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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

Finally it is done: The latest codec comparison is also the largest one yet, featuring the following codecs: 3ivX, DivX3, DivX5, ffvfw, NeroDigital, RV9, VP6 and XviD. All images are now available in PNG format, and it's possible to switch between images and even to zoom in and out. Since the image sizes are considerable (9 MB for one test), I have also added a low bandwith version using JPEG images. They are both accessible via the same url (you can select the high bandwidth version at the bottom of the first page).

And happy new year to everyone. Thanks for having visited this site so frequently in 2003 and I hope to see you again in 2004. Many thanks also to all the people working behind the scenes. Without the server administrators this site could not exist.


Over at CDFreaks they have two interesting goodies for LiteOn DVD drive/burner owners: A Bitsetting tool for DVD+R/W discs (for higher compatibility on DVD-ROM drives and standalones) and a regionfree tool that should work on all LiteOn DVD drives and burners.

The NY times has a long article on HD DVD that might be interesting even though it will take at least another year for such devices to enter the marketplace.

12/28 DVD Decrypter has an additional user error check in ISO writing mode, fixes a CLI bug and a problem with the update checking mechanism during the installation.
12/27 DVD Decrypter allows you to set the read speed, shows the write speeds supported by your burner in ISO write mode, handles 24 bit PCM streams, can write both PCM and WAV output in demux mode, can create BSPlayer chapter files in IFO mode, has an improved subtitle detection, supports more image formats in burning mode and fixes a few bugs.

Zoom Player 3.30 RC1 supports swf (Flash) files, has an improved DVD disc info customization and fixes many bugs.

XviD 1.0 beta 3 AKA Selam has been released. It fixes a couple of bugs, supports display aspect ratio settings, contains some SSE2 optimizations and is generally quite a bit faster. It also offers a turbo mode which once again brings XviD to a good position in the speed league.


Merry Christmas. Santa had a DVB-S card for me (actually a coupon to get one) so that opens up some interesting possibilities for the future...

LiteOn has released a batch of new DVD burner firmwares, which add support for more media types.

Ahead has released a new version of their Nero 6 pack 2 (which contains Recode 2). So far no changelog has been posted but the version number has not been increased and the hotfix download page is gone so I presume they have integrated the SMP fix into Recode 2.

Last but not least, it seems as if the movie industry has found a way to use their self-destructing DVDs after all: Members of the French Cesar award jury have been sent self-destructing DVDs for review purposes in fear of piracy. I guess we'll be seeing a lot of jurors visiting sites like these in the future so that they get the chance of viewing a movie again after the disc has become unusable.


By now, some of you might already be having Christmas dinner (assuming that you celebrate Christmas on the 24th as my family does), so I wish you all a merry Christmas, a good time with your loved ones and many cool tech gadgets under the tree. And don't forget that if your gifts have anything to do with DVD, you might find some useful information regarding their use right here ;)

DVD2One 1.4.0 allows cell, chapter and layer selection for the movie-only and join mode, has improved input I/O and a check to verify whether the VOB files match with the IFO file.

Plextor has released a new firmware for the PX-708 DVD burner series that supports more media types (including 8x DVD+R media) and improves writing performance for all types of media except CD-RW.

It looks like a Norwegian appeals court has given the MPAA an unwanted Christmas present: They acquitted Jon Johansen and upheld an earlier decision by a lower court. While there is still the possibility of an appeal to the Norwegian supreme court, it appears that the MPAA is steering another course. They want the Norwegian government to implement a DMCA-like law (AKA "your fair use rights down the drain" legislation). Personally, I cannot see the "apparent weakness" in Norwegian law. I think the lack of any DMCA like law upholds the balance between content providers and content consumers, a balance which has been severely upset with the introduction of DMCA like laws in several European countries this year (I'm sure Justitia is already turning in her grave because her scales are so uneven these days).

BeSweet GUI 0.7b2 support big endian PCM input. OagMachine 0.11 has an improved GUI.
VP6 should improve quality, fixes some keyframe related bugs and contains an updated playback filter as well.


AutoGK 0.8 has an improved try menu, restricts the minimum width parameter to a maximum of 640 and offers customized subtitle settings (for angle and PGC selection). The guide has also been updated.

