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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

DVD Rebuilder 0.51 can now remove subtitle streams, fixed bitrate/size problems of the 0.50x release and has an extra option to reduce the bitrate of extras.

You might recall my report about Belgium's consumer protection agency test-achats suing music studios for their copy protection mechanisms. As it turns out they lost, as the judge found that Belgian law does not foresee a right for private copying. I don't have the law available (judges can be very biases in favor of big money as we've seen countless times over.. perhaps consumer protection agencies should get access to financial records of all lawmakers and judges just to be on the safe side), but if that's true, I guess it's time Belgium got its own DMCRA.

On a personal note, emails have been down since Sunday morning (the server has been hacked), so if you have something to send via email, please hold off until we're back up.


DGMPGDec 1.06 fixes an error in random access, properly parses transport streams using stream IDs between 0xE8 and 0xEF, audio can be demuxed separately from transport streams and TMPGXpress 3 can properly open the new d2v files now.

BatchUpdateIFO can now copy from the authored directory while updating and fixes a couple of bugs.

mp4UI 1.0 beta3 is based on mpeg4ip 1.1, displays private streams and fixes a couple of bugs.

ProgDVB 4.38.7 fixes video lagging and crashing while recording.

If you're going to be at Computex (starting tomorrow in Taipei), make sure you visit the Nero booth, as they're showcasing their upcoming H.264 and parametric AAC enhancements to NeroDigital.

And another burner upgrade story: The BenQ DW800A can apparently be upgraded to a 830A with dual layer capabilities, but while the upgrade succeeds, the drive refuses to burn dual layer discs. But considering the price difference between the dual layer and non dual layer model, it seems a lot safer to me to exchange the drive, especially if you can still get some money for your old 8x dual format burner.

Last but not least: Music downloads for 50 cent (no, we're not talking about the rapper ;)? German computer mag has started an initiative for music downloads for the price of 50 cent. It starts with one song, that can be freely downloaded in MP3, AAC, Vorbis or WMA format in bitrates of 128 - 192 kbit/s, and payment is not mandatory. They hope to figure out how much a legit music download without a DRM corset is worth to potential customers. The background article (German only I'm afraid) is also pretty interesting and explains how such a price can be achieved, and it contains a lot of interesting details on the cost of CD production and online music distribution.

5/29 HeadAC3he development hasn't quite stopped yet: HeadAC3he 0.24a10 (link at the bottom of the page) does AAC encoding using FAAC.

DVD Rebuilder 0.50b once again improves the one pass mode using CCE.

DGMPGDec 1.0.4 no longer has the open DVD menu and Swap Field Order option, fixes bugs in the audio timestamp display and delay calculations and can demux MPEG audio streams from transport streams.

AC3Filter 1.01 RC5 brings back SPDIF passthrough.


DVD Rebuilder 0.50a is a bit better at achieving the desired size when using one pass mode in CCE (but it still needs tweaking).

Thanks to all the people who pointed out the type in yesterday's news: 2nd in the audio listening test is Musepack - or MPC, not MPG.


DVD Rebuilder 0.50 corrects bitrate peaks that went higher than max_bitrate in interlaced sources, supports one pass VBR encoding using CCE SP, adds more timestamps to status messages and fixes an error that would lead the program to close itself after the first job in batch mode.

Start to get used to a new name: the DGMPGDec tools supersede the DVD2AVIdg tools, DVD2AVIdg is now called DGIndex, MPEG2DEC3dg DGDecode, etc. There's not much new in DGMPGDec 1.0.1 as compared to DVD2AVIdg 1.30, but the new version can auto generate AVS files and comes with a quickstart guide.

Valex has released yet another two new RCs of AC3Filter, which fixes problems with AC3 encoding, switching between SPDIF and PCM output and Dolby Surround Output.

ProjectX 0.81.7 int02 can build a graphical overview of all teletext pages in a demuxed teletext stream, the preview window uses the proper aspect ratio, basic DVB subpicture support (demuxing and .sup or .son creation) has been added, the program can show more details of the stream header and a couple of bugs have been fixed.

