice features I can switch on (picture-in-picture extras are very nice), etcetera.

It’s addicting. I can’t recall I’ve spent as much money on DVD’s in such a short amount of time as I did now on BD’s. And because of the picture and audio quality, the rerun value is much higher than with DVD. You see more details, hear new background noises, or you need to watch it a third (or more) time because you keep getting stunned by the overall experience!

One advice: get decent equipment. Your surround speakers must be full-range (mine do 38/35-32.000Hz). Your subwoofer must be able to produce very low (below 30Hz, mine does a whopping 20Hz) frequencies. And of course, your TV needs to be FullHD (HD Ready 1080p as it’s now called). Don’t forget to invite your neighbors from time to time, so they know where that rumble they sometimes hear comes from…

Mar 182009

I bought a BluRay burner. Great. The discs can hold 25 or 50GB of data, depending on whether you buy a single-layer or dual-layer disc, just like you have with DVD’s. You cannot burn BDMV’s, since modern settop-players don’t allow BDMV to be played from BD-R or BD-RE’s (just the crippled BDAV).
On Ubuntu you can’t play BluRay discs because of the stupid closed-source protection mechanism. And to top it all of, the software that comes with the burner (Cyberlink) doesn’t run under Virtual Machines (the way I use Windows) after the mandatory update (because I want to play BluRay content)….

So, I now have a 160 euro backup device, with 50GB discs that cost me about 16-20 euro’s, whereas I could have bought a DVD-DL burner for about 25 euro, and buy blank DVD’s costing close to nothing (60-80 eurocents, so about 4 euros per 50GB).

BluRay is the new way of screwing customers (as apposed to Blu being the new Black)…

Feb 222009

I guess with audio/video-equipment it’s just like with computers: when you upgrade this bit, you end up upgrading that bit too, and sooner than you know it: all of it has undergone major surgery. I told you I bought a new tv and a BluRay-player to go with it. My “old” AV-receiver is a decent one (NAD T753), but it doesn’t play the new HD-audio formats found on BluRay. So I looked around, checked my bankaccount, and now I have an Onkyo TX-SR606. Plays Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio like a charm. And it’s much easier to setup and control than the NAD receiver is.

Tomorrow I have a listening session with a friend. He has exceptional ears (and Martin Logan electrostats to go with it), so we’ll see what he thinks of the system I now have.

Feb 162009

Today I bought two more Blu-Ray titles: KungFu Panda and The Incredible Hulk (the one with Edward Norton), and I watched Panda today. Apart from being a great movie, the PQ and AQ is superb. PQ on most modern animation movies will be very good. With KFP you can see very tiny textures on stones, or the painting on objects, it’s just very very very detailed.
The AQ is also very good, the sounds and the effects are just exactly right and in the right place. So, when you like animation, and you need to feel good, watch KungFu Panda.

TIH is scheduled for later this week.
Update: TIH is a spectacle. AQ en PQ are both very good. Not the best I’ve seen so far, but still way beyond DVD quality.