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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

Happy new year to all my readers already beyond 2004, and happy new year's eve party to the rest :)

DVD Rebuilder 0.69 is now publicly available. It includes tweaked SCR calculations, saves audio selections in the ini file, the background color on the windows standard skin can now be changed, and there are some various fixes and smaller improvements as well. The full changelog is always available in the forum.

BeSweet GUI 0.7b5 now has the SoundTouch options in the SSRC screen, and all the screens have been changed to work with besweet.exe only.

NuMenu4U RC3 build 1.3 includes some critical updates for Scenarist versions 2.6 and higher, the zipping utility no longer fails, the sst timecode calculation routines have been updated and a new Automate is also available.


Muxman 0.7 fixes some stream compliance issues, crashes when using a video stream containing a GOP that has more frames than allowed as the first GOP, and stills with audio can now be created as well.

And thanks to all the sites who have picked up the news on the codec comparison :)


After writing this I'm going to have a beer: The 2004 codec shoot-out is finished. This time there are 10 codecs, I've included the source in the comparison (not only as pictures but I actually also reviewed it), and there are a lot of codecs in there that you'll only be able to get in the future: a brand-new 3ivX, a glimpse from the upcoming DivX6, 3 MPEG-4 AVC codecs, and an almost finished XviD 1.1. And as a special bonus: the first ever MPEG-4 AVC High Profile codec. The high profile was just ratified last month, but one codec maker managed to deliver not only a working, but an actually usable codec (well, turns out it's a lot more than just usable but you'll have to read the article to find out more). So after 5 days of almost non stop encoding on two PCs, about 12h worth of review, about 6.5 hours of excruciating screenshot making pain, and hours upon hours of writing I'm glad to be able to say "it's done". Enjoy..

And before I go, MyTheatre 3.21 has an improved LNB dialogue, supports BDA and the TwinHan USB DVB-T 7041 receiver and has a more stable CI Interface for Technotrend Premium cards.

And in Germany, there's now a 12 € copyright levy on all new PCs. I guess that means you can now pirate additional material worth 12€ to get your money's worth ;)


I hope you all had a nice Christmas.

Toshiba, Sanyo, NEC and Memory Tech have founded the HD DVD Promotions Group, going head to head with the Blu-ray Disc Association. Even though the DVD forum has formally backed HD DVD, the Blu-ray proponents are all in the DVD forum as well, so I suppose the HD DVD backers thought they needed to have their own promotion platform.

The HD DVD camp isn't the only one with hybrid discs: The Blu-ray camp is also working on a combined Blu-ray / DVD disc. Unlike HD DVD, the hybrid Blu-ray discs will be one sided, and use three data layers, one for Blu-ray (that's 25GB) and two for DVD (standard 8.5GB DVD-9).


Merry Christmas day. Hope you enjoyed dinner last night and didn't eat too much.. there might just be another family dinner coming up ;)

Being Christmas, things are going a bit slow, but I figured I'd mention MPEG-4 Modifier 1.3.0 - a tool that can change aspect ratio, userdata, field order from MPEG-4 ASP (like DivX, XviD, 3ivX, etc.) video in AVI container, as well as remove packed bitstream


It's that time of the year again: Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope you'll have a good time around the ole tree, enjoy food, drinks and songs and being away from the computer for a little longer than your average dinner period ;) And I hope you all find what you wished for under the tree. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank the people who make the operation of this site possible, especially those that not mentioned on the sponsors page, and the entire forum moderation team who is here day and night to ensure smooth operations. A special thank you also to my co-admin Swede, who has done way more than his share in keeping this site and forum operational and even stepped in for the news when I was not around. Likewise, thanks to Scipio who also stepped in to provide you with daily news while I was unavailable. And last but not least, thanks to the 200 people who have made a donation in 2004. Your contribution will not be forgotten. And while you enjoy the holidays, make sure to still check in periodically because I still have an ace up my sleeve for 2004.

PgcDemux supports 24bit LPCM and now supports an unlimited number of PGCs.

