The News Archive

March 27th, 1999.

Accidently linked the GD-2500 firmware update to the Creative Encore 5x update, fixed.

March 25th, 1999.

Several people have asked me where to get the Hitachi/Compaq GD-2500 firmware update and the Creative Encore 5x firmware update. While these are may not be the 'latest versions' they are RPC-1 complient.

I placed both on my page, get them at the Files Area.

March 18th, 1999.

Here's a small heads up. If you enjoy discussing the latest DVD hardware and software issues in real-time with real people, grab an IRC program (mIRC for example) and head on to #pcdvd on the Efnet servers.

You can grab IRC programs from any Tucows Mirror or at Strouds.

You may even find me hanging there at times.

March 16th, 1999.

Included a list of some of the movies people bought using the Amazon search engine, take a peek.

March 13th, 1999.

Updated DrvInf by Erwin van den Berg to version 1.02, not sure what changed, but it's small, only 4k. If you're not familiar with what this small program does, It tells you weather your DVD drive is region coded (or not).

You can find it at the Files Area.

March 11th, 1999.

Another day another version, DVD Region Selector v1.71 has been released. This version adds Rage 128 support for the ATI/CineMaster panel, and was also tested to be working with the new ATI DVD Player v3.1. You can get the new version of the DVD Region Selector at the Files Area.

With this said, the ATI DVD Player review has been updated to include version 3.1.

March 11th, 1999.

Just one day later and DVD Region Selector v1.71 has been released, this version adds region changing support for PowerDVD v1.50 and if for some reason DVD Region Selector didn't detect your older PowerDVD v1.30, it should now. You can get the new version of the DVD Region Selector at the Files Area.

I managed to get PowerDVD v1.50 to function properly, and have updated the PowerDVD review with the latest PowerDVD improvements and fixes.

March 10th, 1999.

DVD Region Selector v1.70 has been released, this version adds region changing support for WinDVD v1.0. You can get the new version of the DVD Region Selector at the Files Area.

I have also taken the time to write a full review of WinDVD, be sure to take a peek.

Fixed all those pesky "back" links that got broken during the move to ActiveWindows.

March 9th, 1999.

If you take a second to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, you would see that the DVD Infomatrix has reached a sort of milestone. It has now been accessed over 50,000 times by different IP sessions which is quite a feat for such a short time, thank you all for visiting.

the PowerDVD v1.5 version i have is not fully functioning, in fact, it doesn't seem to think it's any region whatsoever and doesn't allow you to set one. This makes it impossible to review anything other than it's specification, which can be viewed on the Cyberlink home page. So until i get a fully functioning version, i will hold back on reviewing it.

A rather new Software DVD player called WinDVD has come to my attention, and i shall try to give you a break-down on it's features in the next few days.

March 6th, 1999.

The page is experiencing somewhat of a slow down, im hoping my host will fix this shortly.

On a brighter note, I will be reviewing PowerDVD v1.50 shortly, and you can expect the review to appear in the next few days.

And lastly, i went over my entire Movie List, and marked down all my favorite movies that are now available on DVD. It's a shame that some great movies (in my view) are still not out on DVD while some crappy ones are (example, Back to the future & Goonies have yet to be released).

I will now be accepting DVD movie lists. If you have a list of your favorite movies that are now on DVD, use the Amazon search engine to make sure they are truly available for sale and mail me
a list of your picks. A link with your name will appear below my personal selection if i find the list appropriate.

March 3rd, 1999.

I have received multiple reports confirming that by updating the Compaq GD-2500 firmware using the recently released Hitachi GD-2500 firmware update, the drive becomes region free.

I have updated the drives list to confirm this and created a new section for "Drives that require a firmware update".

Currently there are no "bad drives".

February 28th, 1999.

There is a new player in town, it supports all the most recent hardware acceleration, it's downward compatible with every system, it's called VaroDVD.