Media Player Classic contains an improved AVI and OGM splitter, fixes bugs in the audio switcher, dshow renderer and SPDIF output and allows more fine-grained control over the always on top option.


Azid 1.9 supports Dolby Pro Logic II downmix, fixes popping when playing AC3 files with low volumes, the decoder performance has been improved, 32 bit integer WAV output is now supported, the default LFE downmix level is now -3dB and there are now P3 and P4 optimized builds (though the speed difference is minimal).
BeSweet 1.5 beta 24 already uses Azid 1.9.

If you have a dual processor system and are trying to use Recode 2, download this patch which fixes quality problems on SMP systems.

The DVD+ system is one step closer to dual layer recording: Philips has released the dual layer specifications to the DVD+RW alliance (the promoters of the DVD+ format) for review. The final specs are expected in January 2004.

Good news on the online rights front: A US federal appeals court has overruled the previous RIAA vs. Verizon verdict, thus barring the RIAA from subpoena ISP subscriber data by merely alleging that a user has committed copyright infringement.


AutoGK 0.77 works with VDubMod, has a try icon when minimized, autocrop, smartcrop and XviD quality based mode have been improved and the chroma optimizer option is on by default.
ZoomPlayer 3.30 beta 2 has simplified options and context menus, full multilingual support, improved DVD customizations and contains a number of bugfixes. As usual, you can find the full changelog on the Inmatrix forums.
Apple has released QuickTime 6.5 but I seem to be unable to figure out what has been changed / improved. Yet with its focus on portable multimedia terminals and streaming I doubt it will be extremely interesting for DVD backup purposes.

NEC has created a hybrid DVD / AOD recorder (AOD is supposed to become the standard for HD DVD in the future) which as the name says, records both DVDs and HD DVDs. However, those drives won't be available before 2005.
With DVD burner prices steadily dropping, Sony has decided to leave the business and have its drives manufactured by Taiwanese LiteOn. Apparently, with DVD burners becoming a commodity, Sony no longer makes high enough margins on their products.
Last but not least, TEAC has announced yet another 8x dual format DVD burner with the usual technical data (8x/4x DVD+R/W, 4x/2x DVD-R/W, 40x/24x CD-R/W), the DV-W58G. With all the announcements but most drives not yet on sale (except maybe in Japan) we should see an interesting 2004.

If you're in the market for a MediaTek based DivX capable DVD player, make sure you read this thread. And there should be a new firmware update for the elta 8883 player which looks pretty interesting: It improves DivX3 playback, supports AVIs with PCM audio, plays back Ogg and WMA audio files, handles SRT, SSA and SMI subtitles and it supports progressive output up to 720p and 1080i. elta also promises to support XviD GMC by mid February as well as OGM.


ImgTool Classic 0.91 checks for all required files, generates a default Volume ID based on the source directory, forces setup when being run the first type and has an XP skin.

If you thought you were safe using P2P tools in Europe, think again as the music industry has plan to start suing next year. Obviously, any other means to get people to buy your product doesn't make sense, now does it? Actually, the EFF has some pretty interesting suggestions on how P2P could be used to the advantage of the music industry, but then again have they ever listened?

The MPAA is also getting even busier (or at least one of its members), launching yet another lawsuit against 321 Studios in the UK, this time under the new Euro DMCA.

And if you need another example why the patent mania needs to be stopped: CD burning software developer Optima Technology (I have never even heard the company name, let alone seen one of their product. Have you?) has sued rival Roxio since they were granted a patent on creating a disc image prior to writing a CD, a technique for which there is likely to be prior art somewhere (in other words: it was known before the patent was granted, making the patent void.. but of course it's up to the plaintiff to prove that on his own expense).

12/17 Today I had to replace the search for news by trying to get this damned hosting problem fixed, and it still isn't. Thus, effectively both the Portuguese and French mirror are looking for help for their hosting, which I can no longer provide. The requirements are not huge, we're talking a couple of GB a month, a vhost entry and an apache/php/mysql setup. Volunteers are more than welcome...

