Palm Media Studio 2.0 Released

Makayama Interactive has released Palm Media Studio version 2.0. Palm Media Studio converts DVD movies, downloaded TV shows and other video clips to a mobile format for your handheld or smartphone. The new version supports additional video formats, such as Youtube flash video content and .wmv files.

The software can take Windows Media files (wmv and dvr-ms) and also Flash-video, such as Youtube content, can also now be converted. The software has a menu shortcut to websites that allow downloading of Youtube content and videos from Altavista. The downloaded video can then be converted to the Palm.

The DVD engine has again been improved. Subtitled DVDs can now be converted at three times the speed of the previous version. A new rendering engine can display subtitles sharper on the screen, improving readability.

According to the company a full movie can be transferred to the Palm in less than 45 minutes on an average PC. A memorycard as low as 128 mb is enough to fit a feature film with the software compression. The software captures content in numerous formats (AVI, MPEG1, DivX, XVID, VOB, ASF) and encodes it to the Palm.

Palm Media Studio 1.0 is a Windows application that supports XP/2000/NT/Vista. The software costs USD $32.95 (EUR 29.95) to register. It is currently on sale for $27.95 for a limited time. A free demo version is available that will convert 3 minutes of content. All registered users can upgrade for free.

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Your cell phone = your wallet

Gekko @ 12/1/2006 8:41:21 PM # Q

we-com virtual wallet? E-T phone home?

Your cell phone = your wallet
At long last, mobile phones have the ability to transfer cash wirelessly. So why aren't consumers using their handsets as their personal ATM this holiday season?
By Michal Lev-Ram, Business 2.0 Magazine writer-reporter
December 1 2006: 10:02 AM EST

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- For nearly a decade, cell phone carriers have dreamed of the day when consumers can shop using their handhelds, not their wallets. One touch of the dial pad and the holiday scarf for Mom is sold.

Only recently, however, has it become technologically viable for users to transfer money securely to and from their cell phones. In Japan and parts of Europe, consumers are actively buying stuff with their handsets. So U.S. carriers must be falling over themselves to sell phones with ATM-like capabilities here at home, right?

Think again.

As it turns out, mobile phone operators are the ones holding up a new era of wireless money transfers in the United States. The reason: They haven't found a business model they like. Negotiations between carriers and consumer banks have recently stalled over when - and how much - users must pay when they buy double-shot lattes via their cell phones.

The impasse is wilting once-rosy projections on the potential size of the mobile payments market. ABI Research recently cut by 10 percent the number of handsets it expects to ship in 2011 that have the 'near field communication' (NFC) technology that can beam payments from bank accounts to retailers.

"This is not going to happen as quickly as we thought," says Jonathan Collins, an ABI senior analyst. "The business model needs to be hashed out before mobile payments can take off."

A cash cow waiting to be drained
The problem, explains Collins, is about rivalry and profit-sharing. With their tight grip on the mobile ecosystem, carriers have been reluctant to open up their customer base to banks, whom they also consider competitors.

Fees are the other main sticking point. The phone carriers want a percentage of each sale made with a cell phone. But banks argue that's not a viable model because it will effectively mean higher prices for consumers. If mobile payment services aren't cheap and easy, the financial firms argue, consumers won't use them.

Carriers have plenty of reasons to break the deadlock. The mobile payments market is expected to reach $55 billion by 2008, according to consulting firm Celent. A chunk of those riches will go to handset vendors like Motorola (Charts) and Nokia (Charts). But the carriers stand to reap untold ancillary revenues: If consumers can use their cell phone to buy movie tickets at the box office, the next logical step is mobile banking and other services that require customers to buy pricey data plans.

Thomas Zalewski, a Nokia executive, agrees that the big promise of mobile payments for carriers lies in secondary services - and not in any direct fees from cell phone-based purchases. "Perhaps that's where they get a piece of the action."

Niche carriers look for an advantage
Analysts aren't making any predictions on when the standoff will end. For now, the most shoppers can hope for are rudimentary services from much smaller cell phone carriers. Known as "mobile virtual network operators" (MVNOs), these fledgling carriers lease spectrum from major carriers and chase after niche markets.

Amp'd Mobile - an MVNO that targets music buffs, has rolled out a scaled-down service that lets consumers exchange money with each other via their cell phones. So, for instance, a father could text message $100 to his college son's cell phone. Helio, an MVNO aimed at young adults, will soon unveil the same service, called Obopay.

The problem with the above scenario, however, is that both the father and the son must sign up for Obopay for the service to work. The only way they can purchase goods is with a traditional debit card, just like shoppers do today. So Obopay, while moving in the right direction, still has a ways to go. The service is working with both Helio and Amp'd Mobile to enable consumers next year buy with their phones.

