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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

ImgTool Burn 1.1.2 can play a wav file if burning has completed, has a field to count the numbers of characters used for the volume name, forced shutdown has been added to the settings and trying to abort during burning brings up a safety warning instead of aborting directly.

VCDEasy 2.0.1 no longer needs an ASPI layer for burning, locks access to the burner during burning so no other application can access the drive, more image file formats have been added and there's a lot more.

Even though the DVD CCA had filed for dismissal, it seems that their trade secret violation injunction againt people distributing DeCSS hasn't quite been over yet: Last Friday, a California appeals court overturned the initial injunction as unconstitutional because even at the time, there was no evidence that CSS was still a trade secret. And even now it's now over yet, as the case will return to the Superior Court of California.


AutoGK 1.0 is considered a stable version but offers nothing new compared to 0.98 except for an updated documentation. Development beyond v1.0 will continue of course, and one of the first things to be added is support for XviD 1.0.

There are new DivX 5.1.1 installers based on NSIS. Even though the version number has not been increased there's something new: The packages contain an updated DivX decoder filter which fixes a macroblocking issue in the post processing algorithm.

The DVD forum has approved a HD DVD-RW format. Based on Toshiba and Nec's submission proposal, a HD DVD-RW disc can store up to 20 GB of data per side.

If you own a Sony DRU530 burner, it's time to upgrade your firmware now. Sony has lived up to its promise to offer 8x/4x DVD-R/W burning capabilities via a firmware upgrade that has now been released.

A flatfee model for P2P networks? That's what the EFF is proposing to solve P2P piracy. While consumers certainly do like flatfees (look at local phone calls, certain mobile phone subscriptions, Internet access, pay TV, etc.), and it even works for the music industry (broadcaster fees), the RIAA is obviously dead set against it. A spokesperson said that this idea would never work because people would still look for free ways to download music, and all music would have the same value which wouldn't make sense. Umm.. let's go back to the store and have a look at the prices. Hmm, pretty much all singles cost the same.. and the price difference between albums is not that big either, especially if you look at all the albums in the top twenty.

Last but not least, the IFPI (the world RIAA), has scored a victory against German software manufacturers S.A.D. (German link). A Munich court has ordered the maker of software DVD copier MovieJack to remove CSS descrambling in a 2003 ruling, an injunction against which S.A.D. has initially appealed. Yesterday, they have withdrawn their appeal.


If you're going to buy DVDXCopy (not that I'd suggest it), better do it now, because come the end of the week the decryption part will definitely be removed. Oh well, you can still get decryption software here to enforce your fair use rights.

Faster DVD burners are on their way: Despite c't's tests showing that 8x is far from being ready (most disc/drive combinations yield very high error rates), AOpen and LG will present 12x DVD+R burners at CeBIT. Waitec (Action 16EX) and Pioneer (A08) will show 16x DVD+R burners, to be released in June. If you're going to get one of these burners, you'll have to wait a bit for the appropriate media. I've spotted the first major brand 8x DVD+R discs, but major manufacturers like Verbatim will only start shipping 8x DVD-Rs next month (and it takes a while for discs to get into stores worldwide), and they'll start shipping dual layer discs in June and 16x DVD+R discs at the end of the year. BenQ is the first manufacturer to give an actual release date for their upcoming dual layer burner, the DW830A. A regular dual format 8x burner, it has 2.4x DVD+R dual layer capabilities and will be released in April.

And if you're wondering what about DVD-R, so far 1x dual layer burning will be ready for Christmas, and no dates were given for 12x and 16x burning yet, but it is reasonable to assume that sooner or later DVD-R will catch up.


The first details on dual layer burners emerge: the Sony DRU700a burns dual layer DVD+R at 2.4x, DVD±R at 8x, DVD±RW at 4x and CD-R/W at 40x/24x. Packaged with Nero it will retail for €199 in Q2 2004.

I haven't had time to test this yet but it sounds interesting: an open source AC3 / DTS delay corrector and cutting utility has just been released.
2/24 DVD Shrink 3.1.6 fixes some encoding bugs, fixes a problem ripping from Pioneer 120S drives and can change the region of an RPC-2 drive.

As was to be expected, 321 studios will appeal the a court decision which would force them to stop selling DVD backup products. And they're currently trying to get a stay on the injunction which would enable them to continue selling their product. But if they cannot manage to obtain a stay within 7 days, the entire DVD backup software line will be replaced with versions that do not include CSS descrambling.

