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June 2013 Archives

June 3, 2013

Finding and Accessing (Free) Content on the iPad

As a companion handout for my ongoing talks on portable gadgets, I've posted a Guide to Finding and Accessing (Free) Content on the iPad (PDF).

This a summary guide (outline and annotation) to finding content to enjoy on your portable devices (and online, and on a computer) -- and especially sources for free content.

It covers:

  • Types of Content - Portable devices can be used to enjoy purchased commercial content (e.g., movies, TV shows, music), free non-commercial content (podcasts), as well as your own personal consent (photos, documents).
  • Finding Content - You can access commercial content through online stores (Apple, Google, Amazon) and though apps connected to your subscription services (Netflix, or via Verizon/Comcast TV). Lots of material also is available online through streaming services (Pandora) or a web browser (newspapers, video clips).
  • Free Public Domain E-Books and Audiobooks - For readers, there are also wonderful collections of free public domain e-books and audiobooks available online. Some of these are also available through the various online stores.
  • Apple Content and Stores - For Apple devices (the iPad, and iPhone, and iPod touch), you can find and organize your content from the Apple stores via a computer (with iTunes software) and then sync to your device(s), or you can search and download directly from your device.
  • Finding Content on the iPad - Use the Apple store apps (iTunes store, App store) to search and download from the Apple content collections, including commercial and non-commercial (podcasts). The associated apps for the various media types also typically can display both your local downloaded collection, and all registered content in the cloud to then download.
  • Finding Free Content on the iPad - The Apple stores also provide sometimes-limited access to selected free content.

June 9, 2013

Jan Ozer on Producing Streaming Video for Multiple Screen Delivery

Jan Ozer has done it again with his new book, Producing Streaming Video for Multiple Screen Delivery -- providing fundamentals, technical details, and extensive practical guidance on how to prepare video for today's world, with a profusion of delivery screens and devices, from desktop to mobile, web to set-top.

Jan is, of course, your go-to authority on streaming video theory and practice, with some two decades of experience reviewing video products, teaching and presenting seminars, and doing hands-on production of video shoots and on-demand streaming events.

You've seen his articles and product reviews in places like PC Magazine and EventDV, and he's still going strong in Streaming Media Magazine. Plus, he presents popular seminars on digital video and production -- particularly with updates at the Streaming Media conferences on using the latest tools and technologies (see earlier post).

Even better, Jan freely shares his publications and presentations on his StreamingLearingCenter.com site, along with blog updates, sample materials, and video tutorials that you can reference for further information.

Then there's the books -- Every couple of years, Jan kindly packages up his take on the current state of video in book format, providing both technical details and practical advice on compression, streaming, and the latest technologies. For example, his previous book, Video Compression for Flash, Apple Devices and HTML5, focused on Apple iOS portable devices and H.264 Web streaming, and looked forward to the growing importance of HTML5 (see earlier post).

In his new Producing Streaming Video book, Jan has significantly expanded the coverage, increasing the size from some 270 to 420 pages. In particular, this is now a complete reference, with new initial chapters with discussions of how to plan a streaming strategy, the fundamentals of video streaming and compression, and alternatives for adaptive streaming.

The next chapters then focus in detail on the popular H.264 format, with explanations of encoding parameters, and detailed advice for specific platforms.

Next, Jan dives into explanations and recommendations for encoding tools, including instructions for achieving the best compression and quality with specific encoders, and a separate chapter on producing for distribution via iTunes.

The book then moves on to distributing your videos, featuring extensive coverage of live streaming. After discussing alternatives for online service providers, Jan covers issues in live streaming, distribution options, and choosing a live encoder -- followed by a chapter going beyond the tech to offer sage advice on the logistics of producing live events.

The book concludes with three special topics: requirements and technologies for closed captions, great advice on essential software tools that you should collect for analyzing media files, and an introduction to HEVC / H.265, to help you prepare for the next great technology on the horizon (much like Jan's earlier heads-up coverage of HTML5 several years ago in articles, seminars, and his book).