VideoLAN 0.7.2 has a new H.261 decoder and a H.264 encoder/demuxer/packetizer, supports Theora alpha3, supports Subviewer subtitles and can stream DVB programs.

rjamorim's 128 kbit/s audio format test has ended and the results are in: Ogg Vorbis fork aoTuV leads the pack, closely followed by MPC. iTunes AAC and Lame are almost tied, with WMA standard following suit and Sony's Atrac3 coming in last.

The poor and always getting cheated out of their money RIAA strikes again: This time they're cheating their hard working artists out of their pension. Well, it's all about the artists, isn't it?


Another one to void the warranty of your DVD burner: It is possible to upgrade the LiteOn SOHW-812S 8x dual format burner to a SOHW-832S burner, which adds dual layer capabilities. You can find results of the added dual layer capabilities in the cdrinfo forum.

Valex has been rather busy these days as well and released two release candidates of AC3filter 1.01.

Fair Use 0.42c no longer uses the HVS matrix due to compatibility problems with standalone MPEG-4 capable DVD players and fixes AC3 audio asynch issues.


AutoGK 1.25 uses the latest DVD2AVIdg and Decomb, puts AutoGK version and operating system in the logs and comes with an updated documentation.

PVAStrumento displays the real bitrate in the processing summary, has an estimated time indicator, can drop TS packets marked as scrambled, no longer crashes when the info button is pressed and enables the cancel button while parsing TS streams.

Cuttermaran 1.57 can cut multiple audio streams at the same time, has CLI support, supports multiple GUI languages, has a larger preview window, allows you to specify a bitrate for GOP re-encoding and has an improved audio detection.

BatchUpdateIFO performs the IfoUpdate process (for the Big3), handling multiple files at once.

Last but not least, MTV has an interesting interview with the lead singer from the band "Korn". Once their current record deal runs out later this year, they plan to look into alternative means to release music via the Internet, thus bypassing the record studios.


DVD2AVIdg 1.3.0 fixes a lot of bugs, keeps track of VOB and Cell IDs in the d2v file, has a new field operation mode to deliver raw encoded frames, contains some GUI improvements, support HD/SD transports streams including PID detection and is faster than previous releases.

If you go to see the Olympics this summer, make sure you don't buy any audio CDs or DVDs from street vendors, it could land you in jail.

The entertainment industry has come up with yet another interesting law in California that forces anyone that disseminates copyrighted content if he/she is not the copyright owner, to disclose their real identity or be fined up to $2500 and spend up to 1 year in jail, regardless if any copyright violation was committed. So, what does that mean for us then? Imagine you are breaking copyright law (who would do such a terrible thing?), you have to hold up a big "here I am" sign for the RIAA/MPAA to come knocking down your door. But even if you do something legit like distribute free music or films (unlike what the RIAA/MPAA wants you to think there is such a thing as free copyrighted audiovisual content), you still have to tell everybody who you are. What happened to the right to privacy?


Fair Use 0.42b uses XviD 1.0, fixes the green line at the top of the picture and now uses the HVS Good / Best MPEG matrices.

Decomb 5.2.1 gives a more accurate and reliable decimation in modes 0, 1 and 3.

TMPGEnc 3.0 XPress features a new user interface, supports DVD-RAM recorder input, has a new MPEG encoder engine which is faster and supports SSE-3 instruction sets (P4 Prescott only), has a new editing engine, an improved audio encoder and last but not least it support WMV9 encoding.

If you live in Italy, better watch out before downloading the latest song or movie from a P2P network. The Italian Parliament has just passed a law that imposes jail sentences of up to three years for anyone uploading or downloading unauthorized content from the Internet. More about this here (Italian link).