If you have a LiteOn 811S burner and are the daring type, this might interest you: Using a hex editor it's possible to increase the burning speed for certain DVD media, though use it at your own risk. CDR-Info also has a nice review on the drive. And staying on the subject of DVD burners, Traxdata has also announced their 8x DVD+R discs. It's about time I get some for my burner though it will also burn the 4x TDKs at 8x.

And while emails are once again getting through I'm still not convinced things are back to normal. Of course, abusing the contact addressing to ask ripping related questions will not earn you an answer so if you have questions, use your time productively by posting in the forum or asking in our IRC channels.

12/15 Pinnacle has released the first update for InstantCopy 8: v 8.05 is more compatible with other Pinnacle products and improves CD/DVD writing performance.
AutoGK 0.74 allows MP3 bitrates up to 320kbit/s, supports quality based encoding for both DivX and XviD, up to 32 subtitle streams are supported along with external Vobsub subs (requires an installed version of Winrar).
ReJig 0.5 now has a DVD backup mode which turns it into a full one click DVD transcoding application. Currently, streams still have to be demuxed and remuxed so the space requirements are considerable, and it's not as configurable as commercial transcoders yet, but that should change soon.

Finally people will stop drooling in the forum: Recode 2 has just been released, along with Nero Nero 6.3 features improved usability and support for AMD 64 and Hyperthreading platforms. Package two which contains Recode 2, also has an improved NeroVision Express package which support AAC, two pass encoding and has a number of new filters. Recode 2 itself is a more streamlined version of Recode, and now supports main movie only DVD-R backups along with joining multiple movies / flipper DVDs, and main movie only backups to NeroDigital (MPEG-4 ASP video, 2ch/6ch AAC audio). Of course, I have both DVD-R and NeroDigital backup guides ready ;) Note that if you're using NeroDigital, only the Nero Media Player can handle the subtitles and chapters.
AVI isn't dead yet: AviMux GUI 1.15.5 can now mux AAC streams into an AVI. With support for AAC, AC3, MP3, DTS and SSA/SRT subs, AVI isn't as bad as some people might want you to think...

While the chip is already available in a variety of players, MediaTek has now officially announced their MT1389 chip. It's DivX certified, can handle 1 warp point GMC (so no XviD or NeroDigital GMC), but it fully supports GMC and DivX3 (no more freezes on 2 CD rips) and it also includes image postprocessing so you can get rid of those nasty blocks you can see quite well on your TV.

We're having some major problems with the email hosting. For reasons unknown the existing hosting seems to have been shut down without prior notice and without account data having been moved, but I got a new account from the same company, which doesn't seem to work (I can send email but I don't get anything). If you can, use forum PMs for the important stuff or try to catch me on IRC as I might not get your emails. I'll let you know when these problems have been fixed. For the record, expect mails sent since yesterday's news to be missing in action.


If you can wait until after Christmas, you'll be able to buy a handful of dual 8x DVD burners, that actually burn DVD-R at 8x as well as DVD+R (it is rumored that existing 8x/4x burners could be upgrades) from Creative, NEC (it's Swedish, I didn't find any info on the US NEC site) and Pacific Digital. The drives all burn DVD±R at 8x, DVD+RW at 4x and DVD-RW at 2x, and CD-RW at 40x/24x except for NEC which is limited to 32x/16x CD burning. If you can't wait, the Plextor PX 708A is a good choice if you're willing to spend a bit more.

MP4Menu is a program that helps you create DVD-like menus in the MP4 container. Now if only MP4 could be edited properly..

If you've been holding off because you didn't understand it, there's no need to wait any longer: I've finished a guide for XviD 1.0 (you can select from stable to dev-api 3 to XviD 1.0 builds).

Last but not least, video rental giant Blockbuster is calling for an end of region codes on DVDs. They say that since so many people have regionfree players which permits you to buy wherever a disc is released first, region coding only hurts the industry. I can't say I would shed a tear of region coding were abolished.


The first dual layer DVD burners are not that far off after all. BenQ's DW820A is based on the 8x DW800A model but adds 2.4x DVD+R9 recording. BenQ is also still looking into the possibility of upgrading the existing DW800A burner to burn dual layer media.
What used to only affect DVD-R now also seems to become an issue for certain DVD+R drives. If you own a Ricoh MP5125A burner, better wait for a firmware upgrade before you try to burn 4x and 8x DVD+R discs (but the drive cannot burn at those speeds anyway, so stick to 2.4x media for the time being).

