The News Archive

February 28th, 2001.

One of my favorite movies of all time was the original Highlander.

I always wanted to get it on DVD, but whenever I read reviews about it on various retailers and review sites, they all said "the most horrible conversion of all times".

Being the silly goose that I am, I thought "How bad can it be?", and when it suddenly appeared for $4.95 on Amazon a few months back, I bought it.

Till this day, it's the one movie in my collection I simply can't watch. The video is horrible, filled with compression artifacts, even VHS looks better. And if it was only the video, then it may have been possible ... The audio ... the volume goes up and down, up and down, makes you want to cringe in disgust.

And to top it off, it has a THX certification, which basically shows you what THX is apparently all about.

And now STUDIO CANAL is finally releasing the U.K. Region 2 version. Will it be better? I seriously hope so as I already pre-ordered it. For one thing, quite a few months back they released a Region 2 version in French and Belgium and I heard it was good, so hopefully this is the same transfer.

I guess we shall all see pretty soon as it is being sold on March 5th. Price is even decent at £11.69, which is rather cheap considering it's Europe.

February 27th, 2001.

Ok, it's not even funny, but yesterday I got about 12 eMails about RPC2 locked drives, 3 of them of people who've said that their kids have managed to lock the drive. DVD can be dangerous in the wrong hands ;)

In any case, in a futile attempt to cut back further on the amount of technical support eMail I get on a daily basis (we're talking about 20-30 eMails a day here, most of which are technical in nature), I've revamped the firmware download page into a fully fledged firmware informational page which explains all you need to know about the nature of firmwares with regards to PC-DVD.


February 25th, 2001.

An American Western Classic is coming out on DVD on May 8th, The Magnificent Seven, currently priced at $13.99.
And here's another movie that was recently given a release date, Sandra Bullock's Miss Congeniality is due out May 1st, currently priced at $18.89.

February 24th, 2001.

Some more tid-bits on the Big Trouble in Little China DVD due in May. AICN is reporting that as part of the extras the disc will contain commentary with John Carpenter and Kurt Russel, DD 5.1 and DTS, Deleted scenes and an alternate ending, sounds cool.

February 23rd, 2001.

As promised yesterday, here is Kelly's addendum to WinDVD 2.4.

Next up should be the CoolDVD review. Don't expect something grand, from an initial go-over this looks like a lackluster player.

I'm also hoping that InterVideo will finish up their licensing deals so we can get a look at their next major release.
AICN is reporting that Bryan Singer of X-Men fame has pitched for a new Sci-Fi series based on the Battlestar Galactica franchise.

While there has been a building fan base for such a move for quite some time, it took Bryan's Hollywood clout to push it into the fast track. Should be interesting.

February 22nd, 2001.

Zoom Player v1.30 is progressing nicely. It will feature lots of new enhancements and is looking pretty solid already, if all goes well I may release it this weekend.
Announced for release, What Women Want, A really cute and funny comedy with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, definitely worth a watch.
Released on May 8th, currently retailing for $20.99.

February 21st, 2001.

The WinDVD DTS review has been postponed and will be replaced with an addendum to the older WinDVD review. This is due to InterVideo's request that we don't review it at this stage as they haven't made an official announcement and plan to have additional features on the official release.

Expect the addendum within the next 48 hours or so.

February 19th, 2001.

Rant: Death of the Internet:

While most of you haven't realized it, the Internet has died.

Sure, the data keeps flowing, but the heart stopped several month back when the money dried up. Yes, I will keep going cause that's just me, being stubborn as usual. But sadly, one of my favorite game reviewers (well, sort of game reviewer), has had his column terminated by GameSpot (and yes, I'm referring to Mark Asher).

It seems that the internet exploded in 1995, everything started having a .com in it's title, and then in mid to late 2000 it happened. The Y2K bug. And no, not the bug everyone was expecting. In fact, the bug didn't happen, it in fact died. That little bug in people's head that said "Internet Equals Money". And with that, the bubble burst, the market dropped.