BeLight 0.21 beta 2 has an improved MP3 tab, an updated documentation and it fixes a problem in the file overwrite routines.

And here's the 2nd unit to support NeroDigital: The KISS DP-558 DVD recorder. Though, it only plays those files, the recording is still done in MPEG-2. And when they say NeroDigital, they mean the MPEG-4 ASP codec, not the newish AVC variety.

StreamPlug 1.4 is a Windows browser plugin (works with IE, Mozilla/Firefox and Netscape), that allows streaming of almost any MPEG-4 ASP codec over the Internet and play it in a browser. Ogg Vorbis audio is also supported, as well as subtitles.

And is taking their wrongful site shutdown (via a wrongful cease & desist order under the DMCA) to the Supreme court. Let's hope that they see it is impossible to make a movie available for download that has only been released several years in the future.


Gordian Knot 0.33.1 no longer crashes when adding jobs that contain audio to the queue.

BeLight 0.21 beta 1 has a completely new MP3 tab, you are asked if you want to overwrite existing files if the output file matches and some bugs have been fixed.

Muxman 0.6 supports all valid LPCM audio sources and SRI and subpicture pointers are now fully specs compliant.

nVidia's PureVideo, is a driver enhancement to Geforce6 graphic cards, taking advantage of the video acceleration features contained in that chipset. Using PureVideo, the GFX card can help in decoding video (for now MPEG-2 and WMV9) as well as deinterlacing. Tom's hardware guide has more info on PureVideo.

Microsoft has lost its first appeal against an earlier EU ruling that found Microsoft guilty of abusing its monopoly in the PC world. One effect of the lost appeal is that Windows Media Player will have to be kicked from Windows early next year.

No software patents in the EU in 2004: Thanks to Poland, the software patent directive won't be voted on this year. That'll give you some more time to talk to your respective members of parliament and make sure they won't vote for a legislation that will enable thousands of trivial patents that make it really hard for small and medium software enterprises to create their own software and sell it without fear of patent infringement.

Last but not least, a glimpse of a DVD future if the MPAA has it their way: pay full price, then have to reacquire a license to play your movie every 5 days. And, if your request comes from the wrong IP (country), you can no longer watch your movie either.

12/22 Gordian Knot 0.33 supports DTS demuxing, comes with the latest Ogg Vorbis libraries and the latest lame MP3 encoder, Robot4Rip is once again in the pack, the default chapter directory is now the same as the input D2V directory and some bugs have been fixed.

NuMenu4u RC1 b1.2 now processes PGC commands for GOUPs where the command is resume PGC, allows the enforcement of a minimum duration of bitmaps and fixes a bunch of bugs.

PVAStrumento has a pause button, no longer searches for substream headers in AC3 packets inside VDR files (optional) and fixes a couple of bugs.

Auto Gordian Knot 1.84 comes bundled with XviD 1.0.3, fixes the subtitle position for half-D1 DVD sources and the debug mode shows the vcf scrip in the log. And speaking of XviD 1.0.3, I've added Koepi's build to the download page.

And something for AAC users: AACGain does the same as MP3Gain, but obviously for AAC files. It could come in handy for those AAC files where no gain has been applied.

Last but not least, Thomson's film grain technology has been approved for HD DVD. The press release doesn't really spell out what the technology involves, but I suppose it's mechanisms to more efficiently encode film grain. Film grain is often a problem especially when bitrates are constrained, as the grain eats up valuable bitrate due to the constant micro-movement of the grain on screen. The Film Grain technology appears to be a part of the AVC high profile.


To start the week, I have a lot of IFO and VOB editing tools for you, plus a new XviD build: XviD 1.0.3 is a bugfix release, fixing a problem in trellis coding, bugs in diamond search and short streams (stream garbage) are no longer read.

PgcEdit 0.4.5 has a button to remove cells in the PGC editor, can clone PGCs, uses the latest PgcEditPreview, can hide buttons in the menu button viewer, dummy PGCs are labeled as such, renaming VOB/Cell IDs clears the seamless playback flag of the remapped cell and the subsequent one and some bugs have been fixed as well.

