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I was looking forward to coming home to the news of BackupBluRay
- and muslix64 hasn't let me down and released his Blu-Ray decryption
utility even before I left for the digital desert again. Like the
first BackupHDDVD release, BackupBluRay
0.21 is currently somewhat limited and doesn't support the non
revocable volume unique keys and there are some other limitations
that hopefully will be resolved in short order.
The AACS licensing authority has finally reacted to the news and
out the facts that I've kept reiterating in the past: AACS has
not been broken, the attack angle works against every format making
use of AACS and they consider the affected players as being compromised
- with no specific word as to what measures will be taken other
than they are both technical and legal (has anybody seen a C&D
order yet?). Thinking back to when the first DVDs were decrypted
by DeCSS and dodsrip, the CSS LA was launching lawsuits and sending
out C&D letters based on a trade secret angle (versus the DMCA
angle employed by the MPAA in their quest to squash the DeCSS bug).
Meanwhile, BackupHDDVD has been equipped with a GUI,
sped up as well as ported
to C# and C(++)
(both with GUI) and there's a new
program to extract ACA files found on HD DVDs and the EVOB
Demuxer is making some progress as well.
To conclude the news on the high def formats, slyck has an interview
with muslix64 - note to the editor: it's doom9.org or doom9.net,
and definitely not doom9.com ;)
Back to SD software, QuEnc
0.72 contains small tweaks of the 2pass rate control, works
properly even when the -close option is used and will not apply
pulldown flags when interlacing is disabled.
1.4.9 beta 13 shows a progress percentage in the title bar,
no longer grabs the focus when a save project operation is run from
the commandline and a bug in LumaYV12 has been fixed.
6.5 supports deinterlacing during playback, as well as aspect
ratio signaling, has a faster decoder filter and supports a couple
new DivX profiles.
works on Win9x (urgh) again. Multilanguage, improved BOV scanning
and automatic exclusion of unreferenced titlesets has been added
in version 126.96.36.199 which wasn't in the news. On top of that, the
resiliency of the software towards complex DVDs has been improved.
More info here...
Decrypter 188.8.131.52 has an improved copy protection removal engine
and can reset the DMA status of your DVD drive.
8.0 can reorder PGCs and titles in the current domain, has a
new PGC comment field, can silently remove chapters at the end of
the chapter table if they become unused during the course of an
edit operation, saves cell times in .MLS format, can undo the last
incremental disc backup and there are many enhancements and some
bugfixes as well.
2.7 uses a Windows XP style file explorer dialog when opening
files, shows filenames without path during the file scanning process
and a crash when exiting the Input Settings with two specific audio
configurations has been removed.
In a ruling that the industry is likely to attack viciously, a
revision court overruled an earlier decision that imposed a 100
day jail sentence against two Italian college students for downloading
copyrighted content with the argument that an
act of download is no felony unless the act is made for monetary
Last but not least, the International Herald Tribune reports that
major music labels, at their annual Midem trade fair - are actively
considering abandoning DRM. It is however no done deal, so let's
keep reminding them just how much you despise DRM and expect your
music to play on your PC, in your living room, your portable music
player and your car - without having to pay over and over again
for the same thing.
Will iTunes finally be forced to become more consumer friendly?
The "FairPlay" DRM they slap on songs and videos violates
Norwegian law (now finally we have some legislation that looks out
for the good of more than a few filthy rich executives) and the
consumer ombudsman is determined
to take Apple to court if they don't fall in line - imho they're
just giving Apple way too much time as the deadline for the lawsuit
has been pushed back to October.
In what should only cause some snickering on your part, the MPAA
is now attacking Canada for not doing enough against movie piracy
as much as 50% of the world's combined movie piracy on one single
country - undoubtedly in an effort to pressure politicians into
adapting more MPAA friendly copyright legislation. They are even
threatening to push back theatrical releases (as if there weren't
enough countries with no legislation to forbid recording in a movie
theater). I doubt Bruce Snyder has ever watched a camcorded release
- who on earth can claim a CAM release is going to cause any serious
economic damage? Seriously...
The RIAA is taking your right to record radio broadcasts to court:
their lawsuit against XM Satellite Radio - which allows subscribers
to record broadcasts - was found to contain
enough merit to go to trial.
As if the sharing limitations built into Microsoft's iPod clone
- Zune - weren't enough, labels
have begun to restrict the sharing feature.
Soon after the news of BackupHDDVD broke and before there was any
independent confirmation that it really worked as advertised, the
Blu-Ray camp started their PR campaign to boast how their format
was superior in terms of copy protection. But, their second DRM
layer called BD+ is not being used right now - and the
first steps towards decrypting the existing Blu-Ray titles on the
market has already been made. Whether BD+ really holds up remains
to be seen - the specs are not publicly available which prevents
cryptography researchers all around the globe of verifying the claims
of the BD+ creators - if history in cryptography has shown anything
it's that the safest mechanisms are those that withstand the scrutiny
of the academic community.