And the consequences? Well, the word "Content" is now considered a dirty word on the internet. Owning a content site means severely reduced revenues. I've seen portal after portal die, news services cut personal or even shut down completely. The internet is shrinking, and the empty space is being filled by spam and spyware. Freedom is squashed by ridicules patents and legal decrees.

So have a good day!

End Rant.

February 18th, 2001.

And there you have it folks, Big Trouble in Little China (special 2-disc edition) is up for pre-order. Release date is May 22nd and is currently priced at $18.89.
Another major upcoming release is Cleopatra five star edition. This is three disc set, includes every kind of added material you can think of, including a two hour documentary, set for an April 3rd release, currently priced at $18.89.
And yes, yet ANOTHER big movie coming out in April, Ghost.
Quite the unexpected hit of the early 90's, it's finally coming out on DVD on April 24th, currently priced at $20.99.
And lastly, The World According to Garp.
This is one of those feel-good movies. Quirky story filled with warmth and humor.

February 17th, 2000.

Announcing the release of DVD Genie v3.85.

As promised, here is the new release. This version plugs quite a few holes, especially where WinDVD is concerned (filter registration, etc...), it also adds regional support for CoolDVD.

For the complete history list go here.
To download DVD Genie v3.85, click here.
To download additional language files, click here.

February 16th, 2001.

Almost ready with a new version of DVD Genie. This new version will add initial support for CoolDVD (thanks to Bad Sector), fix quite a few things, etc...

Expect the new version some time this weekend.
A linux DVD Player? It seems so, have released OMS.

February 15th, 2001.

Reports are creeping in that one of my favorite movies, Big Trouble in Little China is being set for a 2-Disc Special Edition release on May 15th, stay tuned.

February 14th, 2001.

Saw this on TheDigitalBits, Fox is taking a poll regarding their Simpsons release on DVD, make your voice heard for release as a season-set, click here

February 13th, 2001.

Work on the WinDVD review is progressing, It's a little delayed due to the fact that we wanted to bring you a review of the new DTS version and are awaiting the official release to arrive.

February 11th, 2001.

A lot of work has gone into this version of Zoom Player in order to make it the most friendly, flexible and intuitive player around. This version includes a DDE server for file association, a Play List editor with improved chaptering support for split files. Tons of bug fixes (especially with play list playback) and lots more.

Download the latest version here.
And the complete history list here.

February 10th, 2001.

I am working on an updated version of Zoom Player that contains numerous fixes, including a built-in play list editor and replacement of the Microsoft ASX parsing code (that thing causes so much instability it's simply amazing).

I am hoping the new version will be ready some time tomorrow (barring any special bugs). So stay tuned.

February 7th, 2001.

Tam, tam-tam-tam-tam, tam-tam-tam, Tam, tam-tam-tam-tam, TAM TA TAM!, Yes, if you hum it real fast it's the Superman theme (well, sort of), It seems that they have FINALLY announced Superman on DVD!

Current release date is set to May 1st, but it's still far away and might change.

There are two items you want to look at. The first is the Superman Special Edition retailing at $17.49 and the second is the Superman 4-Pack retailing at $55.94.

From previously posted information we know that the Superman Special Edition contains revamped composites (which should make superman fly a little more realistically) and possibly some additional footage.

Another great hit for Warner.
On a side note, FOX announce The X-Files - The Complete Third Season (to be released on May 8th).

February 5th, 2001.

Some great movies coming out this March:
DVD Name:Date:Price:Discount:
Meet the Parents6th$18.89(30%)
Rear Window6th$20.99(30%)
Almost Famous13th$18.89(30%)
Wonder Boys13th$20.99(30%)
Remember the Titans20th$20.99(30%)
Frank Herbert's Dune20th$17.49(30%)
Dancer in the Dark20th$17.49(30%)
Red Planet27th$13.99(30%)
Charlie's Angels27th$19.57(30%)
The 6th Day27th$17.46(30%)

February 2nd, 2001.

Looks like us consumers have a winner! It seems MGM has listened to us (and the sale figures of it's competitors) and decided to release the entire first season of Stargate SG-1 as a 5-Disc boxed set! Way to go!

