The News Archive

September 30th, 1999. now has a 30-day trial version of PowerDVD 2.0906 available for download, for more information go here.
Cyberlink has released version 1.3 of PowerVCR, a program that allows you to use your computer and a capture card as a VCR using real-time MPEG-1 capture on a 300mhz or better computer. For more information go here.
C|Net news Consumer warning report:

"Things are getting worse by the week for Western Digital.

The Irvine, California-based maker of hard disk drives announced this week that it will recall approximately 400,000 of its 6.8GB per platter Caviar desktop hard drives, its flagship product, because of a faulty internal chip. The chip, which affects the disk drive motor, causes problems to erupt in about six to twelve months, said observers.

For the complete story, go here.

September 29th, 1999.

I have had the chance to review the update DVD Express player v5.0x and all i can say is "THE HORROR", "THE AGONY".

To understand my terror head over to the review section and read the updated DVD Express review.
I received an eMail a couple of weeks back saying that Region Selector doesn't work with v1.2.97 of WinDVD. I have since managed to have it tested with the AsusDVD comparable version and I have not had any problems, so if you are reading this, either the WinDVD version differs (which i doubt), or you may have some other issue with your system.

September 28th, 1999.

I have recieved a Aureal VORTEX2 SuperQuad Digital PCI sound card from and have updated the PowerDVD review to include version 2.0906 which incorporates Vortex2 4-Channel discrete audio channels.

For the full review head up to the review section.

September 27th, 1999.

The Mummy

A lot of people having been saying that The Mummy is a wasted effort while others say it's the best thing since Indiana Jones (within it's genre). I guess we will all see, as tomorrow the movie is released on DVD.

Also available is the full screen version.

September 26th, 1999.

IGN sci-fi is reporting that mr. lucas mentioned in a French press conference that the Indiana Jones trilogy and the Indiana Jones chronicles are being translated to other formats. Does this mean a DVD version of Indy for the Christmas holiday season, perhaps. For the full report go here.
As part of the new site move, I am starting to incorporate sub-sites into The first site is Equinox's Trailer page where you can find some pretty kick-ass movie trailers in their full MPEG-2 VOB glory.

The other site is VirtuaMedia, this is actually my own site, but it is not DVD related, the site was created to host a program I wrote that indexes and thumbnails massive amounts of images. It is very useful for sites that require a powerful image indexing program for on-line image libraries. The VirtuaMedia link may take a day or two to start working, but if you are interested you can access it here.

If you have a DVD related site and would like to join our little family, please write me a note.
Illegal sites need not apply.

September 25th, 1999.

While it seems that Zone Selector 4.1 doesn't work with the new Hollywood-Plus build 119 beta drivers, the older Zone Selector 3.0 does work. Freaky.
Tom's Hardware Guide has published an article titled "Video Formats and Compression Methods". It's an interesting read, a bit misleading when it touches the AVI and MOV formats, but otherwise it's quite good. You can read it here.
The site is now running on the new host and now that i have a decent host i can finally start expanding. I am currently in the process of incorporating EQ's DVD-Trailer site into Infomatrix. His site contains kick-ass trailers in MPEG-2 VOB format for maximum quality (You better be sitting on major bandwidth cause these trailers are BIG).

Also, make sure your bookmark is to "" and not "".

September 24th, 1999.

SigmaDesigns have released beta drivers for the Hollywood-Plus, these drivers supposedly fix the "PAL-50 pause every second" issue (finally!) which has plagued the card since day one.

Use these beta drivers at your own peril, you can download Disk 1 and Disk 2.
Im in the process of moving this site to a new domain, hopefully the move will be smooth and the page shouldn't have any down time.

September 23rd, 1999.

Breaking news - CSS Bytes the dust:
CSS is the encryption code used to prevent piracy of DVD Titles. Until recently, this code was pretty much working. However within the last week, a cracking group by the name of DoD (Drink or Die) have released a tool that cracks the CSS encryption code used by DVDs wide-open.

With the CSS encryption code broken, the door is open for nefarious DVD duplication plants to exploit the DVD media. While not really useful for the common user due to the huge file-space DVD occupies and the high priced DVD-RAM medias, this latest development may lead to stricter protection on future DVD titles, and may require the DVD Consortium to come up with better solutions to combat DVD piracy, which may have an adverse effect on the end user.

A note, this new program is unlike resamplers or even rippers, it actually copies the DVD disc one for one, including all the non audio/video streams without the use of a DVD playback software. Truly a digital copy.

How will this ordeal effect the end user? I guess we will see in the following months.

September 22nd, 1999.

Unless you've been out of the country in some remote jungle hut for the past several months you would know that The Matrix has been released yesterday with all the fan fare due for this great DVD title.

Here are a couple of the worth while mentions:
IGN Movies,
IGN Sci-Fi.

The Matrix

September 21st, 1999.