Last but not least, Macrovision has won an injunction against 321 Studios. It's a two way thing: If when copying a DVD using one of 321's products the Macrovision flag is kept, 321 is in violation of Macrovision's patents, and if the flag is removed, 321 is in violation of of the DMCA. Now, I'm a bit perplex as to how making a bit by bit copy can be infringing any patents. Nobody is adding Macrovision flags to a DVD bitstream during copying, and quite frankly, how can a simple bit be patented? I don't doubt that what DVD players add to the analogue signal when detecting a Macrovision flag is patentable, but the instruction flag that makes them add it? Come on. Where's the significant improvement over current state of the art that patent law requires for a patent to be granted? Can I get a patent on flipping a bit in an IP header as well? And violation of the DMCA? I think we ought to be more careful about judges and controlled substances. Flipping a bit is violating the DMCA? Frankly, my cryptography professor would have a field day with this "technological measure that effectively controls access to a work...". If the fact that judges can be so darned clueless weren't so sad, I'd call this protective measure effective in making me laugh my butt off for being so ridiculous.


Valex has released a new beta version of his AC3filter that decodes AC3, DTS, LPCM and MPEG-1 audio, supports AVIs with AC3 or DTS audio and AC3/DTS/MPEG audio SPDIF passthrough, has real-time AC3 encoding for multichannel SPDIF output and a full matrix mixer replacement that can be used with any audio stream.

As you might have heard, despite protests the EU council of ministers has approved the much discussed directive about software patents. While there was a last minute compromise that could potentially reduce the amount of trivial patents, this is definitely bad news for all but a few companies with an already large portfolio that makes development of new software a veritable minefield. I suggest you read up on this and note down the names of the people you should absolutely not vote for in the next EU parliament election.

I can't quite see yet how this is supposed to play out, but US performing rights organization BMI has signed a licensing agreement with peer to peer technology provider Singwell Int. & LTD network. The idea is to use their QTRAX software to download DRM'ed music for free and make money from targeted advertising and licenses to burn the downloaded content. While you don't need an RIAA license for broadcasting, I still suspect that the RIAA lawyers will be quick to come up with a reason why this idea needs separate licenses from the major studios, and getting those licenses will obviously not be a piece of cake.


The Core Media Player 4.0 contains some minor changes and some additional VIS/Skins.

Yesterday I mentioned people investing their money differently as a reason why certain 4 letter industry groups are not making as much money as they used to (but earlier on we've seen that stores still sell more units than in previous years). One of Australia's major online music distributor now shows that price is a very important factor in online music sales. Destra's sales went up by 565% in April as compared to March when they lowered prices from $0.99 AUD to $0.89 AUD. Even though music is basically a monopoly product (there's no substitute, there's no free market where you could get the same songs from 10 different providers.. in the end all CDs will be from the same studio so the only difference in price is actually due to stores making more or less money off a sale), we see that this product sells a lot better if the price is a bit lower, and considering that music studios make more money off online sales with an inferior product (those numbers are not terribly accurate but I'm sitting on some new info on iTunes that I hope to get around to processing), this is something that should get our dear Cary something to think about.

Last but not least, as I've started with DVB guides and some software I guess it's time to give it some more exposure in the news as well (I'll have to change my news gathering habits which obviously will take some time, but I'll try), so here goes: Technisat has released a new driver package for their budget DVB cards (DVB-S/C/T) series that fixes reception problems on HyperThreading CPUs, has improved satellite reception and supports teletext based subtitles.


XviD 1.0 is out. It contains minor fixes for trellis quantization, fixes for broken DivX5 bitstreams and VfW GUI tooltips and speeds up VHQ > 1 modes.

AutoGK 1.24 ships with DVD2AVIdg 1.3.0 RC3, XviD 1.0 and BeSweet 1.5 b28 and detects CPU optimizations for iDCT in DVD2AVI.

PVAStrumento no longer spits the video at format changes if not desired, has an improved AC3 detection and can properly handle multi program TS files.

