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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),
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
Apparently unsatisfied with how Blu-ray is doing in Europe, Sony
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).
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.
||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
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:
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
And another case has marked a bad second half of the week for the
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?
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
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.
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,
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
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.
5.14.5 is out, but without a changelog it's difficult to say
what has changed.
Region Code Remover 2.4 supports signing of jar archives with
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
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.
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.
6.00 RC2 features improved EVR support, improved Vista compatibility,
support for network paths in navigation and there's a bunch of bugfixes
Then there's a new x264 option worth mentioning: film
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
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.
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.