The News Archive

October 31st, 2000.

Last month I mentioned that fox is releasing the Region 2 version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (the complete first season) on DVD in the U.K. on November 27th.

And now they are planning the U.S. release! Currently scheduled for January 9th (2001), Amazon is taking pre-orders at $41.99 (30% off).

Fox know what they're doing, now lets hope they'll make a fast move on "The Simpsons" and "Futurama", I know that a lot of people are awaiting these killer releases.

October 28th, 2000.

The Cell is Jennifer Lopez first hollywood-blockbuster after her amazing musical success kicked in. Once again she's typecasted as a hot babe (well, duh!) child psychologist (a little far reaching there) that needs to travel into the mind of a psychotic serial killer.

Stunning visuals, both bright and dark, with a rather shallow storyline and mediocre script, the movie relies a lot on Jennifer's babe-factor, and it somehow pulls through.

This is a Platinum series release from Warner, which usually means a kick-ass anamorphic transfer and lots of extras. Some of the announced extras include deleted scenes, Directory commentary, Special effects and wardrobe examination (probably with an emphasis on Jen's lovely body tight outfits), etc...

Currently retailing at $17.49 with a December 19th release date, you'll be hard pressed getting it before new years with all the massive ordering.

October 25th, 2000.

Here's a nice value-for-money Movie. Tom Hanks and the ever so lovely Meg Ryan play in this romantic movie which is completely based on the AOL "You've got Mail" line.

Some of the extras include commentary by director Nora Ephron and producer Lauren Shuler-Donner, Behind the scenes documentary and the movie is produced in Anamorphic widescreen (which is always good).

Currently retailing at $11.99, it's quite a bargain.

October 23rd, 2000.

After a bit of a delay (Cyberlink sneaked a fast release candidate right after the initial beta we received which had to be further tested), Kelly Garvey has written his first Preview. This time kelly previewed the upcoming PowerDVD v3.0.

How could Cyberlink top PowerDVD v2.55? click here and find out!

October 20th, 2000.

I got this notification in the mail which may interest some of you:

I'm writing to tell you about the project we've been working on for a while that we hope you'll be as excited about as we are.

ShowShifter is PC software that combines DVD playback, Digital VCR and MP3 playback into one program that can be controlled via keyboard, mouse or IR remote. The UI is designed to be used from a distance so you don't have to be sitting at your desk to watch TV and movies.

It works with any DVD codec that has a DirectShow filter (i.e. CineMaster, WinDVD) so you can pick which codec you prefer.

The Digital VCR can record, timeshift and playback video with any VfW VCM codec including DIVX, MPEG-4, MJPEG, Indeo.

You can download it for free from our website

October 17th, 2000.

Amazon had a little price shuffle recently, here are the latest discounted items:

Movie Name:Shipping:Price:Discount:
Blue's Clues - Blue's Big Musical Movie (2000)24 hours$16.7433% off
Chasing Amy - Criterion Collection (1997)24 hours$22.1033% off
High Fidelity (2000)24 hours$22.1033% off
Sex and the City - The Complete First Season (1998)24 hours$26.7933% off
The Matrix (1999)24 hours$16.7433% off
The Princess Bride (1987)24 hours$13.3933% off
The Usual Suspects (1995)24 hours$16.7433% off
Galaxy Quest (1999)24 hours$17.5435% off
Saving Private Ryan (1999)24 hours$22.7435% off
End of Days (1999)24 hours$14.9940% off
Notting Hill Collector's Edition (1999)24 hours$14.9940% off
Saving Private Ryan - DTS (1999)24 hours$20.9940% off
Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)24 hours$14.9940% off

October 16th, 2000.

The fifth and final disc-set in the first season of the excellent Sci-Fi show Farscape is about to be released in two weeks.

The final episodes in the first season are:

  • Nerve
  • The Hidden Memory
  • Born To Be Wild
  • Family Ties

BlackStar is currently retailing this 4-Episode set for £19.99 (20% off) with free shipping worldwide. No date is set for the second season's release to DVD, but December-January will probably start off the conclusion of the first season's cliffhanger.

