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Digital Digest "LiveUpdate" Newsletter - Issue 147

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    ************************************************************** DIGITAL DIGEST - http://www.digital-digest.com DIGITAL DIGEST | LiveUpdate Newsletter - Issue
    Message 1 of 1 , May 24, 2009
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      DIGITAL DIGEST  | LiveUpdate Newsletter - Issue 147

      24 May, 2009

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      INDEX:

      1. Introduction

      2. Weekly News Roundup

      3. Weekly Software Roundup

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      1. Introduction

      I've compiled the April 2009 NPD video game sales figures. Everything is down, except for the Nintendo DS(i). Some of it is due to lack of new releases, but most of it is due to the economic turmoil that everyone is experiencing at the moment. Will there be a recovery in May? I don't think so, although it can't possibly be much worse than April (or can it?).

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      2. Weekly News Roundup

      The April 2009 NPD game console figures are out. Pretty bad news for all concerned really, except for Nintendo, but only due to the new DSi. The economy is struggling, and regardless of the (in my opinion, unwarranted) optimism regarding an economic recovery, the sad fact is that things are not doing well and going well in reality. I would not be surprised to see the recent gains on the stock markets wiped out sometime in the next few month, because if you talk to people on the ground, there is no recovery and things are only getting worse. Sorry to start the WNR on such a depressing note, but I think it had to be addressed before people go overboard with the optimism and we blow up yet another bubble that will cause a lot of damage when it bursts. Everyone thought the video game industry would be recession proof, and up until February, they were right. And now they are wrong.

      Copyright

      I hate to go from one depressing area to another, but it is traditional to have the copyright news first so here we go. The RealDVD case continues in court. The MPAA has won a small victory in getting the public kicked out of the courtroom. They say it's because sensitive trade secrets might come out, as if nobody knows how to rip a DVD or to break the less than weak CSS copy protection system. I think they're just afraid of the public backing that Real Networks will receive in the courtroom, which might influence the Judge in his decision making (so they pre-empted this by influencing the Judge right away).

      In the other major trial at the moment, here in Australia, the AFACT (Australia's own MPAA) has asked ISP iiNet to stop wasting the court's time and basically admit all their customers are pirates. That doesn't sound arrogant at all. The AFACT should stop wasting the court's time and stop trying to insinuate that all web users are pirates, and that somehow their ISP is responsible for everything. Are phone companies responsible for people making prank phone calls? Exactly.

      Two school related copyright news as well. First up is the good news. A Harvard professor had told the RIAA that P2P is fair use, because unless it can be proven that the user has caused actual losses for the studios, they should not be liable. That sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Stealing music is not like stealing a car, regardless of what those copyright ads tell you. If you steal a car, then the owner of the car has lost money because a car is a physical entity and it has a value. A digital file has not value, regardless of what's contained in it, simply because it can be duplicated an infinite number of times. Anything that can be duplicated an infinite number of times is not worth anything. So when you steal a copy of a file, which has no value, then the only loss would be the result if you had originally intended to purchase the file, and then was tempted by the free illegal version instead. If the  "illegal" music downloaders never originally intended to pay for the content, then nothing has been lost by anyone. The content owners are still trying to treat digital content as if it were the same content or products that come in physical form, and they just do not get it. They also don't get how great digital can be, because (bandwidth costs excepted), digital means infinite duplication which means you can afford to sell each copy at a much lower premium and still end up making more money. That's the magic of digital, and they just don't get it. And they are trying to make sure the next generation don't get it either, and they're now trying to get their pro-copyright propaganda into US classrooms. Just like all their anti-copying attempts, this one won't work either because the next generation are even more savvy than than current one, and they will understand the exact nature of digital more so than anybody else.

      I mentioned earlier that Nintendo had a relatively good April thanks to the new Nintendo DSi. I also mentioned last week that the DSi had some new features that prevent the use of flash carts and downloaded games, although it was cracked as soon as it was implemented. The next step for Nintendo is to team up with Amazon and eBay to stop the sale of flash carts. Fair enough, but it wont' stop the sale of flash carts though because they will still be available for sale from a wide variety of online stores. And flash carts are quite useful even if you buy games, because you can put all your favourite games on one card and make the DS/DSi truly portable, and there's also the more advanced media player functions which has been a weak point of the DS (compared to the PSP, at least). If Nintendo made a similar cart that allowed only the legally purchased games to be copied onto a single cart, as well as having an advanced media player, then they would have more grounds to argue that the current flash carts are nothing but piracy tools. If you do not service a segment of your user base, then they'll find ways to service themselves. 

      High Definition

      Onto HD news now. A new Nielsen survey has produced an interesting set of results in regards to HD usage. It seems that nearly one third of US homes now have HDTVs, which is good to hear.

      However, it seems that out of the HDTV owners, only some of them are using it for HD content. So some people are not watching HD content on HDTVs, although not a huge percentage (14%). Still, you wonder why they bought the HDTV in the first place, or is it a case of HD content not being available widely/cheaply enough and there's some future-proofing going on. I think more education might be needed in order to convince people HD, whether true or upscaled, is the future, because the 14% of HDTV owners who don't watch HD suggests there is a huge percentage of non HDTV owners who don't know or don't care about HD. The responsible parties, and that's the content owners, need to step up to the plate and start advertising the benefits of HD (they can start by buying some ads on this website, for one).

