Weekly News Roundup (23 December 2007)

Welcome to the penultimate WNR of 2007. I love the word penultimate, I once thought that it was just a short way of saying the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword”. I think I know what the word means now. It’s been a relatively quiet week, mainly because I haven’t been paying much attention as I’ve been writing my penultimate buyer’s guide for Blu-ray and HD DVD.

First up in copyright news is a legal analysis of the Sony BMG rootkit scandal, a look at why a company would try and do something so stupid and harmful to themselves. Speaking of doing harm to yourselves, TorrentSpy has lost their case against the MPAA because they were found to have destroyed evidence. If only they had been upfront about it, it might have made a more interesting and penultimately more successful legal battle. As someone who has personally being involved in a legal battle, I can honestly say that being truthful is your best weapon, especially if you truly believe you were correct in doing whatever you did to get you into trouble. Once you start destroying evidence and being evasive, it becomes a reflection of your guilt and the lawyers on the other side, as well as judges, can see it as clear as day.

Next up is HD  news. Digital Playground is releasing their first ever Blu-ray adult title after having released about a dozen ones on HD DVD. Ironically (or not), the movie “Pirates” is a spoof the popular Blu-ray hit “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Digital Playground was initial format neutral before giving up Blu-ray due to resistance within the US to adult Blu-ray disc pressing. They have now gone back to Blu-ray due to user demand, and Sony’s less harsh views towards pornography. The PS3 has been upgraded to Profile 1.1 as expected (so all those who took my advice about buying the PS3 for profile upgradability will be happy to read this news). The same update, also as I had predicted (in a forum post somewhere), also included DivX/XviD support, although initial tests show that it’s a bit disappointing compared to the 360’s support (no GMC/QPel support, which makes it equivalent to a standalone player from about 2 years ago). Meanwhile, hackers have redirected the Blu-ray website to point to the HD DVD one. Will Blu-ray supporting hackers retaliate? Are there any Blu-ray supporting hackers? I would think not many due to Blu-ray’s love for DRM, but you never know. And it’s been a bad week or two for Warner Brothers, as no less than three of their new Blu-ray releases contain glitches that will require disc replacement. I wonder how they managed to produce Blu-ray discs that were actually HD DVDs (don’t they use different manufacturing presses?), and how duplicated discs managed to get past quality assurance. Putting my Michael Bay Tin Foil Hat® on for a second, could this be a signal of Warner’s decision to go format exclusive early in the new year? Perhaps they just don’t care for Blu-ray as much as they do for HD DVD. Maybe the extra manufacturing cost and lower yields for Blu-ray discs means less money and time for QA? Or perhaps the Blu-ray manufacturing plant has had one hell of a Christmas party a few weeks ago that people are still being affected by it. Who knows. It is curious that they have not managed to stuff up any HD DVD discs, which have had the same number of releases as Blu-ray ones from Warner. HD DVD had glitches with the first batch of combo discs, but that was understandable since it was a new type of disc. Blu-ray’s recent glitches also include Disney’s “Pirates: Curse of the Black Pearl”, which had framing problems, and a replacement program is available for the disc.

In gaming news, most gaming sites now have results up for their “games of the year”. Halo 3 is on almost everybody’s list, as is Bioshock. Super Mario Galaxy is a sure thing as well. Mass Effect has received lots of awards and critical acclaim, and I’m not surprised at all after discovering the developer’s previous effort, Knights of the Old Republic II, a year or two ago. You can submit your vote for the game of the year on Digital Digest here. And having just tried the Call of Duty 4 demo on my 3 year old PC, I was surprised to find that it ran quite smoothly even though I was barely able to get Call of Duty 2 running in 640×480 on the same computer a year ago. And it looked quite good too, unlike most new games that I play on my aging system. And in something I will talk about more next week, there are a few new GPUs from ATI and NVIDIA that improves 3D performance and HD video acceleration – will they take the crown away from the 8800 GT, my currently recommended GPU? Find out next week.

See you next week.


Comments are closed.

About Digital Digest | Help | Privacy | Submissions | Sitemap

© Copyright 1999-2012 Digital Digest. Duplication of links or content is strictly prohibited.