October 14th, 2000.

Probably not the biggest Disney hit, Dinosaur introduced new technology of integrating breath-taking real-life cinematics with computer generated imagery.

Dinosaur didn't make as much as some of the other Disney animated features (or even the Pixel CGI ones for that matter), you can be sure that children will be watching it over and over as they do all the Disney flicks.

Not making it to the christmas sale-o-rama, this title will be one of the bigger titled released on the new year. With a release date of January 30th, Amazon is currently retailing it at $27.99, usual Disney money grabbing as can be expected.

Some of the features you can expect is an Anamorphic Widescreen traffic (which you can expect to be top notch considering the movie had a digital source right off the bat), Commentary tracks from the director and production team, A "making of" presentation, easter eggs and more.

October 12th, 2000.

Reports are starting to seep in regarding the new region protection scheme used by Warner on the new Patriot DVD.

So far early indication is that this new protection is targeted against Region-0 devices. These are drives/players that are set to "all-regions". This type of protection will not effect players that are automatically set to a specific region, or PC-DVD players at all.

This sort of region protection scheme was used by MGM for ages, one of the early reason why the WNASPI32.DLL hollywood-plus patch never truly worked back in the older days.

If this is indeed the actual protection as Warner plan to release on future titles, PC-DVD users have nothing to fear, and frankly, most external players wouldn't be effected either. It make take time while more titles are released and this is confirmed in more detail.

October 10th, 2000.

As per this article in the, it seems that Warner home video and possibly Columbia Tristar are trying to improve the region detection code in new DVD titles.

This new "feature" will come in two new DVDs that I'm aware of, "The Patriot" (with mel gibson) and "The Perfect Storm". With this tactic, it may be possible that all region-free external players on the market will cease working! This will invalidate a large part of the world DVD market as millions of region-free units have been sold to date.

The effect on the PC playback systems is of yet unknown. PC's don't work in the same way external units do as their decoding engine is a separate unit. It may be possible that this new system will not effect PC based playback at all. If it does effect it, it may be possible that ANY drive made prior to the year 2000 may be unable to play these discs. Hopefully that will not be the case.

I will investigate this further once I get my copy of The Perfect Storm.

October 9th, 2000.

Having discussed some of the new PowerDVD features with Cyberlink, they have informed me that playback from CD, Hard Disk and DTS decoding are features they are looking into. Expect these to become standard in all DVD players in the future as DTS becomes more prevalent and home DVD authoring replaces VCD as the format of choice.

October 8th, 2000.

James T. David sent me the following information:

Space:1999 is being released on DVD by New Video (a division of A&E) on January 30th, 2001. The series will be released in 4 waves with each wave containing 4 DVD's & 12 episodes.

Wave 1 - 12 episodes year one (Jan.30, 2001)
Wave 2 - 12 episodes year one (Summer 2001)
Wave 3 - 12 episodes year two (2001-2002)
Wave 4 - 12 episodes year two (2001-2002)

The DVD details are as follows:
Each episode is being remastered from the 35mm originals. The image will look better than it's original broadcast. The episodes will be uncut (of course) since many stations who originally aired the series never aired an uncut episode which sometimes made the plot confusing. The only supplement for Wave 1 will be a promo piece for each episode. Depending on how sales are, more supplements will be added to Waves 2-4. There is even talk of including the hard to find Space:1999 documentary.

For those of you not familiar with Space:1999, or only remember it bits & pieces, it is understandable, in that the series aired between 1974-1976 on independent stations around the USA and all over the world. It was the most expensive television series of its time with movie quality special effects that can be compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey. After first runs repeats were difficult to find since the syndication cost to air 1999 was so expensive. When the Sci-fi channel aired the series in the early 90's they cut out about 8 minutes from each episode to provide additional commercials. If you are a Sci-Fi fan, then you must check out Space:1999. It has held up amazingly well for a 70's series, and these DVD's will show it in all it's glory.

October 7th, 2000.

