[liveupdate] Digest Number 47

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Ablang, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. Ablang

    Ablang Guest

    DIGITAL DIGEST - http://www.digital-digest.com
    12 August, 2004

    This issue of Digital Digest Live Update is sponsored by
    DivXNetworks, the creators of DivX(r) video technology. To learn
    more about DivX video, please visit our community website:



    1. Introduction

    2. DivX video, now playing on a TV near you

    3. What's new on DVD Digest

    4. What's new on DivX Digest

    5. What's new on DVD±R Digest

    6. Rant: Internet marketing - what not to do

    7. How to cancel/change your subscription email address/settings
    - how to maintain the subscription to this newsletter even
    if your email address has changed

    8. A simple thank-you and some concluding words


    1. Introduction

    A relatively short break between issues this time. For this issue,
    we have a guest writer from DivXNetworks. Joshua Covington
    contributes the article "DivX video, now playing on a TV near you."
    Also in this issue, I rant about internet marketing and the DMCA

    -- DVDGuy


    2. DivX video, now playing on a TV near you

    As you probably know by now, we released the latest DivX(r) codec to
    a throng of screaming fans on July 15th. But instead of the usual
    run down of the codec's new features and advantages over competing
    technologies — of which there are many — I'd like to talk to you
    about something else today … the wanton destruction of the world's
    precious old growth forests. Just kidding, I'd like to talk to you
    about the DivX(r) Certified Program for consumer electronics.

    If you've been shopping for a new DVD player recently, you probably
    noticed that all the best ones ;) have a snazzy logo on them
    proclaiming "DivX Certified." What does that logo mean, you ask? It
    means that in addition to playing disks in the retail standard MPEG-
    2/DVD format, that DivX Certified DVD players will also play burned
    video CDs in the Internet standard DivX format, letting you take
    your entire library of PC video content and enjoy it on your home
    theater system in big-screen, wall-rattling six speaker splendor.
    With DivX Certified High Definition DVD players poised to hit the
    market soon, you'll even be able to enjoy DivX video that takes
    advantage of the ultra-high resolution of an HDTV. And, because
    every DivX Certified device is rigorously tested and confidently
    guaranteed by the best nerds in the digital video industry (AKA the
    DivXNetworks engineers), you can rest assured that the DivX
    Certified device you purchase will offer industry leading video
    quality and performance. Any DVD player or other consumer
    electronics device bearing one of the DivX Certified logos —
    Handheld, Portable, Home Theater or High Definition — is guaranteed
    to handle DivX video content optimized for that category of devices

    Check out the full line of DivX Certified DVD players at DivX.com:

    -- Joshua Covington is a staff writer for DivXNetworks


    3. What's new on DivX Digest

    Talk about bad timing. DivX 5.2 was released shortly (maybe just a
    few hours) after the release of our last newsletter - if only I had
    waited a few more hours (considering I had already "waited" 3 months
    to release the last issue).

    Anyway, DivX 5.2 is actually quite a big change from the previous
    version, despite the relatively small version number change - this
    time, there are quite a few "non-technical" changes, as well as
    technical ones. The first non-technical change is the removal of the
    much dreaded ad-ware version. DivX 5.2 now comes in two versions
    only, the standard Free version remains unchanged. What has changed
    is that the Pro version now comes with a whooping 6 month trial
    period (probably the longest trial period that I have ever known
    about), after which users can pay for the full version (or you can
    opt to pay for the full version right away).

    The other main "non-technical" change is the introduction of multi-
    lingual versions of both the codec and the player (multi-lingual
    versions of Dr. DivX will be here soon as well). So far, French,
    German and Japanese versions are available. It's a good move to try
    and woo international users, as even from our own limited site
    statistics, more and more Net users have non-English speaking
    backgrounds and are just as active (if not more so) in the digital
    video community.

    As for technical changes, there's the usual round of bug fixes,
    quality and performance improvements. DivX Pro now also has more
    MPEG-4 features, such as multiple B-Frame support and MPEG-2/H.263
    quantization. As mentioned above, new version of DivX Player and the
    official DivX encoding tool, Dr. DivX, are also available.

    And as with the release of a major software (in this case, the
    software that all other DivX software requires), new versions of
    supporting software will be coming thick and fast shortly after. The
    first of which is a new beta build of AutoGK, which now fully
    supports DivX 5.2.