Hopefully MGM will follow FOX and release a new season every six month. A few more extras would be nice too, this current set only contains a Behind the scenes featurettes with cast members, I'm sure MGM has a lot more goodies packed away, maybe we'll see some more on the next set.

Currently slated for an April 10th release date, Amazon is currently retailing it at $62.97.

February 1st, 2001.

It's February boys and girls and what a better way to start the month with the new season of Farscape. Yes, Crichton is back in this second season premiere touting new multi-dimensional villains such as the ever so precious, Scorpious.

Having seen the this season I can tell you it's as wacky and great as the first season with much better villains. Oh and a MUCH better cliffhanger for the finale episode.

This first 2 Disc set of the second season is being released on March 12th, currently up for pre-order on BlackStar (free worldwide shipping) for £22.49.

January 31th, 2001.

You guessed it, it's CSS all over again.

Major Hollywood studios are refusing to release their major picture on the new HDTV digital broadcasting system. They are once again afraid that people will pirate the movies (as if any protection has actually stopped people from doing this in the past).

Frankly, this is more or less the same issue that came out ages ago when the VHS was released and more recently when DVD was released (took nearly two years for some of the studios to release content, and ahm, some have yet to join the bandwagon, and yes I'm referring to Lucasfilms).

I don't think the Hollywood folks realize the difficulty and time required in pirating such content. Most people (myself included) prefer to just buy their favorite movies and save themselves the time and headache.

Check out the complete piece at ETown.

January 30th, 2001.

As some of you may very well know, the Region 1 version of Highlander was one of the worst DVD releases of all time. The video artifacted, the audio was horrid going up and down in volume, simply unbearable to watch.

And now they are making a Region 2 version of highlander for pre-order with a February 26th release date. Rather cheap too at £11.69 (for Europe anyhow). Thing is ... is this a newly remastered version with decent video and audio? I hope so as the Region 1 version was NTSC and this new version is a higher resolution PAL, so some sort of remastering was done. I even believe it has a different distributer (Warner Home Video).

Guess I'll know soon enough, it'll be a shame having two sucky versions of Highlander if this turns out to be bad.

January 29th, 2001.

AICN is reporting that Pioneer Entertainment is in the process of releasing Akira.

There is a planned theatrical re-release and a DVD release to follow. Remastered video and remixed 5.1 audio will feature on this new release planned for July/August.

For the full details check out this AICN article.
Unrelated to DVD, but read this.

January 28th, 2001.

It looks as if they have re-released the official Lord of the Rings trailer in a saveable Real Video format with a higher bitrate and better resolution.

Get it here.

It is advisable to right click the link and select "save target as", otherwise your browser may try to display it rather than saving it to the hard drive.

January 26th, 2001.

Some release news,
Warner is issuing a remastered Mad Max trilogy on DVD region 2 with DD 5.1 audio and the original Australian dialogue (the buggers dubbed mel's voice in the original). Here is the Japanese information page.
In other release news, they finally made Frank Herbert's Dune available for pre-order!

Considered by most to be a more accurate adaptation of Frank Herbert's book, this Mini-Series was released last December as the first chapter in the Dune saga (with the other books set to be released in the same format in the future).

Set to be released on March 20th, Amazon is currently retailing it at $17.49.

January 25th, 2001.

An act of god stopped me from updating the site, a lightning strike fried both my ISDN box (soon to be ADSL, woohoo!) and my Digital Cable receiver, doh!
Ok, now for the good news, In the downtime I've put a lot effort into Zoom Player and there are lots of improvement and version 1.10 is ready to go!

Some of the improvement include Customizable Control Bar, Chaptering system for all file formats, many new control bar buttons, floating control bar, bug fixes and more!

Download the latest version here.
And the complete history list here.

January 21st, 2001.

Here's a page with links to various version of the new Lord of the Rings trailer/teaser (MPEG and QuickTime formats). Get it while the links last.

January 20th, 2001.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is trying to get the ruling outlawing DeCSS reversed, read more about it on this C|Net news-brief.