I received a preview copy of PowerDVD v3.0 recently, initial testing show improved playback controls and some extra features, here are the complete list of changes:

  • New Dolby Digital decoder with enhanced quality and improved decoding precision. Certified by Dolby Laboratory for 2/4/6 channel decoding
  • Added Dolby Pro-Logic decoder for 4/6 channel sound card users
  • Dolby Headphone support
  • Enhanced MPEG video decoder for better clarity and exceptional viewing quality for VCD and DVD
  • Proprietary "Dual Subtitles" technology
  • New i-Power Pages for the latest DVD news and resources
  • Closed Caption decoder
  • Microsoft WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Lab) certified with Windows Millennium, Windows 2000 and Windows 98
  • AB repeat function
  • Digital Zoom function
  • "Toolbar" control for easier playback controls
  • Slow-motion reverse playback
  • Step backward frame function (key frame only)
  • Playlist enhancements:
    Added "Delete All" command
    Supports playing "M3U" files (MP3 playlist)
    Added "List All Files" command
  • Five built-in skins : Oscar, Neo, Fly, Eyeball and Submarine
  • DMA enabling tool for all kinds of system chipsets from Intel, VIA, SiS, ALi and AMD. Supports Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE and Windows 95 OSR2
  • Supports Microsoft HID (Human Interactive Devices) interface for HID compliant multimedia keyboards, like those from Logitech, Microsoft, or other input devices
  • Supports Microsoft standard "WaveFormatExtensible" interface for 4/6 channel sound cards which enables decoded Dolby Digital or Dolby Surround audio output
  • Improved DVD navigation and title compatibility
  • Revised audio/video synchronization mechanism
  • Supports Creative SBLive! family for 4 channel output under W2K (*)
The final version should be released later this month, expect a full article soon.

October 3rd, 2000.

Here are the first details on the new project I'm working on,
The program is currently called "Amazon Expert" (subject to change) and is a DVD Bargain Hunting/Shopping tool.

At this time, the program allows you to do advanced search and filtering on the entire Amazon DVD Catalog in real-time without having to connect to Amazon for each search.


Another feature is HTML export, as can be seen on the big list below which was 100% program generated. I am tentatively contacting other eTailers in an effort to advance this program into a full-blown price comparison searcher, but this remains to be seen.

The program is basically fully functioning as it is, and I'm waiting on word from Amazon to see if they have any objections. I'm not entirely sure what the legal ramifications of this program is (concerning 3rd party use of the Amazon database). I'll post follow-up information as it becomes available.
What's my name? No, it's not Shaft, but Shaft 2000 has been announced for Pre-Order with a December 12th shipping date. Currently priced at $20.99 at For more information click here.

September 29th, 2000.

Just as mandated by Fox, X-Men has finally been officially autorized for pre-orders today.

If you don't know what are the X-Men, you're simply not an animation or movie fanboy.

In my view, the X-Men is the best Animated series ever created, good scripting, nice animation and involved characters make it top notch, and the move to a full length live-action motion picture went over in a big way, exposing more than just the fans to the comic genre.

As previously mentioned, the release date is set for November 21st, and Amazon is currently retailing it at $17.99 (40% off).

September 27th, 2000.

I've been informed by Cyberlink (PowerDVD) that they are moving their english web page from to

Make sure to update your book marks.
Over the past several days, I've been hard at work on a new programming project, it's quite a cool piece of software, but I'm not sure what are the legal ramifications it may have (it has nothing to do with ripping...).

If everything goes well on the legal front, I'll post more information.

September 23rd, 2000.

The Swedish DVD Genie language files have been updated for version 3.80.

September 22nd, 2000.

While some eTailers have started taking pre-orders on "X-Men: The Movie" about a week ago, FOX has made them all "pull it off shelves" so to speak. The reason is, FOX wants a same-day global pre-orders to start on the 29th. Does this have anything to do with the new seasons of Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer starting? Perhaps a same day tie-in commercial on these popular series? only time will tell. Expect the X-Men madness to start on the 29th.

September 20th, 2000.

