The News Archive

December 30th, 1999.

C|Net is reporting that DVD Sales for 1999 have more than doubled early-year estimates, for the full article, go here.

Work on DVD Genie's next version is almost complete, i am planning on a bold release date and will release it in the middle of all the Y2K mess.

If the server remains intact, and your computer is left standing, you'll be able to download DVD Genie v3.24 some time tomorrow.

December 29th, 1999.

As I have mentioned earlier, I am having problems with my Sony WEGA TV.


I have placed a couple of sample snapshots. The one on the left is how a picture should look like. The one on the right is the bad picture, if you look at the girl's forehead, you would see the banding effect I was talking about previously. This is how my WEGA TV is currently showing the image, rather badly, and it looks worse when the image is in motion, as the banding shimmers.

As the TV is still under warranty (heck, it's only 2 months old), I had a Sony tech-person come over today to see what the problem was. He took apart the TV, but wasn't able to find anything wrong with the wiring, so more than likely, it's something in the actual electronics.

At this point in time, i am waiting for one of the people in charge at sony to come look at the TV and decide if to replace it altogether.

To close things off, I would like to mention something interesting I've seen the sony tech do. He somehow entered a secret menu on the TV, he refused to tell me how this was done (I guess they are not allowed to), but that menu held all sort of interesting stuff. Since the WEGA TV is basically a sort of computer monitor. It has all the stuff you would expect from a computer monitor inside this menu. The H-Size, V-Size controls, image location, pin-cushioning, etc...

I have found the method used to invoke the WEGA (and possibly other Sony) Service mode menu, you can find the information listed here. It may be dangerous to mess with the service menu, use at your own peril.

December 28th, 1999.

I have been informed by Arzeno of the Firmware Page, that the people on this Geocities site have ripped off his work and are actually linking directly to his file library.

This kind of theft is not new to the internet, in fact, there are several sites that list my articles as their own, without giving me or this site any credit. Don't let this happen, don't let sites like ours die. Let Geocities know about this unlawful site and if possible, let the actual criminals themselves know what you think of their actions.

Reel appears to be updating their 50% discount list faster than I can post it, here is the updated list:

DVD Name:Price:Discount:
The Mask$12.49(50%)
The Shining$12.49(50%)
Sex, lies, and videotape$14.99(50%)
What Dreams May Come$17.49(50%)
Home Alone$14.99(50%)
Bottle Rocket$13.99(50%)
Crimson Tide$14.99(50%)
Dr. Seuss: How the Grinch Stole Christmas$9.99(50%)
Pajama Game$9.99(50%)

December 27th, 1999.

Great news, two of my all-time favorite movies have been announced and are actually on pre-order at

These movies are Independence Day: Special Edition currently listed at $24.99 and Hook currently listed at $16.77.

Currently there is hardly any info on any of these, not even an image of the cover art. ID4 has a June 13th release date and Hook is planned to be released on the 21st of March.

Now I just wish Spielberg and Lucas get their acts together and release my other favorites, such as:
Goonies, Indiana Jones trilogy, Back to the Future Trilogy, Star Wars Trilogy, etc . . .

December 25th, 1999.

Merry Xmas everyone.

And to celebrate this holiday, Sigma Designs have updated their Windows 95/98 driver for the Hollywood-Plus decoder card.

Here is what's new in version 1.81:

  • A fix for a bug while accessing the MPEG data on some movies that leads to the error message MMSYSTEM275. This bug was introduced in release 1.8.
  • Some region 4 movies published by a certain company are exhibiting audio noise during playback. This is due to some CRC errors in the AC-3 stream and can be fixed by ignoring these errors using the registry entry IgnoreAc3Crc=1 in the registry folder HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Sigma Designs\REALmagic\13
    It is recommended to have it equal to the default value zero to allow the driver to handle these errors by not decoding these blocks (or passing them to the external AC-3 decoder, if available).

There you go. This news will be especially joyous to people trying to play the river dance DVD as it exhibited this error.

Download Disk 1 and Disk 2.

December 24th, 1999.

Two new questions added to the Frequently asked questions page, the Incompatibility page was updated a bit, the eMail section now has it's own page and other small page tweaks were made.

If you have an NVIDIA card and use it for DVD viewing, check out the NVIDIA DVD Zone for all sort of tweaks and information.

If there are children present, tell them to leave the room, then read this article.

December 22nd, 1999.