The 1962 epic, Lawrence of Arabia has been announced for pre-order on DVD.

This is a special edition two disc set including an Anamorphic Widescreen conversion and tons added material:

  • Four original featurettes.
  • The Making of Lawrence of Arabia documentary.
  • A Conversation with Steven Spielberg.
  • Original Newsreel Footage.
  • New York Premiere.
  • Advertising Campaigns.
  • DVD-ROM supplementals.
Certainly one of the all time classics being released in style.
Set to be released on April, currently up for pre-order at $27.97.

January 19th, 2001.

Looks like Spain is following France's move to constrict the choices available to Spanish consumers.

Spanish companies are trying to enforce rental prices on DVD releases, making them impossible to buy by the average consumer. I'm not sure if this will also effect the Region-1 import market. If these companies try to coerce the Spanish government into signing a bill that will prevent importation of Region-1 material, it may take a year between a U.S. release and the same movie available for purchase in Spain.

For more information on this, visit the MundoDVD site.
And if you think this will not effect you, think again! Blockbuster is currently lobbying movie studios in the U.S. to implement the exact same concept. A period where movies will only be sold at rental prices, taking them out of reach of the average consumer (at least the sane one).

January 18th, 2001.

The Digital Bits is reporting that Warner have got the message and are reworking their TV to DVD release schedule, which should include full season releases, cool!
And here's a challenge, I challenge someone to find a reliable way to disable the aspect ratio in Media Player 6.4.

The thing is, in media player, the aspect ratio is always enabled. The problem is, A lot of people capture videos in NTSC or PAL resolution which don't have the same aspect ratio as your computer screen. And then media player locks this aspect ratio which basically gives you a stretched image. Please note that I refer to AVI file playback and not MPEG files.

So if you know any "magic" programming trick to disable the aspect ratio without writing my own AVI parser, let me know.

January 17th, 2001.

Not really DVD related, but on Superbowl Sunday, quite a new movie trailers are going to be seen throughout the game, according to this AICN news bit, trailers for Pearl Harbor, Hannibal, A Knight's tale and two of my favorites, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

Just those last two should justify watching the game. Since I don't live in the U.S. I may not be seeing these, I do have ESPN here, so if it's own, I might try to vidcap some of the trailers and find a place to post them so everyone could get a look (no promises).

January 14th, 2001.

You all should remember my previous rants about several TV to DVD screw ups that are corrupting our favorite format. Especially bad is the trend to release out-of-sequence episodes.

Well, I'm not the only one with these views, The Digital Bits have gotten a reply from Warner regarding their latest release of the "Best of Friends" fiasco. They gave them an eMail address to send feedback regarding our thoughts about this issue.

So head up to their page and read the guidelines and let Warner know what you think about this.

January 12th, 2001.

In what seems like a really fast Theater to DVD release, Guy Ritchie's (madonna's new hubbie) Snatch is being released in the U.K. on February 19th. I'm not entirely sure of it, but the speed may be related to the fact that it aired first in britain...

Featuring Brad Pit with an over-the-top accent and nice fight scenes, this brit-gangster flick follows Ritchie's earlier Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels.

Lets just hope they put subs on it, I couldn't understand half of Lock Stock without them (tons of street accents and slang non-brits wouldn't quite grasp).

January 11th, 2001.

I have been contacted by a representative of MbyN. It appears they are entering the market with a new software based DVD Player by the name of CoolDVD.

They have a trial version ready for download at the CoolDVD home page. Still no details about it, but we will try writing a full review of this new entry to the Software DVD market soon.

January 9th, 2001.

Meet the Parents is currently shooting up the sales chart with zeal. Frankly, I haven't seen a Ben Stiller movie I hated. Even in small cameos he does a killer performance (see: Happy Gilmore).
And then there's Robert De Niro ...

Released at Anamorphic Widescreen with such special features as Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Commentary by Director Jay Roach and actors Ben and Bob.

Still a bit off with a March 6th release date. Currently it retails at $18.89 at Amazon.

January 8th, 2001.

