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Digital Digest "LiveUpdate" Newsletter - Issue 101

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    ************************************************************** DIGITAL DIGEST - http://www.digital-digest.com DIGITAL DIGEST | LiveUpdate Newsletter - Issue
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6, 2008
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      DIGITAL DIGEST  | LiveUpdate Newsletter - Issue 101

      6 July, 2008

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      INDEX:

      1. Introduction

      2. Weekly News Roundup

      3. Weekly Software Roundup

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      1. Introduction

      Yes, yes, I realised that the 100th issue "spectacular" got off to a bad start as it was titled the 99th issue (at least the HTML edition of it). Schoolboy error, I know. Just after the 100th issue, came the 9th birthday of Digital Digest. I celebrated in the same fashion as the 100th issue - ie. nothing happened. 9 years is a long time to work on the same website, and I can't say it has been all fun and games in that time. I definitely can't say that.

      I finished the analysis on two more Blu-ray related polls, both about pricing (hardware and movies). Not so surprising results though.

      I also found some time to write a guide for RipBot264. It's a very easy to use H.264 encoding tool for making PSP, PS3 and Xbox 360 compatible H.264 encodings. I still prefer MeGUI, but this is not a bad alternative. It's certainly easier to use.

       Links:

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      2. Weekly News Roundup

      I almost forgot about Digital Digest's 9th birthday on Friday. It was 9 year and 2 days ago that I secreted the very first version of Digital Digest onto the World Wide Web. I chose an easy to remember day to launch the site (4th of July), so I would not forget the site's founding anniversary. But I still forgot. Mainly because I don't live in the US I think so 4th of July is just another day here. Anyway, 9 years and 2 day of hair pulling later, here we are. Yeah!

      Anyway, back to the news roundup.

      Copyright

      Let start with copyright news, while I will talk more about it in the HD section, but out of the news that Toshiba was going to pursue an updated version of the DVD specifications (basically turn HD DVD into DVD 2.0), there was an interesting tidbit about adding managed copy for DVDs. This is something Microsoft has demanded for a while now. Imagine Windows Vista Media Center that plays all your DVDs copied and stored on your PC (or external networked drive) - no need for discs, no need to search your library and find that movie you want to watch … everything at the click of a few remote buttons. Managed copy will allow movies to be copied but still retain DRM, as to prevent piracy - I think that's a good compromise for those of us who want to "digitize" our DVD libraries. On the other end of the "fair use" spectrum is the MPAA's latest attempt to prevent movie piracy, by introducing a new form of movie distribution using a system called DreamStream. Because this is a streaming service, and not a download one, the actual movie doesn't end up on users's systems (the cache is probably encrypted probably to prevent ripping of the movie through the cache). What this will mean for Internet congestion and bandwidth costs, one can only imagine. Remember that these are the same people who thought that disposable DVDs was a good idea without any environmental impact as millions of discs are thrown away every year under that system.

      The fight against YouTube continues from Viacom (no doubt with support from other studios). The judge in the case has now demanded Google hand over logs of which users watched what, when and where, to Viacom. Will the fight against piracy lead to the death of privacy instead?

      High Definition

      In HD news, the BD-Live/Profile 2.0 push is continuing, with both Sony and Disney make sure all their future releases will be Profile 2.0 enabled. Of course, this doesn't mean that these movies won't play on your Profile 1.0 or 1.1 player, just that if you want to get best out of what you've paid for, you'll need Profile 2.0. It's all a bit confusing and ultimately unnecessary, but what can you do? My last blog post talked about two polls I ran on the site which basically told me what I already knew, that Blu-ray was too expensive (and hardware more so than movies). Another threat to Blu-ray is gaming, and a new report has just come out showing that the gaming industry is now bigger than the DVD (and Blu-ray) industry in terms of revenue.

      Still not fully satisfied being the loser of the format war, Toshiba is trying to start a new war with their DVD 2.0 format, which adds a lot of the features found on HD DVD onto the DVD format. The video will be at a lower resolution than Blu-ray, a sacrifice necessary to fit HD movies onto DVD. There is also something called DVD Download DL, which I'm not quite sure what it's all about. I think it will be some kind of downloadable DVD service, given that the interactive HDi elements found on HD DVD (and DVD 2.0) can be used as both a download platform (to download the movies) as well as the usual interactivity element (menus …). It's an interesting project, but you cannot see Blu-ray backers supporting this format unless they see no future for Blu-ray, in which case, they won't have been Blu-ray backers in the first place. Of course, Toshiba through the DVD Forum can push through a format and make it mandatory for any manufacturer making DVD players to adopt this new format - including Blu-ray backers. Heavy handed, but effective, as this would mean all Blu-ray players will have to have DVD 2.0 support, or they will have to remove DVD playback functionalities altogether (ie. commit marketing suicide).