In what appears to be the last update to the millennium, and if you ask me, a bit late to make it into the Xmas shopping spree, have updated their 50% discount title listing:

DVD Name:Price:Discount:
Practical Magic$12.49(50%)
Sex, lies, and videotape$14.99(50%)
What Dreams May Come$17.49(50%)
Home Alone$14.99(50%)
Hard Rain$14.99(50%)
Dr. Seuss: How the Grinch Stole Christmas$9.99(50%)
Playing God$14.99(50%)

December 20th, 1999.

If anyone is wondering what I am doing presently, I am currently at work fixing up a few DVD Genie features. Among those are automatic TV mode (NTSC/PAL) selection for Matrox G400 users, automatic closing of DVD Genie after running a selected program.

Fixed a few bugs caused by uninstall programs of certain DVD Players that seemed to mess around with the Auto-Insert notification, corrupting it for DVD Genie. This will be rectified.

Besides that, im sick again (*yay*), and my WEGA TV is pissing me off, for some reason the image it shows appear as if it's 16bit now, with lots of color banding. It's a brand new TV and I have no clue why it does this. I am a very technical person as you might have guessed, and I went over the entire documentation for the TV and came up with nothing. Lets hope sony actually answers the eMail I sent with more than a one line response as a lot of these major corporations usually do.

December 16th, 1999.

Thanks to Lars from Norway, the DVD Genie 3.10 Online documentation has been translated to norwegian.

December 15th, 1999.

It seems it's official, Microsoft has finally released Windows 2000 to manufacturers.

While the official release date is the 17th of February, due to the holiday season it will take the manufacturers a little longer to press all those discs and print all those manuals. My hopes are that Windows 2000 will live up to all it's hype and will actually be Microsoft's first stable operating system.

For more information, see this article.

December 14th, 1999.

Announcing the release of DVD Genie v3.20.

This version introduces the ability to automate the entire Region Setting process with several of the popular Players.
Make sure to read the complete history list for more details.

For the complete history list go here.
To download DVD Genie v3.20, click here.

December 13th, 1999.

Barring no last minute delays, version 3.20 of DVD Genie should be released tomorrow, stay tuned.

December 9th, 1999.

First of the DVD Genie on-line help translation is in. The webmaster of mailed me the Italian translation.

You can find the English and the newly release Italian on-line help for DVD Genie here.

December 8th, 1999.

Despite's Pioneer heavy handed approach, Progress Ramsoft Network's WEB place is back up, with a region-free firmware for the Pioneer 114 drive, and several firmware fixed for other Pioneer drives.

Pioneer will probably quash it soon enough, but till then, give it a visit, especially if you own a locked pioneer drive.

Work on DVD Genie v3.20 continues, and so far it looks mighty good, final version is expected in a week or so.

December 6th, 1999.

Updated the coupon list with more entries. It's a useful list if you want to buy certain DVDs cheaper.

December 3rd, 1999.

I felt a little better this morning and my Internet connection was a bit unstable, so I had the time to sit a bit more on DVD Genie, and finish up the release.

With that said, DVD Genie v3.10 is now ready for your prompt download. I also have several cool things lined up for the next versions, so stay tuned!

For the complete history list go here.
To download DVD Genie v3.10, click here.

The DVD Genie Online Help pages have been updated to reflect the recent changes. I am also in the process of having them translated into different languages. If you would like to translate the DVD Genie Online Help files, please Contact me.

Made a small fix-up on the WinDVD Review with an explanation on how to modify the WinDVD skin.

December 2nd, 1999.

Work is progressing into DVD Genie v3.10, The new CineMaster engine introduced three new tweaks which have been added to DVD Genie. The CineMaster tweaks page is getting a bit overloaded with all these features, but i somehow managed to squeeze them all in there.

Just in time for the weekend I managed to catch something, so i am not feeling well enough to put more work into the new version. For this reason, it will probably not be released this weekend. I have a couple of cool things in mind for the full release, stay tuned.

One small note regarding the "Ignore downscale caps" CineMaster setting, I've been told that you don't get an image when disabling it on certain TNT cards. This may be due to older TNT drivers. Make sure you update to the latest drivers which are based on the NVIDIA 3.53 or newer reference drivers. They improve DVD quality as well.

December 1st, 1999.

Another new month draws us ever so near to the Year 2000. Only one month to go till the mayham begins. Make sure to get a bank listing of all your accounts at least 3-4 days before Y2K, better safe than sorry.

As for some real news, In a recent article IGN sci-fi reports that Star Wars Episode-I will be released on Video April 3rd. While no formats were mentioned, previous Lucas statements make it hard to believe a DVD release would be made prior to 2006.

Feeling like buying a degradable tape this April, this may be the one to get.

Personally, I think Lucas prefers VHS cassettes for their degradable quality, it's much easier to push a new special edition version when your older copies have scratches and poor audio.