Pioneer A07/107 owners might find this interesting: Pioneer has just released a new utility which enables you to adjust the drive's speed settings. It enables you to switch the drive from quiet mode to performance mode which I presume could mean higher ripping speeds (the drive is by default limited to 2x ripping, a limit which just recently has been removed thanks to a patched firmware).


BeSweet GUI 0.7 b4 now writes little endian PCM files by default, has the -s switch updated for Azid 1.9, the AAC/MP4 show config dialogue option is now checked by default and the AAC/MP4 plugin path has been removed.

ZoomPlayer 4.0 beta 1 has a new audio bar mode, allows you to blacklist problematic filters and can detect and notify you of missing filters / components.

And an update to yesterday's player story: LiteOn, Apex and V Inc. (if you've never heard of the 3rd one, welcome to the club) will also release players based on the new Sigma chipset.


VP uses the bitrate and keyframe controls inside the codec's configuration, improves frame quality consistency, has a sharpness slider and fixes datarate control for high bitrate encoding. You can find the entire changelog and an ongoing discussion about this release in the forum.

RealVideo 10 codename Elysian has a new curve compression mechanism that is free of legacy streaming code (streaming video requires rather constant bitrate, which is what you absolutely don't want unless you stream a video over the Internet) and allows you to disable the in-loop filter.

AutoGK 0.98 no longer hangs if no codecs are installed, the installer checks for a previously installed version, thus preventing you to install the upgrade version only, and the contact email has been removed because the forum should be used for any kind of communication with the author. Which reminds me, a lot of people still think the feedback and error hotline are helplines. Since they are not, do not be worried if you're not getting an answer...

Elby has released a sneak preview of their upcoming CloneDVD2 DVD transcoding tool. The new version features an improved transcoding engine, allows for chapter tripping and splitting, the target size is adjustable, the layer break flag can be removed and audio and subtitle settings have been restructured.

Moonlight, maker of widely used MPEG video and audio decoders (you can download some of them on this very site), is entering the H.264 business: They've already released their H.264 player and you can download a few samples of their upcoming H.264 encoder as well.

Kiss, makers of the first DivX compatible DVD player will present two new players at CeBIT: Their DP-600 and DP-608 players are based on Sigma's new chipset, the EM8620L. This chipset can handle MPEG-2 video up to 1080i/720p, MPEG-4 ASP level 5 (sadly once again without GMC) up to 720p and WMV9 up to 720p (note that those values correspond to the maximum vertical resolution which is only 480p for today's DVD - or 576p for PAL DVDs). The chipset can also handle LC AAC (no High Efficiency AAC though), and all flavors of WMA9 audio. Both players feature Ethernet and WLAN to enable streaming videos and music from your PC, progressive scan output and the latter model also has a built-in 80 GB HD.

Both Philips and MediaTek (one of the largest DVD chipset manufacturers and maker of the infamous DivX capable chipset that actually does QPel and GMC) are gearing up to deliver firmware upgrade to their existing DVD+RW chipsets that enables existing chipsets to burn dual layer discs. The upgrades are scheduled to be released in the next quarter and raise interesting upgrade possibilities because certain chipsets that can be upgraded are already used. However, even if the chipset is upgradeable, I wouldn't get my hopes up. Marketing people will certainly see dual layer as a way to sell you yet another burner even though it basically contains the same hardware.

Last but not least, 321 Studios have lost in court in the first instance. A San Francisco judge granted the MPAA an injunction against 321 Studios, barring them from selling their DVDXCopy products. While I have not been a fan of 321 ever since they started selling freeware software and a guide as DVD backup solution (note that the DVDXCopy products have actually been developed by 321), this is definitely not a good development. Judge Illston went on record saying that people were free to make copies in other, nondigital ways that would give them access to the same content, even if not in the same, pristine form. Miss Illston, if you have a minute I invite you to come over and I'll show you how your statement is completely false and shows a lack of understanding for what the movie industry is actually doing. I also invite you to have a look at Macrovision's offering in analogue copy protection. Under the DMCA which you're defending, analogue copying is also prohibited because it is illegal to manufacture a device that does not react to the Macrovision signal corruption (that's right.. Macrovision Quality Protection my lower rear end!).


On one side of the ocean The European Parliament is up for the vote of "DMCA on steroids" while on the other a New Jersey woman got fed up with the RIAAs threats and counter-sues them under the "RICO (Racketeering Influenced & Corrupt Organizations) Act" enacted in 1970 to prosecute organized crime (that is, to destroy the Mafia).
At least the lawyers are very happy with these kind of legislation.


Zoom Player 3.31 fixes a few bugs and a has a completely new registration-key system.

