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Digital DIGEST - LIVE UPDATE Issue 29

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      DIGITAL DIGEST - http://www.digital-digest.com
      Your "whenever I have time to write one" newsletter
      Sunday, 28th July, 2002



      0. Section Zer0 - An Introduction to this Issue

      1. MPAA Antics

      2. XviD Explained

      3. Back To The Future Trilogy DVD - Confused ??

      4. How to Cancel/Change Your Subscription Email Address/Settings
      - how to maintain the subscription to this newsletter even if
      your email address has changed

      5. A Simple Thank-you
      - a thank-you message for all those that joined this list


      0. Section Zer0

      Welcome to this, the 29th issue, of the Digital Digest LiveUpdate

      MPAA censors Homer Simpson ; RIAA wants to hack your computer ; XviD
      VS DivX ; Back To The Future confuses people - it's all just another
      day in the world of DVD/DivX.

      Enjoy :)

      -- DVDGuy


      1. MPAA Antics

      The MPAA, and all their friends, have been busy at work these past
      few months.

      Gloating after their success over 2600 in the "DeCSS case", where
      2600 has decided not to appeal the case all the way to the US Supreme
      Court, the MPAA and the RIAA (AKA. "Hollywood") has been pressuring
      the US Congress to pass a bill to allow them to hack into your
      computer if they "suspected" that you had pirated versions. That's
      right folks, if you find that you suddenly lose control of your
      computer, and the MP3s you downloaded were mysteriously being
      deleted, it might just be the good folks at the RIAA that are doing
      what may be perfectly legal under US law.

      According to a Reuters report, "The bill would permit recording
      companies and other copyright holders to hack onto networks to thwart
      users looking to download free music, and would protect them from
      lawsuits from users."

      This should come as no surprise, as the RIAA has already been
      screwing around with file sharing networks by the way of "spoofing".
      Spoofing refers to the act of distributing fake/broken files onto
      popular file sharing networks to frustrate users and consume costly
      bandwidth. But according to the RIAA, "Spoofing is just one example
      of a lawful and appropriate self-help measure available to the labels
      to respond to the growing problem of peer-to-peer network piracy."
      Overpeer, a New York-based software firm funded by South Korea's SK
      Group, is one firm helping the industry disguise online files to
      thwart unauthorized swapping (source :

      Not that I want to give the MPAA/RIAA any ideas, but if the "legal
      hacking" bill is passed and when combined with "spoofing", who's to
      say that the MPAA/RIAA won't introduce some kind of virus/worm into
      file sharing networks and use the worm to delete "suspected" MP3/DivX
      files from your home computer.

      Fortunately, not everything is going the MPAA's way, largely thanks
      to a Fox employee by the name of Homer Simpson. In a Fox online Q&A
      to promote the new Simpsons DVD set, Homer Simpson was happy to
      recommend users to bypass DVD's region protection scheme. When
      asked "what does region coding mean?", Homer replies "I have no idea
      whatsoever what regional coding means. But it is essential that you
      buy a multi-regional player. Do it now. Don't worry, we'll still be
      waiting here when you get back." Fox is a member of the MPAA.

      Soon after the story broke that Homer Simpson was possibly breaking
      the law, Fox took action and censored what Homer had said, by
      removing Homer's recommendation for multi-regional DVD players,
      probably at the "request" of the MPAA. Luckily, through the wonderful
      Internet caching technologies of Archive.org, Homer's original (and
      wise) remarks can still be read here :


      (Just in case the MPAA "requests" action from Archive.org again, I've
      already saved a copy of this priceless web page to my hard-drive
      ready for distribution across the Net, that is if the MPAA doesn't
      hack into my computer and wipe my files first)

      Related link :
      2600 withdraws Supreme Court appeal in DeCSS case (The Register) :
      Bill Lets Music Firms Hack Napster-Like Systems (Excite/Reuters) :
      Congress to turn hacks into hackers (The Register) :
      Fox recommends hacked DVD players for The Simpsons (The Register) :
      Music Labels Plant Online Decoys, Mull Lawsuits (Reuters) :

      Discussions :
      Homer J. Simpson takes on the MPAA : http://forum.digital-
      F**king overpeer : http://forum.digital-digest.com/showthread.php?


      2. XviD Explained

      There is a new video compression codec that has been quietly closing
      in on DivX as the most popular video codec, confirmed by the fact
      that it is the 7th most downloaded software on DivX Digest. This new
      video codec is called XviD (DivX backwards), and unlike DivX, is a
      completely open-source project.

      As stated on DivX Digest's XviD download page : "XviD is a
      continuation of Project Mayo and aims to develop a high quality open-
      source MPEG-4 codec. As you may already know, XviD comes from the
      same open-source project that was the basis for DivX 4.x/5.x, but
      instead of going all commercial, XviD remains open-source. The
      quality of the codec is extremely good, and encoding speed is very
      fast as well, so it is at least worth a try".