Ever wondered if one of your favorite DVD titles has a hidden trick up it's sleeve? Software authors and sometimes even hardware designers like to hide little "EasterEggs" inside their products and DVD movies are no exception.

The DVD Review site has been keeping a nice database of all these little hidden features. For the complete list click here.

Austin Powers

If you somehow got stuck in the 60's and missed the release date of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, it's on November 16th. While more elaborate than the first Austin Power, this movie is mainly a rehash of the original movie (Mostly an intentional rehash, that's part of it's appeal). Although i do prefer Elizabeth Hurley over Heather Graham this movie is still good for a lot of laughs, especially with all the banters between Dr. Evil and his son. For once I would like to see a bondish style villain just plug the hero before telling him his master plan. Maybe in Power's 3rd film.

September 20th, 1999.

Cheekyboy has written a nice article about how to capture VCR/Live-TV directly to an MPEG-4 stream, you can read it in the Articles Section.

The Big Picture have posted a few interesting tidbits regarding the newly released bond DVD set.

James Bond Gift Set

September 19th, 1999.

The Matrix

The Matrix is just two days away from being officially released and from what i can see and hear, it's going to be one of the best selling DVD titles ever. If you were planning to buy matrix, now is probably the best time, since you will still get the pre-order special pricing, but the movie itself will be sent to you within the week (I have done exactly this type of "trick" with There's something about Mary).

September 18th, 1999.

I have been informed by that a new version of PowerDVD (v2.0906 i believe) now supports 4-Channel discrete sound when used with the latest Aureal sound cards (Vortex-2 based im guessing). This is a nice move on the part of Cyberlink as more and more of the popular sound cards are being supported by the competition.

For all you driver junkies and multimedia freaks, Microsoft has released the final version of DirectX-7. While DirectX is a requirement for any DVD Software player, version 7 has just been released and there has been no news on it's stability and so far no DVD player uses any DirectX-7 specific features, so install at your own peril.
You can read several more announcements about DirectX-7 at and you can download the International release of DirectX-7 here.

In a DVD consumer warning,
please be warned that some of the newer DVD drives being sold by Pioneer are being released as RPC-2 (Region Locked) right out of the factory, no longer is the drive being locked by a jumper. While the Pioneer drives are considered top-notch, and are only one of the few drives being released as SCSI, the Region issue may be serious if you don't live in Region #1, or if you like to view movies from around the world.
Buyer be ware.

September 17th, 1999.

Microsoft have announced that Windows 2000 Release Candidate #2 has been sent to beta testers. Windows 2000 is the next in the NT based operating systems from Microsoft. Supposedly it's much more stable than NT4, and should be far stronger for Multimedia purposes, especially since it contains DirectX-7. Will Windows 2000 improve overall stability for the WinX users out there? Hopefully so, but lets just remember that the original release date for this OS was October 1998 if i am not mistaken.

Since Windows 2000 incorporates DX7, you should start seeing a slew of updated DVD Players that support Windows 2000. Till now NT4 pretty much only had DX3 which didn't have all the components required for hardware accelerated MPEG and DVD playback. A new dawn for the PC-DVD age? Only time will tell.

September 16th, 1999.

I have had a chance to review the new Odyssey DVD Player, I think you would be surprised at what I've found.

The Odyssey DVD Player review can be found within the review area.

September 15th, 1999.

VideoMatrix v1.05 has been released, the following items have changed:

  • Replaced the Video For Windows interface routines, now using a more comprehensive routines. This may mean that more codecs will work now.
  • It has come to my attention that the Microsoft MPEG-4 codec that comes with the final version of Windows Media Tools (MPG4C32.DLL is bugged. You can no longer use it to encode MPEG-4 AVI files using any VFW interface. I have no idea why microsoft has done this, and i have mailed them questioning the practice. Hopefully they will mail me back an answer, but don't hold your breath. After all, this is microsoft we're talking about.
  • The last working MPEG-4 DLL released by microsoft is MPG4C32.DLL
  • AVI Creation Errors are now translated into error strings as set by the microsoft error code.
  • Fixed a bug in the play list that prevented ".BMP" files from being used (only JPEG files worked).
  • Adding frames while paused wasn't functioning, now it does and you can also reduce the number of frames from the conversion process. Lowering the frame count below the current process range will end the conversion process.
  • Version 1.01 increased the frame rate accuracy of VideoMatrix, however, it was increased too much and as i understand it, Adobe Premiere is having problems accessing files created with VideoMatrix, so i have reduced the frame rate accuracy by a bit. Still, even after this reduction, the frame rate is still 1ms accurate. Make sure to reset the frame rate when loading this version for the first time.
You can get the latest version of VideoMatrix over at the files area.

