Saturday I stopped by my semi-local (an hour drive) Best Buy and picked myself up a shiny new Toshiba HD-DVD player. I wasn't able to procure any discs but I have managed to use a combination of HDTV2MPEG, VideoReDo (not needed with all streams) and Ulead DVD Movie Factory 5 to convert transport streams captured with my HDTV capture card losslessly to HD-DVD. The process takes about an hour to do a movie or about half an hour to do a TV episode. The process is so fast since it doesn’t require you to re-encode the files. It'll be interesting to compare these tests against the HD-DVD copy of Serenity that should be arriving this week from Amazon.
For those interested in the process I use HDTV2MPEG to join the .TS files when needed and then use VideoReDo to convert them to MPEG stream files. HDTV2MPEG will convert to MPEG stream files but I had trouble with DVD Movie Factory 5 loading some of the files. After you have an MPEG2 stream file start an HD-DVD project in DVD Movie Factory and drop the MPEG2 stream into your project. Disable menu creation or use menus with no animation or you’ll eat up a lot of disc space and the final project will take forever to encode. Once you get to the burning process choose the option to create an ISO file and then burn your ISO file to a DVD using your favorite burning software. Your new HD-DVD (on DVD) should play back just fine on your Toshiba HD-DVD player.
I guess this is what happens when you ask a bunch of people who probably
haven't seen all the movies on the list. Any one that voted for The Fast and the Furious needs to be drug out in the street and shot.
I finally broke down and bought all the major parts I need to start building a HTPC for our HDTV. This is something I have been meaning to do for some time but was waiting for all pieces I needed to come out. I plan on using the HTPC for HD/Standard video playback, games, emulators, music, photos, etc. For the curious here is a list of the parts I have purchased so far.
Abit AN8 Motherboard
Athlon64 3000+ CPU
BFG 6600GT PCI Express Video Card with HDTV Out
1Gig DDR400/3200 RAM (2x512)
The rest of the parts are going to be left overs from old computers that I'll slowly replace. I did not purchase a capture card as I plan to keep using the TiVo for ease of use. Living in a rural area we only get CBS-HD reliably so I'm still debating on getting a HD capture card.
I plan on purchasing an XMystique sound card with Dolby Digital Live Real-Time encoding which outputs DTS-ES, DD-EX 6.1/7.1, DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1 over S/PDIF and coaxial outputs. I'm still debating on the remote but right now I'm leaning towards the ATI Remote Wonder II RF. For game inputs I have a USB to PS adaptor that I plan on using wireless Logitech controllers with. I have a wireless keyboard but I have yet decided what to do about a mouse for gaming. I'm left handed so finding comfortable mouse is a little harder since over half of them out there are designed for the right handed.
I would like to run a Linux distro with MythTV on the box but it looks like I'm going to have to go with XP Pro or XP MCE for compatability and games.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of those movies that is going to get hell no matter how good it is. The books are put on such high pedestals by many that no movie will ever satisfy. I just read the first book in the series a couple months so I had it fresh in memory while watching the movie, which probably was a good thing. The movie tries to cover so much that it quickly explains major plot details that some people may miss and is scattered with references and pieces that won't make much sense unless you have read the books.
I treated my parents to the movie, both of which have never read the books. Both said it was nothing like what they expected and that it was so different it was hard to take in at first but in the end they liked it. If you liked the books go see the movie and remember it's a different medium and isn't going to be exactly like the book. If you have never read the books go see the movie and be prepared for something the likes you have never seen before.
I have Friday off so I'm heading over to San Francisco to see a friend of mine in Evil Dead: Live 2005. It's a theatrical presentation that pays tribute to the Evil Dead and Army of Darkness films. If you're a fan of the movies and are in the area you should definitely check it out. It's playing Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights through March 5th. Last year it sold out so you may want to buy tickets in advance.
UPDATE: The play was great. It was very campy and very bloody. If you are able to make one of the preformances make sure you wear some old clothes. We were in the front row and even with a plastic sheet infront of us as cover we got blood on our pants, shirts, jackets, hats and shoes. The set and actors were drenched by the end of show.
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