The Toronto Star has an interesting article on how Hollywood is making less money as people spend more money on games. What the RIAA and MPAA fail to see, people don't necessarily have more money available in general (especially kids and teenagers), so they have to decide where to put their money. With cellphone bills, 2$ ringtones, and video games, it's only natural that not so much money is left to buy music or movies. When I was younger, I used to buy a lot of CDs. Then there was a phase with quite a few games. Nowadays it's DVDs. And with each phase, I bought less of what I used to buy before. So, how about it Jack and Cary, could it be that your "losses" are at least partially due to people investing their money elsewhere? I know I give Cary less money because I give Jack more..

Last but not least, Sony has developed a laser pickup that can handle Blu-Ray discs as well as DVDs and CDs. However, it'll take two years before this thing hits the marked, so who knows, maybe by then we all use HD-DVDs.


DVD Rebuilder 0.49 fixes an error that could cause audio drift over time and occasional chapter freezing and two other minor bugs.

Last week there was a hearing on the DMCRA bill in the US Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. Here's the transcript of Jack Valenti (head of the MPAA)'s deposition. Jack calls the DMCRA a bill that's not just bad for copyright owners, but also for consumers. I'm having a really hard time to figure out how we as consumers get screwed with this bill, but maybe I didn't drink enough last weekend ;)


AutoGK 1.23 supports half D1 resolution DVDs, uses the latest DVD2AVIdg beta, reduces the fixed size increment to 32 and has some new icons.

You might have heard "don't trust statistics that you haven't personally faked". Well, this certainly also applies to RIAA "loss" statistics, because according to Soundscan, the company with the most influence on US billboard top 200 charts, CD sales have actually gone up in the first quarter of 2004 as compared to the same quarter in 2003, whereas the RIAA has reported a decrease in sales for the same period. The article goes on explaining why there is such a discrepancy, but it becomes apparent that the RIAA is combining the numbers in the proper fashion to display a loss for them even though stores sell more CDs. So much for the "losses" then...

DVD Rebuilder 0.48 corrects an error that could cause problems when fast forwarding / rewinding through chapterpoints, supports the maxbitrate parameter for all QuEnc encodes, fixes the IDCT7 not being properly applied error and stops mode mismatches between the prepare and encode phases.

Two days ago I reported about the DMCRA hearing. Obviously, the congressfolks that are in the clutches of our favorite 4 letter organizations were all but happy about it. According to a slashdot news item (unfortunately I couldn't find the source for it), the MPAA's vice president has gone on record saying "there is no right in copyright law to make backup copies of motion pictures...". I think Mr. Attaway is conveniently forgetting about US Code 17 section 107 which introduces fair use, the Universal vs. Sony ruling, where the US supreme court and more recently the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992. The last one is the most interesting. True, it isn't about video, but the AHRA clearly establishes fair use even for digital devices and that's a major deal: What is allowed per the AHRA, and what you pay for (levies) when buying recording devices, is not possible of content is encrypted and the encryption is protected by the DMCA. The DMCA has a loophole (follow the DMCA links on top of this page for more info), but it's time the exceptions are clearly spelled out and that's why we need a DMRCA. Oh, and Butch, "ignorance is bliss especially if it comes along with a big check", isn't it?


AutoGK 1.22 allows a maximum fixed resolution of 1024, correctly detects the number of frames using the new DVD2AVIdg and information about the audio language is added to the output as AVI comments.

BeSweet 1.5b28 has a SoundTouch module for stretching audio with or without changing pitch.

NEC 2500a burner owners will rejoice: Apparently, the firmware of the upcoming 2510a (which basically adds DVD+R DL capabilities) has been modified to work with the 2500a, thus making this the first burner that can actually be upgraded to dual layer capabilities. Before you upgrade: be aware that the procedure will most likely void your warranty. You've been warned.


AutoGK 1.21 comes with the latest BeSweet and DVD2AVIdg and considers material that has an input aspect ratio of less than 1.4 as 4:3 material and forces the output to 4:3 mode.

Apple's nemesis, Playfair, is back under a new name, and with official backing from the FSF: hymn allows you to exercise your fair use rights when it comes to Apple's DRM protected iTunes songs. Let's hope it'll stay online for a long time to come.