PgcDemux supports multiangles and menus, can create logfiles and celltimes.txt, has tooltips and fixes some bugs.

VobBlanker allows multiple selections in the VTS list, has a menu option to blank all and auto-blank, allows deletion of 0 byte menus, the number of VOB IDs is only calculated once per VTS sets and a few bugs have been fixed as well.

AddChapter can add 15 frame chapters to the end of a movie stream, which helps with navigational problems when removing unwanted content from a DVD.

Last but not least, something a bit older: If you like to keep up-to-date with the progress of AviSynth, you can download an AviSynth 2.5.6 CSV build.


BatchUpdateIFO corrects the FSEEK problem during RCE removal.

BeLight 0.20 final has also been released. Since the last final release, presets, bitrate equivalence for Vorbis' Q modes and the possibility to select .lst or .mux files as input lists were added and a few bugs were fixed as well.


AVI Mux GUI 1.16.11 has a new low overhead move for AVI output (it's been there since 1.16.10 but I missed that release), which is not compatible with MPC's internal AVI splitter.

Nic has compiled another XviD binary, straight from the CSV.


Auto Gordian Knot 1.83 supports LPCM audio tracks in file mode, has a link to the FAQ in the info window and uses lame 3.96.1.

BeLight 0.20 beta 3 offers enhanced presets, PreGain is now available for normalization for AAC input and both .lst and .mux files are now supported input list formats.

NEC is making steady progress with HD DVD drives: They now have prototypes ready that support both HD DVD ROM and HD DVD-RW as well as DVD-R/W and CD-R/W.


Muxman 0.5 fixes a chapter import problem and muxing failure due to a video stream parsing error.

BeLight 0.20 beta 2 is also out. I haven't managed to find an official changelog so I can only speculate that some reported bugs have been fixed in this 2nd beta.


VirtualDub 1.62 contains a bunch of capturing improvements, supports PNG image input and AVI info tags and fixes a bunch of bugs.

Here's another way to get your hands on Moonlight's H.264 codec: Moonlight's OneClick Compressor 1.1. It's basically a one click DV / MPEG-2 to MPEG-1/2/4 AVC application, and it's not free.


BeLight 0.20 beta 1 is a bugfix release and it saves and loads your settings as soon as you open / close the program.

Muxman 0.4 can create profile files from problematic sources that can help debug problems, adds bitrate stats to the log, supports audio delays and fixes two bugs.

VobBlanker supports dragging and dropping of folders or IFO/BUP/VOB files, can process all files in a folder and fixes a couple of bugs.

ProgDVB 4.46 contains some improvements in the Skystar 1 module and some internal changes.

FairUse 1.0 now shows subpicture description, has a high definition encoding mode, has a tweaked field align mode, encoding can start even if there's no ASPI layer present and a couple of bugs have been fixed as well.

If you thought FVD was all Taiwanese companies can come up with, think again. Their next coup is HD-DVD-1, a blue laser based disc format very similar to HD DVD with a storage capacity of 16 GB per disc. They are also working on HD-DVD-2 which is supposed to be similar to Blu-Ray.

12/13 DVD43 3.0.3 has a completely rewritten driver, can delay autorun, supports more applications (like CloneDVD), fixes some issues with copy protected audio CDs and no longer supports Windows 98 / Millenium.

Muxman 0.3 supports one more subtitle track, allows you to set the subtitle mode (4:3 or 16:9) and fixes the short VOBU issue.

So I guess I'm not the only one still hoping for a single HD DVD format: Thomson, one of the founding members of the Blu-Ray association, has now said they'll support HD DVD as well. I guess they're not so convinced Blu-Ray is the only solution. It remains to be seen if other companies will join in and eventually realize that it's too costly to have 2 product lines and two incompatible formats.


ProgDVB 4.45.2 fixes a couple of bugs (though I'm not sure which.. does anybody know if there are any ProgDVB changelogs?).

And another one down: Disney has decided to join the Blu-Ray camp. That leaves Fox undecided, though they are already a member of the Blu-Ray Disc association. Though so far, no studio has pledged exclusive support for one format, and even the president of Buena Vista Home Entertainment (which is part of Disney) believes that a common HD format is still a possibility.