On the HD DVD front, the first automated key finders area already
volume key finder. But since those programs rely on a specific
player, you shouldn't mistake those tools for the first step in
a one click decrypter like DVD Decrypter - AACS remains uncracked
and the chances for a software that does it all is very slim at
best - it would be unrealistic to hope for it to ever happen unless
AACS contains a yet undiscovered major cryptographic blunder. After
decryption, you may want to process your HD DVD titles - that's
where EVOB de/multiplexers come in handy and there's a lengthy
thread about that subject in the forum already.
184.108.40.206 is better at handling severely mangled IFO files and
no longer forgets to process VTS 99 in full DVD process mode.
1.4.9 beta 12 properly renders video with repeat frames and
has two new fields in the info dialog: the number of repeated frames
contains an updated BDA module as well as updated modules for various
THDassign is the first HD authoring solution to support Warner's
hybrid HD DVD / Blu-Ray disc THD.
In yet another example of why we're better off without DRM, many
owners of the new PlayStation 3 will find that they
don't get a picture every now and then if their playstation is hooked
up to their TV via HDMI (HDMI is digital and thus the best way
to hook up any digital device). So not only do you have to pay extra
to have those DRM chips in your hardware, it also interferes with
your ability to use the device in the manner it was supposed to
be used. I can't help but hope that this problem will become so
prevalent that consumer electronic manufacturers will stop bowing
to the whim of Hollywood and throw all the consumer unfriendly "features"
overboard - I know it's a long shot but the only way they're going
to listen is if there's an angry mob breathing down their necks.
In an example of how things can work out to the benefit of us paying
customers, UK startup Streamburst is selling unencrypted
content reformatted for your favorite device. Instead of DRM,
they put a mark on the content that allows it to be traced back
to the buyer - so you can share it anyway you want, but if the copyright
owner gets wind of it, they won't even have to bully your ISP to
find who leaked the content - thus relying on the simple notion
that if you cannot hide your misdeeds, you are not likely to commit
them in the first place.
There might be good news looming for copyright law in the UK: despite
the DMCA, and thanks to public pressure via an online petition,
the review on copyright law commissioned by Chancellor Gordon Brown
the introduction of a private copy exception. Let's hope the
government won't cave to pressure from the MPAA and their lobbyists
and ends up not heeding to this recommendation.
There's yet another audio listening test over at Hydrogenaudio
- this time it's all
about 80 kbit/s and mainly about AAC.
I'll be away for the better part of the coming three weeks - so
please refer to the news
forum for news and please do participate in that forum, if you
come across something interesting please post it.
Also just a quick reminder - the forum has yet to find its new
home. With the news stories in the past few weeks, we've had a 120KB/s
average throughput, though the yearly average is only 84KB/s but
it shows the fluctuations that can happen.
2.0.0 has a new tab for each track where you can add arbitrary
track options, properly muxes AVC tracks in MKV files that were
stored in Microsoft compatibility mode and AVC tracks in AVI files
as well as raw AVC tracks, and there are various enhancements of
existing features as well as bugfixes.
0.9 has better multicore support and supports HC as MPEG-2 encoder.
Modifier 1.4.4 no longer corrupts DivX subtitles, provides a
default filename when saving files and now has the *.divx extension
in file dialogs.
Is the mainstream media waking up to the evil of DRM? I came across
an article in the New York Times on apple's new iPhone - entitled
an iPhone? Beware the iHandcuffs". The article takes a
surprisingly harsh stance towards DRM - the mainstream media is
usually quick to use the industry's tagline on piracy to defend
how we're being robbed of our rights to use legitimately purchased
If you had any doubts about the validity of BackupHDDVD
- the time
for doubts has come to an end today. Next stop: Blu-Ray. And
in the meantime, please forgive that the forum is a bit slower than
usual.. we're going for a new user record.
is faster in the analysis phase, skips the cleanup of unreferenced
VTS cells, supports on-the-fly patching of IFO files to enable DVD
Decrypter to process corrupted IFO files and there's a couple more
changes and bugfixes.
supports TSB's Q-Box and fixes some bugs.
Cinemacraft, maker of the renowned CCE MPEG-2 software encoder
enters the AVC market: The
Cinemacraft HD Encoder keeps in line with CCE Pro and ships
with a dedicated PC. The machine appears to be a regular x86 machine
so I suppose there's no stopping this encoder to participate in
the next codec comparison (yes it's coming but it'll be a while).
Apple's new Apple
TV is a box that allows you to bring content bought on iTunes
to your TV. Besides content from iTunes, it can also handle up to
720p MPEG-4 AVC main profile content (no high profile though).
At CES, both the HD DVD and the Blu-Ray camp try to trump each
other capacity wise. While the Blu-ray camp always tries to play
the capacity card (regardless of the fact that with VC-1 or AVC
you don't really need 50 GB unless you're going to pack a load of
bonus content that your 08/15 consumer never bothers to watch anyway),
the HD DVD camp seems to be closer to a three
layer disc, offering 51 GB of space in case it will ever be
needed. And while there are no recorders yet, Verbatim has started
shipping dual layer HD DVD-R discs offering a capacity of 30 GB.
