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alpha 0023 assigns the maximum level to streams without bitrate
and cpb values, allows you to input cropping values, is more resilient
on bad streams and fixes bugs in bitrate and cpb calculation.
2.36 only checks for TS/M2TS discontinuity on tracks that are
demuxed or remuxed, demuxes both a TrueHD and an AC3 file when demuxing
Blu-ray TrueHD tracks (on Blu-ray TrueHD consists of a core AC3
track - since TrueHD isn't mandatory on Blu-ray - and the additional
data to make it a TrueHD track), directly transcodes TrueHD/AC3
tracks to FLAC when using the "eac3to source.m2ts movie.mkv"
syntax, displays the track language when the appropriate clpi file
is available (M2TS) or when the appropriate stream info is available
(TS) and ignores video gaps/overlaps in the last 5 seconds of the
1.7.2 fixes problems when demuxing PGS to SUP.
It's always nice of the industry lapdogs in Congress expose themselves
- Howard Berman, creator of the Pro-IP Act which aims to turn the
government into the enforcement arm of the industry and jacks up
punishment for copyright infringement, has a rather simplistic (but
fully in line with the industry backing him) view on all those that
oppose such measures: Whomever
opposes the bill must be a pirate. Arrrrr maytee! Oh, and it
may only have been a joke, but how long until things get more serious
and they start sending Marines against countries that do refuse
to import DMCA style legislation or create exemptions (which the
WIPO treaties do allow) that the industry doesn't like?
And the industry must've gotten a kick out of the Attorney
General getting onboard with their piracy funds terrorism line.
Too bad that the examples of successful prosecution cited have nothing
to do whatsoever with terrorism, unless China is the next country
on the axis of evil..
1.7.1 can remove pulldown from any stream added, fixes pulldown
removal and contains some other small bugfixes and improvements.
And I know I still owe you some lines about CeBit. Needless to
say that I'd have done it sooner if there were something groundbreaking
- but this year's visit was largely unimpressive as far as matters
we discuss here are concerned. Hall 1, where most consumer electronics
makers were and had some Blu-ray players for show last year, wasn't
even used this year, so the only Blu-ray hardware I saw was from
Panasonic, plus a few devices at the Optiarc stand. There also were
less blank disc makers around this year, and while everybody got
the message as far as showing blank HD DVDs are concerned, I at
least still saw one stand that had a HD DVD logo up which certainly
lead to a chuckle here and there.
DVB cards with PCIe were still hard to find, as were GFX cards
with DisplayPort, or HDMI (HDMI switches and cables were everywhere
though). The only really interesting product was develo's
dLAN TV sat - a satellite receiver that then distributes the
DVB-S(2) signal via powerline. Too bad you need a PC on the other
end, and not just any UPNP capable device, and the limitation to
one channel and no CAM is also something that would stop me from
buying the device - but I like the idea of grabbing the digital
TV signal, then streaming it through your home via IP - something
which I already do for audio, video and Internet radio.
1.0.0 alpha 22 fixes crashes when dealing with elementary streams.
supports EVR and has an xmltv file viewer.
Just days before Toshiba's deadline, the
HD DVD Promotion Group has dissolved itself. And Blu-ray managed
to whoop HD DVD during the last week, grabbing
88% of the high def market. Will it be more than 90% next week?
And as a first, Home Media Magazine also shows Blu-ray vs. DVD percentages
- looking at the top 20 titles, DVD has a formidable 94% lead -
and it would be even more if you consider all titles. Some individual
titles performed more strongly on Blu-ray - Fox
and Disney's latest grabbed 12.6 and 9.8% respectively, which
is a lot more than the average 2 - 3% high def titles usually manage
Is it April 1st already? The idea of a P2P
amnesty for universities certainly sounds like something that
should come up next week... However, Warner music also seems to
consider a P2P
2.35 fixes EVO support.
1.6.3 can detect audio delay for various source types and fixes
a few bugs.
is the single pass version of x264farm - a distributed x264 encoder.