Jonny (DivX 5 Enc) has been working on qcce a "utility to automate One Pass VBR starting from an AviSynth file" since mid Jan that you might want to check out.

On a more serious note, today has been a day of unconfirmed rumors due to a misunderstood 'ironic' reply in the DivX-forum. (Although it's now a bit unfair since he has edited his reply, 15 hours later, and added the "and for those without a sense of humor... this is a joke (insert laughter here)") No matter how clear a written post seems to be to the sender it can always be misinterpreted by a reader so today's lesson is: Think before you write, think when you read, use your common sense before pushing the "reply" button, not everyone has English as their mother tongue and not everyone might be in the same state of mind.


During the years the guys at Technicolor (Thomson) has brought us "Hologram disc authenticating for CDs and DVDs, SecurROM and SafeDisc encoding for CD-ROM, CSS encoding for DVD, Flexplay DVDs" and now they're talking about those "forensically-trackable film prints,VHS tapes and DVDs." Just how 'undetectable' does "The watermark is nearly undetectable to the naked eye" mean? And how long will it take for someone to get a hold of 2 copies of the same film to find out how, and if, this is done?

The firmware page, apart from running on a brand new server, also has a bunch of new firmwares.


There's nobody still using IE 5, right? Since the Windows code leak (although old) is helping the crackers celebrating Christmas the least we can do is securing the gifts before opening...


Media Player Classic incorporates libdts for DTS-decoding. It also has shortcuts for saving snapshots with autonaming and fixes for a runtime error when opening subtitles from certain CDs.


Fair Use 0.39a fixes some issues with standalone MPEG-4 players, poorly mastered DVDs and some updates of the integration with XviD.

If you own a Pioneer DVR-107D you might take a look at this patched firmware which removes the ripping speed limiter as well as making it Region Free.


Although in an early development stage VLC now has support for DTS using the open source project dtsdec/libdts.


It's now possible to save any frame as a bitmap using Media Player Classic There are also fixes for those of you using 16bit desktops, opening http URLs or using an audio filter that won't increase it's buffer 'on the fly'.


DVD Shrink 3.1.5 now retains Closed Captions, fixes a few bugs with still-picture encoding and default playback streams (when re-authoring) and shows a reminder, in case of re-authoring menus, that they will be converted into video clips, not menus. And of course more fixes and performance enhancements.

It looks like both LiteOn and BTC considers skipping 12x-dual burners in favor of 16x. And as if this wasn't good enough the Taiwanese producers are pushing NEC to lower its OEM price on the 8x-duals.


For those of you who's been living under a rock the latest weeks, note now that the outburst of MyDoom has gotten it's first follower. The port 3127 vulnerability is under attack by a malicious worm called MyDoom-C. So, everyone, make sure that you're well protected since this exploit is still causing havoc and make sure that your mail-admins do NOT send the 'You've sent us a virus' mail since those are closing in on 95% of the emails received on many servers. (There are some free anti-virus tips in the forum.)


Speaking about Microsoft, they've struck a deal with Disney concerning secure delivery of digital media in better-than-DVD quality(?). Interesting enough this statement comes just about two weeks after the public demise of Disney's partnership with Pixar and Steve Jobs, a long time Microsoft rival. Since Microsoft already has a deal with Time Warner there shouldn't be too long until we will see some results.

And AutoGKnot 0.96 fixes the advanced audio settings and adds secondary subtitles to the logs.


Continuing the interesting stories of 'stolen' software M$ has announced an "Entry-level XP" for the Thai market. Priced at ~$40 you'll get a "Thai-language specific, customized, entry-level version based on Windows XP Home and Office XP Standard". (Hmm. Sounds a bit like the DVDshrink-scams)
Considering their official standpoint of "one world, one price" vs. "Given that the average income of a Thai worker is $7,000 a year, it would be the equivalent of charging $3,000 for the bundle in the United States" makes you wish for an open-source alternative available... But, wait... Isn't there?

AutoGKnot is closing in on 1.0. 0.95 offers you support for ESS-based standalones and a new version of Decomb (5.1.1) along with other fixes.


The story about 321 Studios remote deactivation before proven guilty (official press release) makes you wonder what more companies are using SoftwareKey's products and may thereby revoke your license at their will? This is a strong argument for using an active firewall.


XviD 1.0 RC2 AKA Jambo is out. It contains an internal bitrate calculator, bugfixes, fast firstpass is selectable and XviD with b-frames in packed bitstream mode is decodable by DivX.