The Region 2 version of Ridley Scott's Gladiator will be released one day prior to the U.S. release, BlackStar is currently retailing it at £19.99 with free shipping world wide.

For more information, click here
The Windows 2000 Region Information page has been updated to reflect that the method still works when Service Pack 1 is applied.
The french DVD Genie on-line help has been translated to for version 3.80.

September 19th, 2000.

Finally after months of deliberation (well, about a week's worth) the final release date and pricing has been announced for Ridley Scott's Gladiator.

Amazon is currently shipping it at $17.99 with a release date of November 21st, press here to add it directly to your shopping card.
Here's some Recent region 2 goodness!

Once again FOX does it where it counts! FOX will be releasing the first season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer on DVD. TV on DVD just can't get better than this folks, kudos to FOX for releasing the entire season and at an unbelievable price to boot.

Released on November 27th, this set continues FOX's strategy of releasing their TV properties one season at a time on DVD. And this doesn't seem to be the last set to be announced. Before the end of the year, expect the first season of The Simpsons to be announced. But unlike their previous releases, this one comes out first in the U.K., possibly due to the successful sale of Buffy on VHS in previous months.

BlackStar is currently shipping this 3 disc boxed set for £31.99 (about $45) with free shipping world wide!
The Italian DVD Genie language files have been updated for version 3.80.

September 18th, 2000.

Looks like Amazon didn't like the Gladiator pre-order shenanigans and decided to completely pull out the item from their catalog until an official announcement is made.

From previous track record with such incidents, orders made with a correct price are honored.
In other news, The Firmware Page is reporting that a patch has been created for the The Pioneer DVD-A05/105S and 115 series of DVD Drive to make them true RPC1 (region-free).

This has been a long way in the coming as the Pioneer drive are very popular and it was only a matter of time. Furthermore, a Mac patch for the Hitachi GD-5000 drives have been made to make them RPC1 as well, probably a good news for all you Mac users out there. A similar patch is expected to be released for PC users in the days to come. Hitachi drives were probably the longest locked drives ever since the Creative x5 series.

September 17th, 2000.

There's nothing better than a good MOB story, and one of the best told is HBO's The Sopranos.

Once again HBO strikes out with a full season's worth of it's highly acclaimed TV series. Unlike Paramount which issues 2 episodes at a time per discs, charging you an arm and a leg for their StarTrek franchise, HBO decided to take the high ground taken first by Fox and released the entire first season in one boxed set.

If you never heard of this TV series, you're up for a treat. For once this is a series that doesn't depict the MOB as a group of people larger than life. The Sopranos takes you into the lives of a Mafia family with all it's faults and fears. It doesn't draw a nice picture, but it sure is an interesting one.

HBO releases the entire first season on December 12th, and it is currently up for pre-order at Amazon for $69.98 (30% off).

In other news, The X-Men Special Edition DVD has been announced!

MSRPed at $29.98, You can expect actual pre-order price to be between $17.98 to $20.99. The release date has been set to November 21st, and you should expect it to become available for pre-order by Monday at the latest.

Image Entertainment reports that some of the Extras include:

  • The Trailer
  • 170 Concept art stills
  • 10 minutes of Deleted Footage
  • 6 DVD-exclusive scenes - "Mutant Watch" featurette
  • Hugh Jackman's screen test
  • 4 excerpts of director Bryan Singer on "The Charlie Rose Show"
  • 2 animatics
  • And more!
Looks like it's gonna be great!

September 16th, 2000.

One of the biggest movies of the 2000 movie season, Gladiator is one movie you'll want to watch more than once.

The release date is not yet set (but is currently widely reported as November 14th), but you can pre-order it through Amazon for $17.99 (40% off) right now.

Since the official date has not been set, it's a bit tricky to order the movie. Basically there are two ways of doing this.

The complex way is to go to the 100 Top Sellers list and locate the movie within the list. Once you do, instead of clicking on the movie title, click on the "pre-order" button to the right of it and it will be added to your order-basket.