In Software DVD Player news, Odyssey Technologies have released a new player simply called "DVD Player". One would think they could come out with a more original name. To cut things short, the Interface looks good, but their home page lacks real information and the given information is a bit silly, like saying that the player supports CD-Quality 44khz audio, when DVD audio is mostly higher than CD quality at 48khz. I am trying to contact the authors in an effort to bring you all a full review.

September 14th, 1999.

In DVD Release news, Disney is about to go on a November-December release of 9 of their all-time classics (still no Lion King or Aladdin, damn em!) for a 60 day period before going into a 7-10 year hybernation period. While some of the parents among us may delight in the fact that they can now plant their kids in front of the TV for a few hours of DVD enhanced Disney classics, they will have to bite the bullet on the extremely high DVD price. Yes, Disney is raising the bar a bit on the DVD pricing, other than criterion, or special market DVD titles, I have yet to see a pre-discount DVD priced at 40$. Pre-Ordering at Amazon will lower the price to around 24$, which is still rather high for a pre-release purchase.

Here's the list of the Disney releases:
101 Dalmatians, Hercules, Jungle Book, Lady and The Tramp, Mulan, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, The Little Mermaid.

And lastly, if you're a Mel Brooks fan, one of his best movies ever is coming out on DVD this October.
History of the World Part 1 is one of Mel's finest work, rumors of part 2 were in the air for years, but for some reason, it never quite panned out, still Part 1 was a riot.

September 13th, 1999.

The PC-DVD Informational page has updated the PC-DVD FAQ to v1.1.

September 12th, 1999.

Region Selector v2.00 has been released, the following items have changed:

  • VaroDVD v1.34 support.
  • The Win98SE registry key is now identified, however, changing it is not as "stable" as the older Win98 key, erasing it will not regenerate the key as in previous windows version, alter it at your own risk.
  • Support enabling the DirectShow navigation for WinDVD (required for DVD-ROM titles).
You can get the latest version of Region Selector over at the files area.

Also, I am releasing an updated version of the AVI Frame Rate Changer, it contains a fix that should help files altered with it, be loaded in Adobe Premiere. This was actually a premiere bug where premiere couldn't handle the Frame Rate accuracy.

You can get the latest version of AVI Frame Rate Convertor over at the files area.

September 11th, 1999.

VideoMatrix v1.01 has been released, the following items have changed:

  • Changed the frame rate setting, it now allows you to manually specify any frame rate
  • Pressing on the "Clock" button will switch the encoding speed display between FPM (Frames Per Minute) and FPS (Frames Per Second).
  • Improved the 3x Factor scaling speed by around 10%.
  • Fixed a bug in the 3x Factor Scaling.
You can get the latest version of VideoMatrix over at the files area.

September 8th, 1999.

Over at Erwin van den Berg has released Remote Selector v1.7. Remote Selector is a region changing tool for several DVD Hardware Decoders, such as the Creative DXR2 and DXR3 and the Sigma Designs Hollywood-Plus. It also adds a user interface for controlling various DVD players either through a standard keyboard interface, or by accessing several remote control devices.

Here is what's new in version 1.7:

  • Region, TV Framerate and MacroVision support added for the DXR2 under Windows NT and Windows 98SE/2000 with WDM driver.
  • TV Mode and MacroVision support added for the DXR3.
  • Preliminary support added for HD44780 based LCD displays, connected to the parallel port.
    • Only works with Windows 95 and 98.
    • Only the following players are supported:
      • Creative DVD player V3.x/V4.x (title, chapter and time).
      • Creative PlayCenter (chapter and time).
  • Improved support for native supported remotes:
    • Shutdown now works correctly.
    • Key reassign confirmation window appeared behind the mainwindow, this is fixed now.
  • Improved support for the RealMagic Hollywood+:
    • Remote support for the DVD Station only worked with English Windows. It should now work with all languages.
    • Support added for version 1.7 of the software/drivers.
  • Improved Framerate support for the DXR2:
    • Support added for the latest version of the DXR2 software/drivers.
    • Setting 'Disc Type' now completely restores original state. This should solve problems with some German DVD's and with non standard DVD resolution movies. If you have used a previous version of the Remote Selector, you must reinstall the player software first for this function to work properly.
  • All additional files are now attached to the executable as resources, so the program now only consists of one file.

September 7th, 1999.

Creative Labs has licensed the Zoran SoftDVD player for use with their SBLive! card. A big mistake if you ask me, as the Zoran player is simply not up to par with the ever more popular Software Cinemaster from Ravisent (Used by both ATI and Matrox which left Zoran's SoftDVD for it).

You should be expecting this version of SoftDVD to start shipping with SBLive! cards, or perhaps Creative will be as nasty as ATI and require you to send them money for the CD. I somehow doubt creative will post this player on their site, especially after the Live!Ware fiasco where they yanked it off the web after several days and now require you to buy a CD in order to get a driver update!

September 6th, 1999.

