Thursday, June 21, 2012

Netbooks can play 1080p Blu-ray movie

Yes, that's right, both the current and the first generations of netbooks have GPU to hard decod 1080p HD video including Blu-ray movie. The only exception is the last generation - the GMA3150 GPU based netbooks, and that's how Intel, not iPad, killed netbooks.

So when you buy a netbook, make sure it is not GMA3150 inside. Both older (such as GMA500, N270) and newer (such as Z670, N2600) netbook chips can do HD; only GMA3150 (N450 series) cannot, Intel stupidly removed this critical feature from that generation of Atom.

First, you need to find and install "CLVDPack080410.rar". You only need to select "CyberLink Video Decoder (PDVD10)".

Second, you need to install Media Player Classic - Home Cinema. Disable its built-in H.264 filters. Then MPC-HC will use above CyerLink codec to play 1080p HD with GPU's DVXA hard decoder. CPU usage is very low, only 15% or so. Playback is as smooth as silk.

If you need to see closed captions, you need to find and install (Core CC Parser) filter. Then add it to MPC-HC as an external filter. If you play HD files over LAN or WiFI and find it jerky, you need to install (Nero Splitter).

BTW, all Android and iOS tablets still cannot play high-profile 1080p files, such as Blu-ray and those out of GF2 etc. cameras. It is a pity that people buy $500 tablets that cannot do what a $200 netbook can.

See this youtube as a proof. The netbook in this video is a 5" (yes 5 inches) UMID M1 with an Intel ATOM GMA500 inside, running Windows XP:


为什么说“值得一试”?因为这个软件的广告打得有些过分,总是出现在提示栏上,非常烦人,大家千万不要去理会,直接清除提示。找“手机看电视 V1.2.apk”,更新的版本的广告手段更为恶劣,实属下流卑鄙,直接下载恶意app让你安装,一不小心就会中标。


虽然还是不完美,有时还是会卡或中断,但确实是目前手机和平板上看电视直播最好的,比别的都好多了。手机的信号天生就是不牢靠不稳定的,其它手机电视app都没有面对这个问题(更别说解决了)。很多连这个问题都还没解决,就去搞高清的marketing hype,根本不知道自己在做什么。



Sunday, June 17, 2012

First Lady at OSU Commencement

If you've been thinking of a camera for graduation, this Youtube offers a such example. It was very windy and I was standing on the top (almost on the roof) of the stadium. I had to use ETC mode to extend the 14-140mm lens to 43-434mm to see our charming first lady. Standing up, handheld, no any kind of support, but GF2 and the 14-140mm lens still did a fantastic job on OIS and C-AF, considering the focal length of 868mm (35mm equivalent). And did I say it was very windy, see the girl's hat blown off, and I was near the roof of a huge football arena? The wind noise cut feature of GF2 mic also did a very good job.

This is the original without being stabilized by Deshaker:

For what Olympus, Sony, Canon and Nikon can offer, can they produce anything like this in a similar situation? Do they have anything available for 868mm, continuous AF and virtually free of AF hunting? Note that I'm not talking about camcorder, but a camera that takes DSLR-class photos!

Found a good thing about ICS

I was not interested in the Ice Cream Sandwitch - too slow and many great apps no longer run. It does have one good thing though: it can stream sites designed for iPad!

As you know, iPad uses m3u8 format for stream. Before ICS, Android did not support this format, the only workaround was Sky Browser (天天浏览器). SB can detect a m3u8 link and then let you click a button to play. But it cannot do the trick for some sites, for example, it can play only iFeng Information TV (凤凰资讯), cannot switch to iFeng Chinese TV (凤凰中文台).

Now ICS can play these m3u8 links directly, including all iFeng TV stations:

Actually there is one more good thing about ICS, it is the Chrome browser. It is still not as good as Opera Mobile - the very best browser for Android, but it does one thing that Opera can't: editing blogs on

Saturday, June 16, 2012




  • 凤凰卫视中文台
  • 凤凰卫视资讯台
  • 潮商卫视
  • 本港台
  • atv world
  • 亚洲高清台
  • 凤凰卫视香港台
  • CCTV2
  • CCTV11
  • CCTV新闻
  • CCTV少儿
  • CCTV12
  • CCTV4
  • CCTV10
  • 风云足球
  • 高尔夫网球
  • CCTV5
  • 中央一台高清
  • 台湾大爱一台
  • 唯心电视
  • 生命电视台
  • 法界卫视
  • 南方卫视
  • 黑龙江卫视高清
  • 浙江卫视高清
  • 北京卫视高清
  • 东方卫视高清
  • 广东卫视高清
  • 湖南卫视高清
  • 江苏卫视高清
  • 欧洲足球
  • BBC
  • CNN
  • HBO
  • 彭博财经
  • 国家地理
  • 探索频道

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

14-140mm Photo Samples

These flowers are no longer fresh, I just had a little free time to take these shots. No any post processing, out of camera JPEGs, just down sized to 1600x1200. I think this lens is sharp and contrasty with beautiful colors and bokeh, just like or better than other Panasonic Leica lenses. And don't forget: this is a 10X superzoom especially optimized for video!

From their continuous numbering, you can see these are all the shots I just took within few minutes, very quick and casual shots. I did not take any more than those and pick up the good ones; they all look good. So these are what you can expect from this great 14-140mm lens without any special effort - just P mode. Of course, to get such warm colors out of GF2, you should tweak the settings (see my related article for details).

It's getting dark after dinner, so these are ISO 1600 and 800:

These two are cropped, this lens is the best for macro among all Panasonic lenses:

Ultrabook will fail

Unless price drops below $500. Although Apple can sell stuff at 2-3 times of reasonable prices, no way other companies can.