A good news for fans of Oleg's DVD Soft site, it's back up in a permanent address (hopefully), you can get to it here.

Lastly, If you can remember the 80's sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica, they are trying to bring it back, and as one of the few sci-fi shows from my childhood, I think it's worth a mention to try and help them get it back up.

If you remember the show, and would like to help the original cast and fans bring it back to life, go to the Battlestar Galactica site here.

November 30th, 1999.

I am currently working on adjusting DVD Genie to an updated CineMaster engine (v2.0.36.6158 if anyone is wondering). This new update will also consist of Audio-Presets for SP/DIF on various sound cards (only with the newest drivers). And also a small comment, if you have a TNT/TNT2 card, or possibly even a GeForce card, you should probably disable the "Ignore downscale caps" in the More Options under the CineMaster tab. Even though it's listed as a preset, it exhibits some lower quality (half-height image resolution downscaling). bidding to make another push into the holiday season has updated their holiday 50% lineup with several sexy and teen movies (not to mention yet another x-mas movie):

DVD Name:Price:Discount:
Varsity Blues$14.99(50%)
In the Name of the Father$12.49(50%)
Color of Night$14.99(50%)
Big Daddy$12.49(50%)
9 1/2 Weeks$12.49(50%)
Black Orpheus$14.99(50%)
A Christmas Carol$12.49(50%)
Dr. Seuss: How the Grinch Stole Christmas$9.99(50%)

November 28th, 1999.

More than a year after DVD Genie was first released, finally there is a full on-line documentation explaining every single feature in detail. I hope you like it.

For the full DVD Genie on-line documentation, go here.

In hardware news, Pioneer has announced the product specification of their new DVD-RW home consumer device, writing to 4.7gb discs. Currently it is only planned for the Japanese market, it will probably be distributed world wide within the next 6 months. The current price estimate stands at around 3,000 yen.

For the complete product announcement, go here.

November 27th, 1999.

Announcing the release of DVD Genie v3.02. Several bugs were fixed, improved zooming information, a few new tweaks and other goodies.

For the complete history list go here.
To download DVD Genie v3.02, click here.

November 26th, 1999.

Had a small screwup in the WinDVD review, thanks to an alert user for catching it, the link was fixed.

If nothing special delays it, expect a DVD Genie release sometime this weekend.

November 25th, 1999.

I have updated the WinDVD review to feature the changes of WinDVD 2000 (WinDVD v2.0).

You can find the updated review here.

I have updated The Annoyingly Frequent Questions page with several more of those repetitive questions.

November 24th, 1999.

I am working on a fixup version of DVD Genie. This version will clean up some of the Hollywood-Plus code so now when it's disabled, it won't require a driver re-install. I am also trying to make some sort of fix for the ATI player zooming issue. Probably on the ATI tab. Other than that, expect several other small tweaks. The next version may be released this weekend if I can squeeze in enough programming time.

As WinDVD 2000 is about to be officially announced, I will try getting a full review up. I am also told that InterVideo (Authors of WinDVD) are doing a $1000 skinning contest for their future players. Feel like trying your hang at winning the contest, go here.

I would also like to give a head's up to 3DSL. If you're looking for the latest Trial version of Cyberlink's PowerDVD or the newest NVIDIA and Aureal drivers, look no further. Heck, they have newer drivers than the official sites most of the time, give them a look.

Lastly, i would like to appoligize for the bad Amazon Under-$10 movie list link.
For the correct link, press here.

November 21st, 1999.

My favorite on-line retailer, is kick-starting the hollyday shopping season with a fresh batch of 40-50% off-price movies:

A Christmas Story$9.99(50%)
Snake Eyes$15.00(50%)
Practical Magic$12.49(50%)
The Corruptor$12.49(50%)
Top Gun$15.00(50%)
Practical Magic$12.49(50%)
Disney DVD Collection$215.40(40%)
The Iron Giant$14.99(40%)
The Shawshank Redemption$11.99(40%)
American Pie - Unrated Version$15.99(41%)
The Thomas Crown Affair$14.99(40%)

Not only that, Amazon has built a new section within their site listing all the Under-$10, Under $15 and Under $20 DVD movie lists.

Not to be out down, have their own 50% off-price list. However, the movies on their list are mostly more sombre:

Big Daddy$12.49(50%)
Die Hard$14.99(50%)
In the Name of the Father$12.49(50%)
Boogie Nights$12.49(50%)
Rolling Stones: Live at the Max (IMAX)$12.49(50%)
Black Orpheus$14.99(50%)
Dr. Seuss: How the Grinch Stole Christmas$9.99(50%)

November 19th, 1999.