    As for other major releases, both BS Player and RadLight Player have
    reached development milestones since the last newsletter. BS Player
    finally reaches the "Gold" 1.00 version. RadLight Player has just
    gone out of Pre-Beta. It's interesting that both are fully featured
    multimedia players, and like The Core Media Player and Zoom Player,
    all have gone through extensive (as in months and years of) testing
    before release. The same goes with DivX and XviD. If only every
    software went through these kinds of extensive testing.

    Related Links:
    AutoGK: http://www.divx-digest.com/software/autogk.html
    BS Player: http://www.divx-digest.com/software/bs_play.html
    DivX - Official Site: http://www.divx.com
    DivX Codec: http://www.divx-digest.com/software/divxcodec5.html
    RadLight Player:


    4. What's new on DVD Digest

    By the miracle of me actually releasing an issue on time (or nearly
    on time - only a week late!!), there wasn't much time for much news
    on DVD Digest. So it's plan B in action again as I rant about the

    Here in Australia, we are about to pass a free trade agreement (FTA)
    with the US (update: actually just passed in the Senate, as I type
    this). The FTA will introduce DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright
    Act) like legislation in Australia, which if you have been following
    this newsletter, will know that it's a bad thing. A very bad thing.
    Digital Digest has always been treated as an US website (most likely
    due to the .com domain name, and the fact that we are hosted in the
    US), so we've been under the iron fist of the DMCA since day one
    (brings back memories of my first cease and desist order). But since
    I am located in Australia (and yes, we have electricity here ...
    almost twice a day), I could always argue that technically, I am
    immune to the DMCA. Not anymore.

    What this might mean is that if I provide a link in this newsletter
    to download the DVD ripper DVD Decrypter (which is freely and easily
    available everywhere), I might be subject to fines and prosecution
    from the request of US authorities, even though I am an Australian
    citizen. The ideas is that any Australian can be prosecuted if they
    try to break US digital copyright law (the very flawed DMCA) even if
    the protection mechanism is severely flawed and in many cases,
    prevent you from using the legally purchased digital content in a
    way you wish to. A example of this was most evident when a music CDs
    were released with copy protection that prevented playback on PCs,
    and therefore copying (there's nothing like cutting off one's head
    to stop a headache - this should really be the MPAA/RIAA's motto).
    These CDs (technically not CDs, since the CD specification states
    that it must be playable in PCs) used Window's CD auto-launch
    feature to launch an application (without your permission, of
    course) that prevents playback. Fortunately, it was easily defeated
    thanks largely to Microsoft of all companies. Windows comes with the
    option to prevent auto-launch by holding the Shift key when
    inserting the disc. This caused a bit of a legal storm, as it was
    suggested that by definition, the shift key, and anyone mentioning
    the "Shift key" method (and Microsoft for implementing the "Shift
    key" method in the first place), is circumventing copy protection,
    and can therefore be prosecuted (or is that persecuted) under the
    DMCA. I don't think this ever went to court, but the troubling thing
    is that if the RIAA wanted to sue someone, they could (and they
    probably would have won as well, and you just know that some techno-
    phobic judge will ban the shift keys on keyboards as a result). The
    same thing happened when someone found that you could defeat another
    form of copy protection by using black marker pens to mark the outer
    edge of protected CDs (ban black marker pens??).

    In other words, the DMCA is one of the most flawed acts to have been
    passed into law. And the powers that be (RIAA/MPAA) want the whole
    world to adapt to it, even though most people and many other IT
    companies (eg. Intel, Sun) are against it. Unfortunately, the
    RIAA/MPAA are able to exert political pressure to achieve their aim,
    with the help of the US government. As I type, most European
    countries have already passed, or are in the process of passing
    similar legislation. My opinion is that is will take a major court
    case, like the VHS vs Beta-Max case, to bring this issue to the
    mainstream and some sense to the whole issue.

    And finally, although not really DVD related, Windows XP Service
    Pack 2 has been released (will be available on Windows Update soon,
    maybe by the time you read this). It's a huge 250 MB update, but
    it's highly recommended that everyone install it. The most notable
    new feature is the new firewall mechanism, which should hopefully
    provide better security and lower the number of possible exploits
    that can allow trojans to take over your computer (plus things like
    spyware). But as with anything to do with updating Windows
    (especially a 250 MB update, which to be honest, doesn't really
    inspire much confidence in Windows XP as a reliable and stable
    platform), it might be a good idea to backup some of your most
    valuable data first. In fact, you should backup your most valuable
    data regularly regardless of whether you are installing something
    major or not, as I've seen (and unfortunately, personally
    experienced) hard disks corruptions that wipes everything.

