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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Midwest Tape's Website Developing Beyond the Capabilities of IE6

With the Internet developing at a rapid pace, Internet technology companies must continuously release new versions as well as updates for their web browsers. Using outdated browsers not only makes users susceptible to a slew of security vulnerabilities, but also limits them in regards to the most contemporary and interactive web features. Here, we discuss how using current web browsers relates to Midwest Tape (Midwest Tape & You), detail the three most prominent web browsers in use (Major Browsers), and explain the importance of always using the most up-to-date browser (The Importance of Updating).

Midwest Tape & You
Midwest Tape’s website has received much praise over the years for its helpful features and ease of use. And we have even greater features planned for the future; however, these elements will not function with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6.

In order to deliver our next round of updated features, we will be unable to support Internet Explorer 6 in the very near future. Many leading websites in other industries are reaching the same conclusion and discontinuing support for Internet Explorer 6 as well.

Major Browsers
Internet Explorer
Used en masse since the release of Windows 95, Internet Explorer (IE) is perhaps the most popular web browser in the world. Internet Explorer comes pre-installed on all Windows-based computers and updates through the Windows Update service. Still in wide circulation, Internet Explorer 6 was originally released with Windows XP. However, Microsoft has since released Internet Explorer 7 and 8, which should be compatible with any machine still using IE6.

Mozilla Firefox
Released in 2004, Firefox has quickly become a heavyweight in the web browser market. As of 2009, it made up over 22% of the recorded usage of web browsers¹. Firefox goes through routine updates, automatically downloading them and prompting users to restart their browsers.

Safari is a web browser developed by Apple Inc. and was first released with Mac OS X. Much like Internet Explorer on Windows systems, Safari comes pre-installed on Mac computers and automatically updates with the operating system.

The Importance of Updating
One of the key reasons to always use the most up-to-date web browser is to ensure effective use of today’s foremost web features, which rely on current web browsers for proper functionality. For example, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 6 in 2001, and the now outdated browser does not support many of the current standards used in developing today’s leading web applications.

In addition to web applications, updated web browsers ensure the security of computers and their networks. For instance, since releasing Internet Explorer 7 in 2006 and Internet Explorer 8 in 2009, Microsoft has stopped creating updates for Internet Explorer 6. According to Secunia, a leader in Web security, Internet Explorer 6 contains 142 vulnerabilities that leave your computers at risk. Of those 142 vulnerabilities, 22 remain unresolved and pose a serious security risk.

The easiest way to correct these security issues is to upgrade your outdated browser to the most current one available, for instance, Internet Explorer 8, Mozilla Firefox 3, or Safari 4.

Where to Update

If you have any questions or feedback about updating your browser or the Midwest Tape website, please post them here as comments or contact our Customer Service Department at 1.800.875.2785.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What's Up With Blu-ray?

Nearly a decade after DVDs gobbled up the VHS market share, consumers once again face a format change. Fortunately, the transition from DVD to Blu-ray won’t be nearly as drastic or as expensive; (Blu-ray Disc players can play both Blu-ray products and DVDs). Still, many consumers might be hesitant to invest in the new players, while others may not understand the differences between DVDs and Blu-ray. Let’s break it down:

Difference Between the Two Formats
Standard DVDs are read with a red laser, allowing each disc to hold between 4.7 and 8.55 gigabytes of video. Blu-rays, on the other hand, are read with a low-frequency blue-violet laser which allows each Blu-ray disc to contain up to six times more storage (25 to 50 gigabytes of video). Consequently, Blu-ray discs contain higher quality pictures than DVDs and offer superior extras and functionality.

Introduced in 2003, Blu-ray faced stiff competition to become the premier next-generation media. However, after winning out over Toshiba’s HD DVD in 2007, Blu-ray started gaining steam in the market. And while the brand struggled with sales through late 2008, Blu-ray has maintained its niche in the movie rental and retail industry with a 16% market share (early 2009 statistics)¹. Furthermore, studios continue to release more and more titles in the Blu-ray format, piquing consumer interest and making Blu-ray a more mainstream format for libraries to consider.

