So you got yourself a cool Motorola Xoom, and after playing with it for a bit, you figured it would be great if you could use it to watch your movies and TV shows on it. You tried YouTube, and might even tried a movie or 2 from Google’s Video section in the Android Market, but if you are like me, and already have a large collection of movies already, how can you use those with your Xoom?
In the store and on TV you see advertisements of free “Digital Copies” included with DVDs and Blurays, Vudu, UltraViolet, PocketBLU, NetFlix, BlockBuster etc. but most of these don’t work on your Xoom, and the ones that do don’t let you actually download the movie to your Xoom, so how can you watch your shows on your Xoom when you do not have internet-access. Maybe in a waiting room, or on a bus/plane ride.
This guide will show you how you can put your own movie and TV show collection (DVD, AVI, MKV etc) onto your Xoom so that you can watch them when- and where-ever, without the need of a permanent internet connection.
A free eBook version of the guide (a bit more detailed as well) can be found here:
Available in PDF, ePub and Mobi format.
What do you need:
* Your Motorola Xoom. While you don’t need it for the actual process, of course if you want to watch a movie on it, you need to be able to put the movie onto it.
* The USB connection cable for your Xoom.
* Windows-based PC in order to be able to run DVD Catalyst 4. DVD Catalyst 4 is currently only available for computers and laptops running Microsoft Windows. It works on Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, on 32bit as well as 64bit systems. Currently there is no Apple Mac or Linux version available of DVD Catalyst 4.
* DVD drive for if you want to convert DVDs or a Bluray drive if you want to convert Blurays, or access to your video file collection if you want to convert AVI, MKV, M2TS etc.
* Conversion software. There is a large variety of different tools available for this. You can do it the free way, with applications such as Handbrake and Freemake, or go with one of the many overpriced applications that are found all over the internet, but for this guide I am using DVD Catalyst 4, one of the most popular conversion applications for phones and tablets due to how easy it works (1 click conversions), the support provided to you when you need it (quick, hand-typed and detailed) and the very affordable pricing (currently on sale for only $9.95, less than the price of 2 DVDs in the sales-bin at the grocery store).
Note: To use DVD Catalyst 4 with Blurays, extra software is needed. For DVDs and video files, it works without the need of anything else. DVD Catalyst 4 even includes its own codecs, so it is capable of converting video files you might not even be able to play on your computer.
* Movies or TV shows. Of course you need videos that you want to watch on your Motorola Xoom. You can use movies and TV shows on a disc such as a DVD or Bluray, or you can use video files such as AVI, MKV, created by other applications. So-called “Digital Copies”, the video files you get with some DVD and Bluray purchases (“Free Digital Copy Included” on the case), iTunes purchased/rented movies, and movie files obtained from other online services like Amazon Prime, Blockbuster have a special DRM on them that prevents them from being played on your Xoom, and also prevents them from being converted. If you use these services to actually get a DVD sent to you, those can be converted though.
5-Step Quick Guide:
Step 1: Download and install DVD Catalyst 4 on your computer.
Step 2: Start DVD Catalyst 4 and select the Motorola > Xoom profile.
Step 3: Insert your DVD or drag your video files over onto DVD Catalyst 4.
Step 4: Tap Go to start the conversion process.
Step 5. Connect your Xoom to your computer and copy the file over.
Once completed, just open the Gallery App on your Xoom, and tap the movie to play it.
Step 1: Getting things setup:
* To be able to convert your movies for your Xoom, you will need to install the conversion software on your computer, in this guide, DVD Catalyst 4.
If you purchased DVD Catalyst 4, you should receive an order confirmation with the download link by email within a matter of minutes. If you purchased and have not received your order confirmation, it is possible, based on the settings of your email spam filter, that the confirmation email was marked as spam/junk mail, and it will likely be located in your spam/junkmail folder.
Find your downloaded DVD Catalyst 4 ZIP file. Usually Windows stores downloaded files in your “Downloads” folder, but depending on if you or someone else changed the location, or what web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer) you used to download, it could be located on your desktop or in your Documents folder.
The trial version file name is dc4.0tr.zip:
The retail version file name is dc4.0rt.zip
Now simply double-left-click on the downloaded file to open it:
If you are experiencing complications with the downloaded file (partial download, corrupted, no files in the zip file etc), please make sure no download accelerator applications or toolbars are running that would affect the download. If you do not know how to turn those off, please download and install a web browser such as Mozilla Firefox (link), and use that to download the DVD Catalyst 4 installer.
