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Visit American Vice

American Vice (0)

uscue (39) 01-14-09  11:49am
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Only Lacking Effort

I agree, this is a great alternative to VideoBox or MoviePass. The only gripe I have is that the search function and the preview functions are not as good as Video Box. I've had so many problems getting the right things I want when using search. However, I do like being able to browse by star name and seeing how many DVDs they have which makes the search a little easier to stomach.

The only other problem is previews. I appreciate the sample feature for each scene, but I like the flash preview of the six different screen caps in Video Box, as well as VB's Custom Clips.

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Msg # User Message Date

1

TrashMan (Disabled) Any site that has automatic playing flash videos on their tour page needs a lot of work... :P

Looks pretty good, but looks like a small library :P.

01-14-09  02:52pm

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2

Toadsith (48) Having used both VideoBox and American Vice extensively, I'm amazed by your comment that VideoBox has the better search engine. American Vice's search engine is astonishingly powerful and far more adjustable than VideoBox. While superficially they behave similarly, in the fact that each suggests you choose a category and narrow it down from there, the differences are very much in the details.

Firstly, American Vice has far more specific categories than VideoBox. Secondly, when refining a search, you can remove any category from the line-up without having to clear and start over. VideoBox works on the Crumb Trail method of each category selection is laid on top of the last, so if you want to remove the first selection, you must remove all. Thirdly, American Vice allows user keyword searches to be added to the search in the same way it treats categories. This way you can add "monkey" and then "France" to the refine the search and then even decide to remove "monkey". I will grant you that American Vice's search engine has a steep learning curve, but it is worth taking the time to master it as then you will find searching their database is much better than the competing DVD sites. The only caveat is that their engine doesn't allow exclusive category selections - only inclusive. This isn't a huge negative though because none of the sites I've seen have exclusive capacity. This would be the advantage of providing a classic Boolean search engine, but most people would never figure out how to use it...

The preview options you have a point about - the screen shots are always great, but flash is easier for previewing than WMV, no doubt. And Video Box's animated screen shots are nifty, if perhaps not always placed in a useful location in the scene.

However, I truly don't understand the appeal of Video Box's custom clip feature though. Why would one want to cut a video into little pieces? Generally we are trying to avoid segmented videos in preference to single, large files. That feature has always seemed like a waste to me.

01-14-09  10:18pm

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3

Toadsith (48) REPLY TO #1 - TrashMan :

Yeah, the automatic flash video on the front page is definitely annoying, especially if you forgot your speakers were on. It can scare the hell out of you.

One thing I wanted to point out though was that despite their collection being quite notably smaller than a number of their competitors - it is surprisingly diverse. They have a reasonable selection of the major studios and a ton of smaller studios and things you will probably never find on the likes of VideoBox - like John Thompson's Sex Box series straight from Germany. I was rather shocked to run across that in their collection. I would say that if you are a fan of niche porn, rather than mainstream, this is the choice site.

It'll be a long time before they can catch up with VideoBox's mainstream collection, but their off beat stuff is really their strong suit. That and their crazy hilarious editorial commentary on each and every scene. I do hope they make a coffee table book of that stuff one of these days.

01-14-09  10:26pm

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4

moonbyrd (0) REPLY TO #3 - Toadsith :

Had to check this site out as it was mentioned as an alternative to Videobox in connection with the regional pricing and such.

I dislike the editorial comments. Didn't like them when Videobox had them, don't like them on American Vice. They seem overly smug and often quite vicious. (Videobox's current shoutbox system is not so hot either.)

As for video quality, based on a limited sample, Videobox seems to be better in terms of avoiding pixelation and artecacts. Neither is perfect. Videobox uses the original NTSC DVD pixel resolution of 720x480, American Vice resizes 4:3 video to 640x480. (What do they do with 16:9 videos?)

The good thing is AV lets people download a few scenes for free and also purchase individual movies/scenes as opposed to a all-you-can-eat membership. I'll certainly keep it in my bookmarks.

I don't care for the John Thompson Sexbox stuff at all but no one is forcing me to download it so I can ignore it.

01-15-09  01:13am

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5

Reg Berkeley (10)
Webmaster
REPLY TO #4 - moonbyrd :

While I'm not trying to get in the middle of a nice, spirited discussion. I will point one thing out that many folks probably aren't aware of.

720 x 480 on a DVD is the same as 640 x 480 on a computer. If you calculate the ratio, actually 640 x 480 is the true 4 x 3. The difference lies in round pixels versus square pixels. Without getting into it, one is a TV ratio and one is a computer monitor ratio, and they are essentially the same.

For 16 x 9 content, we encode using the same 640 x 480 but we preserve the widescreen ratio. Kinda like letterboxing.

Lastly, I agree that our editorial comments are not for everybody. They're crass, low brow, extremely profane but hopefully intellectual and insightful. Anyway, that's why they're stuck underneath at the bottom of the movie display - so you can ignore them if you wish.