Blu-Ray Disc Association companies (Sony, Apple Inc., Hewlett Packard, Intel Corporation, Samsung, Walt Disney, and 20th Century Fox) continue to make updates and improvements to their products and services. For example, BD-Live enables viewers to upload additional exclusive features for their movies—like looking up a particular actor’s background while the film is playing—all from their Internet-connected Blu-ray Disc player ². Additionally, Apple Inc. offers applications that enable iPhone and iPod Touch users to control interactive content on their Web-connected Blu-ray Disc players³.

Blu-ray titles on average cost $10 more than standard DVDs (early 2009 statistics), and Blu-ray Disc players (priced between $100-200) remain significantly higher than budget DVD players (priced as low as $30). However, every Blu-ray Disc player is backwards compatible with DVDs, meaning DVD titles will play in Blu-ray Disc players. Furthermore, PlayStation 3 video game consoles can play Blu-ray titles, thus enhancing the appeal not only of the video game platform, but of Blu-ray products as well.

At an Entertainment Supply Chain Association conference, Futuresource postulated that by 2012 Blu-ray will consist of roughly 50% of the home video sales market⁴. With consumer demand for improved sound and picture quality intensifying and companies competing to manufacture cost-effective players, Blu-ray seems headed for dominance in the home video marketplace. However, only time will ultimately tell how Blu-ray will fare in the digital age.

Blu-ray Pros
Blu-ray Cons
Higher storage capacity
More expensive than DVDs
Higher quality picture and sound
The Blu-ray format is still evolving
Loads of extras as well as additional special features through BD-Live
Blu-ray players require regular software updates via an internet connection
Blu-ray players can play DVDs
Fewer titles available compared to DVDs

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Roc Nation Bumps Up Release Date for New Jay-Z Album

The music industry’s fourth quarter is shaping up to be its biggest in several years, and while the releases will be plentiful, many are seeing last-minute street date changes. For instance, Roc Nation has moved Jay-Z’s eagerly anticipated release The Blueprint 3 from its intended September 11th date to a September 8th street date. Additionally, Jay-Z will perform a 9/11 tribute show at Madison Square Garden to coincide with the release.

So what does this earlier-than-expected release date mean for you?
If you have already received your copies of the disc, you can display them immediately instead of waiting until Friday.

If you have any questions, please post them here as comments or contact our Customer Service Department at 1.800.875.2785.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Have you ever wondered why some DVDs have purplish-blue (or violet) bottoms while other discs have gold or silver bottoms? Let us explain…
Most DVDs are created through either Replication or Duplication processes. Replication refers to creating mass quantities of the same DVD for commercial purposes. The hardware necessary to produce such a large amount of discs in a practical amount of time requires a specific laser frequency, which in turn calls for the discs to contain a specific dye. This causes the DVDs’ bottoms to appear silver or gold.

In contrast, Duplication refers to making small quantities of discs for either personal or small commercial purposes. These types of DVDs are often created one at a time or in small numbers with a personal computer. The equipment used to create these DVDs is inexpensive and does not require premium discs. As a result, small publishers opt to use common retail DVDs that are manufactured with a cost-effective violet dye.

So what’s the deal?
Many of these blue-bottom DVDs¹ may not include menus or chapter partitioning in order to minimize production costs and time constraints. Also, many of these discs are DVD-R format as opposed to DVD+R. Some DVD-Rs may not play in older DVD players or in some computers manufactured before 2005. However, nowadays almost all DVD players are backwards compatible and can read both formats.

¹Please note that these DVDs are entirely different from Blu-ray discs. Blu-ray product will always feature the Blu-ray packaging and label.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rental & Retail Editions of Imagine That

As Paramount experiments with their two-tiered pricing model, they’ll release a rental edition of Imagine That (stock #: PAR7906806D) on October 6, 2009, which will feature the theatrical edit of the PG-rated film. This higher-priced edition will not be available in retail stores and is meant for video rental businesses. Because availability is limited, please pre-order this edition as soon as possible.

Paramount will also release a retail edition of Imagine That (stock #: PAR7906806RD) on November 24, 2009, which will feature the same PG-rated theatrical edit of the film as the rental edition. However, this lower-priced version will hit retail outlets nationwide approximately seven weeks after Paramount releases the Blu-ray and rental editions. Therefore, customers who order this item will not receive it until the retail release date of November 24, 2009.

If you have any questions about the differences between available editions of Imagine That, please post them here as comments or contact our Customer Service Department at 1.800.875.2785.