In a follow-up report, CNet's is reporting that the MPAA is lobbying for the total removal of DeCSS off the internet. While this premiss is impossible as the net is just too big, the MPAA is giving it it's best shot, sending their flotilla of lawyers after every public site that promotes the use of DeCSS.

For the complete story, go here.

November 18th, 1999.

It seems that the dvdsoft site is being persecuted, all of it's mirrors keep disappearing hours after being created. At the moment you can try the following mirrors, but please don't eMail me if they don't work.

November 17th, 1999.

Yesterday the site was closed down. This site's legality was always in question, but frankly, a lot of people used it to acquire information and programs that you simply couldn't even buy. I would have expected to hear of some angry OEM attacking the site for posting it's latest DVD Player software patch.

However, this wasn't the case. From what i understand, two lawyers from pioneer visited the host and threatened to take legal action against the hosting company for posting links to a program that resets a certain pioneer DVD drive region counter. Even though their case was flimsy at best as didn't actually develop this program, the host decided it was best not take unnecessary risks and has since closed down the site.

However, a good thing usually doesn't just disappear, so a new mirror was quickly erected.

The new dvdsoft site can be found at:

Hear our words! Keep the drives region free!

November 16th, 1999.

Today at Comdex, 3dfx announced both the Voodoo4 and Voodoo5 cards. And while this site is not dedicated to 3D acceleration, i still think i have a few valid points to make about the 3D industry as it currently stands.

Let me first start by saying that for the last three months, i have been using a TNT2 card from creative. While the TNT architecture is quite solid for 3D, it has awful 2D support. It's 2D acceleration is below par of even the ATI Rage Pro card. It's slower, and at least on my Creative TNT2 card, the image is not as clear as my old ATI Rage Pro card, heck with a 300mhz RAMDAC, it can't even achieve the refresh rates of my old ATI Rage Pro card.

And now I am reading all this interesting information regarding a whole crop of new cards being released by nVidia, ATI, S3, 3dfx and others. And the first thing i notice about these cards is the hype. I have never seen so many lies and untruths being told by these card manufacturers.

For me it all started when the TNT2 and Voodoo3 cards were released. Right on the boxes of some of these cards you could see the words "DVD Acceleration". Now, there are currently 3 ways you could accelerate DVD. The first and most popular would be to acceleration a function called Motion Compensation. This is by far the most popular DVD acceleration available on the market to date. You can find it in cards from ATI, S3 and SiS, possibly from other less well known manufacturers. The second DVD acceleration hardware is iDCT acceleration. You can find iDCT acceleration on ATI 128, SiS cards. And the third acceleration is the CSS decryption algorithm. You can only find this kind of acceleration on dedicated decoder cards as it's not overly CPU intensive to justify acceleration.

And then there is the Voodoo and TNT acceleration. Both nVidia and 3dfx claim to have some obscure acceleration in there, heck, it's practically written on the box. But what nVidia and 3dfx claim to be DVD acceleration is in actuality MPEG-1 acceleration which has been part of the hardware of almost every display adaptor since 1995. Not only that, but in fact the TNT and TNT2 until recently had a serious bug in either their drivers or hardware which disabled smooth hardware scaling of 2D video sequences. Amazingly enough, this bug was somehow fixed or bypassed when nVidia released their first official GeForce driver. My best guess is that this was some sort of hardware bug which was bypassed using a driver tweak. Im basing this guess as it seems that generating the overlay surface required for smooth video scaling now takes more video memory. The date of this "fix" stinks a bit as it comes way too late for TNT owners and right on the heel of the GeForce release.

When the GeForce was released, it officially announced the second age of the Hype Wars. Once again nVidia and now 3dfx are claiming DVD acceleration, and once more i feel the stench of hype obscuring the actual existence of DVD acceleration hardware.

What makes me laugh is, every once in a while you would see a 3D card review with a small tid-bit of DVD information, usually saying "This card rox, has great DVD quality". The thing is, all these testers are running their fine little tests on 600-800mhz machines that can in fact, play DVD without any acceleration what-so-ever. These sites should instead dust off their old 233mhz machines and then see which card works best. Currently, other than the ATI 128 based cards, all other cards would cough up a lung trying to play on such a machine.

Beside the DVD issue, I see a serious problem with the fragmentation of the 3D display market. As of this point, there is not a single card in existence that has the minimum requirements to be the card i would pay the 300$ price tag the new series of cards demand.

As i see it, a next generation card should contain the following features:

1) Fill rate fast enough to sustain at least 30fps at 1024x768 with full-scene anti-aliasing enabled.
2) Transform and Lighting fast enough to sustain at least 30fps with 100,000 on-screen polygons.
3) Support for real bump mapping (environment).
4) Support for hardware Texture Compression.