Now it has happened: The Australian senate passed the Australia - US free trade agreement which makes Australia another country to get a DMCA legislation.

Will we see increasing DVD disc prices again? Ritek, the world's second largest disc maker believes that next year the demand will outpace supply, and that normally translates into higher prices.


Cuttermaran 1.62 adds a delete button to the cutlist, displays the project name in the titlebar, has a separate dialog for cutting parameters, shows the most recently opened projects, has some new CLI commands, now supports user defined intra and non-intra matrices for TMPG and fixes some bugs.

PgcEdit 0.4.4 has a new and improved preview, extends the trace functionality, non referenced PGCs can be highlighted in the calls cross references and much more.

VobBlanker now uses jeanl's DVDPreview class (also used for preview in PgcEdit), the number of supported PGCs and menu PGCs as well as the maximum IFO size has been increased, and the cell time is now cleared when blanking.

The first NeroDigital (at least the MPEG-4 ASP variety) supporting player is out now: The Siemssen SCO 5000 ND is available for €99. Though so far I couldn't figure out which chipset is being used. Based on previous press releases, I assume it's the ESS Vibratto, which isn't exactly a great chipset (it's outdated), but I'll let you know when I found out more.

And it might just be that we'll see NeroDigital MPEG-4 AVC support in players in the not so far future as well: Broadcomm has just announced a new chipset that supports high definition AVC content. The 7411 chipset even supports the new AVC High Profile (no codec supports that profile so far). HE AAC is also supported, as well as the usual MPEG-2 and Dolby Digital support. What I find somewhat disturbing is that there's no MPEG-4 ASP support whatsoever.

How about a combined HD DVD - DVD disc? The HD DVD camp has come up with a way of making HD DVDs that permits the use as a regular DVD in todays DVD players, offering a capacity of 4.7 GB, and the use as a HD DVD offering 15 GB on a single layer. Since one layer is used for each format, that limits the space available for each application type. So while interesting, it remains to be seen if customers would actually accept getting a movie that's been squeezed down to fit on a single DVD layer (today most DVDs use more than the 4.7 GB provided by single layer discs).

That one's weird: 3 years ago, the MPAA had a site shut down for distribution Lord of the Rings - Return of the King, using the DMCA. The operator of has sued the MPAA for abusing the DMCA's takedown provision, and so far has lost twice. Can you imagine.. all it takes is a false claim on part of the MPAA and your site is shut down.

Last but not least, the EU has delayed a decision on software patents. So there's still hope and you still have time to get in touch with your EU parliament representative and tell them software patents are a bad idea.


PVAStrumento no longer beeps at the end of processing (if you switch it off in the options), an .info file for Cuttermaran can be written (that speeds up processing in Cuttermaran), ProgDVB's 000001E4 packets can be deleted during processing, settings are saved in an ini file rather than in the registry and two bugs have been fixed.

So far, the Moonlight H.264 encoder was only available to developers, but that's about to change: Cyberlink's PowerEncoder offers H.264/AVC output using Moonlight's encoder.

Unrelated to video, Thunderbird 1.0 has been released. It's Firefox' equivalent in the mail world. Though I don't rate it as high as Firefox. Why can't you enter passwords right when you define accounts? Why are POP and SMTP accounts separated - they belong together. And try having multiple SMTP accounts on the same server and associate them to the proper POP account.. you have to memorize the position of an SMTP account in the list of available servers. Not what I call user-friendly. Other than that, it's good software but those points will ensure that I'll stick to OE a bit longer - even if the OE import was done perfectly (except for the missing SMTP accounts for all accounts but the default one).