Both the trial version and the retail version are provided as a ZIP file. Since Windows XP, Microsoft has included support for ZIP files in Windows itself, so unless your computer is running Windows 2000, your computer should be able to open the installer without any complications.
However, if you, or someone else installed a trial version of a ZIP application such as WinRAR or WinZIP, it is possible your trial version of this application has expired, forcing you to purchase their product. If you run into this, simply uninstall the WinZip or WinRAR trial application from your computer, so Windows will use it’s own ZIP functionality. Alternatively, you can download and install the free 7ZIP application (link) which supports ZIP files as well.
If the ZIP file opens normally, you should see a dc4…. file and the pdf version of the DVD Catalyst 4 Manual. The manual is something you can look through at a later time, however, this guide covers most of what you need to know, so I’ll continue with simply installing DVD Catalyst 4.
To install it, just doubleclick on the dc4… file.
If you see the above message, just tap “Run” to have it extract and start the installer:
If you are using Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, you might see the above message. Just tap Yes here.
Now just click through the installer like you would do with any other application installer.
There are no hidden toolbar/spyware/crapware applications hidden in the DVD Catalyst 4 installer. It will just install DVD Catalyst 4 on your computer, nothing extra that would cause any advertising grief or annoyances.
If, during installation of DVD Catalyst 4, you happen to run into an error message similar to this one:
then the installer tries to install DVD Catalyst while it is already running on your computer, or a different application, such as backup software is trying to access one of the installer files. If this happens, restart your computer, and run the installer again.
At the end of the installer, remove the 2 checkmarks. The Getting Started will just display a guide similar to this one, but more “generic”, and while it is easy to start DVD Catalyst 4 from the installer at this point, this portion of the guide is something you only need to do once, the rest of the guide is something you will do more.
If you happen to get a message similar to this one after the install process is complete:
just click on “This program installed correctly”
Step 2: Using DVD Catalyst 4 to convert your movies and TV shows for your Xoom:
Start DVD Catalyst 4 by clicking the shortcut on your desktop:
The first time you start DVD Catalyst 4, it might take a bit for it to load. Once it is loaded, you are presented with a screen like this:
The manual goes into detail about what and how things work and what they are for, but if you just want to convert your movies and tv shows, there is no need to read up on that.
While DVD Catalyst 4 looks really simple, and it works really easy, it actually grows with you if you are getting more and more experienced (and daring) with your conversions).
Often underestimated by the simple look, there are more advanced features and powerful options in DVD Catalyst 4 than you will find in most similar conversion tools combined. But, rather than forcing you to deal with them like similar applications do, DVD Catalyst 4 handles all of that automatically so you don’t have to.
When you are ready and interested to play with those powerful features and options, they are there for you to play with, and you can control just about every aspect of the conversion process.
For the purpose of this guide, I will not go into those now. The manual, as well as some detailed articles on the tools4movies.com website will give you all the details though.
Use the dropdowns on the left side of DVD Catalyst 4 to select Motorola and then Xoom.
There are some additional profiles available for it:
If you are converting DVDs (like most people), just select the Xoom profile. For information about what the others are for, please have a look here: http://www.tools4movies.com/2012/01/dvd-catalyst-device-profiles-fast-hq-hq2-hqx/
One of DVD Catalyst 4′s main advantages over similar applications is that it includes profiles for almost all video-capable devices on the planet. In the current version (126.96.36.199 at the time of writing this guide) DVD Catalyst 4 includes over 3300 device profiles, so even if you don’t have a Xoom, likely your phone/tablet/ipad is listed. If not, just let us know.
With your Motorola Xoom profile selected, insert your DVD (Spiderman 3 in this example):
(If you see something different, please scroll down a bit in this guide to the troubleshooting section)
Now just tap the Go button to start the process:
This can take a while, depending on the speed of your computer.
On most computers, the conversion runs about twice as fast as it takes to actually watch the movie, so a 2 hour movie will take about 1 hour or so. but if you are using a powerful Quad-Core computer the conversion can go quite a bit faster. Using a high-end laptop, the conversion can run as fast as 8x realtime, so a 2 hour movie converts in 15 minutes or so. If you are using an older computer, or a netbook, the conversion can take a little bit longer though.