Today will be an interesting day in the US as Rick Boucher's Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act will get a congress hearing. Our favorite 4 letter organizations are all dead set against it and are already crying bloody murder and depicting their certain doom should this (most reasonable, it tries to keep fair use legal while leaving any other circumvention of copy protection mechanism illegal) act ever make it into law. It might not be such a bad idea to bug your elected representatives and tell them what you think about the DMCA and that we need something to reestablish the balance between consumer rights and copyright holders.

Last but not least, after the DVB basics I've had a look at two more digital TV standards: ATSC (digital TV in the US - including HDTV) and ISDB (the latest Japanese digital TV standard). Comments are more than welcome.


ImgTool Classic 0.91.3 supports DVD Decrypter's verify option and includes the latest mkisofs and cygwin environments.

In the battle for the next generation DVD format, the proponents of each format are now tuning production facilities. Toshiba and NEC have just set up a facility to produce HD DVDs. The press produced a dual layer HD DVD every 3.5 seconds, with a supposedly much higher reliability rate (and it's faster as well), than comparative production lines for BluRay discs.

The copyright cartels have made their next move: This time, the author of a P2P network using encryption (for anonymity) has gotten caught in the crossfire. The author of the popular Winny P2P network application (widely used in Japan) has been arrested and has been accused of developing software that aids and abets copyright infringement and piracy. Hmm, how about suing Microsoft next? After all, most people illegally downloading copyrighted content from the Internet use their operating systems as a tool. How about suing any company that makes a product that can be used for illegitimate purposes while we're at it (starting right with kitchen knives - you've seen Scream, haven't you?)? Sounds ridiculous? Join the club. Where will we get if you now have to be afraid of releasing a software that can potentially be used to do something you're not supposed to do?

5/10 DVD Rebuilder 0.47 has improved subtitle support, should use less CPU cycles when monitoring CCE's progress, encodes interlaced sources as interlaced in QuEnc and fixes a few bugs.

ImgTool Burn 1.1.5 has a progress bar for the source size, allows you to change the size limit, saves changed settings into an ini file and fixes a couple of bugs. The link goes to the Nero 6.3 version, if you have an earlier Nero version, you can download the appropriate build at the official ImgTool homepage.

I've had some time on my hands this weekend so I wrote a DVB Basics document that explains the standard, transmission, etc. I think you'll find it useful and make sure to participate in the feedback thread, because this document is still a work in progress. And while you're in the forum, have a look at my draft list of DVB cards and softwares. It is a really rough draft and I rely on you to help me complete it. I simply can't test every card and software (and since I'm without cable and DVB-T is still far away for me the whole DVB-C/T is nothing short of impossible for me to get into).

Oh, a Apple spokesperson has denied that they'll increase single and album prices on iTunes. However, as we have previously seen, some albums on iTunes are already more expensive than the retail CDs, so I guess only the future will really tell.


AVI-Mux GUI 1.16.5 can extract AAC streams and Vorbis streams, can read and write default stream settings to and from AVI files, tries to retrieve AVI stream delays from Nandub-like AVI files and fixes a couple of bugs.

If you're looking for a dual layer DVD burner, both Anandtech and CDRInfo have tested the first models.

Last but not least, the music industry has finally done it and Apple had to increase song and album prices for some of their iTunes offerings. In the singles area you'll see prices go up by up to 26%, and in the albums area, prices can go up by up to 70%, though many songs and albums will still retail for the usual $0.99 and $9.99 respectively. But those price increases have prompted me to have a look at CD pricing and how that translates into online music sales and it seems that even with previous prices, label profits are already huge compared to what they make with CDs, but they're still not happy. That, plus the fact that they're actually withholding money from the artists they claim to care so much about, should really give everybody who still believes in the RIAA propaganda something to chew on.


The Core Media Player 4.0 RC6 can block codecs from loading, can be minimized to a tray icon, has improved support for the real alternative codec, a new Matroska CDL plugin and generally improved Matroska support, and also features improvements for multi monitors and DVD playback.

