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Please note that some, if not many of the links on this page may be broken. This is just an archived copy of the news for this month. We cannot guarantee that the links will work because we remove old versions as we update. For the newest software releases please always refer to the main news and software pages. If you really need a file then please contact us and we'll do our best to help.

Date News
5/28 AviSynth 2.5.8 RC1 contains a considerable list of changes and bugfixes.

DGMPGDec 1.5.0 final has been released.

In probably the boldest attempt to sneak one sided copyright legislation by without anybody noticing by proxy of the US government (yet again), the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) would involve the US, Canada, the EU, Japan, Australia, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand and Switzerland and contains a veritable Christmas wish list of the copyright cartels: force ISPs to work with the industry whenever they want to sue somebody, stricter anti circumvention restrictions, potential outlawing of multi region DVD players and a paragraph specifically tailored to shut down sites like The Pirate Bay. They plan to pass the final agreement by the G8 meeting in July so that gives us time to figure out who's going to attend and let them know they're walking into a well laid trap. And there's more, under the new agreement, customs officials could search and seize your computer/iPod/music phone/etc if it contains content they deem illegal..


Will we finally see Blu-ray player prices drop significantly? According to a Chinese publication, 11 Chinese companies have been granted the license to manufacture Blu-ray equipment.

Apparently unsatisfied with how Blu-ray is doing in Europe, Sony has launched a new project to foster Blu-ray adoption - the BASE Project (Blu-ray Authoring and Solution Europe). The project aims to provide technical support to European studios and Blu-ray manufacturing facilities. There's but one catch: Sony is targeting the wrong audience. I visited the largest consumer electronics chain in the region just recently and here's what I found: the cheapest Blu-ray player was $377 and it's profile 1.0. There were no profile 1.1/2.0 players other than the Playstation 3, and that one retails for almost $600. On top of that, Blu-ray discs are not only hard to find, but when you manage to find them, they cost a whopping $35 - $55, compared to $20 to $28 for DVDs. If we compare those prices with Amazon Europe, we have $32 to $48 whereas Amazon USA sells discs for $20 to $28. So, is anybody really surprised that Blu-ray isn't doing so good? We pay between $8 and $9 per gallon of gas after all...


In Sweden, a music flatrate seems a lot closer to reality than the record labels would like: Swedish royalty collecting organization Stim is gearing up to test such a model starting in September (Link in Swedish).


TsRemux 0.21.2 forces all PIDs and audio PES packets to follow the Blu-ray requirement and MKV support is still a work in progress (MPEG2 with AC3 works, other things do not).

After repeatedly blowing it after suing Napster into submission, the music industry gives it another shot: this time they're selling MP4 music. With 6 million titles, the store is larger than its competitors, but ars technica has already identified several problems with the store.

5/19 Now it is official: even though there's no legal basis for them to do so, Microsoft turned their media center software into an enforcement arm of the movie industry by adding support for the broadcast flag - so broadcasters can stop you from recording, thus circumventing the right to timeshift.

Big Content is really stepping up their game to dupe our elected officials into passing laws to the detriment of everybody else: The latest example comes from Denmark, where two opposition parties want to short circuit due process in order to more quickly block websites that the industry doesn't like.


The first ever filesharing lawsuit to go to trial could see a do-over: The judge now thinks he might have been wrong with his jury instructions (you might recall... making available = infringement without any proof needed as to whether distribution actually took place) so now the RIAA will go into overdrive trying to ram their interpretation through as this could set a precedent from which their lawsuit machine cannot recover.

And another case has marked a bad second half of the week for the RIAA, they have to cough up more than $100'000 to cover court costs and attorney fees for a case where they sued, then dropped the lawsuit after two years. And once that's done, they still face a lawsuit for malicious prosecution.

And, in yet another example of the RIAA's double standard, member studio Universal Music fights a jury verdict that awarded the plaintiff 10 times the actual damages in a case where an artist under Universal contract used unlicensed music samples on an album. So, 10 times the actual amount is excessive, but 23'000:1 is not when it's you that gets the money. Right..

Last but not least, we got a first live demonstration of the broadcast flag earlier this week when Media Centers across the nation suddenly refused to record certain NBC shows last Monday. Betamax case anyone or what happened to the right to timeshift?