As you may or may not heard, Blizzard has announced Warcraft III. This isn't really DVD related, but Warcraft is one of my all time favorite games, and i just wanted to share.

Visit the Warcraft III site here.

September 4th, 1999.

VaroVision were gracious enough to send me a working evaluation version of VaroDVD and i have had some time to review it and i must say that it's a vast improvement over the previous version. However, the previous version being the slowest and one of the buggiest players to be released does that say much? Interested? read the full review.

September 3rd, 1999.

Wrote a small program to change the frame rate of an already generated AVI file, might be useful. Full sources included.

Get it from the files area.

September 2nd, 1999.

VirtuaMedia proudly presents VideoMatrix v1.00.

VideoMatrix is a Video creation tool with several interesting features, including scaling, AVI export using any system Codec, Widescreen cropping, and more . . .

To check out VideoMatrix head over to the files area (link fixed).

In DVD pre-release news, The James Bond Giftset has been announced and is due to be released on October 19th. The set includes:

  • Tomorrow Never Dies: Collector's Edition (Anamorphic 2.35:1).
  • Goldfinger: Special Edition (Anamorphic 1.66:1).
  • GoldenEye: Special Edition (Anamorphic 2.35:1).
  • Live And Let Die: Special Edition (Anamorphic 2.35:1).
  • Thunderball: Special Edition (Anamorphic 2.35:1).
  • For Your Eyes Only: Special Edition (Anamorphic 2.35:1).
  • Licence To Kill: Special Edition (Anamorphic 2.35:1).
I think the key word here is Anamorphic, so a wide screen TV would kick butt with these films. Now all we need to do is wait for the complete Bond collection and hope it will be priced at under 500$.

September 1st, 1999.

One day after S3 announced it's Savage2000 chipset, nVidia is about to announce it's new GeForce 256 chipset.

As far as HDTV/DVD video is concerned here is the information so far:

  • High precision HDTV video overlay:
    • 5 horizontal, 3 vertical taps.
    • 8:1 up/down scaling.
    • Independent hue, saturation and brightness controls through hardware.
  • High bandwidth HDTV class video I/O:
    • 16-bit video port.
    • Full host port.
    • Dedicated DMA video.
  • Powerful HDTV motion compensation:
    • Full frame rate DVD to 1080i resolution.
    • Full precision subpixel accuracy to 1/16 pixel.
While this sounds all good and well, I seriously hope that nVidia fixes all the hardware DVD related issues that both the TNT and the TNT2 have (Bad 2D video at 32bit and horrid hardware overlay scaling).

For the full GeForce 256 preview, visit Tweak3D.

In software news, VaroDVD v1.34 trial version is finally available for download here.
You can also get the patch here.

More information on this latest release will be supplied in an updated VaroDVD review (soon).

August 31st, 1999.

In a barrage of press releases and following news reports, S3 has unveiled it's new chipset the Savage2000 (code name GX4). This chip has some nice specification, at least on the surface.

The DVD/DTV (Digital Television) specifications are as follows:

  • Dynamic multi-tap scalar, which is dynamically adjustable to 16 taps as well as DTV playback.
  • VIP 2.0 Bus Compliance, which supports multiple DTV configurations and bus mastering (for lower CPU usage)
  • Third Generation motion compensation for improved DVD playback.
While still lacking the ATI128's iDCT acceleration, you can probably expect a 30% speed-up compared to non-accelerated cards such as the NVIDIA TNT2, 3dfx's Voodoo 3 or Matrox's G400 series.

Time will tell which Software DVD Players will support the S3's Motion Compensation.
For a more in-depth review of the S3 Savage2000 read what Sharky Extreme has to say about it.

DVS Announces Schedule for 10X DVD-ROM Drive Introduction.
It seems that DVS is the first to announce a 10x DVD drive, in CD speed, this would be that the drive is around 80x, or 12,000kb/sec, somewhat remarkable. While not announced, i am hoping this drive will support the new Ultra 66 IDE standard, otherwise it could bottleneck.

Arzeno fabrice of the Firmware Page sent me the following eMail:
"I would like to inform you that i now have the firmware to make the new Creative 6630E drive region free."
So, if you own such a drive, you may want to get the update firmware.

August 30th, 1999.

C|Net has posted an article by the name of "DVD expected to conquer Europe". Might be worth a read.

August 29th, 1999.

I am in the final process of writing the documentation on my latest program. It's called VideoMatrix and it will contain several interesting features such as AVI movie construction from an image list and even more interesting, from an MPEG-1/2 source to any AVI codec by attaching to PowerDVD (and perhaps VaroDVD when it comes out).

One of this program's bigger strengths would be access to a wide variety of video compression Codecs such as the free MPEG-4 Codec from Microsoft, or one of the various commercial Codecs such as Motion JPEG, MPEG 1,2 and even Wavelet encoding.