With Toshiba dumping HD DVD, and stores now sending back the remains
of their inventory (and we're just being days from the end of March
deadline), even the adult industry, who favored HD DVD due to lower
production cost, seems
to be warming up to Blu-ray. Meanwhile, the remaining
HD DVD release slate has become even thinner with BCI
exiting the HD DVD market.
Meanwhile, there are some indications that numbers are beginning
to shift into Blu-rays direction - No
Country for Old Men sees a 10-15% percentage sales on Blu-ray,
which is a lot higher than the average sales percentages. And as
far as the high def sales ratio goes, Blu-ray managed an impressive
78%, and with the remaining HD DVD releases, it's only a matter
of time before the reaching a 5:1 ratio.
The music industry could be facing another massive loss of income
- and they cannot even blame P2P for it. About every 5th major label
CD is sold by the world's largest retail store - Wal-mart. But Wal-mart
sells music below price to get people into their stores - and they
seem less inclined to do so these days and would
like the major labels to drop prices so they no longer have to sell
discs at a loss.
The US - usually the posterchild for the copyright cartel's fight
against their own consumers, has once again been caught handed disregarding
international intellectual copyright treaties and rulings if they
don't like it - and so this time it's the EU who usually just adopt
US style legislation, that suddenly blames
the US for not doing enough, despite WTO rulings.
Last but not least, be careful what you click on - a single
click on the wrong hyperlink can get your house raided and you being
accused of being a pedophile, an accusation from which many
can never recover even if they are 101% innocent.
1.0.0 alpha 20 fixes audio detection and demuxing, and some
video decoding errors in certain streams.
contains a reworked video rendering engine.
1.6.1 can split output files, cut source files and fixes a timing
bug and the 1.6.2 adds drag&drop support to the GUI.
2.32 contains a lot of improvements aimed at HD DVD remuxing.
And to finally clear my bookmark list: Seeing how bogus patents
and patent trolling keep companies from innovating, techdirt has
collection of articles with examples as response to claims that
the ongoing patent reform in the US (which would make it harder
to get patents) would lead to decreased innovation. Or briefly put
- innovation has little to do with patents.
Showing a sleeping industry how it is done - NiN's Trent Reznor
recently released a new album for a price that makes the RIAA weep,
and even giving parts of it away for free. And despite doing pretty
much everything the RIAA says is killing the music industry, it
still makes a lot of financial sense. So, who is wrong here?
The guy with a working business model or the industry with a dying
And while we're talking about the RIAA - they ought to take note
of the 2008
Digital Entertainment Survey which gives a very simple reason
for why people flock to unauthorized download offerings: legal offers
simply lack choice.
And to continue with the subject - when MarketWatch
compares your legal campaign with the mob, you really really
ought to think things over.
Here's another refreshing take at the whole piracy debate - while
some publisher blame piracy and would rather have a console only
market, at least one publisher has gotten the message: Pirates
don't matter. People who aren't going to buy your product anyway
have no effect on your bottom line - they're not going to buy your
game just because they cannot copy it (which is an illusion anyway..
you can get pretty much anything cracked and the cracked versions
offer a greater comfort by not requiring that you keep the DVD in
your drive at all times).
And here are two more articles on copyright: Some economists go
as far as calling
copyright dead, and ars is looking back in time and suggests
that there's evidence that the
copyright crusade is a lost cause.
While some universities go as far as blocking P2P (and have the
content cartels and their bought out politicians cheering), there
are in fact plenty of good uses for a not so even technology - in
the Netherlands, a university uses
P2P to distribute massive software updates to a large number of
PCs. The bottom line: what used to take 4 days now only takes
two hours. But P2P is evil, right?
Is another part of the industry waking up to reality? The NY Times
reports that publisher
are phasing out DRM on audio books.
While this part was conveniently ignored when they passed DMCA
legislation all over the world, at least it's still an issue in
Canada: The WIPO treaties (which is cited by the industry and their
supporters in legislative function), ratifying
the treaty doesn't mean adopt DMCA style anti DRM circumvention
laws. The treaty gives each signatory a great deal of leeway
on how the DRM protection is implemented, and to allow for circumvention
exemption for authorized use (Fair Use being the prime example).