Project Rémoulade marks DivX's entry into the AVC game - their beta decoder is fully featured and even faster than CoreAVC. If you're interested, they're looking for beta testers. Unfortunately, a price has not yet been determined (meaning the final version could cost you).


Finally some positive Blu-ray news: Funai's first player (profile 1.1) is finally available at $298. However, the outputs leave a bit to be desired and of course there's the missing profile 2.0

If you're willing to pay $50 more, Samsung's BD-P1500 offers full bitstream support for all audio formats, and profile 2.0, for $348. Add full internal audio decoding, and this might be a player I'd start considering to watch my growing Blu-ray collection in my living room.


eac3to 2.46 fully supports MPEG-2 streams that contain a mix of 23.976 and 29.90fps content, always muxes mixed mode MPEG-2 streams at 29.97fps, removes pulldown when an MPEG-2 stream is read, has a new switch to turn off that pulldown removal functionality, corrects the default WAV channel masks for 4.0, 6.1 and 7.1 content, supports general channel masks, reads WAV channel masks from the extensible header and the (E)AC3 parser sets the correct channel mask.

HCenc 023 supports adaptive quantization, pan & scan and contains some bugfixes.

A little over a month since Toshiba stopped producing HD DVD players, Korea's Samsung and LG are throwing in the towel as well and will focus on pure Blu-ray players in the future. There's no word whether this halt only affects standalone players, or the combo drives as well - I guess I gotta figure that out and buy a few combo PC drives - I have two now and my HD DVD collection isn't going to go away overnight.


I've previously reported that the RIAA and their partners in crime are trying to ram through federal legislation that ties funding for higher education to anti P2P measures. Since those efforts haven't yielded any fruits yet, the RIAA is now trying to get that legislation on a state level instead.

They've not given up on federal laws though and were able to get a major victory in the passing of the PRO-IP act in the House of Representatives just days ago.

In another effort, this time at county level, Big Content managed to have piracy declared a public nuisance and detrimental to the Public Health and Safety. You might be as puzzled about this as I, but while the classification makes little sense, let's look at the legal ramifications: anyone engaged in such activity (no, not downloading via P2P, at least not yet, but basically selling bootlegged music and movies) will turn local authorities into enforcers of RIAA/MPAA anti piracy policy and gives them the ability to evict people as well as seize and sell of properties used to conduct such activity. So if you're duplicating CDs in your cellar and they catch you, you can lose your house and that's what it's really about (akin to seizures used in drug related activities - as if it were doing much good).

Just days after the news broke about the highly intrusive DRM that EA planned to use one some of their upcoming games, they appear to have caved due to public pressure and relaxed the rules somewhat. However, until the day your legitimately purchased game has no DRM, paying customers will always to have inconveniences that those that do not pay do not have to face.

As if they've gotten it: after essentially having to cave due to market pressure and DRM free digital music now being available from all major studios (at least in the US.. we're still waiting for the Amazon MP3 store in Europe and other parts of the world), the RIAA once again shows that they haven't given up on the pipe dream of a DRM'ed world. They think (or hope would probably be the better word) that download to own services will be replaced by rentals/subscriptions and ad-supported models with DRM. Is there even a 0.01% chance that they ever realize that the unlicensed downloads offer at least the same if not higher quality and no restrictions?

Using the government as proxy to scare The Pirate Bay into submission by raids and seizures didn't really work out as well as they though, so now the MPAA is mounting a lawsuit themselves - and they want $15 million in damages for various movie and TV series torrents hosted in TPB. I wonder how their download estimate would hold up in face of scientific scrutiny, let alone the fact that TPB does at best facilitate piracy, but certainly not engage in such as they don't offer a single byte of offending content from their own servers.


ProgDVB 5.14.5 is out, but without a changelog it's difficult to say what has changed.

Blu-ray Region Code Remover 2.4 supports signing of jar archives with certificates.

Ac3to 2.45 reports Blu-ray angles as separate titles, doesn't list duplicate playlists anymore, reduces gap/overlap thresholds for various formats, improves the handling of MPEG-2 streams, shows if content contains pulldown flags, has a few more commandline switches and fixes a couple of bugs.

Then some high def news: the latest numbers are in and it seems if you're betting on HD DVD making over 10% anymore, you might be in for an indefinite wait.. Meanwhile, the bad pricing news for Blu-ray continues with Panasonic's full features player - the DMP-BD50 - being listed at $699. The good news is that Paramount's entire catalog that was pulled off the shelves when Paramount switched format allegiance will be back in the shelves by the end of the month.