Image scaling and frame rate controls are all in there, and best of all, till further notice, this application will not be crippled.

Look for further notices regarding a release date later this week.

August 27th, 1999.

Creative Labs have released updated drivers for their Creative DXR3 decoder card (Only for the DXR3, won't work with the older DXR2).

The new drivers include the following changes:

  • The Encore DXR3 navigator software and driver updates.
  • Support for both Encore Dxr3 cards (CT7230 & CT7240).
  • Monitor standby mode now works in Windows 98 and power management is improved for Windows 95.
  • Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) support on Windows NT.

You can download the latest DXR3 drivers here.

August 26th, 1999.

Region #1 gets the shaft AGAIN as Titanic hits the DVD Rentals as Region #2 a full week before the official U.S. release.

Although not really my Cup of Tea, "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" was released as Region #2 a full month before the U.S. Region #1 release.

Will this trend continue? I hope so, I wouldn't complain if The Matrix appeared a month or two earlier as Region #2.

Also, as you may or may not know, Region #2 movies are of better quality than Region #1 since they are both using 24fps sources, but the Region #2 discs have higher vertical resolution.

The only big issue with Region #2 movies is that there are hardly any of them out there (Compared to Region #1).

August 24th, 1999.

After inquiring VaroSoft regarding the new VaroDVD release, I have received the following reply:

VaroDVD 1.34 will be released Sep.,1st.

Some of the new features are:

  • Screen capture to bitmap (Allows you to save your favorite still image to a bitmap file).
  • Several Bug fixes.
  • Smoother Scanning (freely fast-forward & fast-rewind).
  • Support video interlacing mode (Bob mode).
  • Support frame scan (frame advance).
  • Support Windows2000.
  • Video color control (You can change RGB values and Brightness).
  • Major improvement to the decoding engine.
I will provide a link to the evaluation version of VaroDVD once it's officially released.

August 22nd, 1999.

ZDNet reports that Microsoft released "Media Technologies 4", a new audio/video deployment suite, for the full story visit ZDNet.

You can also download the Windows Media Tools here.
These tools should also include the latest Microsoft MPEG-4 codec, which is an amazing video compression codec (shows you what a few billions of dollars directed into a project can accomplish).

VaroVision have announced VaroDVD v1.322.
A trial version should be available for download soon. As far as i can tell, it has a much nicer GUI, maybe even better than PowerDVD, however, my previous experience with version 1.20 of VaroDVD was rather bad as the program was buggy and perhaps the slowest Software DVD player to even be released to the general public.
More information on VaroDVD can be found here.

Zone Selector v4.1 was released yesterday.
Zone Selector is a utility for Sigma Designs Hollywood-Plus (And possibly Creative DXR3) that allows you to play DVDs from any region without any limitations.

New features include:

  • Corrected some bugs (most of them were graphical, like menu wrong language...).
  • Added support for Multiprocessor on NT.
  • Improved tray menu bar with icons.

August 21st, 1999. has published a review for the Creative Labs Encore 6x DXR3 DVD Kit.

August 20th, 1999.

DVD Region Selector v1.97 has been released.
The new version implements regional support for the latest versions of WinDVD.

Get the latest version of Region Selector from the files area.

If you are planning on buying a DVD drive, you may want to take a peek at the's Pioneer DVD-103S review (DO NOT TOUCH THE RPC JUMPER YA HEAR!).

August 19th, 1999.

Earlier today the Big Picture DVD News reported that Disney is about to release 9 animated movies on DVD. However, you should probably know that some (all?) of these titles have already been released as region #2 several months ago. My view on this is "Don't try to figure out Disney semantics".

Still, I am disappointed that my favorite animated Disney films will not be released (Aladdin and Lion King if you're wondering).

August 18th, 1999.

In DVD release news, several nice DVD movies have been released this week, including De Niro's "Analyze This" and "EdTV".

Furthermore, the Star Trek Original Series first two ( 1 & 2 ) DVDs are finally out, allowing you to watch shatner without his famous shag in full DVD quality.

And lastly, about two month after being released as region #2, The Rocketeer has finally been released as region #1.

August 17th, 1999.

Microsoft has released version 6.4 of their Media Player. Media player is a very important windows component which can play MP3, MPEG-1, MPEG-4 and ASF (Advanced Streaming Format) files (among dozens of other formats). It is a recommended upgrade at 2345kb. You can get it here.

And in other news, DVD Infomatrix has reached it's 200,000th unique visitor since the count started on Nov. 21th 1998, not too bad.

Lastly, I have had a complaint that this site doesn't load up nicely on Opera, so i took the time and downloaded it, loaded up the site, and well, Opera doesn't support background images for tables. This is the feature used by the site for multi-resolution scaleability. I am sure this page is not the only page having this issue (Although it may be more noticeable here). If you would like this have this obvious opera flaw fixed, tell them on their support page.

August 16th, 1999.