This is a wonderful book. Jan's tone is friendly and helpful, passing on his knowledge and experience and advice. For example, the straightforward section titles move you cleanly through topics with clear explanations ("Tuning Your x264 Encodes") and addressing your questions ("Should You Abandon Older iPods?").

Jan has done the field a great favor by again taking the time to package the state of digital video into this organized book format. As further evidence of the way he contributes to the field, he even has made the illustrations from the book available as a PDF download, so you can view them in full detail and color.

    Producing Streaming Video for Multiple Screen Delivery
    April 2013, Paperback, 436 pages, $39.95
    ISBN-10: 0976259540

More on the book at StreamingLearingCenter.com, including detailed table of contents

Contents:
Chapter 1: Formulating a Multi-Screen Strategy.
Chapter 2: Technology Fundamentals.
Chapter 3: H.264 Encoding Parameters.
Chapter 4: Configuring H.264 for Desktop, Mobile and OTT Viewers.
Chapter 5: Adaptive Streaming.
Chapter 6: Choosing an On-Demand Encoding Tool.
Chapter 7: Encoder-Specific Instruction.
Chapter 8: Producing for iTunes.
Chapter 9: Distributing Your Video.
Chapter 10: Introduction to Live Streaming.
Chapter 11: Distributing Your Live Video.
Chapter 12: Choosing and Using a Live Encoder.
Chapter 13: Producing Live Events.
Chapter 14: Introduction to Closed Captions.
Chapter 15: Essential Tools.
Chapter 16: Introduction to HEVC.

June 17, 2013

Nero 12 Evolves

Nero 12 is the latest update to the venerable Nero collection of media tools -- with familiar classics like Nero Burning ROM, more recent favorites like the Nero Video editor and Nero Recode for format conversion, and an intriguing newcomer in the Nero Kwik Media player.

The Nero suite can seem a bit old-fashioned due to its strong emphasis on physical media, with reliable burning and backup, plus extracting tracks and recovering files from damaged media. But it also includes the latest developments in video editing and format conversion, especially for mobile devices

The Nero 12 suite includes seven bundled applications for video editing and conversion, media playback, and physical media burning and recovery. In addition, Nero has spun off its audio tools (among others) as free downloads, with Nero WaveEditor to record and edit and Nero SoundTrax to digitize and mix music.

The suite is available in two editions, the core Nero 12 (now $79, $39 street), and Nero 12 Platinum ($109, $54 street), which includes greater HD support with Blu-ray Disc, stabilizer effects plus, more themes, templates, and content for editing, and additional Kwik tools for accessing and sharing your media around your home and with mobile devices.

And now the version 12.5 update adds features including improved encoding speed with GPU acceleration, job handling to encode multiple projects for one device, and expanded support for cross-platform Android, iOS, and Windows 8 RT mobile devices.

See my full article, Nero 12 Editing Software Review, in Videomaker Magazine

Find Nero 12 on Amazon.com

June 25, 2013

Jan Ozer on Streaming Video - Now as an iBook

Jan Ozer's new book, Producing Streaming Video for Multiple Screen Delivery (see earlier post), is now available from the Apple iBookstore for savoring on your iPad.

Just search for Ozer in the iBooks app on your iPad, or check it out on the web in iTunes Preview. It's half the price of the paper edition at $19.99.

This is a great way to have the key information on streaming, formats, and coding always at hand -- for your reference, or to help explain to customers by using the expert. In particular, Ozer authored the book so that the illustrations zoom up to full-page for a closer look.

Unfortunately, there's no video since it would have significantly enlarged the size, and re-encoding for the iBook format would have prevented making comparisons between different formats.

You can check it out by downloading the sample chapter on Technology Fundamentals, with sections explaining constant vs. variable-rate encoding and I/P/B frames.

See more on the book at Ozer's StreamingLearingCenter.com, including detailed table of contents

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About June 2013

Entries posted to Manifest Tech Blog in June 2013, listed from oldest to newest.

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