It seems that region 3 viewers will be able to order one of the best foreign movies of 2000 first for once. According to this AICN newsbit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will be out on DVD soon (Retail, not the pirated DVD version that is already spreading). If you haven't seen it, you probably should. Even take your girlfriend/boyfriend as this movie has more than just kick-ass martial arts scenes. It has a touching story and great cinematography (and lots of ass-kicking of course).

January 7th, 2001.

Kelly has done it again, this time featuring this site's first PC-Speaker review. An in-depth review of Klipsch's Promedia v.2-400 4.1 analog speaker system.

Check it out, click here.

January 5th, 2001.

Here's a heads up for an upcoming title, not a lot is known about it at this point, but Big Trouble in Little China has been given an estimated release date of May 22nd. One of my all-time favorite movies, it is being released as a 2-disc special edition with both Dolby Digital and DTS audio track.

Now if they would only announce Goonies and Trading Places.
In other release news, another Animated (CGI) TV series is being released on DVD. It's called Roughnecks:Starship Troopers and is the TV Adaptation of the 1997 movie (actually, more of the books ...) Starship Troopers.

The series was very ambitious, trying to make a fully CGI rendered series, and unlike some other series who've taken the challenge, this series came out rather well, nice images, decent animation, modeling and a nice storyline.

There isn't a lot of details on the actual DVD. Did they put the entire series? selected episodes?, with a march release date, we'll probably know better before the actual release.

January 4th, 2001.

Planet GeForce has posted a few leaked photos of Microsoft's upcoming game machine, The X-Box.

It seems that Microsoft has decided that unlike the PlayStation 2, the DVD functions on the X-Box are going to be optional, and have hired Ravisent (authors of CineMaster) to write the DVD code for them. Bad choice if you ask me as Ravisent have been slipping behind InterVideo and Cyberlink all last year.

On a lighter note, it may be possible to bypass the X-Box's region code with a software patch rather than a new chip and soldiering that is currently required on the PlayStation 2.
I would like to thank for providing me with a mirror for the various programs I've written.

January 3rd, 2001.

As the new year breaks, rumor has it that Lucas will release Star Wars: Episode I late in 2001.

Being the cynical bastard I am, I have designed a release schedule for lucas to use, if you known his past release history on VHS, you'll know where I'm coming from:

Year Features
2001 Star Wars: Episode I, featuring Fullscreen pan & scan video with stereo audio and no extras.
2002 Star Wars: Episode I, featuring letterbox video with 5.1 dolby digital audio and no extras.
2003 Star Wars: Episode I, featuring anamorphic video with 6.1 dolby digital ES audio and no extras.
2003 Star Wars: Episode I, featuring anamorphic video with 5.1 DTS audio and no extras.
2004 Star Wars: Episode I, Special Edition featuring anamorphic video with 6.1 dolby digital ES audio and "making of" featurette.
2004 Star Wars: Episode I, featuring anamorphic video with 6.1 DTS EX audio and no extras.
2005 Star Wars: Episode I, Special Edition featuring anamorphic video with 6.1 dolby digital ES, 6.1 DTS EX audio, "making of" featurette and a preview of Episode 3: return of the ewaks.

If history is doomed to repeat itself, the above list will be more or less accurate. Only time will tell.
BlackStar is starting the new year with some nice discounts on DVDs, might be worth a check.

January 2nd, 2001.

Zoom Player v1.00 beta 2 is available on the download page.

Many fixes, and some new features, go check it out.

January 1st, 2001.

First post of the new millennium!

The Digital Bitsis reporting that American Zeotrope DVD Center has started work on the GodFather trilogy with a release date of Fall 2001.

One thing that bugs me is, how the heck did the HBO's Soprano family get a copy so early! It's nice to see that even TV Crime Families are promoting our favorite format, but please ... don't pretend to have movies that aren't even released, cause we won't forget about it.
I have created a donation page. If you used one of the freeware programs I've written (DVD Genie, Zoom Player, etc...) and feel like donating any amount, you now can. Even if you don't want to donate, I ask you visit the page to read some background info about the site.

The donation page.

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