Media

Downloading, streaming, or encoding music and movies.

Retailers Refuse to Carry Beyonce's Latest Album After Exclusive Deal with iTunes

Episode 1041

Beyonce released a surprise album with great success on social media sites. Each song has an accompanying video, and there were tons of photos shared on Instagram as well. But since the album was sold exclusively on iTunes the first week, other retailers including Amazon, Target, and other retailers are now saying they won't carry it. Walmart will be carrying it, however, because Beyonce was shopping there for Blue Ivy. She also was giving 750 $50 gift cards to people at Walmart. The album sold 600,000 units in the US first 3 days and 820,000 worldwide.

Why won't my video files play?

John from California

Episode 1041

John bought a 60GB hard drive to rip VHS tapes and digitize them, but they won't play on most of the computers he's tried. Leo says that file size could be an issue. There's a 2GB and 4GB barrier and he'll need the most recent version of Windows 7. The other problem could be the codec John used to encode the videos. Leo recommend VLC VideoLan Client. Leo also suggests reformatting the drive to NTFS so he can play the larger file sizes.

Are SD cards reliable?

Rolf from Barstow, CA

Episode 1037

Rolf likes that Windows tablets have SD card slots to access more memory. Leo says that is a bonus, but it's important to understand that flash memory has a limited number of writes and can fail. So he should be sure to make a backup of the data he puts on them. He'll be able to get a few years out of them, though.

How can I stream old videos online?

Justin from Burney, CA

Episode 1036

Justin bought a Roku Box and has a bunch of movies and TV shows he bought on iTunes and wanted to stream them via Plex. Leo says that copy protection won't allow that, though. Justin says that's why he's buying discs again. He's wondering if he can rip them and stream them online? Leo says that once they're ripped, he could, but he'd have to have a media server and then log into it remotely. It's doable, as long as it's just for private use.

How can I route audio back to guests in Skype?

Michael from Florence, AL

Episode 1036

Michael is a podcaster and wants to be able to provide audio back to his callers. Leo says this is called a "Mix minus," which would let the caller hear everything but themselves. He'll need a mixing board to route the audio back through Skype. There is a software solution for Mac called Audio Hijack Pro by Rogue Amoeba, but it's not that easy to set up. SoundFlower is another way to route audio.

How can I rip DVDs to a hard drive?

Chuck from Camarillo, CA

Episode 1036

Chuck has transferred all his videos to DVD. Now he wants to put them all on a hard drive for his kids, with pictures, and more. Leo says that for 30 DVDs, a 250GB hard drive would be sufficient. He could even put a DVD player on it like VLC Media Player, which is free, and would allow him to make a playlist of all the DVDs. Chuck would also have to convert all the VOB files. The easiest thing would be to have a folder for each DVD and copy it over. Put the VLC player on the top level and have it play each folder.

What's the best way to share family videos?

Jonathan from Rancho Cuca Monga, CA

Episode 1035

Jonathan is thinking about digitizing home videos for his family and is wondering what form of media to put them on since his family uses iPods and tablets, etc. Leo says that in that case, putting them up on YouTube is a good idea and he can just keep the channel private. It also means that anyone can watch it. Making it available for download means that he'd have to format it for different versions depending on what device is being used. Leo says he won't have that issue with streaming.

How can I get programs off my DVR?

Mike from Trebuco Canyon, CA

Episode 1033

Mike would like to transfer his movies from his DVR and play in his clinic. Leo says that Hollywood considers that piracy, but Leo says it's fair use. The only way he can do this is by exploiting the Analog hole. That means he'll have to plug the DVR into a computer that takes a composit or component imput and then capture it in real time while playing it back. It can be done, and he'll have to get some additional hardware (like a capture card), but he can do it. The other option is to buy downloads of the programs from iTunes or Amazon.

How can I stream my pictures to my Apple TV?

Bernie from Lakewood, CO

Episode 1033

Bernie has a bunch of old slides that he transferred to DVD, and then ripped them to his Network Attached Storage, along with image files of discs (ISOs). How can he view them on his network? Leo says that VLC is an amazing video product that will allow him to view it.

What about Apple TV? Leo says no, it can't understand ISOs. But Bernie can use his Mac with Mountain Lion or later to airplay them to Apple TV. He can just open the ISO with a Mac program like Disc Utility and then once it's mounted, he can stream it from the Mac using AirPlay.

How can I get old programs off my cable DVR?

Joe from Austin, TX

Episode 1028

Joe is going to be getting Google's 1GBps Internet access in Austin soon, and he wants to know what DVR he can use. Leo says that third party DVRs are getting harder to find, but TIVO is probably the best option. He wants to get his old programs off the old cable DVR, though. Leo says that the DVR is likely encrypted digitally, so he wouldn't be able to. He could, however, exploit the analog hole by using component cables. It'll be HD, but not digital.