      Blu-ray's 50 GB not big enough? How about being able to store all your movies onto a single disc? A disc with 5 dimensions, able to store 80 TBs of data, was unveiled by Australian scientists. Not that it would help much because studios would never let you be able to copy any of your movies onto a single disc, let alone all your movies (think about the pirating potential!).

      Netflix is yet again expanding it's reach by teaming up with Microsoft to deliver Netflix content to Windows Media Center enabled PCs. Netflix now has a huge reach for its digital distribution network, and it's amazing to see how quickly something like this can be set up thanks to existing hardware, some of them many years old, all being capable of being adapted into the network through software. Pretty soon (if not already), every A/V device will have audio outputs, video outputs, storage and networking built right in, and that's all you need really to make it capable of receiving digital distribution. Think of all the devices you already have that fit this description, and if they don't have Netflix or something similar on it already, then you won't have to wait too long. This is another aspect of the magic of digital.

      Gaming

      And finally in gaming. The PS2 did outsell the PS3 in April sales, all thanks to a price drop. But is Sony going to drop the price of the PS3? Well, maybe instead of dropping prices on *existing* PS3s, they can produce a new cheaper one that will do the same job. That's the rumour going around at the moment anyway, a new PS3 slim that will be cheaper to produce and will sell for cheaper. Maybe it will have less connectors, maybe it won't have built-in Wi-Fi and maybe the HDD will be smaller, but the lower price is what people want and Sony should try and deliver. But I always thought that slimmer meant more expensive, certainly from the Apple school of thinking at least.

      Alrighty then (Copyright, Warner Bros. studio 1994), that's the week that was (Copyright, somebody). More bad news in the world of copyright, more denials from Sony regarding a price drop, and more unsubstantiated rumours coming right here next week. See you then.

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      3. Weekly Software Roundup

      May 24, 2009  multiAVCHD 2.7 build 611 Freeware
      May 24, 2009  ProgDVB 6.06.03 Freeware
      May 24, 2009  Plex Media Center 0.8.1 Mac OS Freeware
      May 24, 2009  Variable Framerate Rx 3.2.9.523 Freeware
      May 23, 2009  DVRMSToolbox 1.2.1.7 Freeware
      May 23, 2009  BDSup2Sub 3.8.1 Freeware
      May 23, 2009  MKVToolnix 2.9.0 Linux/Unix Mac OS Windows Freeware
      May 23, 2009  Moovida 1.0.1 Linux/Unix Mac OS Windows Freeware
      May 23, 2009  HDConvertToX 1.6.292.2659 Freeware
      May 23, 2009  LameXP 3.09 Freeware
      May 23, 2009  XP Codec Pack 2.4.7 Freeware
      May 22, 2009  VideoInspector 2.2.2.121
      May 22, 2009  Video DVD Maker Pro 3.12.0.33
      May 22, 2009  Video DVD Maker 3.19.0.42 Freeware
      May 22, 2009  VoltaicHD for Mac 1.8.4 Mac OS Windows
      May 22, 2009  MediaInfo 0.7.16 Linux/Unix Windows Freeware
      May 22, 2009  WinMPG Video Convert 8.9.3
      May 21, 2009  Opti Drive Control 1.0 Added in the last Week
      May 21, 2009  PopCorn MKV AudioConverter 1.75.5 Freeware
      May 21, 2009  K-Lite Codec Pack 64-Bit 2.3.4 Freeware
      May 21, 2009  K-Lite Mega Codec Pack 4.8.5 Freeware
      May 21, 2009  K-Lite Codec Pack 4.8.5 Freeware
      May 21, 2009  TV Scheduler Pro Rev 97 Freeware
      May 21, 2009  Windows 7 Codecs x64 Components 1.2.0 Freeware
      May 21, 2009  Windows 7 Codecs 1.1.4 Freeware
      May 21, 2009  Vista Codec x64 Components 1.8.6 Freeware
      May 21, 2009  Vista Codec Package 5.2.6 Freeware
      May 21, 2009  MeGUI 0.3.1.1037 Freeware
      May 20, 2009  Kiss DajeVu Encoder 2009.R01.5 Freeware
      May 20, 2009  ffdshow 2954 (generic/x64) Freeware
      May 19, 2009  x264 r1153 Freeware
      May 19, 2009  RevolverHD 1.3 Mac OS
      May 19, 2009  Elecard MPEG Player 5.6.90513
      May 19, 2009  MP4Box .4.6 Dev (20090519) Freeware
      May 19, 2009  LAME MP3 Encoder 3.99.a1 Linux/Unix Mac OS Windows Freeware
      May 19, 2009  HCbatchGUI 14.8 Freeware
      May 19, 2009  SupRip 1.15 Freeware
      May 19, 2009  SolveigMM Video Splitter 2.2.905.18
      May 19, 2009  AC3Filter 1.60b Freeware
      May 19, 2009  Subtitle Edit 2.4 Freeware
      May 19, 2009  Net Transport 2.84a
      May 19, 2009  HC 0.24 Beta Freeware

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

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