I had the pleasure to review this fine player which apparently is available for free download right off the company's web site at

Emotions don't convey well over text, the last paragraph was said in the most sarcastic of tones. Read the VaroDVD v1.2 review for the complete lowdown on this amazing new player (yes, once again, sarcastic tone).

February 24th, 1999.

Arzeno Fabrice notified me that he has obtained a Hitachi GD-2500 firmware update. He also claims that it should remove the Compaq GD-2500 region locking mechanism which is built into the firmware. If this indeed works, it puts the final nail into the Drive-Based region locking schemes used by various hardware vendors. Now that creative has released an updated firmware with no region-locking and Hitachi following suit, we may rejoice in the fact that hopefully, all manufacturers will see the light (and sales figures) and get rid of this annoyance.

As with all firmware updates, use with caution. And if it works well, please let me know so i can take the Compaq GD-2500 off the bad drives list.

You can download the Hitachi (and other firmwares) Here.

February 22nd, 1999.

The DVD Discussion board is closing down and moving to a new server, if you visit this board, please update to the new Link

February 17th, 1999.

I tried reviewing the new SoftDVD v2.125 for Diamond MX300 cards (sound card), but it refused to work on my system, probably because my oldish sound card doesn't support 48khz sound output.

I do however wish to write at least a partial review and thus i require that someone send me a picture of the user interface. If anyone can, please contact me.

February 16th, 1999.

I managed to review the final ATI DVD Player v3.0.
This version is quite a bit more stable than previous ATI DVD Player releases, and now contains the latest CineMaster decoding engine (v1.0.27.4247).

The ATI DVD Player review has been updated once again to reflect the latest changes.

As i mentioned before, this page has moved, the Active Windows servers should be quite a bit faster, and if you haven't updated the link, it's:

February 15th, 1999.

DVD Infomatrix is in the process of moving, the good folks at activewindows have offered to host this page, and as soon as everything is ready, the page will be moved.

And interestingly, about 2 months ago i sent CyberLink (makers of PowerDVD) a message regarding their player, asking them to improve several aspects of their player.

Now, im not sure if someone actually read my mail and acted on it, or they just came to the conclusion that "this is what people want". But in any case, the new PowerDVD v1.5 includes some of my requested features (brightness control, Aspect Correction).

The only thing missing is support for ATI Hardware Motion Compensation, ah well. Beside that, they also included some other important features such as:
  • Performance improvement of 6%-10% (2-3fps) over version 1.3 for pure software playback.
  • AMD 3DNow! Technology optimized.
  • Intel Streaming SIMD Extensions(KNI) optimized (Pentium III).
  • Support Creative ES1373/EV1938 S/PDIF.
  • Support A3D/DS3D along DirectSound.
  • Support Dolby Surround.
I have yet to actually see this new version at work, but if it seems CyberLink is starting to push ahead beyond it's competitors.

February 14th, 1999.

At this time you may want to fetch something to drink, this is a long one:

I finally received a normal copy of PowerDVD (unlike the LeadTek version). This version also has a slightly different region interface, it works like PowerDVD v1.22 and allows you to change the region 5 times rather than locking it at install time, have no fear though, DVD Region Selector v1.61 already supports this version of PowerDVD as well.

Another feature that this version has over the LeadTek version, is that it supports Hardware Motion Compensation on S3 Savage3D cards, so if you have a Savage3D card, this is the version for you.

I have updated the PowerDVD review to reflect new thoughts and features.

Furthermore, i managed to review the new ATI DVD Player v3.00. This player comes with an updated CineMaster decoding engine (v1.0.25.3956). It now incorporates more of the CineMaster's features directly into the player, but the player itself is still a bit buggy. Whatever you do DO NOT try changing the default screen size while a DVD is playing, the player will crash.