01-15-09  04:37am

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6

jd1961 (95) REPLY TO #5 - Reg Berkeley :

He's right, 640 x 480 is the proper ratio.
01-15-09  05:03am

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7

moonbyrd (0) REPLY TO #5 - Reg Berkeley :

Thanks for your reply, Reg. I know about the square and nonsquare pixels. In fact that's why your videos look right and Videobox's look a bit squashed. However, this can be corrected by telling the playing software what the correct aspect ratio should be - which I assume you are doing with the 16x9 content, with a couple of parameters in the file header. (And which VB fails to do to their videos.) Why not do this in both cases? I'm not sure how much the size reduction contributes to the overall quality, but at least it adds one interpolation step to the process.

As to the comments, some people apparently like them and I can take them or leave them. I guess the ones I happened to read were of the more negative variety.

01-15-09  05:28am

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8

Reg Berkeley (10)
Webmaster
REPLY TO #7 - moonbyrd :

At the risk of spoiling the perception that we're some sort of encoding geniuses...we don't manipulate any file headers, as your suggesting.

We use a professional encoding platform. . .set the output based on a profile (in this case, 640 x 480) and that profile is set to maintain the native resolution of the underlying content. It's actually quite basic. The software handles the square pixel/round pixel conversions.

If you really want to get esoteric, go check out how many websites have not figured out how to consistently display both 16:9 and 4:3 screen caps. I'm sure you've noticed the distortion. Anyway, we actually letterbox all those manually, too. I suppose, eventually, when 16:9 content dominates our library, then we'll have to re-evaluate how we display our screen caps.

Yeah, our commentary can be terribly negative, even vicious. But it's usually well-deserved. And I think it legitimizes the movies/actors that we talk up positively.

01-15-09  05:46am

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9

moonbyrd (0) REPLY TO #8 - Reg Berkeley :

OK... I just assumed you were doing the same thing I was. I had to educate myself a bit to be able to watch the VB videos with Windows Media Player (actually, on a TV screen used as a secondary display on the computer). Now I use a small program to set the parameters AspectRatioX and AspectRatioY for each of the videos I download from them. But this is boring stuff and not about your site.

It seemed to me there was a bit of a vendetta against the Czech and Hungarian Eurobabes going on in the editorial comments. I can see the rationale but not everyone can speak fluent English. Myself I have sort of warmed up to them over time. No big deal though.

01-15-09  06:18am

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10

TheSquirrel (53) The reason I really love the site is for similar reasons to Toadsith. I joined because of his review. I though he was spot on. They have truly magnificent search and navigation. Video Box getting all the dimensions wrong is a real irritation for me, and would be to any relative newcomer to internet, or a dimwit like me. I rarely disagree with the "editors choice" which picks out the best clip from a dvd. Their customer service is great. From what I've heard Video Box's is lousy. American Vice treat you like a customer, one they are pleased to do business with. With Video Box, you may as well not exist. American Vice now have nearly 1800 dvd's. Not an insignificant amount. I agree with Toadsith, in that, although they have a smaller selection, they make up for that in quality and diversity that you will not see on other dvd sites. In fact I think they have the most diverse content of any dvd site. It isn't that everything is perfect, but given the price, I think it is the best value of any site around. This allied with the feel you get from the site. They do those important things right - video content, video quality, picture perspectives correct, great personal customer service which treats you like a human being, great search and navigation, and NO dirty tricks or con jobs. Okay, not everything is perfect, but you get the feeling that they are pulling for you, rather than against you, cutting corners, or finding ways to rip you off.
01-15-09  07:32am

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11

uscue (39) REPLY TO #2 - Toadsith :

Good point, I may have not taken enough time with the search engine to fully appreciate it. I can definitely admit that. I might have to retry and then see. Only other thing I'll mention is VB's custom clip feature. I normally download full scenes but found that larger file sizes with a lot of time at the beginning spent on stuff I don't really care about much (some of the videos have interviews, acting and while I like it I can do without the fluffing BJ), I can just clip that out and have something I can easily enjoy at a smaller size. If I want to see the interview, I can always do the "Play Now" and watch it, but I don't need to keep it in my downloaded file.

One thing I didn't mention in my initial comment: I also love the editor's pick feature in American Vice. It personalizes the website, as does the review they give. I don't see a point in getting rid of it...either people like it and read it or they can just skip over it.

01-15-09  11:14am

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12

Toadsith (48) REPLY TO #11 - uscue :

If file size is an issue, the custom clips can definitely make sense. I guess my gut reaction is along the lines of why I only listen to full music albums rather than just the tracks I initially like - the artist took time to put together the album and choose which music plays after which, and you can often learn something from their choices. I'll admit I think a lot of porn isn't made as carefully as most music albums, but I think that should explain my generalized lack of interest in the custom clip idea.
01-15-09  11:24am

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13

TrashMan (Disabled) REPLY TO #5 - Reg Berkeley :

640x480 looks more normal than 720x480. 720x480 always looks stretched to me. Same goes for 352x240 vs 320x240.
01-15-09  02:19pm

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14

moonbyrd (0) REPLY TO #13 - TrashMan :

True if the movie is supposed to be 4:3 and the pixels are 1:1. However some movies are 16:9. Now DVD resolution is always 720x480 (NTSC) or 720x576 (PAL), widescreen or not. My point was that it is possible and preferable to keep this resolution in the WMV file and include the pixel aspect ratio in the ASF header (in case of NTSC, 8:9 if you want the screen aspect ratio to be 4:3,32:27 if you want 16:9).

But I am done with this discussion which no one will read any more anyway.

01-15-09  10:10pm

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