So if you live in Canada, you might want to raise that issue with
your elected officials to make sure they don't blindly follow their
counterparts in other parts of the world.
The US copyright lobby has also managed to find a new enemy: Israel.
But that nation has a thicker skin than most and has
no plans to cave to the industry's list of demands - specifically
they see no reason to change DRM circumvention laws, citing the
many reasons there are that speak against DRM, and they're not about
to adopt a US style takedown system either, citing that this system
is susceptible to be abused (and we all know it has) and thus could
effectively be used for censorship as content is taken down before
the party that put it up even has a chance to respond. No matter
where you stand on the whole Middle East mess, I think politicians
around the globe could learn something here.
Japan is next on the list on the industry's crusade to cut off
people from the Internet. And what's scary is that the ISPs
are actually going alone with the ludicrous idea.
Last but not least, some high def news: Sony has announced Blu-ray
Profile 2.0 for the Playstation 3 with the next firmware update.
Now all that is missing is DTS-HD MA decoding.. And there's a funny
T-shirt on the end of the format war at The
Bits. Although if you ask me, the blue Octopus needs to be bigger
and have more tentacles with sharp edges (can you say "The
Cracken"), and the red bear needs to be a little more cuddly
Oh, and something I've had for a while - while I'm a Nero user
myself, it cannot hurt to look at free
alternatives as there are plenty. In fact, ImgBurn is currently
generating one ISO after another as I'm transferring my DVD collection
to a NAS.
First off, once again, SlySoft has done it and broken BD+. All
current titles except the soon to be released Hitman can be handled
and I'm pretty sure we'll see an update to handle the Hitman as
well shortly. SlySoft couldn't help but gloat
just a little in Fox'es direction, and they have every right
to. How about a new slogan: SlySoft - making Blu-ray more consumer
friendly one hack at a time. And just in time for Easter they have
a 20% rebate
- so if you you are looking to unlock your Fox BD titles - it might
be a good time to get into the game. And I can't help but notice
that this is the first really good high def news since HD DVD's
demise (and as much as SlySoft might wish that it makes a comeback,
I think it's just not going to happen).
HD Decrypter 184.108.40.206 fixes a freezing problem. Previous beta
releases I missed include better handling of CORE X2 protected DVDs
alpha 0022 fixes a problem where video and audio would get progressively
out of synch when using Scenarist ACA.
2.31 supports DTSWAV input, improves DTS runtime calculations
and support for open bitrate DTS files and fixes a few bugs.
1.5.1 fixes problems when demuxing TrueHD audio tracks. Previous
versions I missed added Blu-ray chapter muxing, LPCM support and
1.0.0 alpha 19 shows the SAR in he aspect ratio info field,
has a new display size info field in the info display and fixes
a bug when demuxing LPCM audio from transport streams.
After a year of silence, there's a new version of MyTheatre.
Version 3.38.2 supports TeVii cards and contains some fixes
for SkyStar1/Nexus cards. The author has also announced a version
4 which should support AVC content.
supports EVR and can view xmltv files.
DVD43 4.2 is
better at handling some of the newer DVDs with structural protection.
Region Code Remover is a new software which can remove region
codes from Blu-ray titles even from the BD-J code.
Use 2.8 offers better performance in SMP scenarios when using
XviD and x264, gives better feedback during the indexing phase,
has a better deinterlacer, writes the log file to the project folder,
has various profile for output compatible with different devices
and fixes a bunch of errors.
Tools 4.12.2 includes the latest SPTD, some language updates
and changes in the setup and there are various bugfixes.
And someone must have made a new AACS discovery as the
first MKBv4 volume keys for HD DVD titles started appearing.
Back to high def - first a personal note. I'm currently ripping
my entire DVD collection and putting it on a NAS to stream through
my home - having hundreds of movies at your fingertips without having
to dig through a mountain of discs is so much more convenient. And
I'm shocked to be reminded just how many titles are actually DVD-5s.