In the matter of Screener DVDs, the MPAA has lost in court. The MPAA may not ban screener DVDs, but they are not required to send them out either (only the small independent studios that sued because they were afraid that without screener their own productions would no longer be seen by jurors will continue sending out screeners). It remains to be seen how the big studios react to that.
Do you recall the laws of Ohio against the use of a camera in a movie theater? California has a similar bill now that is enacted in January 2004. If you see a guy with night vision goggles the next time you go to a movie theater, you know what he/she is looking for..

BeSweetGUI 0.7b1 now supports AAC encoding.
Gordian Knot 0.28.7 supports mpa muxing, works on standard accounts on NT based Windows versions (NT, W2k, XP), relies on KernelDeInt rather than Field deinterlace for deinterlacing, auto and smart cropping now produce resolutions divisible by 4, the autosplit has been improved, XviD and DivX pass settings are properly picked up from default to prevent problems when multiple versions of one codec are used at the same time, all the latest tools are included and the installer is smaller. The Gordian Knot Pack 1.6 now comes with the DivX5.1.1 codec.
AutoGK 0.7 fixes output size problems with DivX5, has a new installer and some new buttons, works without requiring an administration account on NT based systems and has a new installer.

Last but not least I have finished the 2nd part of my Recode 2 review / guide. This time, it's all about DVD±R output.


While DivX capable standalones are getting more popular, consumer electronics manufacturers are already preparing the next generation of standalones, which can not only record to MPEG-2, but also to MPEG-4. In fact, both Philips and Sigma are preparing MPEG-4 capable encoder chips which might see the market in 2004.

There is also a new AutoGK release (version 0.68), but right now I don't have the changelog because the forum is down with yet another SQL problem :(

Last but not least, it's only a rough cut but if you're interested in Nero Digital or Recode 2, you might want to check out this Recode 2 guide. There will be more as time becomes available (and of course I'll also cover the DVD transcoding part of the application).


I've updated the Big3 guide to take the latest DIF4U version in account. The guide now also contains instructions on how to use ReJig as encoder, rather than CCE. I have also added Eyes'Only guide to Finding Nemo, which deals with the duplicate VOB ID removal feature introduced in the latest DIF4U build, and Oxp's Infinifilm guide (once again Button over Video).

There is also a new Media Player Classic, but so far the changelog is rather empty.


BatchCCEWs fixes a memory (leak?) problem that was introduced in the last version.
DVDtoOgm 1.40 supports DivX5.03 and higher as well as 3ivX, splits the movie after encoding, includes a compressibility test for both DivX and XviD, multiple audio tracks in the output are supported, the OGM overhead calculations are more accurate, BeSweet profiles are supported and cropping has been improved.

I've recently acquired 811S 8x DVD burner and I've tested the regionfree possibilities along with the ripping speed. Changing a drive to RPC-1 has never been easier than using liteonutil (I've reported about that a few days ago), and the drive has no speed lock for CSS encrypted DVDs. I got an 8.5x average and 11.9x max ripping a DVD-5 (the drive is rated 12x for DVD-ROM), and 6.2x average / 8.3x max ripping a DVD-9. This makes the drive a pretty good one drive solution for both reading and writing DVDs (and CDs for the matter).


DoItFast4U 1.4.0 can detect duplicate PGCs and automatically remove superfluous entries from the source PGC selection, adds cell information to the doitfastnotes.txt file, reports angle information in the DVD structure along with their seamless / non seamless attributes, can switch to VOB ID demux for each VTS set containing angles, uses BatchCCEWs if DoCCE4U is not found, contains some integration with the NuMenu4U project and it supports Rejig (0.4h+) as CCE alternative (much faster but lower quality). Starting with this version, betas will also only be distributed to VIP members.
Speaking of DIF4U you might also want to check out SceneAid, a program that helps you out with DVD reauthoring by VOB ID.
AutoGK 0.65 is the first "public" release to support DivX5.1.1 and does away with all the bugs found in the DivX5 department so far.
XviD 1.0 beta2 fixes a couple of bugs so that the codec should once again be standalone (and MPEG-4) compatible, interlaced encoding should be working now, the CBR mode has also been fixed along with overflow degeneration.
VirtualDubMod is based on VirtualDub 1.5.10 and fixes a long list of bugs, and also features some improvements.

