Site Admin


Site Update – What the heck has been going on? 20

My Life… Image © Lucasfilm, Ltd.

Long time visitors to this site have noticed that there has not been a lot (any) new updates over the past few months. I want to give a quick update as to why, and where things are headed. The first issue was that I was impacted by a major flood in the spring, and had to evacuate. Thankfully, I sustained no damage as I was on higher ground, but I was cutoff for a few weeks and was unable to add new content. The second and more significant development was due to my wife, particularly the fact that she no longer wanted to be my wife. These things happen, and I am ok. But the big problem is that the space I used to run the site, mix audio, and so on, has been converted to her bedroom. So I don’t have a place right now to do what I need to do to provide quality updates on the site.
I would also like to mention that I get a lot of emails where there seems to be an assumption that there is a team of people making this site work. There is not…it is just me.

What is next?

There is good news! Site hosting has been renewed until July 2019, and I am happy to say that the money raised from folks ordering custom pre-show trailers covered that expense. Thank you to all who have supported the site in that way, and thank you to those who have made a donation, made an Amazon purchase through an affiliate link, or clicked on an advertisement – every penny helps. I may have a new source for official 5.1 mixes, which is also great news. I hope to have more on that soon.

When will this site be back to normal?

I thought I would be able to be back by now. I am currently looking for a new place, and my ex wife seems motivated to move things along. I think it will be a few more weeks, but I will be back! I appreciate all your patience and look forward to providing you with the highest quality content available.

Jonathan


Milestones 5

The Digital Theater has hit a new milestone as of late: exceeding server capacity. I have been working very hard to keep the costs down and so far, through generous donations and people making purchases through the Amazon links, I have covered the capital costs to keep the site going. As I mentioned, we exceeded server capacity, so we have upgraded. I hope you notice an improvement in site speed as a result as we are now on better equipment, with more dedicated resources. The costs associated with hosting, file transfer, etc have increased 600% over the past two years.

When this site went live in 2015, there was no advertising. You may have noticed that the level of advertising has increased recently. It is just economics. As the site becomes more popular, it requires more resources, and more resources require more money. I love providing the things that I do on this site. It takes a lot of my time, but I have been able to interact with people all over the world. I think it is great, especially considering all the negativity that is out there, that this site has regular users from all parts of the world who share a common interest.

I plan to keep this site going for the long term, offering what is not readily available elsewhere. I have decided to add trailers for films from 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, and Universal with PCM , DTS, and AC3 stereo audio. I recognize that the original aim of this site was to provide 5.1 channel audio, and that remains my primary focus. In recent times I have refrained from featuring films from those aforementioned studios as they only provided stereo masters. I am now thinking that excluding them from this site is not helping the cause. By excluding them, thedigitaltheater.com would not be included in their statistics, which decreases our leverage in requesting more than stereo encodes for their trailers. At any rate, the increased bitrate of the video, along with a higher quality stereo encode is still better than what is available on youtube.

I am also working on providing unique and exclusive content for fans of thedigitaltheater.com. In the coming days, a new feature will be added to the site. I have been working on our first pre-show trailer that will allow you to highlight the capabilities of your personal home theater. This trailer will be available in several formats (5.1, 7.1, 1080p, 4K UHD) and for a reasonable price. It is my hope that this will generate revenue to allow this site to continue to provide the quality content that you expect.

Thank you for your continued support of this site. I look forward to providing you with the content you want now and in the future.

Jonathan Richards
Editor and content provider – thedigitaltheater.com


Help Wanted 2

I am looking for some assistance verifying file playback via the PlayStation 4. The pay is terrible ($0) but it could be fun. If you have a PS4 connected to a 5.1 or higher sound system, enjoy audio visual technology, and have some spare time, please contact me.

Update:

I have receive responses from some volunteers. I will be contacting them shortly. Thanks for your help!