For example, Staples is clearancing 2.4GHz i5 HP dm4-2191us laptop for $300. At 14" and 4.4 lb, this laptop is only slightly heavier and thicker than a 13.3" ultrabook priced around $1000. It has brushed metal case, runs extremely cold (yes not even warm) and really up to 9 hours. As you still need a bag for any ultrabook, does it really matter what's in it, being an ultrabook or extra 1 lb like this 14" HP DM4-2191us?

Actually, if a thing still needs a bag to carry, I'd rather it to be a little larger and heavier, if more comfortable for my eyes.

And why you need an i5-class laptop instead of an Atom-class netbook? One reason is for video editing and encoding, about 7 or 12 times faster than dual or single core Atom. Then the 64GB or so SSD found in ultrabooks is too small for that kind of tasks. All ultrabooks still have a CPU fan, what's the point to put a quiet SSD in them?

You see, this 14" HP DM4-2191us can sit on an airplane table and still leave room for cups. Yes, the left and front edges are still within the table, the camera was too close to show though. The 13.3" Macbook Air is sure more elegent but won't be any more comfortable on the same table. Oh ya, can you be brave enough to put a cup of coffee beside a $$$$ ultrabook like this?

P.S.: The battery life of HP DM4-2191us depends fully on CPU load. If CPU runs at full speed like x264 encoding, battery lasts only 2 hours or so. For normal use on WiFi, I get 7 to 9 hours. As always, I removed all non-Windows services and auto start-ups to get the best performance and battery life.

P.P.S.: Other dm4 models are quite different. Some have lit keyboards, some do not have metal surfaces for palm rest (feels warm while the 2191us feels cold).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Make a phone stand

I often receive these credit cards in junk mail, why not make a good use of them? Very easy to make, do not need any tool.

Back up blu-ray movie the rigth way

First you need to use DVDFab 6 or other such tools to back up from a Blu-ray disc to your computer's hard drive. Then you need to use HandBrake to compress the 30GB or so file to an about 5GB MP4 file.

Why Handbrake?
  • Fast, really fast. If you have an Intel i5 laptop such as the HP Pavilion dm4 (recently for only $300 in Staples), compressing is about realtime, i.e., a 2 hour movie takes about 2 hours to compress.
  • Extremely good quality. The x.264 is incredible, I cannot see any difference on a 50" plasma TV.
  • Widely available for virtually any OS: Windows, Linux and Mac.
  • Very easy to use, you simply open the source and click on the start button. The first time you need to specify the output folder.
Why bother to take time to do this?
  • Now you can store about 100 movies in you laptop or a portable hard drive (assuming the hard drive size is 500GB, quite normal these days). Before you can only have 16.
  • Now You can watch these movies on your phone and tablet.
  • Now you can stream these movies over WiFi.
Need subtitles?

Then you need two more tools: HdBr Stream Extractor and Subtitle Edit.
  • Use HdBr Stream Extractor to extract SUP file from a movie.
  • Import the SUP file into Subtitle Edit and convert it into SRT file by OCR.
  • Import the SRT file into HandBrake. Remember to "Add All" before you click the Start button.
  • Too see the subtitle, you need the latest Media Player Classic - Home Cinema.

Some tips:
  • Make sure you check "Large file size" or the compressed file won't play.
  • Do a 120 seconds preview to make sure things look right or you might waste 2 hours.
  • You can compress several movies automatically without human involved, using HandBrake's batch processing feature.
  • Subtitles look much better if you select English, (plain text).
  • Few of movies are dominated with very bright, detailed or grainy and fast scenes and the end file could be as large as 18GB. If you still want the size to be about 5GB, then you may select Avg Bitrate instead of Constant Quality and set it to 5000 or 8000 kbps.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

One more reason not to buy an Olympus

The OM-D looks perfect on paper especially the new IBIS for video. However be aware: IBIS won't work for MF lenses on video.

This is the second time Olympus does not tell some critical details. When the EPL1 was out and everybody was excited about its IBIS, I bought one and only to find out it did not work for video.

In my earlier article, I said that OM-D still hunt for AF too much to be useful for video. Some friends argued that they would never use AF for video in the first place. Well, if that's the case, then I guess they would mostly use old MF lenses and they are out of luck again. It's a big NO to me to take a tripod for a camera who's whole point is about portability.

Monday, June 4, 2012

For video? The 14-140mm lens is a must

The Panasonic 14-140mm lens is the very first m43 lens that has a red "HD" mark, meaning for video. However, all the lens reviews gave me a false impression: the "HD" means nothing but silence auto focus. All my lenses, the 14mm, 14-45mm and 45-200mm, already have silent AF, and the 14-140mm was way too expensive; so I never wanted one.

What a huge mistake. The 14-140mm is much more than just silent AF, many other things are optimized for video as well. In addition to silence, the AF is also optimized to suffer the least from focus hunting you often see with Olympus cameras and other Panasonic lenses. O.I.S is also optimized for video, producing very smooth and detailed image unseen with Olympus cameras and other Panasonic lenses.

The following samples were of course taken with my hacked GF2 with my own patch (see my earlier article). As you can see, AF hunting is very minimum if any at all even indoor low light and O.I.S is at work. Extremely smooth and detailed.

This one is indoor:

This one is indoor and ETC (31x zoom, 868mm equivalent!):

As for photos, this lens is no shame. The only other lens I still want to keep is the 14mm when I need something light and small. The 14mm has sharper center area, but that's pretty much the only one thing the 14-140mm loses. This lens is very good for macro too, so it is really that one lens that does all and will stay on my GF2 except DSLR-not-allowed occasions (museum etc.).