(If you are running into complications with the conversion, please scroll down to the troubleshooting section a little lower in this guide)
After the conversion is complete, DVD Catalyst will open the video folder where your movie file is located:
Now connect your Xoom to your computer, and it should appear on the side:
(If your Xoom does not appear in “My Computer” please scroll down to the troubleshooting section in this guide)
Click on the little arrow in front of it to display its memory locations (if you don’t have an additional memory card in your Xoom, the SD Card will not be there):
Then simply drag your video file over to the one you want to use for your movies. Left-click and hold on your movie file, and then move your mouse to the memory location and let go of the mouse button.
You might encounter a message similar to this:
Just tap “Yes” here.
(If you do not have this option, look further down in this guide for the troubleshooting section)
(if you encounter issues during the file-copy part, please have a look at the troubleshooting section down below)
Once the file is copied over, you can use the build-in Gallery application on your Xoom to play your movie.
It looks like we did a lot so far, but actually we only did a few steps:
1. We downloaded the DVD Catalyst installer from the tools4movies.com website.
2. We installed DVD Catalyst 4 on the computer.
3. We started DVD Catalyst 4.
4. We selected the Motorola Xoom profile.
5. We put a DVD in the DVD drive,
6. Tapped Go to start the conversion.
7. Waited for the conversion to complete
8. We then copied the video file over to the Xoom.
Your Next Conversion:
Now with the setup all done, all your future conversions are even easier, because DVD Catalyst 4 remembers your settings.
1. start DVD Catalyst 4.
2. put a DVD in your DVD drive.
3. Tap Go.
5. Copy video file over.
What happens during the conversion:
The actual movie conversion process takes some time. Many people don’t realize that converting a DVD to play on the Motorola Xoom is a bit more involved than just copying over the movie from the DVD to the tablet. Conversion tools such as DVD Catalyst 4 actually have to do a lot more than that:
* Disc Transfer. Of course you can not just stick a DVD in your Xoom. If only it was that easy. Tablets such as the Xoom don’t have a DVD drive, and while it is possible to connect a DVD drive with some cables and adapters to your tablet, there are no DVD player apps in the Android Market or anywhere else for it, so it will not do you any good.
So, a conversion tool such as DVD Catalyst 4 reads the movie (or TV episode) from your DVD, and stores it on your computer in a video file.
* Format Change. Be it from DVD or from video files created using other software applications, one of the main complaints people have with their Xoom (and other tablets/phones/media players) is that you can not just simply copy video files over to it and expect it to play. In order for the Xoom to play your movies and TV shows, the video files need to be “compatible” with it. This is where the actual conversion part comes in. DVD Catalyst 4 reads your DVD or video file(s) and then transforms it into a format that is optimized for your Xoom, so that it will play your video without any issues.
* Compression. Many people don’t realize that a movie on DVD takes up about 5-9GB of space. When you copy a movie over to your Xoom of that size, you can only store 4-5 movies or so, and you are out of space. Conversion tools such as DVD Catalyst 4 compress movies to a much smaller file-size (1-2GB or so) enabling you to store much more movies on it (16-20 instead of 5). The compression part is the tricky part for such a conversion tool, because that is what determines the quality of the end result and if the video file created by the conversion tool is actually compatible with your Xoom. DVD Catalyst 4 uses all the power your computer has to offer to ensure the files are reasonable in size, while making sure your video file will play perfectly and with the best possible quality on your Xoom.
* Screen size adjustment. While this does not apply for converting DVDs for your Xoom because of a lower screen resolution, if you convert HD movies such as Bluray or MKV files, the conversion process also adjusts the screen size of your movies and TV shows to make it fit properly on your tablet screen. Blurays have a resolution that is a lot higher (1920×1080) than that of your Xoom (1280×800).
For more information on screen size and resolution, please have a look here:
* Border removal. Not all conversion tools actually do this, but DVD Catalyst 4 does this automatically. Many movies have black borders added to them to comply with the official DVD standard.
When you convert movies without removing the borders, these borders become part of your video file, reducing the video quality and size.