I have been told that Zone Selector v4.0 will allow owners of the DXR3 to use the latest Hollywood-Plus drivers (v1.70) along with unlimited region changes. It may be a bit tricky to install, but it can be done.

August 15th, 1999.

A good news for Sigma Designs Hollywood-Plus owners, Zone Selector v4.0 has been released, including full source code. Zone Selector is a utility that allows users of the Hollywood-Plus DVD decoder card to switch between regions unlimited number of times, quite useful. Visit the Zone Selector home page here.

August 14th, 1999.

Sharky Extreme has a nice article about Set Top DVD vs. PC-DVD, read it here.

Also, someone mailed me, informing me that Region Selector does not work with WinDVD v1.2.85, I have tried mailing him back but i got a mail delivery error, most likely his reply eMail was not set correctly, in any case, i have no way of checking WinDVD 1.2.85 compatibility with Region Selector as i do not have this player, sorry.

August 12th, 1999.

Pegasus Imaging has released an interesting AVI MJPEG/Wavelet codec, it's the PicVideo 2.0, it claims to do VCR quality video over a 28.8 modem, give it a look.

In other news, C|Net has a nice article about the forthcoming DVD rewriteable standard, you may want to read it.

August 11th, 1999.

If you're a bit into media authoring, here is a nice little freeware utility that will downsample AC3 audio into a 2 channel WAVE file. Im not sure how well it works, but it beats paying a 1000$ or more for SoftEncode.

In other news, Ravisent, AKA Divicore, AKA Quadrent International has announced a joint venture with AMD to provide kick-ass Software DVD support with their Software Cinemaster Software-only DVD Player, you can read the press release here.

And to top it off with a bit of candy, The Matrix release date has been announced (September 21) and it's filled with all sort of goodies. From what i read, Warner Home Video is planning to make this title their best seller ever (for DVD), lets hope they succeed.

August 10th, 1999.

As I reported yesterday, PowerDVD v2.00 evaluation version is out, and this only one day after i released the latest Region Selector. To make things short, i am releasing DVD Region Selector v1.96 which includes unlimited region changes for the latest PowerDVD.
To get it, jump over to the files area.

Furthermore, I updated the PowerDVD review to reflect the changes made with the recent release, you may want to Glance it over.

August 9th, 1999.

Cyberlink has released PowerDVD v2.0. The new version includes the following new features:

  • Microsoft DirectShow Compliance (DirectShow filters).
  • Supports more audio devices which provide four speakers output (Including all the Creative Labs cards).
  • Supports more audio devices which provide S/PDIF output (Including SBLive!).
  • Improved Deinterlacing/Bobbing algorithm

August 8th, 1999.

Ok, I've had a nice sit-down and managed to wrap up version 1.95 of DVD Region Selector.
To get it, jump over to the files area.

August 7th, 1999.

Region Selector v1.95 may have to be delayed a couple of days since i had to work most of this weekend.

August 5th, 1999.

I will be releasing Region Selector v1.95 over this weekend, it will support several Hollywood Plus audio tweaks recently found as registry patches (one of which was made available for download from this site a while back). For region and Macrovision support you should stick to Zone Selector as there are no plans to add support for something that works well with other programs.

August 3rd, 1999.

I was hoping to release the Media Player video convertor this weekend, but i hit a snag, the DirectShow plug-in simply doesn't know how to seek well enough, this causes lots of frames to be encoded incorrectly as the decoding filter tries to seek to the correct location and while it's doing so, it blackens the screen and tells my code that the image is already ready. There is no way for me to know when the decoding filter actually seeked to the correct location so that i can relay the video information to the AVI codec. This basically disables the entire conversion process and makes the program only a slight improvement on the generic media player.
At this point in time, the Active Grab project is on a permanent freeze.

And for some lighter news, the efnet #PCDVD channel was finally liberated, feel free to give us a visit.

August 2nd, 1999.

It's funny how things can turn out, I have never in my life remember seeing a Hollywood movie being released first in another country (Outside the U.S.), some Disney movies were launched on the same day, but for me, this is a first.

You're probably wondering what i am babbling about, well, this weekend, the new "Universal Soldier: The Return" is showing in theaters in Israel. To my understanding, this movie is yet to be released for U.S. viewers (probably not a big deal unless you're a Goldberg fan). But still, I believe it's a first, at least for Israel.

Also, Microsoft has released a new beta update for their Media Player. Version 6.4b can be downloaded from their update site, be warned, enter that site at your own risk. Microsoft has been rumored to get all sort of information off your system when entering their update site.

And of course, you'll need Internet Explorer to enter their site. Microsoft's site uses propriety code that only runs on Internet Explorer.

August 1st, 1999.

The first Made-For-DVD game has been released by Psygonsis. While other games have had DVD hacks, or even conversions, Psygnosis' Lander is the first Made for DVD game. For more information, head over to Gamespot.