Now some of you may say that 60fps is required, and i admit that a game appears smoother at 60fps, but personally i am more into the cinematic feel of a game and would trade off a faster fill rate for a much higher image quality.

I don't think that such a card is impossible, the most annoying this is, each 3D card is trying to identify itself by only trying to push forward one of the above specifications and trying to herald it as the thing to have. The fact is, you may have the best fill rate and thus full scene anti-aliasing, but your characters and environment would look flat and cubic as most games appear today. You could have the hardware Transform and Lighting, but without the fast fill rate, your characters will appear smooth, but the pixels will pop since no anti-aliasing is applied to them. And of course, to make your character more realistic, you would need both bump mapping and texture compression, since without texture compression, you could never hold enough high-resolution textures within your card's video memory to make the environment look realistic.

In conclusion, the current crop of display adaptors are simply not it. They are simply not the ones to make the big change in the industry. Sure, they will be faster, and look a little better, but don't hold your breath. Lets hope that they will get it right next time. At the rate the industry is moving, that will be in around 4-8 month, see ya there.

If you are planning to buy a new card for DVD acceleration, don't listen to the hype and do a bit of research first.

November 12th, 1999.

As promised, i am releasing the next version of Region Selector under the new DVD Genie name. Beside the new name, the program features support for PowerDVD v2.50, an option to set an alternative PowerDVD region code in case the original code doesn't seem to work. An updated zoom centering code with options to lock both the vertical and horizontal axis.

For the complete history list go here.
To download DVD Genie v3.00, click here.

As i have also promised, i have written an in-depth review of the new capabilities of PowerDVD v2.5.1028.
As you may have seen, PowerDVD has a new user interface, but what does that all mean, to find out, read the full review.

November 9th, 1999.

Due to the more expanding nature of Region Selector, I have decided to rename the program.

I asked the good folks on the efnet #pcdvd IRC channel for naming tips and after quite a few suggestions, i decided to go with AGRO21's suggestion of DVD Genie. Since the program required a new icon, i asked if anyone could draw a good Genie, and KnEtwErX stepped up to the plate. The outcome was very nice, the man has talent.

Beyond that, Expect support for PowerDVD v2.50 and a full review by this weekend.

November 7th, 1999.

Another big news day, Friday Microsoft has lost their big day in court as the judge nailed them for multiple abuses of their monopoly powers.
Read the ZDNet article here.
CNN's out take here.
And lastly, read CNet's roundup here.

GA Source have posted a comprehensive review of the X-10 DVD Anywhere kit. I do have this kit myself and I can pretty much confirm everything in this review, down to the microwave interference (kind of spooky to know that your microwave oven outputs signals like that).
Read the full review here.

November 6th, 1999.

As you may know already, as reported on this site about a month ago, the DVD CSS encryption code was completely broken. It has taken the news sites nearly that time just to catch up with the technology. The main culprit being DeCSS which has greatly simplified the decryption process. Wired started the media buzz with a series of two articles which included content from the author of DeCSS.
You can read the two articles here and here.

Following this lead, CNN opted to get the response from the Film Studios and the MPAA
You can read the CNN article here.

And lastly, ZDNet posted their own view on this topic with an in depth look at possible repercussions.

November 5th, 1999.

Fekete Istvan has written a program to erase the region code on the Pioneer 114 10x/40x DVD drives. This program only works on firmware 1.10 and using it may cause permanent loss of your drive. You can figure out your drive's firmware version using Drive Info.

Erwin van den Berg has released an updated version of Remote Selector for the DXR2/DXR3 cards. Remote Selector allows you to change the region for these cards along with support for several remote control devices.

Here are the new features:

  • Support added for the latest Creative Dxr3 player software (V4.20):
    • MacroVision disabling support.
    • Remote support for menu functions.
  • Automatic region change option added:
    • This option only works when the 'Auto insert notification' option of the DVD drive is enabled.
  • Support added for Logitech AST remote control. Thanks to Brian Dorn!

You can find the latest version of Remote Selector here.

November 4th, 1999.

Region Selector

I have been asked to make a few tweaks to the new Zooming feature of Region Selector. So this new version now supports Zooming Presets. I have also tried to return the 4-Speaker support for the Hollywood-Plus card, It was removed with version 1.8 of the Hollywood-Plus drivers, however, i do not have the hardware to test this support, so if it isn't working, let me know.

For the updated history list go here.

And to download Region Selector 2.57 go here.

