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Digital DIGEST - LIVE UPDATE Issue 30

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  • dvddigest
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    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 23, 2002
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      DIGITAL DIGEST - http://www.digital-digest.com
      DIGITAL DIGEST | LIVE UPDATE Issue 30
      Your "whenever I have time to write one" newsletter
      Saturday, 24th August, 2002

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      TOP NEWS SUMMARY :

      0. Section Zer0 - An Introduction to this Issue

      1. Sigma Antics

      2. Star Wars Episode II DVD and Fullscreen Madness

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

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

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      0. Section Zer0

      Welcome to this, the 30th issue, of the Digital Digest LiveUpdate
      newsletter.

      Another issue and yet another GPL violation, and this time, it has
      caused the development of XviD to halt (and hopefully, only
      temporarily). The news of Star Wars Episode II coming to DVD sooner
      than expected will help lighten to mood a little and the
      stupid "Attack of the Clones" title should bring a few laughs, but be
      warned, I might spoil the mood again by complaining about fullscreen
      DVDs ;-)

      Enjoy :)

      -- DVDGuy

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      1. Sigma Antics

      Once again, GPL abuse and violation has become news of the day. This
      time, it's the widely respected Sigma Designs company, makers of the
      best DVD decoder card, the Hollywood+. In their haste to add support
      for DivX into their new Xcard hardware decoder card (which is said to
      support DivX - more about that later), parts of the open-source XviD
      codec code was used in Sigma's MPEG-4 codec without acknowledgement
      to XviD and the GPL violated. The GPL (GNU General Public License)
      states that if open-source code is used in a project, that project
      must be released as open-source as well, to ensure open-source
      project don't end up as closed source in the hands of Microsoft, for
      example (just imagine "Microsoft Linux XP" - sends chills down my
      spine).

      XviD has stopped all development of the XviD codec until this matter
      is resolved, which makes sense, since why should they work hard so
      Sigma can profit from it?

      The XviD team (and others) has known about this since July, and they
      didn't come out publicly about this until now in the hope of that
      Sigma would do what is reasonable and release the source code, or
      completely remove XviD code from their code. It seems Sigma then
      tried to pull a major one on XviD by "disguising" the stolen code. Oh
      well ... out in the public it goes.

      Sigma was now quite willing to respond (probably has something to do
      with the number of complaint emails they received), and within 24
      hours, they announced their intentions to release the source code in
      a press release. However, there has been no apology, no explanation,
      no mention of XviD what-so-ever and you still have to abide by
      Sigma's Software Licensing Agreement before you can even download the
      source.

      Sigma's much touted Xcard hardware decoder card (decodes DVD + DivX)
      also seems to be in trouble, as DivX Networks has come to the defense
      of XviD by saying that Xcard is not DivX compatible after all, and
      that while DivX Networks seems to have been in cooperation with Sigma
      several months ago, the lack of cooperation from Sigma has ended that
      relationship and also ended the possibility of having the first DivX
      hardware decoder card on the market anytime soon.

      Interesting times, indeed ...

      Related link :
      Official XviD site : http://www.xvid.org
      XviD Explained (Newsletter Issue 29) : http://www.digital-
      digest.com/newsletter/issue29/index.html
      GNU GPL : http://www.gnu.org/licenses/licenses.html#GPL
      Sigma's Software Licensing Agreement :
      http://www.sigmadesigns.com/products/RMP4_SLA.htm

      Discussions :
      XviD Development Stopped due to code stealing by Sigma Designs :
      http://forum.digital-digest.com/showthread.php?threadid=11128
      DivX.com's forum posting on Sigma VS XviD, and Xcard's DivX
      compatibility : http://forums.divx.com/viewtopic.php?
      topic=40040&forum=5


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      2. Star Wars Episode II DVD and Fullscreen Madness

      Star Wars Episode II, Attack of the Clones, will be released on DVD
      in November (on the 12th, to be exact). I don't know about you, but
      as a devoted Star Wars fan, I found Attack of the Clones (ATOC) to be
      a pretty enjoyable movie. The stupid title aside (was "The Clone
      Wars" already used/registered or something ??), I found "Clones" a
      quite a bit more enjoyable than Episode I. While it pales in
      comparison to any of the original trilogy movies, the movie is
      littered with memorable moments that I would love to enjoy again and
      again on DVD.