Region wise, the updated ATI player works exactly the same as the 1.2 player and DVD Region Selector works like a charm. One thing to remember is, that the installer (at least on my computer) did NOT set the region code or any of the other CineMaster options. Hell, it didn't even set the decoding mode to ATI Hardware Motion Compensation. And of course, as with the previous ATI DVD Player, the CineMaster control panel is invisible, so keep the one you got from a previous CineMaster installation (CineMaster 98 or CineMaster 1.03j).

Since the ATI DVD Player installation program does not set the correct CineMaster setting during installation, i don't even see how you can play any DVD Titles, without having DVD Region Selector or an active CineMaster control panel to first initialize the registry settings (sound mode, decoding mode, deinterlacing, etc...).

Im not sure if the version i got is the final version, it doesn't say "beta" anywhere, and for some reason, they left the readme file from the older 1.2 release.

I have updated the ATI DVD Player review with updated information pertaining to this release.

I have released DVD Region Selector v1.62, this release fixes small glitches and contains the new ATI DVD Player v3.00 information.
You can get in the Files Area.

Updated the Installing Software CineMaster the right way page and the DVD Players Head-2-Head features table to account for new versions.

February 12th, 1999.

I have joined the Associates program, this basically gives me an option to let you search for all the items offers for sale directly from my web page. This is most interesting for quickly searching and securely buying DVD Titles.

You can try out the new DVD Title Search section Here.

By buying your DVD Titles through this web page, you will be helping me support it, so if you find's prices reasonable, please access the DVD Titles though the search engine above.

February 9th, 1999.

Created a new page dubbed the Hardware Incompatiblity page, on which i describe known problems with various hardware products.

Doing some page restructuring, feedback on design is welcomed.

February 7th, 1999 (part 2).

As im uploading the new DVD Region Selector version im reading my E-Mail and the discussion board, and people discussed an undocumented CineMaster registry sound function. I replied to the E-Mail saying i would add support for this function in a few days, but i decided, what the heck, and did it now.

So, DVD Region Selector v1.61 is now released, only 3 hours after v1.60, enjoy.

February 7th, 1999 (part 1).

DVD Region Selector v1.60 has been released and is available for download from the Files Area.

This new version contains what a lot of people have been waiting for, support for PowerDVD v1.30. It took a bit longer to figure how the region scheme worked cause CyberLink decided to be a bit sneaky about it, but now support for PowerDVD v1.30 is based on a region selection interface, just select the region and you're done.

Please note, that PowerDVD v1.30 still refuses to work on my computer, so make sure you read both the warning and the player note before changing the region.

February 3rd, 1999.

Today while trying to analyze DVD Express, something kept troubling me. Even though i installed a Region 2 version of DVD Express, it would refuse to play Region 2 titles and would only play Region 1 titles. I reinstalled DVD Express and it didn't help. It simply refused to play a Region 2 DVD title no matter what i did. Then i remembered, i changed the Xing DVD region to Region 1. So i went and changed the Xing DVD region to Region 2 and suddenly DVD Express works as Region 2. This leads me to believe that Xing is somehow breaking the DVD Express authentication method. I am not sure if this means that the Xing engine is used for decoding but i am sure that the Xing Region authentication code replaces the DVD Express code. In any case, if you have both Xing DVD v2.xx and DVD Express v4.xx installed, simply use the Xing & Win98 region code settings and DVD Express will work regardless of which region it was installed to.

I have included this information in the DVD Express review.

February 2nd, 1999.

The updated version of PowerDVD i reviewed is still not functioning, so a new version of DVD Region Selector will be delayed im afraid.

February 1st, 1999.

I have managed to review PowerDVD v1.30. The program was not fully functioning and i was unable to actually play any DVD Titles on it, however version 1.30 contains some major changes over previous versions. You may wish to read the updated PowerDVD review on the reviews page.

Support for PowerDVD v1.30 under DVD Region Selector looks likely at this time, but not until i manage to review a version that works on all graphic cards (if such a version even exists).

I have moved the Links section into it's own page to lighted the main page load.

This page and all it's content is copyrighted, distribution without prior consent is prohibited.