The easy way is just to click here and the movie will be placed directly into your order basket.

September 15th, 2000.

See Mel Gibson the way he should have always been portrayed, as a stop-motion animated chicken.

In a story that rivals The Great Escape (but with chickens) Mel plays Rocky, an American chicken on the run from the circus.

From the Oscar award winning Aardman Animations (makers of Wallace & Gromit), Chicken Run is a family fun movie, definitely worth a watch.

The U.S. (region 1) release is currently scheduled for November 21st, and Amazon has it on pre-order for $18.89 (press here to order).

The U.K. (region 2) release is currently scheduled for December 4th, and BlackStar has it on pre-order for £15.99 (free shipping), press here for additional U.K. release information.

September 14th, 2000.

Oh, the absurdity of it all,
As many of you DVD Ripping has become rampant, mainly because of excessive DVD Prices and poor marketing on the part of the certain retailers. But yesterday it became absurd as a major hardware review site did an article explaining how "good" it is to rip movies.

This review at Tom's Hardware Guide does just that. But frankly, the folks didn't even do it right. I'm not even talking about the concept of ripping, but the fact that they got A LOT of their facts wrong. Lets just count what's wrong about that article:

  1. MPEG-4 doesn't give a 1:11 compression over MPEG-2, at best it gives 1:4 and at that ratio you get a lot more motion artifacts. Tom bases this by saying that a DVD is 9gb while a compressed MPEG-4 stream can fit on a 700mb CD. The thing is, he gives "The Matrix" as an example, and as you may know, The Matrix contains tons of additional bonus material which isn't part of the actual movie. The actual movie itself is about 3-4gb.
  2. Tom further indicates that the MPEG-2 resolution limit might be 720x576, which is frankly false. MPEG-2 is used in HD-TV transmissions with far higher resolutions .
  3. He goes on to say that the default NTSC resolution is 640x480 while it's in fact 720x480.
  4. In a funny move Tom tries to explain how FlaskMPEG works, getting it all wrong confusing Flask's MPEG-2 decoding engine with an MPEG-4 encoder engine (which flask doesn't have, it just interfaces the window's AVIFile API to encode using a previously installed MPEG-4 codec).
  5. In an even more amusing tid-bit, tom tells you to make sure you set filtering to nearest neighbor rather than bicubic filtering. What this does is cause MASSIVE image artifacts when the image is downscaled (dimension shrink).
  6. I wouldn't even go into the unrelated MPEG-1 Layer III statement Tom gives, as it has nothing to do with the flask decoding engine and only comes later in the AVIFile interface.

In conclusion, take everything you read in some site with a salt of grain, especially where new technology is involved, certain reviews are written without real research or understanding of the material. With this in mind, it kind of makes me afraid of what other BS is spread on topics I don't know as much about.

I usually try not to rant on other people's work, but when such a big site gives misleading and downright wrong information it pains me to see this and at times I feel I must take a stand. It should also be frightening to the major studios that such big sites have decided write these sort of articles.

September 11th, 2000.

The Dutch and Slovakian DVD Genie language files have been updated for version 3.80.

September 8th, 2000.

If you managed to get in on the Amazon price reduction blast-out, you could have gotten great finds such as the Jet Li collection for $16.99 and other cool items for cheap prices, by now Amazon fixed their glitch, and hopefully would respect every order made during the reduced price period.
The German and Hungarian DVD Genie language files have been updated for version 3.80.
All hell is breaking loose at prices are flying all over the place, discounts upto 80% off on some items.

Check the best sellers and movers and shakers sections to check out these oddities and pre-order while it lasts.

September 5th, 2000.

I am aware that there are technical difficulties accessing the site, we are working on the problem and hopefully everything should be resolved in a few days.
The French and Spanish DVD Genie language files have been updated for version 3.80.

September 4th, 2000.

Announcing the release of DVD Genie v3.80.

As promised, here is the latest version of DVD Genie. Quite a few changes, you may want to look up the history list.

For the complete history list go here.
To download DVD Genie v3.80, click here.
To download additional language files, click here.

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