Warner's CEO Richard Parsons has made some interesting statements at the UBS Media Week Conference last Monday: He thinks that movie and music downloads are quite different and that movie lovers would rather pick a complete product (thus DVD with bells and whistles) rather than to settle for a movie-only download. Hmm, isn't Warner a member of the MPAA, which in turn is suing people who download movies from P2P networks? And then he offers an interesting reason why the industry needs to switch to higher definition formats: a HD DVD takes much longer to download than a DVD. How true, though finding a good movie rip on a P2P network at a decent speed is probably already more difficult than finding a song that's only a fraction of the size. And with dual layer burners, you could theoretically download a 1:1 copy of a DVD - though even with 1/2 mbit lines becoming more common, downloading a full blown movie would still take longer than most people are willing to wait.


Auto Gordian Knot 1.82 now uses 2040 MB for the 2 GB predefined size to prevent oversized movies and fixes two bugs.

You might know his excellent info pages on DVD, and now he's entering the DVD software business as well: mpucoder's Muxman is a freeware DVD multiplexer.

What has happened to Kiss' DP600 player, supposed to be out by mid 2004? It's still not out, but apparently some people already have it: Kiss has been making a special version of the DP600 to work with specially encrypted video discs that the MPAA uses for screeners these days.

Do you have a NEC DVD burner or are you planning to get one? If so, this might interest you: the people at cdfreaks have started a petition to get NEC to add PI/PIF error reporting to their drives. Such reporting, already available on drives by Asus, Lite-On, Plextor, Nu-Tech and Philips, allows you to measure the error rate of your burned discs. While it's not quite comparable to tests that the likes of Audiodev do, it's a start at least.

According to DigiTimes, volume production of FVD players (the WMV9 backed Taiwanese high definition video format) will start within the next two months.

We know how the RIAA feels about the Internet: it's mainly a threat. However, according to a Pew Internet & American Life study, artists, musicians, songwriters and publishers feel the Internet has made it more likely that they make more money from their art than the net making it harder to protect their work from unlawful use. Could it be that they see possibilities to make money without the RIAA getting their cut, and the RIAA not liking that? ;)

Apple is getting into more trouble in the UK over pricing of their iTune online music store. According to EU law, citizens of an EU country should be able to buy their product in any member country - yet UK citizens cannot shop at iTunes stores in continental Europe where prices are lower. So much for the free market, eh?

12/6 DVD Rebuilder 0.67 contains a tweaked SCR calculation that might prevent audio drops on certain players, the skinning abilities have been improved and some small bugs have been fixed as well. And a note for movies that have large multiangle parts or long seamless branching scenes: quality will still be sub-par with such movies and a solution has not yet been made available, even in the 0.68 release which is now available to those who donated to the author of DVD Rebuilder. Please keep that in mind before making reports about bad quality results.

NuMenu4u RC4 build 1.1 supports PAL <-> NTSC conversions, has a redo log that allows you to pick up the process again at any given position, the number of assets to be included in each ECL file can be configured, the duration of multiple subs per cells can be and some bugs have been fixed.

Have you seen 16x DVD blanks at your local store yet? Perhaps not as manufacturers have been slow to release their latest high speed product. Now TDK has joined the club of 16x disc makers. And because it's TDK, you can get either the regular discs, or the scratchproof ones.


I was just about to call it a night when I discovered this: Nero Recode 2.2 is out, and it contains the new MPEG-4 AVC codec developed by ateme.

BeLight 0.19 allows you to view and edit the commandline used, supports soundtouch commands and is now available in Spanish.

The DVD forum had another steering committee meeting. The minutes aren't out on the official site yet, but a new version of the filesystem for both HD DVD-ROM and HD DVD-RW have been approved (we're still one step away from a final 1.0 release though), the VC1 (WMV9) advanced profile has been declared mandatory for HD DVD-Video and the HD DVD Recordable logo has been approved as well.

Last but not least, RIAA's public enemy number one (at least until the demise of his company) and Napster founder Shawn Fanning is back in the P2P business: snocap is a P2P network that can be used by artists and record label to distribute their songs and be compensated. Universal has already signed up. Now after all these years, record labels are finally discovering that P2P can do good after all.


ProgDVB 4.45 supports the Aver DVB-S card and fixes some problems in the DiSeqC area.

LiteOn isn't the only one providing interesting firmware upgrades: an upcoming firmware for Philips' 1640P drive will increase the DVD-R writing speed to 16x and the DVD+R DL writing speed to 4x.