7-Eleven is also pushing into mobile payments through its Speak Out Wireless cell phone service. Last month the convenience store chain began a trial service in its Dallas hometown that uses near field communication technology. 7-Eleven is testing the program with Nokia and MasterCard.

But small players like 7-Eleven and Helio - a joint venture of Korea's SK Telecom and Earthlink - aren't about to snatch the mobile payment opportunity out from under the major carriers. Their collective customer bar is far too small, and likely to stay that way.

"To really scale this you need a large carrier that's willing to take a chance," says Nokia's Zalewski. Like most handset makers, Nokia is eager to bring its NFC phones to the United States. But so far, no American carriers have ordered any - either from Nokia or any other device maker.

They might be in for a long wait.

"Mobile payments won't happen until the [major] carriers are confident they'll make money from this," says Collins, the ABI analyst.

RE: Your cell phone = your wallet
twrock @ 12/1/2006 9:14:16 PM # Q
As it turns out, mobile phone operators are the ones holding up a new era of [insert almost anything here].

Once again, it's the four orifices. What's new. Dontcha just love the American "monopolies"? Poor ET; he's so close.

I'm still waiting for the mythical color HandEra.

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I've used Palm Media Studio (version 1) and it's pretty good.

The_Voice_of_Reason @ 12/1/2006 11:59:37 PM # Q
I licensed version 1 of Palm Media Studio soon after it came out and it's fairly effective. The developer needs to come up with a better way to send out updates to registered users, though - the sleazy online software store I made the order with won't allow registered users to download updates unless we pay a ridiculous "download protection" fee! Would it be THAT difficult for Mr. Makayama to host the update on a server and email registered users an announcement + link to the download? I guess I shouldn't biotch too loudly - at least this developer seems to stand behind his application with free updates. Then again, he IS using a LOT of open source code in his package - anyone with a small amount of tech skills and a little time could use several easily-configured open source apps to produce similar (or even higher quality) videos.

One problem I had was that the program shipped with a version of TCPMP and with the previous release of Palm Media Studio the encoded files no longer worked with the TCPMP application I was using.

The other problem was the app did not allow users to choose to encode in very high quality. I hope this limitation has been removed in Version 2. Given how cheap high capacity media cards are these days I'd like to have the option to sacrifice some compression for better quality video +/- sound. Can't argue with the simplicity of Palm Media Studio, though. If you're clueless about DVD ripping/encoding, this app makes everything pretty painless.

I haven't tried version 2 yet, but I'm betting it's a solid app.


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How much does it take?

jlynnp13 @ 12/2/2006 10:02:31 PM # Q
I'm trying to decide which software to use on my TX for portable movie/tv watching. I like Palm Media Studio for its 'all in one' features.

I am curious to see how much room do I need to obligate to my SD card for a full length movie? Also, if it is a 'high' (say, over 500 megs), what do you suggest for futher compression?

Thanks, Jessica

RE: How much does it take?
twrock @ 12/3/2006 12:08:56 AM # Q
I haven't used that particular software for compression (I have used two other packages), but I have compressed all my movies to 250 Mb of space for viewing on my Palm. I set the screen resolution to 480x320 (TX) and choose a fairly low level of stereo audio compression. Everything else gets eliminated (menus, alternate audio tracks, "extras", etc.). Using 250 Mb of space, the result is quite nice and I can get up to 4 movies on a 1 Gb card with a tiny bit of room to spare. YMMV.

I'm still waiting for the mythical color HandEra.
RE: How much does it take?
Iamos @ 12/4/2006 9:12:25 PM # Q
I've converted five movies with it, they range in size from 189-231 megs. I use the full-size (letterbox) and better video options, don't know if this makes a difference.

I'm pretty happy with it, but for some reason it shuts down when I try to convert The Matrix. I wrote to tech support, so we'll see how quickly they respond.

RE: How much does it take?
twrock @ 12/4/2006 9:57:44 PM # Q
...for some reason it shuts down when I try to convert The Matrix

You should have taken the red pill.

I'm still waiting for the mythical color HandEra.

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On the fence...

MCStayFly @ 12/6/2006 2:58:32 AM # Q
I'm debating if I should purchase the Palm Media Studio 2.0 or the Kinoma Player X4. I tried to read the reviews on both programs, but it's still hard to gauge the pros and cons of each one. The most important factors to me would be how user-friendly it is, the amount of dvds/movies I can fit on a 2GB memory card, how many different formats the program is capable of handling, and least amount of bugs! Can someone help me out with the pros and cons of both programs?


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