Behind closed doors, Ritek has announced to have produced not only
3 layer but also 4 layer discs, and they are looking
at 10 layers. Hitachi has also demo'ed a 4
layer Blu-ray disc - it can be read with the pickups used in
the Blu-Ray players currently on the market - but there's no telling
if the rest of the components in toady's players can really handle
those discs. And in another tidbit of HD format news, the porn industry
has changed their tune and is now looking at the HD DVD format.
The reason - Sony is threatening disc replicators to rescind their
Blu-Ray license if they produce pr0n on Blu-Ray discs. This awakens
memory of the VCR format war where the porn industry also picked
the winning side.
I guess it would be too much to hope for that the music industry
finally gets it, but at least we might be able to play audio CDs
in our car stereos again in the near future - EMI
is considering to abandon copy protected audio CDs in the future.
The change in Congress seems to have revived
network neutrality legislation. I guess we won't have to pay
extra to get our search results in a timely fashion after all..
The broadcast flag also seems to face yet another hurdle as a senator
across the aisle is preparing legislation that would ensure that
like the broadcast flag could never be federally mandated.
The only legislation to make the industry happy right now appears
to be the reintroduction
of the PERFORM act - a legislation that aims at cutting down
recording of broadcast signals. The Consumer Electronics Association,
currently gathered at CES, is naturally opposed to any such measure.
Their interest to sell us the latest gadgets make them one
of our best allies against overreaching copyright legislation.
The industry also has found some allies to the north, where the
of copyright law could just leave the paying customer in the dust.
How do you catch people downloading illegal material? We've previously
seen the music industry launching lawsuits merely based on some
screenshot that shows filename and IP address, now the MPAA appears
to be gathering IP addresses the same way - and even using
fake files. Anybody still considering filenames proof enough
should realize that unless the content downloaded is actually infringing
copyright law - the presumption of innocence should be maintained.
2.57 final has finally been released. There have been no changes
since the third release candidate.
220.127.116.11 has entered beta stage. The new release can split pre
cells, shows GOP type and the elapsed time in a cell in the preview
and there are a few bugfixes.
1.4.9 beta 9 is out. There are a few bugfixes and changes in
the AviSynth script creation and the info dialog shows the stream
is a windows media format encoder / muxer. It can mux and encode
any format with the appropriate DirectShow filters along with demuxing
and it offers access to VC-1 as well as the WMV and WMA codec family.
HD DVD is going SATA: Toshiba's
SD-H903A HD DVD recorder, scheduled for release in February,
is the first high def format drive to support the latest in I/O
connectivity. Even though it marks the second generation, the technical
data is not too impressive: 1x HD DVD-R recording with no support
for RW or dual layer discs goes along with DVD / CD burning capabilities
that are several steps behind what current DVD burners offer today.
Then again, the first few generations of DVD burners were not terribly
impressive in the CD burning arena either.
CSS burning is definitely coming our way this year: Sonic's
Qflix program provides an end to end solution for burning downloaded
content onto DVDs, along with CSS. Since it requires new software,
blanks and recorders, the system will first be used in retail kiosks.
Long rumored, then denied, but it appears that hybrid HD DVD /
Blu-ray players are finally in the making. LG should
announce a dual format player at CES next week.
Meanwhile, studios are taking another approach: Warner's
Total HD disc would deliver HD content in both formats.
It's been speculation for long how much the RIAA gets per downloaded
songs. The RIAA is trying to keep the exact number a secret, no
doubt because it would confirm that they get a higher margin (and
thus basically rip off customers by giving them a lesser product
for the same price as the better product - an audio CD - and still
make more money at doing so), but they've had to confirm at least
the price range in one of their recent anti P2P lawsuits: it's
Amidst speculation on how AACS keys can be extracted for use in
BackupHDDVD, Cyberlink has announced that their
player doesn't leak [link goes to a German source]
As if the Euro DMCA wasn't enough, the industry lapdog in the EU
parliament and wife of media giant Vivendi's CEO, is trying to change
EU copyright law again to criminalize
every case of infringement [German source]. Wouldn't it be great
to jail several dozen millions of EU citizens because they downloaded
a song from a P2P network? I hope there are enough sane people in
parliament to realize that our courts should better deal with real
Last but not least, 2006 didn't end too well for Apple. The antitrust
lawsuit against the DRM put on songs downloaded from iTunes
will go ahead in 2007.
0.80 uses Muxman for DVD authoring, AC3 audio encoding can be
done via Aften and MP2 audio encoding via tooLame, the GUI has been
completely overhauled, the scripting options have been extended
and a warning will be shown if a file cannot be opened.
1.0 supports volume keys, can resume an interrupted decryption
session and uses a new filename and format for the key database
file. The author has also written a small FAQ.
With Windows Vista hitting the stores this month, here's something
to give you pause before you rush out. We all know about the draconian
DRM, but a security researcher at the university of New Zealand
a deeper look and it ain't pretty. I've always been looking
forward when technology is concerned, but the whole digital audio
DRM crap, along with the DRM on HD DVD and Blu-ray and now Windows
Vista even have me concerned and I have yet to jump on any bandwagon.
Last month's news can be found here.