Here's some DVD blanks we really don't need: Maxell, Mitsubishi, Taiyo Yuden and TDK are launching DVD-R discs that support CPRM (Content Protection for Recordable Media). CPRM-enabled discs behave like regular ones, until you plug them into a recorder that supports (or demands) CPRM.. then you can suddenly forget about making a copy. All but TDK's offering is limited to 8x recording, which is more than enough for its intended use (standalone DVD recorders that record content from digital TV).

Now Sony isn't the only one anymore: Macrovision (known for corrupting analogue video signals and making audio CDs incompatible with DVD players, PCs and car stereos) has announced RipGuard, a technology that is supposed to stop us from exercising our fair use rights by making it impossible to rip DVDs. So far, no info is available on how that should work, but I wouldn't be surprised if it involves messed up DVDs just like we know form audio CDs and Sony's ARccOS DVD video protection system (that the latest ripping tools can handle just fine).

MP3 goes surround: MP3 inventor Fraunhofer institute has released an evaluation copy of their MP3 surround software. The 5.1 audio can either be decoded as such, or being downmixed to 2 channels. The 6 channels are not completely independent, thus enabling lower bitrates than compression schemes where channels are completely independent (5.1 AC3, 5.1 DTS).


MPEG-4 AVC (AKA H.264) hardware support is not that far away: Connexant has begun sampling of their first AVC chipset, which should be available commercially in the 2nd quarter of 2005. I suppose that could mean AVC support in standalones by next Christmas..

Sticking to available chipsets, the first FVD players will be based on Sigma's EM8620L chip. As you might know FVD is WMV9 based. Currently the chip can handle 720p WMV9 content (and MPEG-4 ASP - limited to 1 warppoint GMC). An upcoming chipset that will power the 2nd generation of players will be able to handle even 1080p WMV9 sources.

Is this the end of the steady decline of CD and DVD blank prices? The top three Taiwanese disc makers, that account for about 60% of the world's production of CD and DVD discs, have agreed to stop their price war.

On the HD DVD front, you might know that one of HD DVD's advantages is that existing production lines can be reused with little modification whereas BluRay requires entirely new production line - and so far existing BluRay recordable media cannot quite be mass produced. A company called Singulus, in conjunction with BluRay promoter Sony, is now working on BD-ROM pressing equipment that should be available in spring 2005 (and fall 2005 for dual layer BD-ROM discs). The BluRay camp is in dire need of such equipment (and of highly affordable equipment prices) if they want to keep up with the HD DVD camp on the prerecorded content production front.


Auto Gordian Knot 1.81 has an option for better standalone support, which turns on the home theatre profile in DivX, and in the future will turn on VBV in XviD 1.1. AutoGK can now also work on accounts with limited user privileges.

If you have a NEC ND3100 DVD burner, this might come in handy: A hacked firmware that enables you to write to DVD-R/W discs (the drive is sold as a DVD+R/W drive only).

The MPAA has encountered the first small roadblock in their quest of suing people: they tried to sue groups of people together, but now a California court has ordered that each case be tried separately, and one after another. I guess the MPAA is not only adopting the RIAA strategy but also making the same mistakes ;)

In what I presume to be a rather lengthy press release about Sigma Design's latest chips focusing on the WMV9 playback feature, I found that there are a couple more brands already selling players based on Sigma's latest HD chipset, and that the long awaited KISS DP-600 will finally be available in Europe this month and carry a $299 pricetag.

We've heard stories that the music industry's numbers don't add up before: now there's further evidence from Canada. Despite the CRIA (that's Canadian RIAA) losing in court earlier this year and predicting that the industry be decimated, sales have gone up 12% over the last year.

Last but not least, we've moved the forum to a new server yesterday. The new server is provided by ateme - a company which you might know since they created the video part of NeroDigital (including it's upcoming H.264 implementation). They've also provided a mirror for this site for a bit now. Many thanks to them and to my co-admin Swede who took care of the move.


Last month's news can be found here.