Tom's Hardware Guide posted a preview of the new S3 Savage2000 card. With support for faster 3D, hardware Transform and Lighting (Geometry Acceleration and Lighting) this card sounds interesting. However, how does it perform as a DVD platform? Tom has a few insights into this.

For the full preview, go here.

I have incorporated a search engine into the DVD Title Search section. I am also including a coupon page for Reel which i will try to keep updated.

November 3rd, 1999.

There were a few broken links on the site since i moved the page to an SSI design, please let me know if you get any broken link messages.

November 2nd, 1999.

Philips Semiconductors today announced the availability of the world's first 12x DVD-ROM drive.

"The ability to reliably read DVD disks at 12 times normal speed depends on the quality of the drive's servo control loops," said Yasuo Suzuki, Philips Semiconductors' product marketing manager for DVD products. "Philips Semiconductors' wealth of experience in the design of the servo mechanisms and their control electronics has enabled us to maintain the lead in high-performance DVD systems."" For the full press release go here.

On a side note, from my experience so far, all 8x or faster DVD drives and certain 6x drives are region locked, you can probably count on this drive to be locked as well.

3D Sound Surge has posted a short DVD editorial, you can read it here.

November 1st, 1999.

As reported earlier on Inmatrix News, I am working on an updated version of Region Selector with improved zooming capability. I have also attempted to restore the 4-Channel downmixing support with the new Hollywood-Plus 1.8 drivers. Barring any last minute delays, the release should be sometime this Wednesday.

October 30th, 1999.

While browsing around the web i stumbled upon a new movie set, the Tom Clancy Widescreen Thrillers.

The set contains three of my favorite movies, Hunt for Red October (1.85:1), Patriot Games (2.35:1) and Clear & Present Danger (2.35:1).

And while on the subject, Harrison Ford was recently in a helicopter crash (during a flying lesson i believe). Both Harrison and the flight instructor made it out unscathed. No details regarding the cause were given.

Tom Clancy Widescreen Thrillers

October 29th, 1999.

SigmaDesigns have released an updated Hollywood-Plus driver for Windows NT 4.0 sp3 or newer.

The new version supports the following features:

  • DTS is now supported : whenever you choose the DTS option in a Movie menu the OUTPUT WILL BE DIRECTED THRU THE SP/DIF OUPUT IN DIGITAL FORMAT REGARDLESS OF THE DVD STATION AUDIO OUPUT SETTING, so the DTS stream is NOT decoded thru the analog mini audio jack.
  • NTSC to PAL conversion does not suffer of the 1 sec stuttering.
  • The audio volume sliding bar shows in full screen.
  • PC Friendly will show the playback of movie with the black key color (video was not shown with rel 1.7 - audio only heard).
  • The audio special output (6 channel Wave) support to sound cards is removed for royalty issues.

This appears to be a catch-up version of the earlier Win98 driver release.

You can get v1.8 (build 220) of the Hollywood-Plus NT drivers at these links : Disk 1, Disk 2.

October 27th, 1999.

Monday, Intel have announced their new family of desktop/portable CPUs, the Coppermine.

Released at both 100 and 133 FSB (Front Side Bus) this new chip includes on-chip L2 (secondary) cache size of 256kb. Half the size of the original Pentium III, but running at the CPU speed (The older P3 Cache ran at half the CPU speed). Other than that, Intel have also improved the cache design for extra efficiency, and shrunk the CPU down using 0.18 micron technology (compared to the older 0.25 micron used by the P3/Athelon). By shrinking the CPU down it could fit the cache within the same chip and also speed it up while reducing the voltage requirement.

Currently the Intel CPUs are the fastest clocked x86 computers but they still fall behind AMD's Athelon processor when it comes to pure number crunching (especially at Floating Point calculations). The fastest Coppermine CPU announced was 733mhz running at 133mhz FSB.

Even though, Athelon CPUs are still faster when it comes to pure horsepower, in certain games the new Intel CPU is faster due to CPU optimized Video Drivers. However, from what i understand, AMD may be releasing a 1000mhz (or 1ghz) CPU on Q1-2000. This may have intel running for cover (or using cattle prods on their engineers to work faster).

Still, intel is facing a big problem, Currently there is no intel-based motherboard capable of running the Coppermine CPUs at full capacity efficiency. The only options are either to use the older BX based motherboards at 100mhz FSB or use an alternative board based on the VIA chipset. This is probably the first time Intel have released a board without having a motherboard ready at the launch date.

For a complete review of the Coppermine release, including an Athelon comparison visit Tom's Hardware Guide.
Or read the Sharky Extreme Intel Coppermine P3-733/700/667/650/600 CPU Reviews.