DVD Catalyst 4 automatically removes these black borders:
Which of course greatly enhances your movie viewing experience:
For more information on how black border removal works, or on how to make your movies and TV shows completely full-screen, please have a look at this article:
So while the conversion process might appear as something simple, a lot of things are happening, all at the same time, to make sure that you end up with the best possible video (and audio) quality in a video file perfectly optimized for your Xoom.
How to convert video files with DVD Catalyst 4:
Even though DVD Catalyst 4 has “DVD” in its name, it can of course convert video files as well. While similar products offer a separate application for converting video files (with an additional charge of course), DVD Catalyst 4 converts DVDs and video files from within one application.
If you already used a different application to digitize your own movie collection for use with a HD media player or a Media Center PC of some sorts, you can use those files for your conversion, rather than having to dig out your DVDs again. In fact, converting video files with DVD Catalyst 4 is something even easier than DVDs.
DVD Catalyst 4 uses a technique we call “Transparent Batch”. If you want to convert movies, you can often only convert one at a time, and after the conversion is complete you need to start over, work yourself through the application with your next movie. Some applications offer a “batch” mode, in which you can queue up multiple conversions before you start the process, so you don’t have to wait for each movie to complete. Once one is done, it will continue with the next.
DVD Catalyst 4 goes a step further. It runs all your conversions in batch-mode automatically. No need to set up one video file or TV episode at a time. You just add whatever you want to convert (if you have multiple DVD drives, 100 video files, it doesn’t matter) and with 1 tap on the Go button, it will automatically queue them up and convert all of them for you.
Here is how it works:
Start DVD Catalyst 4:
then open “My Computer” and browse to the location of where you have stored your video files. This can be an external USB drive, or a NAS, but make sure that it shows up with a drive letter in My Computer.
Then just select the ones you want, and drag them over onto DVD Catalyst 4. You can also drag over the folder, and if there happen to be files in there that are not video files, DVD Catalyst 4 will just ignore those and just add the video files only.
After you drag them over, DVD Catalyst 4 will scan the files, and then display the ones it found:
You can add as many files as you want. 1, 10, 100, 1000, it doesn’t matter. And when you have all your files in DVD Catalyst 4′s list, just tap the Go button, and all your video files, DVDs, ISO’s etc will be converted for your Motorola Xoom, one at a time.
Note: DVD Catalyst 4 can only convert video files that are not protected with any form of DRM. Video files such as ISO, MKV, AVI work fine, but movies and TV shows downloaded through iTunes or Amazon Prime, or so-called “Digital Copies” you get with some DVD and Bluray combo packs or something similar use a form of DRM to prevent them from being used on non-authorized devices, and this also prevents them from being converted to a different format.
How to convert Bluray with DVD Catalyst 4:
As mentioned earlier, DVD Catalyst 4 is also capable of converting Bluray, however, in order for this to work, you will need additional software to “help” DVD Catalyst 4 with the conversion.
for more information on how this works, please have a look here:
Cover images for your movies:
Unfortunately, Android devices such as your Xoom do not display cover-images for video files. The build-in Gallery app, which is what is usually used for playing video files, simply ignores “album art” cover-images, and there is no way to have it display custom images or even file names for your movies in its main view. You can select a movie and tap on the info-icon to get the file-name, but to do this when you are looking for that one movie or episode you want to watch is a bit tedious.
Because a lot of people would like to use cover-images for their movies to make it easier to find them and nicer to look at, we created an Android application called MovieGallery to do just that.
For more information on MovieGallery, please have a look here:
General fix for your Motorola Xoom:
This might seem obvious, but it is often forgotten and/or ignored. Regardless of what complications you might experience with your Xoom, the one thing that fixes the most of them is to simply turn off your tablet completely (not just the screen) by holding the power-button, and then turn it back on.
General fix for DVD Catalyst 4 related issues:
DVD Catalyst 4 has a lot of options to adjust (if you enable Power User mode) and if you are running into complications and are not sure if you changed something, a reset of DVD Catalyst 4 will often fix the issues you are experiencing.
* Make sure DVD Catalyst is not running. While not needed, a restart of your computer will not hurt.
* Click on “START” > “RUN” (or hold down the windows-key on your keyboard and tap the “R” key)
(if your keyboard has 2 Windows-keys, holding down one is enough)
* In the run dialog, type in:
and click OK
*delete the “DVD Catalyst 4″ folder there.