I've managed to finish my first DVB guide. It's called DVB to DVD-R guide and obviously does just that: capture an MPEG-2 stream from via DVB-S and put it on a DVD-R without re-encoding. In the future, I plan to add DVB -> SVCD and DVB -> DivX/XviD guides and extend the capturing part to cover applications for DVB-C/t and settop boxes. If you can help out in those areas (we don't have cable in my house and there's no DVB-T in my area) make yourself heard in the DVB/HDTV forum. The same goes for people who have experience in HDTV.


According to CDR-Info, Philips will release version 1.9 of the DVD+R specification tomorrow. The specs include dual layer DVD+R discs and increased navigational flexibility. It seems like the DVD+R camp is set on a spring 2004 release date, whereas the DVD-R camp seems to go a little slower. German computer mag c't recently reported in their print editing that the dual layer DVD-R burner shown at CES was in fact not an A06 with only a firmware upgrade, but that the hardware was modified as well. And Pioneer said that neither the A06 nor A07 could be upgraded to dual layer burning capabilities and that only the A09, due for Christmas 2004 would add dual layer DVD-R support, at 1x speed. In the meantime, there will be an A08 burner that burns DVD-Rs at 12x or 16x (the specs are not yet known), since the A09 will handle single layer DVD-Rs at 16x speed.

The next version of TMPG, TMPG3 XPress will be heavily optimized for Intel chips, most notably SSE3, which is being introduced in the upcoming Prescott P4 processor. The new version is due in summer 2004. Being an AMD user myself, I wonder if their SSE2 optimizations have been locked to P4s only or if they will also be available to AMD64 owners, and how much money Pegasys is getting for their optimizations. Until recently I believed that Intel must be faster at video encoding, but then I came across some benchmarks which show AMD as faster chips when encoding in XviD, so it seems that it's only a matter of optimizations.


AutoGK 0.92 should no longer start DVD2AVI twice, the 2nd audio track is now always MP3 in auto mode, the new VDubMod is no longer included in the package and the normalization now uses postgain.

FairUse 0.37a fixes freezes during OggVorbis encoding and fixes subtitle extraction to VOB and IFO.

mp4UI 1.0 b1 build 3 is a complete rewrite that features better usability, it is based on MPEG4IP and now available as open source. It also supports MPEG-1/2 video import and you can add Apple/NeroDigital compatible metadata.


FairUse 0.36c supports XviD 1.0 RC1, can extract subtitle streams for further processing and supports OGM and Matroska output.

While DivXNetworks has already managed to get their codec supported in numerous consumer electronic devices, and ON2 recently struck a deal which allows VP5 and VP6 content on EVD discs, Microsoft is trying to catch up. While a handful of WMV9 capable devices have been announced but have yet to see the marketplace, Pioneer has just announced a new a/v receiver which is capable of playing Windows Media Audio 9 Professional up to 7.1 channels.

Speaking of EVD, the format has yet to make an impression. Judging by this article, it is not even clear how the format (if at all) can take advantage of HDTV.


Last weekend there was an industry / research meeting on DRM in Berlin, called "DRM and alternatives". While MPAA and RIAA are still drooling over iron clad DRM and abolishment of any fair use notion, the industry that should develop / implement such technology also has some alternatives: Fraunhofer institute's LWDRM (LightWeight Digital Rights Management) tries to balance the interest of copyright holders and consumers. Under the LWDRM scheme, private copying is still possible, even sharing over P2P networks is. However, files are initially tied to your computer and have to be unlocked. The unlock process involves applying a unique signature, which would allow copyright holder to trace any pirated content.

The head of the GEMA organization (that's the company who collects the fees on A/V hardware and tapes / blank media, as well as the fees radio stations and other public broadcasters have to pay) said that DRM might sound like music to the ears of RIAA and Co., but if private copying were completely outlawed, we'd have a copyright law that nobody would follow (right on!). As fee collector, GEMA is obviously in favor of the current model with global taxes and would like to increase those taxes and apply them to more media and device types.

In the last presentation on alternative compensation mechanisms, the speaker suggested more global compensation schemes which would start with your Internet connection. If 15% of the ISP fees would go to artists (based on popularity of downloads), P2P networks should no longer be a problem.

If only the copyright holders would consider such alternatives that don't leave the consumer standing in the rain...

Oh, and the TitleSetBlanker alternative DVDStripper is now available for free (obviously, DVDStripper was here first but wasn't free until now), along with MenuModder, an application to edit existing DVD menus.

2/1 ImgTool Burn 1.1.1 supports external language files and allows you to change the program's language from within, Windows shutdown can be disabled even after burning has begun, the volume label can be detected from the source directory and the program now has XP style buttons.

Last month's news can be found here.