The site is having some technical difficulties at the moment which may prohibit me from updating it as usually. However, the new news page should continue to be operational at

October 24th, 1999.

nVidia has recently released a new version of their Detonator drivers. Version 3.53 includes a much improved video control interface (colors, Overlay colors/brightness, OpenGL, Direct3D tweaks, etc...). This new drivers also fix a long standing TNT bug (nearly 2 years!) You can finally get a good full-screen scaled DVD image on your monitor. The TNT/TNT2 have a hardware bug that prevented them from generating a good looking scaled image, but i guess nVidia have somehow bypassed it with this release. However, generating an seems to take more memory now. On my 16mb TNT2 card i had to drop to 1024x768x16bit in order for the overlay code to work.

So, if you are getting a black screen when playing Software DVD, or you simply don't get any screen, drop to 16bit, or perhaps even reduce your screen refresh rate (yes, a high refresh rate can prevent overlays from working).

Downloading the drivers from nVidia's site can be a bit slow, so try their affilate at

October 23nd, 1999.

I am starting to implement HTML Style sheets into the page, this will require that you use an HTML 4.0 compliant browser or things may look a tad weird.

October 22nd, 1999.

Region Selector

Due to the new WinDVD release, i have decided to rush a new Region Selector version. Version 2.55 includes several WinDVD tweaks other than the regional support, a new CineMaster tweak and several fixes.

For the complete history list go here.

And to download Region Selector v2.55 go here.

InterVideo has released a patch to upgrade WinDVD to version 1.2.99. It only works with certain versions of WinDVD,

For more details, go here.

October 21st, 1999.

Creative Labs have finally decided to make the Live!Ware 3.0 upgrade available for download.

You can get it here.

October 20th, 1999.

SigmaDesigns have released v1.8 beta of their Driver and Player for the Hollywood-Plus DVD decoder card.
Here what's new in this release:

  • DTS is now supported : whenever you choose the DTS option in a movie menu the OUTPUT WILL BE DIRECTED THROUGH THE SP/DIF OUPUT IN DIGITAL FORMAT REGARDLESS OF THE DVD STATION AUDIO OUPUT SETTING, so the DTS stream is NOT decoded through the analog mini audio jack.
  • NTSC to PAL conversion does not suffer of the 1 sec stuttering.
  • The audio volume sliding bar shows in full screen.
  • PC Friendly will show the playback of movie with the black key color (video was not shown with rel 1.7 - audio only heard).
  • A timing fix for the Jaton's OEM board on Pentium III systems.
  • The audio special output (6 channel Wave) support to sound cards is removed for copyright issues.
You can get the files here: Disk 1, Disk 2.

Amazon has posted their 100 Best Movies of this century list, with movies dating all the way back to the start of the century.

October 19th, 1999.

I am inquiring if someone would like to open a DVD / DVD-ROM daily news page on this site. Mainly a gathering of all the day to day DVD / DVD-ROM news and Information from around the web.

The requirements are:
Knowing how to write well in english,
Basic HTML (i will construct the frame code myself for easy editing),
Expert knowledge in browsing the web,
Enough free time to make daily updates.

If you are interested, please mail me.

October 17th, 1999.

C|Net news have posted a nice article detailing the price drops of DVD titles due to the heavy competition between the on-line retailers in their attempt to grab onto consumers.
Read C|Net's report here.

October 16th, 1999.

Important message:
If you run Region Selector 2.50 and it crashes right when you load it, you will need to download it again, I had a small memory over-run bug in the Windows Enumeration code. The current version is now fixed (still v2.50).

Region Selector

The moment you've all been waiting for, the release of Region Selector 2.50.

This new release has a greatly improved Cinemaster 99 support (better than the beta if anyone is wondering). It also implements a generic window resize & zoom capability. You can use this feature to go full screen on widescreen movies by zooming on the center of the screen. The window size is fully selectable and you are also allowed to lock aspect ratios.

For the complete history list go here.

And to download Region Selector 2.50 go here.

October 15th, 1999.

In around 24 - 36 hours I will be releasing the new version of Region Selector (non-beta), stay tuned.

I have recently been getting more and more eMails on a daily basis, probably 30 eMails per-day currently. To this end i am trying to expand the Annoying FAQ list to contain more and more questions to highly repetitive eMails. Three new questions were included today.

You can read the Annoying FAQ over at the Articles section.

October 14th, 1999.

I have updated the WinDVD review for version 1.2.93.

You can find the updated review over at the reviews section.

October 13th, 1999.