      Going into the theatre on the opening weekend for "Clones" (and
      nearly didn't get to watch the film, due to most of the early
      screenings being sold out), I knew that sooner or later (and hoping
      for sooner), the DVD was going to come out. I must admit I was a
      little surprised that the DVD was coming out less than 6 month after
      the theatrical release, considering how stingy George Lucas is with
      his DVD releases (please don't get me started on that one again ...)
      and how long it took Episode I to get released.

      While the early release date may suggest that not a lot of work has
      gone into the DVD release (and admittedly, even if the DVD has only
      mono sound and with no extras and half the movie is in black and
      white, I, and many others "of my kind" would probably still go out
      and buy it), this is not true for the Episode II DVD. It seems that
      this time round, George Lucas has been working on the DVD release
      since day one and the 6 month wait for the DVD is merely to ensure
      that Clones' theatrical run has ended (for all we know, the final
      master for the Episode II DVDs may already be sitting in George
      Lucas' safe, ready to be mass replicated in the coming months).

      Those familiar with the Episode I DVD will know what kind of extras
      to be made available, just your typical second disc stuffed with all
      sorts of documentaries, featurettes, a music video and the obligatory
      trailers/TV spots. Audio commentary from a whole host of people,
      including Mr. Lucas and Mr. McCallum, are included on the first disc.
      No DTS audio, for obvious reasons.

      What is interesting, however, is that a full screen version will be
      made available for both Episode I and Episode II (available as a
      double-pack on November 12th). Seeing how Mr. Lucas is so keen on
      presenting the film in a way that matches his original vision (hence
      the Special Editions) and how the Special Editions were marketed to
      people "who have never seen Star Wars in the way it should be seen,
      in the theatre with glorious widescreen", it seems quite odd now to
      release a hacked-up pan-and-scan fullscreen version just to please
      those who complain about their movie "missing the top and bottom
      bits".

      I am one of those that believe widescreen should be made mandatory
      for DVDs for movies that were released as widescreen - sure, you can
      include the fullscreen version on a second disc, but you should not
      be able to release a movie in fullscreen only (example : Harry Potter
      Region-4 DVD - no widescreen version!!!!). This should also help
      promote widescreen TV sets, which will then go on to promote digital
      TV and HD TV and then we can all live happily ever after. If we don't
      stop fullscreen DVDs, how long before George Lucas announces that the
      original Star Wars trilogy will only be released as fullscreen titles
      on DVD, and that the widescreen versions will not be made available
      until the next digital video format (eg. HD-DVD) comes out ???

      Purchase links :
      Star Wars Episode II Widescreen Region-1 :
      http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006HBUJ/thehoppingxenter
      Star Wars Episode II Fullscreen Region-1 :
      http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006HBUI/thehoppingxenter
      Star Wars Episode II Widescreen Region-4 :
      http://www.ezydvd.com.au/item.zml/221340

      Related links :
      More information : http://www.digital-digest.com/dvd/swep2.html
      Starwars.com article on Episode II DVD :
      http://www.starwars.com/episode-ii/news/2002/08/news20020801.html
      20th Century Fox Home Entertainment press release on the Episode II
      DVD : http://www.comingsoon.net/cgi-bin/archive/fullnews.cgi?
      newsid1028181972,29630,

      Discussions :
      Discuss the Episode II DVD here : http://forum.digital-
      digest.com/showthread.php?&threadid=10336


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      4. A Simple Thank-you

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