This will reset DVD Catalyst to it’s defaults, and will take care of most possible issues.
In general, there are 4 tricks that will fix any complication you might encounter with a DVD.
1. Safe-mode conversion. This (often) fixes issues for when the conversion starts and after the 5-step scan, the conversion crashes.
Enable Power User, then in the DVD tab in Global Settings, turn off “Fast mode” and enable “Standard access”. The conversions will run slower.
2. Scan engine change. This (often) fixes issues that when you tap Go and there is no 5-step, it just opens the video folder right away, and this fixes things like missing episodes on (older) TV DVDs.
Enable Power User, then in the Engines tab in Global Settings, switch the scan engine for DVDs to “Boosterpack”. Then restart DVD Catalyst to have it scan the DVD again.
3. Conversion engine change. This (often) fixes issues of partial conversions. If the conversion starts and it runs for a few minutes and then stops/crashes.
Enable Power User, then in the Engines tab in Global Settings, switch the conversion engine for DVDs to “Original”
4. If you start DVD Catalyst, and have it scan a DVD, and it shows something like this:
you have a DVD with a fake-track system on it. For some new-release movies, to make things a bit tricky for conversion tools such as DVD Catalyst, movie studios include a bunch of fake tracks on the DVD. To determine which track is the correct one, please have a look this article for Footloose 2011: http://www.tools4movies.com/2012/03/footloose-2011-dvd/
Even if your movie is different, the process of using something like Windows Media Player to determine the correct track is the same. Of course the title number you will find for your DVD is likely different, but the rest is the same.
Problem DVD List
If you run into other complications with DVDs, such as failed conversions, partial conversions, no conversions, please check and see if the DVD you are experiencing complications with is listed here:
The above link contains a list of DVDs (and some Blurays) that either were reported as being tricky or ones we ran into ourselves, along with solutions on how to convert them. Most movies and TV shows (including ones mentioned in the list) convert without complications though.
File transfer issues.
*Xoom does not show up in “My Computer”.
The Motorola Xoom, as well as all Android Honeycomb (HC 3.0) and Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS 4.0) use Windows Media technology for the connection to your computer. If your Xoom doesn’t show up in “My Computer”, you might have to update your computer to a newer Windows Media Player version. You can use the Windows Updates for this, or download Windows Media Player directly from here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/windows-media-player
If you are experiencing complications, it might help to make sure you have all the available updates installed for your Windows-version.
If the updates and/or install of a newer Windows Media Player version does not help. You might have to install a driver or connection software for your Xoom. You can find more information on that here:
If the above still does not fix your issue, I would recommend contacting Motorola’s support department and ask them for assistance. You did pay a pretty penny for your Xoom, so the least they can do is help you in getting it connected properly.
*File transfer doesn’t finish completely, stops early etc.
If you are copying your files over, and your computer keeps losing connection while copying the files over, there is likely an issue with the USB connection on your computer. If your computer has USB3, try switching the USB cable to a different USB port, preferably a USB2 port.
Video playback issues.
DVD Catalyst 4 creates video files that are optimized for so-called “hardware decoding”. The Tegra2 processor handles the playback of your video files.
*This file can not be played.
You can find a lot of video players in the market, such as Dice Player, MX player, Rock Player, and while these players offer support for additional video files, these players can cause complications with hardware-video playback, so if you are encountering playback issues with your video files, try uninstalling additional players and a restart of your Xoom to see if that makes them work properly.
If the above doesn’t apply or doesn’t help, check and make sure that the video files you have play on your computer using something like VLC (link) or Apple Quicktime (link). If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can also test-play the created video files in Windows Media Player, however, you might notice sync-issues with your video files. This is not an issue with the video file itself.
If you are using a memory card to play your video files, and you are experiencing playback issues, try copying the files DVD Catalyst 4 created from your computer to internal memory instead. (do not use something like Astro or ES file explorer to copy the video from memorycard to internal memory) If you ordered a memory card from eBay or something similar, it is possible you paid for a fake memory card. You can find more information on that here: http://www.tools4movies.com/2011/12/quick-tip-fake-memorycards/
A free eBook version of the guide (a bit more detailed as well) can be found here:
Available in PDF, ePub and Mobi format.