It seems the industry is making all the same mistakes with Blu-ray
all over again (most HD DVDs were dual layer discs - they didn't
have to deal with massive defective output and very high production
prices though). Speaking of production - Sony
has announced a major investment into BD replication, and there's
discussion on the topic of dual layer BD discs in AVS - with
certain PS3 games using BD-50 discs, it seems we're running into
a shortage of dual layer discs for movies in 2008. I hate to say
it but this wouldn't have been so much of a problem for HD DVD ;)
Then we saw various trade-in and rebate offers for HD DVD owners
to make them switch - we have Canada's Future
City and Best
Buy getting into the game. Meanwhile, HD DVD still manages to
off Blu-ray in terms of discs sold - keeping up with the 1:2
sales ratio. However, with new titles dwindling now (this week saw
Universal's last release and Paramount/Dreamworks are already out
of titles), it's matter of time until those numbers start changing.
And speaking titles, Imagine Entertainment has canceled
their remaining HD DVD titles - leaving us with just 15 announced
HD DVD titles to still be released, at least in the US (and not
Let's talk players now - Blu-ray
player prices are currently on the rise - and since the new
players have more features, and they have another premium feature
to sell us (BD Live), we can be pretty sure that prices continue
to be higher than DVD prices at a comparable time of life of the
format (about one year into DVD's life in Europe I got a player
for $200). Sony only predicts
that price for 2009 (of course we might see a few cheap profile
1.0 players but that's an outdated profile). The BDA also still
to license Blu-ray to Chinese manufacturers (which would likely
drive down prices a lot quicker) - don't tell me that's not done
in order to keep making more money. At least we start seeing some
Blu-ray players that can also handle DivX content (Philips, Denon
and Panasonic will all receive a DivX certification) - but I'm sure
we only start players that do what we want (e.g. regionfree, plays
TS, MS2T, etc. files from any kind of discs) once we see the noname
Meanwhile, the final HD DVD tally is in for Toshiba - the exit
cost them slightly less than $700 million.
That's it for now - I'll be back with the copyright news tomorrow.
I realize I have tons of things to catch up with and I apologize
for the recent news blackout (I may cite health reasons though for
at least part of the blackout - don't worry though, nothing serious)
but this news deserves a special update during the day, just like
we used to have back in the good old times:
The sly Fox has beaten the DRM Fox over the head with a baseball
bat :) In case you didn't get the meaning of that, Fox'es BD+ protected
Blu-ray titles are finally open for Fair Use, thanks
to SlySoft putting BD+ where it belongs: the recycle bin. If
there ever was a commercial software worthy of your Euro, AnyDVD
HD certainly is it.
<Silence... Doom9 putting his little finger to his mouth>
Muhahahahahah! Muuuuuuuhaaahaaahaa... <Doom9 gone to check on
2.28 has a new parameter that permits seeking to I frames, meant
to be used for AVC movies where MKV muxing hangs.
With the HD war settled, Taiwanese hardware makers are expecting
BD-ROM drives to become mainstream in 2008 - a development which
could give BD a major boost in an area where it has made little
inroads so far (by now, most Blu-ray capable devices are PS3 gaming
consoles). And the article mentions a little tidbit that should
be familiar by now: yields. Apparently, yields for the laser diodes
to write to Blu-ray discs aren't that great..
And once again, the major record labels have been caught in a major
their spin-off SoundExchange tried to kill of online radio with
exorbitant flat fees - they themselves want to replace the flat
fee royalties they have to pay songwriters with a percentage based
model (in both cases, the percentage approach would be more
beneficial for the party asking for it). It's only good if it doesn't
apply to you, right?
And while we're dealing with the music industry, they're currently
and turning in an attempt to get out of having to document how they
compiled their evidence of P2P activity. You might recall that
every so often, evidence gets thrown out of court because it was
obtained improperly - why should the RIAA's evidence not have to
face the same scrutiny?
The Wall Street Journal has an interview with Toshiba's
CEO about the company's future after HD DVD.