      Since both XviD and the new DivX 4.x/5.x codecs comes from the same
      source (Project Mayo), performance and quality between these codecs
      are actually quite similar - so similar in fact, that both formats
      are almost interchangeable (meaning you can use the DivX codec to
      playback XviD encoded movies, and vice versa).

      Technically, XviD is still somewhat behind DivX 5.x in terms of
      compression, quality and efficiency.

      But in my opinion, XviD's open-source approach is much preferred over
      DivX Network's closed-source/commercial licensing approach. Of
      course, DivX Network's main goal is to make DivX profitable and a
      commercial licensing scheme is necessary - there is absolutely
      nothing wrong with trying to make money out of DivX, and in the
      process, promote DivX as a viable commercial video codec. But because
      XviD is an open-source project, many in the DivX/MPEG-4 community
      with programming skills are able to offer their skills in improving
      this codec - and this is an advantage DivX Networks does not have.
      Those that had contributed to Project Mayo before DivX Networks
      closed it off, are now likely to offer their help in developing XviD
      (DivX Networks closed the Project Mayo open-source project, and
      released the Project Mayo based DivX 4.0 as closed source).

      Related links :
      XviD Download Page : http://www.divx-digest.com/software/xvid.html
      What is XviD : http://forum.digital-digest.com/showthread.php?
      XviD Setup/Reference Guide : http://www.divx-
      Koepi's XviD Options Explained Document :


      3. Back To The Future Trilogy DVD - Confused ??

      "Great Scott" - The Back To The Future Trilogy (BTTF) is finally
      coming to DVD!!

      One of the greatest science fiction movies in the last 20 years are
      coming to DVD, and according to preliminary reviews, it will be 3
      great DVDs.

      For some strange reason, the region-1 version of BTTF won't be
      released until December, whereas other parts of the world (eg. where
      I live, Australia) will receive their version much earlier, some as
      soon as August/September.

      Further confusion and anger erupted when the it was announced that
      the region-1 version would have more extra features than the overseas
      versions, and the possible delay of the Region-2 (UK) version of BTTF
      until December as well (but possibly with fewer features than the
      Region-1 version).

      Apparently, some extras on the DVD are still being produced for the
      US version (eg. additional audio commentary, music videos), whereas
      overseas fans have to live with a DVD set with less features
      (although with an earlier release date). Most of the "extra" extras
      on the R1 version will be material that the DVD producers can find
      between the release of the overseas versions and the release of the
      R1 version, and the most important features will already be on the
      overseas versions (eg. documentaries, most deleted scenes).
      Considering Universal has had years to come up with the extra
      features on the DVDs, I wouldn't expect the R1 version to have
      additional extras that fans of the movie can't live without - perhaps
      some newly recorded audio commentary will be the only thing that
      oversea fans will miss terribly. Also, the overseas versions seems to
      have a better looking cover.

      While it still isn't clear what exactly is on the Region-1 version of
      BTTF, and whether the Region-2 version will be released earlier or
      later or have the same content as the R1 or R4 version of the DVD,
      below is a list of likely release dates and prices for this eagerly
      awaited DVD release :

      Region 1 US : December 17 (possibly with more extras than R2/R4
      version) - $US 48.43
      Region 2 UK : December 2 (possible with less extras than R1 version) -
      Region 2 FR : October 8 (possible with less extras than R1 version) -
      EUR 44,99
      Region 4 Au : August 21 (possibly with less extras than R1 version) -
      $AUD 45.95 (~ $US 25-30)

      As you can see, the Australian version is clearly the cheapest and
      quickest way to get your BTTF DVD fix. And just released yesterday, a
      full review of the Australian version of the DVDs have been released
      by Michael D's Region-4 DVD Info Page, so those that are eager to
      find out what is on the DVD (see "Related Links" below for links to
      the reviews). According to the review, all three DVDs have
      perfect/reference quality video, almost perfect audio and some
      terrific features.

      Regardless, this whole mess could have been easily avoided if BTTF
      had the same or similar worldwide release date, like most other big
      DVD releases such as the Star Wars Episode I DVD (BTW : Star Wars
      Episode II : ATOC DVD is rumored to be coming sometime in November
      this year!!).

      Purchase links :
      Back To The Future Trilogy Region-1 :
      Back To The Future Trilogy Region-2 UK :
      Back To The Future Trilogy Region-2 FR :
      Back To The Future Trilogy Region-4 : http://www.atlanticdvd.com.au/
      or http://www.ezydvd.com.au

      Related links :
      BTTF DVD Official Site : http://www.bttfmovie.com
      Universal making its "Future" plans (Variety/BTTF.com) :
      Disc news (DVDFile.com) : http://www.dvdfile.com/software/dvd-
      Michael D's BTTF review (Region-4, Australia):
      Michael D's BTTF Part II review (Region-4, Australia) :
      Michael D's BTTF Part III review (Region-4, Australia) :


      4. How to Cancel/Change Settings/Email Address for Your Subscription
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      5. A Simple Thank-you

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