Media

Downloading, streaming, or encoding music and movies.

What MP3 player should I buy?

iPod Touch

Episode 1546

Charles from Whittier, CA

Charles' CD player is dying, so he's thinking of getting an MP3 player. Leo says that physical media is fading away and going digital is a good idea. He can take all the CDs he owns and "rip" them into an mp3 format. But it's likely that everything he owns and wants to listen to are available now using music streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, or Apple Music. They're around $10 a month or $15 for a family plan.

What service should I use to digitize home movies?

Film

Episode 1544

Stuart from Los Angeles, CA

Stuart inherited a box of old 8mm family films. He was thinking of digitizing it himself, but thought better of it. Now he's looking for an affordable and trustworthy service. Leo recommends ScanCafe. They will send him a box that he can stuff and send to them, and then they will not only scan them all, but they'll clean them as well. But the worry is shipping them. If the box gets lost, there goes a lifetime of memories. Leo says a big box store service gives better peace of mind because he isn't mailing them.

How can I capture my old Super 8 movies?

Wolverine 8mm and Super 8 Film Reel Converter

Episode 1533

Kevin from Denver, CO

Kevin wants to know how to DIY capture his home super 8 movies. Leo says he'll need a projector. Then he can use a camcorder to record the image on the wall. That's the easiest. But there's also devices that will allow him to capture directly and digitize it, like the Wolverine. It's $300 and is highly reviewed. Kodak has a cheaper version, but it's not the Kodak everyone remembers, the name had been sold. He can also use a service like ScanCafe.

How can I remove distortion from an audio recording?

Audio waveform

Episode 1527

Josh from Austin, TX

Josh has an audio recording that has a lot of distortion. How can he fix it? Leo says he can't, really. Distortion usually means the top end of the audio recording has "clipped" causing the audio to lose the upper end. But the chatroom says that Izotope is a plugin that can repair it somewhat. Since the caller is blind, however, Leo recommends a service called Auphonic. They have professional audio restoration tools that can do the job. There's a free tier and a pay tier.

Why won't my audio play on my other computer?

Handbrake

Episode 1525

Carl from Upland, CA

Carl transferred some podcast audio from one computer to another and it won't play on the other computer hard drive, just on the USB drive. Rich suspects a format issue. It sounds like it isn't a standard MP3 file, and as such, his Windows mp3 player is having issues playing it. Rich also says he may want to try converting the audio using VLC or Handbrake. Another possibility is that it requires some sort of "key" to play the audio. Or additional components.

Why is AirPlay stalling in AppleTV?

Apple TV

Episode 1522

Brian from Marina Valley, CA

Brian has two Apple TVs that stream music from his computer and iTunes, but lately it just stops after a few minutes. Apple says that it's a corrupted library, but Leo disagrees since it doesn't happen when he streams music on his computer directly. Leo has a hunch it's the router. Using AirPlay, he could be dealing with buffering issues. He also should make sure nothing else is connected to his AirPlay device. It could also be an issue with home sharing and his router configuration. It could be a blocked port issue.

Why can't I open my files?

Episode 1519

Bill from California

Bill is building a computer system using an Arduino. Leo says that Arduino's are a fun project. But when he connects his data drive, he can't open any of his data files. Leo says that it could be a permissions issue on the old Windows account. Go into file explorer, right click on a file, select properties, and see what's going on under the security tab. Also check there file permissions. It may not be listed as giving you the right to read or write to that file.

How can I watch PAL DVDs on my TV?

Episode 1519

Paul from Los Angeles, CA

Paul would like to rip DVDs and then put it on a 128GB thumbdrive so that his kids don't trash his DVDs. Leo says that's a great idea and you can use both Handbrake and VLC Media Client to do it. But how does he convert a DVD that's PAL? Leo says that the DVD is probably region coded to prevent you from watching a DVD from another country here in the US. The first time you play the DVD, it sets the Region code. But there are DVD players that don't do it. There's also a few back doors that respond to a certain number of remote button presses to unlock them.