Apple's iTunes movie deal may not be such a good deal after all - they sell titles for $14.99 (and now I'm sure you'll wonder where you get a rebate for reducing studios production and distribution cost and for the lower quality product), but they have to pay the studios $16 per movie. So let's see...significantly reduced production and distribution cost (close to zero in fact), loss of quality, added convenience = same price as a DVD?

Meanwhile, from the side of the fence where people do get it, Nine Inch Nails have released their latest album under the Creative Commons license. They even have a 24bit 96KHz version - try finding that on any RIAA studio CD ;)

In yet another example where honest customers get the shaft while those who pirate get the proper goods, two major PC game titles to be released later this year will require reactivation every 10 days. Or, as I said, you pirate and won't be hassled or spied upon. And speaking of being spied upon, I hope people will learn something from the fact that even though the UK has become big brother nation, all those cameras that have been put up haven't really made a dent in crime.


ac3to 2.4.4 uses the libavcodec decoder automatically if the Nero/Sonic decoders are not working, suppresses "lossless check failed" messages on join points and fixes issue with gap/overlap correction when dealing with RAW and PCM tracks.

BSPlayer 2.28 can display 2 subtitle streams simultaneously, can seek to the nearest keyframe in AVI and MKV files, has native support for Monkey Audio and FLAC, contains some ML and PL improvements and fixes a few issues.

ZoomPlayer 6.00 RC2 features improved EVR support, improved Vista compatibility, support for network paths in navigation and there's a bunch of bugfixes as well.

Then there's a new x264 option worth mentioning: film grain optimization.

Then some high def news: Paramount has announced their Blu-ray plans. In less than 3 weeks, the first Paramount Blu-ray titles since they went HD DVD last summer will be released. Paramount has also reactivated part of their older Blu-ray catalog and I guess it's only a matter of time before the rest will be available again. Paramount also seems committed to supporting lossless audio this time around and DTS HD MA seems their choice - unlike Universal which went for TrueHD. However, if you own or are in the market for a standalone, DTS MA is going to be problematic as few standalone players support it. And with that, we go over to a series of articles that started appearing during the last week and which all have the same gist: HD DVD's demise didn't spur a slew of Blu-ray sales - in fact, hardware sales (excluding the PS3 which is more game driven and which certainly will see a boost due to the recent release of GTA 4) are down. ABI Research points out the obvious: players are not fully featured (Profile 2.0, audio support), cost too much and disks are not cheap either (Fox are you listening? 40 bucks for a barebone title). They also believe that it'll take until 2013 until Blu-ray standalones take over the PS3 as the leading Blu-ray playback device. Sony, how about letting the Chinese in the player market so we get better featured players at a low price sooner than that?

Then the latest high def numbers: Blu-ray has finally reduced HD DVD to pieces with a whopping 91% market share. And comparing the top 20 titles on BD and DVD, BD already holds 6% (keep in mind that seen over all titles, this number is always lower due to the sheer number of DVD releases).

Apple is entering the movie download business - they've struck a deal with all major Hollywood studios to sell content online.

Then the weekly RIAA shenanigans: They were dealt a blow in one of their P2P lawsuits where a federal judge rejected the RIAA's party line that merely offering something for download equals copyright infringement. If only this could be made a standard in all such lawsuits, we'd see the number of people being dragged to court significantly reduced since the RIAA would actually have to prove distribution (and thus any real wrongdoing that is costing them money).

Businessweek ran an article on one of the RIAA's victims entitled 'Does She Look Like a Music Pirate?'

You might recall that Metallica was one of the first bands to jump on the RIAA's bandwagon to sue all life out of P2P filesharing services. Are they coming around now?

Think your computer is safe from prying eyes when you're using all the security mechanisms Microsoft is offering? Think again. All it takes for Microsoft's magic law enforcement toolkit that goes as far as decrypting passwords. So, to be on the safe side, better turn to something like TrueCrypt.

While the fact that the NSA is snooping through the collective phone calls and Internet connections that pass through the US has been public knowledge for a while, the FBI now also wants to join the snooping party. PGP sure starts to sound more and more attractive every day.


Last month's news can be found here.

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