Poll Results 1

results

The votes are in, and there is a clear preference for .mkv with DTS audio. There is also an interest in the .mp4 files, as well as PCM for lossless audio. Based upon these results, I plan to offer files in the following formats:

ContainerCodecProfileLevelBitrateAudioAudio Bitrate
.mp4h.264High4.012 MbpsAC3 5.1640 kbps
.mkvh.264High4.120 MbpsPCM 5.1
DTS 5.1
AC3 5.1
Lossless
1536 kbps
640 kbps

This should meet the needs of almost all of those who voted – except for those who prefer FLAC. The next files to be posted will feature the specs indicated above. Thank you for taking the time to submit your preferences, and I hope that you will be happy with the format changes.


A quick poll to help me out 5

im-not-picky-i-just-have-high-standards-1

I have been asked quite a few times recently about different encoding options. Some people can not playback FLAC, and would like to have PCM, while others want DTS-HD Master Audio. Some want .mp4 with 720p to save on downloading, while some want higher bit-rates. I just do not have the time to make multiple versions of every trailer and I would like to have a standard that works well for everyone, and which will shorten the time it takes me to upload the content.

DTS-HD Master Audio is cost prohibitive. The DTS Master Audio Encoding Suite has a list price of $1500 US. While I would love to encode in DTS-HD Master Audio, I just do not have $1500 to spend on the encoder. If you know how to do Master Audio Encoding for much less, I would love to hear from you.

When I started out, the plan was to have .mp4 files with Dolby 5.1 at 640 kbps. That is all I planned to do, but eventually I started to work with PCM and later FLAC as an alternative to lossy Dolby Digital. At this point, I can work with four audio options: Dolby AC3 5.1 at 640 kbps, lossless PCM, lossless FLAC, and DTS 5.1 at 1536 kbps – which is the “core” of the HD Master Audio track.

Thank you for your feedback!


Follow thedigitaltheater.com on Twitter @digital_theater

Twitter_logo_bird_transparent_pngA while ago I disabled the RSS feed on the site as it was causing an excessive amount of server executions. I am happy to say that for those of you who do not use facebook, you can subscribe to our brand new Twitter feed https://twitter.com/digital_theater. The feed will be updated with every post so you won’t miss a thing.

Here comes the first tweet…


One Year Anniversary is coming up

birthday-cakeOn July 22, The Digital Theater will have been on the net for 1 year.  According to the stats, it is in the top half million sites in the world, and in the top 50,000 sites in the Netherlands. That is pretty amazing. The site has even been linked to from Forbes.com – something I never thought would happen.

In preparation for the next year I have been thinking about making improvements. One of the things I want to do is to speed up the time it takes to post new content, and streamline the workflow. There is a lot of steps involved in converting from ProRes to H264, removing leaders, muxing tracks, mixing tracks, quality assurance, etc, and those steps will not go away. But I think I can do something to improve how I get the files uploaded and linked on the site.

I spent a lot of time on search engine optimization (SEO) over the past year, and I think I was successful in my efforts – appearing ahead of youtube and Dolby in search results is impressive. The balancing act will be to streamline without negatively impacting the SEO.

With a new year comes new costs. It will cost about $235 to keep the domain hosted for the next year. You can help reduce the costs by donating to the site using this link. Thank you all for visiting and providing feedback over the past 11 months. I am looking forward to the year ahead.

 


Site Update – Please Read 19

Hello,

Thank you for visiting this site. I launched this site back in July (the 4 month anniversary is today!) and I have received a response that exceeded my expectations. There are people who come to this site whom I now communicate with on a near daily basis. People come here from all over the world to share their love of film, technology, audio, etc. I have learned a lot over the past four months and I am sure the next 4 months will be just as exciting.

Background

I want to give you a bit of information as to where things stand in terms of the current infrastructure. Thedigitaltheater.com is currently on a shared hosting platform that has a 20GB storage allocation, and unlimited bandwidth (the amount of data visitors can download). That 20GB allocation is 97% full. The 20GB consists primarily of .mp4 files with AC3 audio. When I started this site, that was my focus since one of my frustrations was being able to obtain trailers or demo files that would play on the PS3. I am do not want to move away from that. Continue reading “Site Update – Please Read” »