More DVD manufacturers are jumping on the 8x bandwagon: Companies like GigaStorage, Lead Data, etc. will start shipping 8x DVD±R/W discs in the first quarter of 2004, just in time to profit from DVD player sales during the Christmas season.


VirtualDub 1.5.10 accepts partial MPEG-1 streams by default, notifies filters whether a renderer is for preview or output purposes and a couple of bugs have been fixed as well.
AutoGK 0.64 fixes bitrate calculation problems for NTSC content when the DivX codec is used.

8x DVD±R discs will be available in respectable quantities very soon. Taiwan's top 3 - Ritek, CMC and Prodisc, have started to produce such media or will start shortly. The article is interesting though, 8x DVD+R drives have been around for a while, not only since late November. But I've already spotted 8x Ritek media at Meritline and I also have an 8x burner since today :)

And some info about DivX/XviD capable standalones. If you're in the market for such a device, make sure it contains the MediaTek MT1389 chipset, which has no problems with high bitrates (even DivX3), and can handle QPel motion estimation and multiple b-frames. It also supports 1 and 2 warppoint GMC (DivX uses 1 warp point, XviD uses three so it's not properly supported and it remains to be seen if this can be fixed with a firmware upgrade). So far, players based on this chipset are the Grand Prix player, the elta 8883 MP4 and the Ascomtec DVD-3004. If you have any of those players (or any other for that matter), please share your experiences in the hardware players forum. Likewise, if you know of other players that use the same chipset please let us know.

Last but not least, Ahead has released a beta of the much awaited Recode 2 transcoding application. Recode 2 combines the DVD transcoding part of Recode 1 (possible using an improved engine?), with NeroDigital, Ahead's MPEG-4 solution (both MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile codec and HE-AAC audio compression) into an all-in-one backup solution. Due to time constraints I have not been able to have a closer look yet, but there's a nice preview of Recode 2 at hyrdogenaudio.


Just recently he has liberated the DRM laden iTunes service, now he's back to court. Jon Johansen, or DVD Jon is once again on trial for having created DeCSS in '98. Found innocent in an earlier trial, the MPAA backed Norwegian Economic Crime Unit has appealed the verdict, making way for a 2nd court battle.

AutoGK 0.6 adds support for DivX 5.1.1, has a preview that no longer requires analysis, and audio encoding & sub indexing is done after the analysis step to speed things up a bit.
ImgTool Classic 0.90 build 9 is a minor bugfix release, and ImgTool Burn 1.1.0 fixes the "insert a blank media" issue and has a button to clear the log. Both can be downloaded here, or from the software archive.
BatchCCEWS exports the audio bitrate to the ecl file, during the first part of the RoBa method, the mpv file is no longer created which speeds up the process, there's a check for multiangle files when importing the CCEData file which triggers the angle checkbox and corrects frame lengths, the installer includes EclCCE 1.7a and the layout has been modified.
Ahead has released new Nero 6 packs, including a new version of pack2 which contains the Nero Recode application. I have been unable to verify if there is indeed a new version of Recode (the download is taking forever), but it certainly does not include the much awaited Recode 2 application.


Before I forget it again: the search engine for this site is based on an old index (more than a week old) so it still contains all the documents that were removed 8 days ago. Hence, if you encounter a non working link, you'll just have to go the hard way and navigate the site structure (it's not that hard). Don't bother sending an error report because if the search engine turned it up and it doesn't work, it's the search engine's fault and I've done what I can, but the search engine operator site is down for maintenance and nobody has gotten back to me regarding my request for a reindex.

Media Player Classic supports matrixmixer and fixes bugs in the ogg splitter and vmr9 mode.


I've written a guide about AutoGK, THE one click tool for DVD -> XviD conversion.
Influenza has updated his Button over Video guide and added some useful information about finding button commands.

Don't forget about the XviD 1.0 beta.


Last month's news can be found here.