    Related Links:
    Software groups warn of FTA dangers:
    Windows Update: http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/
    Windows XP SP2 for IT Professionals:


    5. What's new on DVD±R Digest

    A new version of DVD Shrink has been released. DVD Shrink 3.2 marks
    the first major version of DVD Shrink after it's supposed "end of
    development", which I guess hasn't really ended. The new version
    features a brand new encoding algorithm. Called Adaptive Error
    Compensation (AEC), the new algorithm will attempt to minimize
    compression artifacts by decoding and comparing the original video
    with the compressed video. This requires more CPU power/time, but
    will improve quality - it is still better to use less compression
    though if possible. The new version also now has dual layer support.

    The other bit of news is that the Sony PlayStation 3 will use Blu-
    Ray discs, not surprising considering Sony is one of the major
    backers of the format. My only hope now is that one High Definition
    DVD format quickly gains foothold (whether it's Blu-Ray or HD-DVD,
    or some other format), and force the other competitors to accept it.

    Related Links:
    DVD Shrink: http://www.dvdr-digest.com/software/dvdshrink.html
    Sony selects Blu-ray for PlayStation 3:


    6. Rant: Internet marketing - what not to do

    Having been doing business on the net for the last five years, I've
    seen all the ways businesses have used to try and make money. I have
    developed good relationships with many DVD/DivX/DVD Recording
    related businesses, and it has been mutually beneficial for all
    parties concerned. Unfortunately, there are also those businesses
    that seek to exploit this relationship. Let me tell you about some
    of the bad experiences I've had.

    One popular way for businesses to gain an advantage was to use our
    forum as a free place to advertise their products, which is against
    the forum's rules. Even after repeated warnings and bannings, they
    still persisted in doing the same. It eventually led to a word
    filter that removed all text/links related to that product, and even
    then, they tried to find ways around it.

    There are also companies that steal other popular software's
    GUI/design and try to get us to publish it - in cases like this, we
    notify the original author so they can take the appropriate legal

    Another popular way for companies to get their product noticed is to
    publish the same software under different brand/names, with only
    slight GUI changes. They would then submit these software titles to
    us as a way to get their software listed multiple times. Of course,
    we will reject these software, and in many cases, ban the company
    from every having their software listed on our site.

    And there is always the trick of publishing commercial software
    under the shareware banner to attract more attention. To be fair,
    the definition of shareware has always been a bit fuzzy, and
    technically any software that allows itself to be distributed and
    used in a free manner (but does not carry a freeware license) is
    considered shareware, even if the distributed software is nothing
    more than a severely crippled trial or demo version. Digital
    Digest's definition of shareware is a bit tighter - we only consider
    software to be shareware if it is fully functional for a time period
    and which can be distributed and used freely without cost (no
    commercial limitations). If an user cannot test out all features of
    the software in the trial period, then we don't consider the
    software shareware at all (it is then more inline with trial/demos
    that most commercial software titles provide these days).

    Any company that tries any of the above is immediately banned from
    every having their software listed on Digital Digest. If companies
    are willing to resort to these kind of tactics when it comes to
    dealing with Digital Digest, then chances are, they won't treat
    their customers much better, and we don't want to associate with
    these kind of companies anyway.

    So while you see lots of new software being added to Digital Digest,
    there is actually a lot more being submitted that we filter out
    first for your convenience.


    7. How to cancel/change settings/email address for your subscription
    to this newsletter

    Changing subscription status for this newsletter is pretty easy.

    To un-subscribe:
    - Send an email to liveupdate-unsubscribe*yahoogroups.com using the
    email account that receives this newsletter.

    To change the email address that receives this newsletter:
    - Un-subscribe using your current one, and sign up using a new email


    8. A simple thank-you and some concluding words

    Just a note to thank all the thousands of people, including you, who
    joined the Digital Digest LiveUpdate list. I've spent quite a bit of
    time developing this site, and making it what it is today, and
    really do appreciate your continued support.

    I hoped you enjoyed another issue of the LiveUpdate newsletter. You
    won't have to wait seven more months for the next issue, I promise :)


    ============END OF LIVEUPDATE NEWSLETTER===========

    "How can we expect another to keep our secret, if we have been unable to keep it ourselves?" -- Francois de La Rochefoucauld
    Ablang, Aug 14, 2004
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