If you are a Bruce Campbell fan (Hercules's King of Thieves) you may be aware of his earlier work on the Evil Dead Movie Trilogy. The third movie in this cult comic/horror film (which i consider the best in the series) has finally been released. If you're a fan, be sure out to check the Special Edition version of
Army of Darkness

IGN Sci-Fi has also posted an interesting write-up about this recent DVD Special-Edition release.

Army of Darkness

October 12th, 1999.

I am putting the finishing touches on Region Selector 2.20. It should be ready for release this weekend.

Beside the Cinemaster 99 support, you can now expect zooming for most DVD players, just select any open window (or in your case the DVD playback window) and scale it up to any resolution you desire. This function will allow you to do get rid of the black widescreen bars at the cost of cropping the sides of the movie (hey, some people prefer that, go figure).

October 10th, 1999.

News Flash:
Due to the problem with the ATI Mobility chipset not being supported correctly by Region Selector v2.10, i have decided to post a beta version of Region Selector 2.20 which fixes this issue. It also contains massive support for CineMaster 99.

Important note:
If you downloaded Beta #2 and are using the 2.0.35 Cinemaster engine, then you need to get beta 3, same link as below.

You can find the beta version of Region Selector v2.20 here.

October 9th, 1999.

I have started going over CineMaster 99 in order to incorporate a more thorough support for it within Region Selector. I am facing a bit of a difficulty as the Cinemaster DVD Player v1.9 which comes with the CineMaster engine is customized toward a specific video card and is HIGHLY unstable on my system. However browsing through the files i believe that these are some of the changes in this new version:

  • Some sort of support for 3D Audio.
  • Possible support for NT4.
  • Possible support for Windows 2000.
  • More SP/DIF settings for SB64, Aureal, Maestro.
  • More Hardware Acceleration support for ATI Mobility and S3 Savage4.
The current region selector should partially work for Cinemaster 99, as long as you make sure to first erase the "Quadrent International" setting from the registry.

Be on the look out for Region Selector 2.20 in the next couple of weeks (Also to VideoMatrix 1.10).

October 8th, 1999.

As probably most of you know, The Matrix being a Hybrid DVD/DVD-ROM product, is causing problems with certain players, most of them being External DVD players. On the computer side of things, you can use the PCFriendly DVD Player front-end to bypass these issues, but i am afraid that there may not be a solution for External players. There have been rumors of Matrix v2.0 discs, but I have yet to hear an official announcement regarding this issue.

October 7th, 1999.

I am moving the DVD Infomatrix message board to a local on-site forum.
The new address is:

Several weeks ago, Disney announced they are releasing nine of their all time animated classics to DVD. Now beside releasing the movies individually, you can now get the entire Disney movie box set here.

October 6th, 1999.

Region Selector v2.10 has been released, it contains a fix for the new PowerDVD and i tried to support Software Cinemaster 99 without even running the program, so it may or may not work.

You can download the latest version over at the files area.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

The South Park Movie has been announced, it's due to be released on November 23rd. Nuff said.

GamePC has released a DVD-ROM drive roundup. While the roundup only consists of four drives from three different manufacturers, it's still a good read. Play close attention to the Sony drive. From personal experience I can tell you that the Sony DVD drive is rather bad. It couldn't even sustain 8x (CD Speed) read rate on a system i was benchmarking.

October 5th, 1999.

Modified the news section a bit so it would load more dynamically.

October 4th, 1999.

Browsing Amazon, I noticed that they haven't updated their 40-50% discount list for quite a while, heck the newest movie on the list was bulworth. So i promptly eMailed their tech-support pointing out the obvious and three days later, the list got updated with 19 new titles, nine of which are at 50% off and includes titles such as:

Notting Hill, Big Daddy, The Price of Egypt and Go.

October 3rd, 1999.

In an IGN Movies Exclusive, they give away Matrix 2 spoiler, read all about it here.

October 2nd, 1999.

SigmaDesigns have released a Windows 2000 Alpha driver for their Hollywood-Plus DVD decoder card. You can get the two files here, or through a direct link for File 1 and File 2.

The Dark Crystal was one of Jim Henson's (The Muppets) last works, they simply don't make these kind of movies anymore, if anything i truly suggest reading the full review. The DVD is being released October 5th.

Another Jim Henson movie being released on the same day is Labyrinth. While this movie wasn't as successful as some of Henson's other movies, it will always remain a true fantasy classic.

The Dark Crystal

I have included a new featured site, it's my Personal Gallery page. It's a site where you can see my past graphical work.

October 1st, 1999.

I was hoping EQ's trailer site could hold the pressure, but it seems that the massive bandwidth requirement killed it. If anyone can offer a lot of space and bandwidth to hold his trailers, please eMail him.

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