BatchCCEWS should finally fix the TFF/BFF issues, now has an option to close all GOPs during encoding and to configure the GOP length and configuration, all ECL settings are now added to the debug log and the CCE 2.5 only performing 1 encoding pass in RoBa mode has been fixed.

Last but not least, I broke out the campaign too early. While it is unclear what will happen to Palladium, Microsoft is redesigning it, and whatever will be in Longhorn - Microsoft's next operating system - it won't be the same ambitious mechanism initially planned.


Palladium / NGSCB is dead. What sounds like good news, is only a temporary relief. While Microsoft couldn't get enough independent system vendors to write software for their big brother scheme to shove DRM and the loss of any consumer rights down our throats, they now plan their DRM future via AMD's No Execute flags.

We're entering yet another vast subject: DV. Thanks to bb for writing our first DV guide. For those who don't know, DV is the most widely used standard for digital cameras.


QuEnc 0.51 fixes a bug in the DC precision, allows you to control the maximum bitrate and program priority from the commandline, and turning off the scene detection now enforces a strict GOP structure.

If you're looking for dual layer discs, you'll have to wait a bit longer. Major Taiwanese manufacturers like Ritek and CMC won't start producing discs until the end of June, possibly even later.

Last but not least, ATI has now also launched their latest GFX card series, the X800.


QuEnc 0.50 can be paused by pressing the pause key on the keyboard, 60000/101 is a supported framerate, and libavcodec is now linked dynamically.

DVD2SVCD 1.2.2 build 1 fixes a couple of bugs, supports mplex, DVDAuthor, spumux and mkisofs for DVD authoring (so Scenarist is no longer required), can do audio extraction using internal routines or windows VFW routines, uses LanczosResize as the the default resizer for DVD output, supports Scenarist 3.0 and comes bundled with D2SRoBa.

Self destructing MP3s or AVIs? Welcome to Microsoft's new DRM generation, featuring self destructing media files.. Instead of just having your license run out, Microsoft's next-gen DRM codenamed Janus, will result in the files being wiped from your HD once your license runs out. Imagine the possibilities: Oops, sorry man but Janus has just wiped all your MP3s off your harddisk. After all, non DRM audio files must be illegal, must they not?


DVD Rebuilder 0.46 supports Button over video, fixes more runtime error 9's in both prepare and rebuild phase, uses less CPU power when monitoring CCE and improves compatibility with CCE Basic 2.69.

kayman has contributed another DVB related guide: the MyTheatre guide.


BatchCCEWS only copies bitrates from a template if a job is first loaded (so changing a template won't change the job bitrate), sets the drop frame flag in the ECL according to the source framerate, can mark all frames as progressive in the pulldown phase, fixes the TFF/BFF issue for all CCE versions, uses 16-235 as luminance values, can read chapter points from an external file, and fixes the create_new_vaf issue when working with the latest EclCCE version.

DVD2AVIdg 1.1.0 improves random navigation performance, no longer maps filenames to upper case in CLI mode, improves auto-loading of multiple VOB files and fixes a couple more issues.

CCE Basic 2.69 now has a Premiere Pro plugin, can output bff video, has an automatic resolution conversion, a deinterlacer and a quantization characteristics setting, can load/same templates to/from a file and allows you to specify a desired filesize and shutdown your system when encoding is finished.

MPEG2Schnitt 0.6i finally supports both English and German and contains all the fixes made since the last English release (most of which have been discussed in the DVB forum).

Last but not least, television chains are now joining the codec market: BBC R&D has released a wavelet based codec, codenamed Dirac. Right now, the codec is still experimental, but who knows..


QuEnc 0.49 has MPEG-2 DC precision, allows you to turn off the scene detection and to set a maximum bitrate, includes a workaround for the "could not open video codec error" and has process priority control.

DivX for HDTV? It seems like such a certification is forthcoming as KISS and DivXNetworks have just announced that they'll develop a DivX certified player optimized for HDTV content in DivX format.


Last month's news can be found here.