Meanwhile, Universal has confirmed that the
two still outstanding HD DVD titles will indeed be their last.
Thus, even though Warner started a chain of events that eventually
killed the format, they'll be the last man standing (I wouldn't
blame Toshiba for forcing Warner to stick to any business deal they
had.. it serves them right for choosing Sony's money).
Following a major Japanese consumer electronics chain and an offer
Sony Switzerland is now offering HD DVD owners to swap their player
for $200 credit towards a Blu-ray player plus 6 free Blu-ray discs.
Though, entry level Blu-ray players weren't really more expensive
than HD DVD players before the latest price cuts made it to Europe.
While P2P is still the devil throughout most of the entertainment
industry, Norwegian broadcaster NRK has taken a different approach
and started offering a popular local series over P2P - and they
consider the experiment a full success.
And in another example of a content provider who "gets it",
Nine Inch Nails album is now available online. You can either
get the first 9 tracks for free (no DRM!), or the full 36 track
album as download für just $5.
I've previously reported that the content industry tries to jack
up copyright protection from 50 to 95 years - despite research that
shows that the optimal protection period would be just 15 years.
Since we never know how many politicians the content industry manages
to pay off, Sound Copyright has launched
an online petition to help their lobby effort against further
unbalancing copyright law to favor content owners.
And last but not least, the Word Customs Organization is the last
international organization to be hijacked by big content's agenda
- they plan their own treaty
which amongst other things would include increased protection for
And on a personal note, I'll be visiting CeBit so there won't be
any news posted for the next few days but I have my camera so I'll
make sure to snap off some shots of interesting things if I see
2.26 now uses its own internal splitter rather than the Haali
splitter, allows direct raw AVC muxing into Matroska files, no longer
needs to rewrite timestamps for AVC video, detects gaps and overlaps
in AVC tracks in EVO files, detects AVC aspect ratio and writes
it into the Matroska output, no longer requires mkvtoolnix, detects
MPEG-2 video mode change (interlaced -> progressive) and contains
a workaround for the eacGui bug.
1.4.0 a (a for alpha) supports subtitles.
0021 is a bit faster, has a HD DVD to Blu-ray mode that leaves
the stream at 29.97fps and no longer needs two passes for reverse
pulldown (so far all those changes are actually from the 0020 version),
plus it fixes a few bugs.
There's also been some movement with the wavelet based Dirac codec:
implementation has reached version 1.0 with a stable bitstream
and API, an encoder tuned for 720p content and the decoder decodes
720p content in real-time.
Lite-On and Philips have teamed up to bring you the DX-401S
- an external Blu-ray reader, for $150 once it's released in the
second quarter. Just like its internal counterpart, this drive offers
no writing of any kind.
Paramount and Dreamworks are pulling the plug on their remaining
HD DVD releases: Tomorrow's releases will be the last ones to see
the retail market - any subsequent releases have been pulled. That
leaves Universal (which has two titles still scheduled) and Warner
(releases scheduled until the end of May) holding the HD DVD candle.
The news comes hot on the heels of Dreamworks
Animation claiming they were still under contract with Toshiba and
were waiting for them as to how to proceed - but this seems
to be old news now as the Bee Movie HD DVD release scheduled for
next week also seems to be canceled. If you're wondering about the
further release slate for HD DVD, I found a list
on future HD DVD plans by various studios and international distributors
And even though HD DVD has been dropped, Universal's 'American
Gangster' release still managed to top
the high definition sales charts for the week ending on February
24. Despite that, HD
DVD only amounted to 23% of total high def disc sales that week,
lower than even the 2008 yearly total.
And some news from the 'it's all for the artists' front - once
again the RIAA has been caught keeping money for themselves rather
than paying it out to the artists: instead of giving the money they
get from their assault on P2P to the artists whose music is being
traded, the trade organization just
keeps it for themselves.
And speaking of the music industry, a group of 7 independent Swedish
is taking a stand against the official party line, not
condemning P2P but trying to embrace it and the new possibilities
it can bring.
Last month's news can be found here.