      But regardless of whether DVD 2.0 wins or if Blu-ray beats Toshiba again, H.264 will be one of the codec that will be used for encoding the video. H.264 encoding is a painful process at the moment, because a typical 2 hour movie will take 10+ hours even on the fastest PCs. But Nvidia will try to reduce this to less than 30 minutes with their new range of graphics cards that has GP-GPUs (General Purpose GPUs). Basically, these are graphics card that have GPUs that can also act as CPUs for purposes such as H.264 video encoding. And because GPUs have optimized architecture designed to speed up these sorts of processing, the encoding speed will jump through the roof. A x264 encoder with GP-GPU support would be a very nice thing to have.

      Gaming

      And finally in gaming news, PS3's much awaited 2.40 firmware update with support for in-game XMB and trophies has hit a hitch. It has been pulled because it caused corruption problems, and so some more testing and waiting will be needed before PS3 users can enjoy the new features, which are really just a rip-off of Xbox 360's in-game Dashboard and Achievements. The 360 launched with Achievements enabled, and a strict system that governs how each game will provide Achievements and Gamerpoints. Unfortunately for the PS3, this is not possible as Trophies is more of an after-thought. So if you want trophies in games you've already finished, you'll have to play through them again as Trophies aren't retroactive, for example.

      In 360 land, Microsoft is planning to have a series of price cuts around the world (it's already official here in Oz). The rumours of a new 60 GB version of the console won't go away either, as are the rumours of a motion controller. There is now even a rumour that a new Dashboard update will make it controllable using motion controls, much like how computers were operated in Minority Report by Tom Cruise.

      That's it for this week, more of the same next week probably. In the meantime, don't forget to read my new guide: RipBot264 PS3, Xbox 360 H.264 Encoding Guide - it makes encoding H.264 for the PS3 and Xbox 360 very simple indeed. So easy in fact, that the new Quantum of Solace trailer I made was made using this method. Try it out for yourself, although I recommend you start with a very short clip as encoding can take hours.

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      3. Weekly Software Roundup

      July 6, 2008  Net Transport 2.59
      July 6, 2008  VisualHub 1.34 Mac OS
      July 6, 2008  Coollector 2.14 Freeware
      July 6, 2008  TShed 1.3 Freeware Added in the last 2 Weeks
      July 6, 2008  DGMPGDec 1.5.1 Freeware
      July 6, 2008  DAEMON Tools 4.12.4 Freeware
      July 6, 2008  Comskip 0.79.142 Freeware
      July 5, 2008  SubDownloader 2.0 Linux/Unix Windows Freeware
      July 5, 2008  x264 full rev. 899 Freeware
      July 5, 2008  DVDRemaster Standard 4.4.1 Mac OS
      July 5, 2008  DVDRemaster Pro 4.4.1 Mac OS
      July 5, 2008  ProgDVB 5.15.1 Freeware
      July 5, 2008  ProgDVB 4.x 4.91.1 Freeware
      July 5, 2008  GOTSent 0.24 beta 1 Freeware
      July 5, 2008  LameXP 3.00 Freeware
      July 5, 2008  LAME MP3 Encoder 3.98 Linux/Unix Mac OS Windows Freeware
      July 4, 2008  MP4Muxer 0.9.1 Freeware Added in the last 3 days
      July 4, 2008  Elecard MPEG Player 5.3.80624
      July 4, 2008  CCCP 2008-07-03 Beta Freeware
      July 4, 2008  MediaCoder 0.6.1 Build 4130 Freeware
      July 4, 2008  TitleWriter 4.7 Freeware
      July 3, 2008  BDInfo 0.3.1 Freeware Added in the last Week
      July 3, 2008  ffdshow Rev. 2031 Freeware
      July 3, 2008  StaxRip 1.1.0.X Beta 0702.1835 Freeware
      July 3, 2008  MeGUI 0.3.0.14 Freeware
      July 2, 2008  ConvertXtoDVD 3.1.2.34
      July 2, 2008  Exsate VideoExpress 3.0 Beta
      July 2, 2008  SolveigMM AVI Trimmer 1.6.807.01 Freeware
      July 1, 2008  RipBot264 1.10.3 Freeware
      July 1, 2008  eac3to 2.51 Freeware
      July 1, 2008  AC3Filter 1.50 Freeware
      July 1, 2008  Sublight 0.8.8 Freeware
      June 30, 2008  TVersity 1.0 RC1 Freeware
      June 30, 2008  XenonMKV Revision 29 Freeware
      June 30, 2008  PPT2DVD 4.7.2
      June 30, 2008  Media Player Classic HomeCinema Edition v1.1.604.0 Freeware
      June 30, 2008  XviD4PSP 5.034 Freeware
      June 30, 2008  DGAVCDec 1.0.0 alpha 26 Freeware
      June 29, 2008  PSPVC 2.72 Freeware
      June 29, 2008  DVDINFOPro HD 5.10

      ======END OF LIVEUPDATE NEWSLETTER======

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