July 31st, 1999.

Over the past couple of days, I have been trying to install a new display adaptor in my system, this is quite a well known brand-name card, and the amount of headache it has given me is truly unbelievable. The card is the Creative TNT2 (non-ultra), and it has somehow managed to conflict with every single card in my system.

I have quite a lot of experience with computer hardware, I've been building computer systems for my self and other for several years now, and i simply didn't expect such a new and tested hardware to dish out so much trouble.

Other than the multiple issues with setting up this hardware, i was disappointed to see that while it's 3D support is indeed nice for it's price range, it's 2D support was pathetic at 32bit, it was slower than my old ATI Rage Pro card.

Ok, enough ranting for now.

On my spare time, i have been writing a program that wraps itself onto the updated Media Player to create a slightly different approach to playing media. It will allow you to basically convert every video you can see with the Media Player into any AVI codec, which can be rather nice. It's video-only, but it does have certain interesting uses, especially if you use Premiere for video editing and want to be able to work on file formats that premiere simply doesn't support, I'll probably post a simplistic beta in the next couple of weeks, stay tuned.

July 25th, 1999.

Anders M. Olsson corrected me on one part of the Hollywood-Plus driver issue i wrote about earlier, you can have the card send the audio data directly to a sound card without using an audio pass-through cable by using this registry patch.

July 24th, 1999.

I have noticed a few weird thing. As many of you know, Region #1 is the ruling region with 99% of hollywood films coming out first in this region. The thing is, I have started noticing a few exceptions, the biggest of which is "The Rocketeer" which has been already out for weeks on Region #2 and is only slated for release on August 17th as Region #1.

The same thing is also happening for "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels", but this may be expected since it's a UK film.

Is this a new trend? movies being market tested in European markets, or are these just exceptions to the rule?

July 23rd, 1999.

It looks as if Sigma Designs have finally decided to release a new driver for their Hollywood Plus card. Here is what was changed in version 1.70 of the Win 9x Hollywood-Plus driver:

  • Implemented basic support for RPC2 drives (DVD-ROM drives that carry the region code)
  • Added auto-calibration "on the fly" when no calibration has been done before at the current resolution/color depth.
  • The audio special output (6 Channel Wave) supports the ForteMedia sound card.

As you can see, this is utter bull$shit, no support for PAL 50, no support for DTS, no support for 4 discrete audio channels using popular cards such as Vortex 2 based cards or Sound Blaster Live! cards. Only support for unheard of 6-channel cards.

Heck, even support for stereo output directly through the sound card would be nice, skipping the audio-passthrough for sound amplification. I guess Sigma Designs just wants us to move elsewhere on our next purchase.

In any case, enough ranting, to download the latest Hollywood-Plus Win 9x driver:
Version 1.70, Disk 1 : hp1_7w1.exe
Version 1.70, Disk 2 : hp1_7w2.exe

July 16th, 1999.

Arzeno from the DVD Firmware Page has informed me that he has received a region-free firmware for the Creative Labs 6240E with firmware B101.

Also downloadable from the files area.

July 15th, 1999.

Cyberlink has released PowerDVD v1.60 Trial version.

This version includes support for ATI's motion compensation and several other features, you can download the trial version here or here.

July 13th, 1999.

Blight Rants:

Many of us non-American PAL viewing crowd have been a bit tissed by the lack of decent PAL support from our DXR3 and Hollywood-Plus cards (same card, different name). If you ever tried playing PAL though the card's standard PAL support, you would know what i mean. Due to a bad conversion, the card pauses the movie for 1/25th of a second EVERY SECOND. This makes the playback quite jerky, especially when the camera is panning.

Two months ago i contacted both the Sigma Designs Technical Support and Public Relations divisions by eMail. I gave them the entire "I don't have an NTSC TV and want to view DVD movies correctly" sob story, at the time i got assurances that the matter is of upmost importance to them and that a fix is underway.

Two months have passed and the only released the small 1.62 drive fix (Hollywood+) and still not a PAL fix. And on top of that, rather than releasing a driver to fix this issue, Creative beat Sigma Designs and released a driver supporting DTS for the DXR3 while us Hollywood-Plus users were left in the dust.

I am not really sure if Creative themselves make the DXR3 drivers or if Sigma Designs writes the drivers for them. In either case, the release shows us that Sigma Designs has been neglecting it's Brand Name user base, and the entire PAL viewing community in general.

Since then i have decided to try my luck again and mailed the Sigma Designs technical support, asking them if they have a release date for a driver supporting a solution to the PAL problem.

Here is the reply i received:
Sorry we can not give you any time frame. We just know that they are working on it.
As soon as is done we will post it in our web site. Thanks for your understanding."

Personally i am not very understanding, this problem has been acknowledged by Sigma Designs since March and nothing has been done to remedy it.

If you feel the same, how about mailing them about it (links above).
Let me know if you get a different response, perhaps if enough people mail them, we would get this issue finally resolved.

And in other Sigma Designs news,
Sigma Designs have released a new NT driver (v1.7 build 117) for the Hollywood-Plus card, get it here.

July 11th, 1999.

It seems like Paramount Studios have decided to convert the Original Star Trek series into DVD, this is nice, shame they haven't done the same for the newer Star Trek series, perhaps they will soon.

Star Trek:Os Vol 01
Star Trek:Os Vol 02

July 4th, 1999.

Good news for Sound Blaster Live! users, Creative has released version 2.1 of the Live!Ware package, visit the Creative Live!Ware page to get the goodies.

July 3rd, 1999.

If you weren't aware of it, the AsusDVD Player that comes with the 3400 and 3800 models is in fact the WinDVD 1.2 player, it was just licensed to Asus. It was verified that Region Selector can change it's region setting without limitation.

July 2nd, 1999.

I would like to wish a happy 4th of July weekend to our American readers, and a happy July 1st to our Canadian readers.

It seems that some lame warez puppies from the #celeron channel on efnet have decided to take over our helpful #pcdvd channel. Till this issue is resolved, I will not be available for help on IRC.

June 30th, 1999.

The Annoying Questions page has been slightly revamped.

June 25th, 1999.

Nothing to report, except something a bit odd. Several months ago, Software CineMaster was released by a company called "Quadrent International". About a couple of month ago they renamed the company to "Divicore". And now, i log into their site and they are called "Ravisent Technologies", truly odd.

June 21st, 1999.

Region Selector v1.93 has been released, it's a fix to support the new SBLive S/PDIF setting in Software CineMaster v1.0.32.
Get it from the Files Area.

June 18th, 1999.

I received a report from a guy saying that flashing the Hitachi GD-2500BX firmware on his Creative 6240E ruined his drive, so once again, be careful.

The Annoying Questions page link below was broken, fixed it.

June 17th, 1999.

As promised yesterday, in an attempt to answer some of the most annoying and repetitive questions I've been asked through eMail and on IRC, I have posted the Annoying Questions page.

This page answers some annoying questions such as "Which is the best Software DVD Player" and "What is the best player for the Voodoo 3, Matrox G400 and TNT 2 cards" and many more.

June 16th, 1999.

I have modified the page design to support dynamic resolutions. Viewing the page at higher resolutions should now yield more width.

In other news, if you're a DVD fan (which obviously you are since you are here reading this), then you can rejoice. The evil DIVX is dead. If you are unsure what DIVX is, it was a per-pay-viewing, non-standard DVD sub-format that threatened to corrupt our beloved DVD. For more news about the subject, or just kick-ass up to the minute DVD news, check out:
The Big Picture DVD News Daily

Furthermore, Arzeno over at the DVD Firmware Page informs me that the new Creative 6240E drives are in fact based on the Hitachi GD-2500BX model and that the Hitachi unlocked firmware may be used to make the drive region free. If you decide to flash the firmware, do it at your own peril.

In a late breaking S/PDIF news, Anders M Olsson has submitted an article on enabling S/PDIF output using the plain old Creative Sound Blaster 16 PCI. Head on to the Articles section for a read.

Stay tuned for tomorrow night as i will post a new article with the most repeated and annoying questions (and some answers).

Lastly, if you go to the top of the page, you will notice a 'Submit' Tag. If you feel you have a noteworthy article for this site, or just a plain news, feel free to submit it for publication.

June 11th, 1999.

The PC-DVD Informational text file has been updated to version 1.0. You can get it from the Files Area or visit the PC-DVD Informational website.

Few sections in the Technical Terms page have been updated.

June 9th, 1999.

PowerDVD v1.6 turned out as a nice surprise, while still not as fast as Software CineMaster, it sure has been taking steps in the right direction. Cyberlink has been quite the innovator in the Software Decoding market.

I have updated the PowerDVD review to reflect the changes in this latest version.

June 7th, 1999.

I have had a bit of time to analyze PowerDVD v1.6, and to my amazement, they made the region setting even easier to bypass. At it stands now, it can be done with a registry editor in under 10 seconds. But with Region Selector v1.92, it can be done in 2.

With that out of the way, you can find Region Selector v1.92 within the Files Area.

June 6th, 1999.

PowerDVD v1.6 has hit the fan, Region Selector support will be determined shortly. For more information go here.

June 5th, 1999.

It took quite a bit of time, but i have gone over all the Software DVD Player reviews and patched them up as best i could. The entire review layout has changed and is much more appealing now.

I have also updated the reviews to reflect the current status of each player.

Click here for the updated reviews.

June 3rd, 1999.

I am hard at work on revamping the entire review section, and possibly fixing up / updating the other sections, look out for the newly updated reviews within the next week or so.

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