Digital Digest - LiveUpdate Newsletter

Digital Digest - LiveUpdate Newsletter DIGITAL DIGEST - LIVE UPDATE Issue 23

Your "whenever I have time to write one" newsletter
Tuesday, 23rd January, 2001


0. Section Zer0 - an introduction to this issue

1. The Empire Strikes Back : Part 2 - 1.00 GB VOB Files

2. OpenDivX - the future is here ... sort of

3. Microsoft WMV Version 8.0beta

4. New programs at Digital Digest

5. How to cancel/change your subscription email address/settings
- how to maintain the subscription to this newsletter even if your email address has changed

6. A simple thank-you
- a thank-you message for all those that joined this list

0. Section Zer0

Welcome to this, the 23rd issue, of the Digital Digest LiveUpdate newsletter. Back from a month long vacation, and now feeling all energized to sleep in late and eat junk food, as usual. We hope you also had a nice and relaxing holidays, and wishes you all the best in the new year.

We have partnered with RipHelp, which will now host all of the rippers that used to be here, plus some new CD/MP3 rippers. This coincides with the news of special DVDs that can't be ripped or even played back on PCs (see "1.00 GB VOB files section" below).

Nicky Page has also opened a new site on - here, he will publish his articles, and will now have the full freedom to update his articles, without going through us first (like before). He has added tons of new articles since the grand opening, so please check it out : - major updates on in this section will also be reported, as usual, in our DivX/DVD Digest's new articles sections.

Also released in OpenDivX (DivX Deux), an open source MPEG-4 codec being written from the grounds up. At this early stage, performance and quality isn't all that great, but there can be no denying the potentials of this codec.

And of course, there is the usual array of new and updated DVD/DivX software to add to your collection - most of them added in January, because of our previously mentioned vacation during December.

Okay now, back to sleep ...

1. The Empire Strikes Back : Part 2 - 1.00 GB VOB Files

Sneakers - "a movie about cracking" can't be cracked
Sneakers - "a movie about a cracking machine" - can't be cracked on my machine

There now seems to be an explanation why some DVDs cannot be ripped or even played back properly on PCs - 1.00 GB VOB files. As you already know, the largest VOB files are usually 0.99GB in size, due to the fact that the DVD-ROM standard can only read files less than 1 GB (or something similar, but more technical than this). As a result, these DVDs cannot be played back on PCs, let alone be ripped. These disc, however, do play properly on "most" DVD standalone players.

Personally, I think this is a disgrace, and if it really is some new way to prevent DVDs from being copied to your hard-drive (and not just some technical screw-up), then it shows just how desperate the DVD industry is to combat a problem (ie. DVD piracy) that doesn't even exist!!

By doing this, they have basically excluded a large part of the DVD movie market and might even break the law as it prevents the fair use (ie. playing DVD movies) of your PC-DVD system.

Movies that features this anomaly includes, Alice in Wonderland (TV movie), Sneakers and Scream - all of them are region 1 titles.

But I do have a feeling that this may all just be a technical glitch, rather than an intentional act, as this does seem pretty drastic.

A story in development ...

More info :


2. OpenDivX - the future is here ... sort of

OpenDivX - Project Mayo Declassified
OpenDivX - Project Mayo Declassified

Just a couple of days ago, the guys at Project Mayo ( released an early version of the work-in-progress MPEG-4 codec, and have released it as open source - meaning any budding programmer can now help out with the project.

Project Mayo's aim is to create a MPEG-4 codec, from the grounds up, to be the successor of the popular (and controversial) DivX codec.

At present, there are many versions of the codec available (for the different major OSes) as well as a player. Performance and quality isn't at a point yet where general release is possible (eg. it needs a 1 GHz processor to playback movies in full frame), but with wide support from the existing DivX community, it shouldn't be too long before a more efficient version is available.

For more information and links, please visit :


3. Microsoft MWV Version 8.0beta

Microsoft - at what bitrate do you want to encode today?

Microsoft - at what bitrate do you want to encode today?

Sometime in December, while I was still on holidays and generally felling relaxed (in an exhausted sort of way), Microsoft released a beta utility that allowed people to encode AVI movies (including DivX) to WMV Version 8. This tool was released to the public free of charge.

WMV V8 is the successor to the MPEG-4 V3 codec, which the DivX codec is based on. WMV V8 now features much better variable bitrate encoding (VBE), meaning that file size is reduced. The DivX codecs (low and fast motion) already feature VBE, especially the fast-motion codec, but the VBE engine in WMV V8 is far more sophisticated.

A typical AVI to WMV conversion process goes like this : the AVI is scanned through twice. On the first pass, the file is examined carefully (this can take a while), and the actual encoding/conversion is done on the second pass. While almost doubling to tripling the encoding time, the file is examined more carefully, and a true variable bitrate WMV file is produced as a result. Of course, the file size now heavily depends on the movie, so it becomes even harder to predict the file size with a bitrate calculator (similar to the way how hard it is to predict the file size of fast-motion DivX movies).

The actual MS tool can be found here :

Links to articles on how to use this tool, as well as an analysis by Nicky Page ( on the effects of WMV conversion can be found here :

Have fun =)


4. New programs at Digital Digest

DivX Software :
Audio :  
	DeDynamic 1.1b
	Semi's DirectSound 3D Filter 1.1
	WaveUP 1.0
Bitrate Calculators : 
	Ecuador's AVI Bitrate Calculator 2.0
Codecs :	 
	3ivx MPEG-4 Codec 1.0d1
	DivX Codec Scene Detect Patch
	OpenDivX 4.0 a47
Conversion :
	AVI2VCD 1.3.7
	DVD2AVI 1.25
	eXstream MPEG 0.65
	Honestech MPEG Encoder 2.0
	SmartVid 1.02.006
	Windows Media V8 encoding utility
Cut/join :
	AVI Revolution 2.0c
	Project DivX 1.5
Editing : 
	AVIedit December 7th Build 
	Terabits AVI Info 1.015
	AVI Mux 0.2
	IDivX 0.1
	MakeFilm TNG 1.2
	Vegas Video 2.0
GUIs :
	aMPEG2AVI GUI 1.45a
	EasySoft DivXbase 0.05 beta
	Fast DivX 0.9
	Windows Media V8 Encoding Utility Frontend
	Windows Media V8 Encoding Utility GUI 1.0
Launchers :
	AutoAVI 4.00
	Compact Disc Autorun 1.4
	Compact Disc Launcher 5.0
	DivX Movie Launcher 1.23
	Figgy's Simple DivX Launcher 1.0
	Full-Moon Launcher 4.0
	MDVD Go! 1.0.1
	MediaLauncher 0.04 Demo
	MicroDVD Autorun 1.71
	Shadowboot 1.1b
Players :
	Ar1z Video Player 2.75
	FMV 2.0
	GDivX Player 1.8.0
	miniPlayer 1.0.0
	MultiAVI Player 0.1
	RadLight Player 3.01
	Ripnot Player 2.00
Rip-Packs : 
	BH's DivX Rippack
	DivXEncode 1.2
	MPEG2AVI Rip Pack 2.0
Subtitle tools :
	SubAdjust 1.51
	Subtitle Studio 1.0
	Subtool 1.9
	Ultimate Subttile Converter 0.02
DVD Software :
Audio :
	WaveUP 1.0
Authoring :
	DVD Wise 1.68
	Sonic MyDVD 2.3
	SpruceUp 1060b
Conversion :
	FlaskMPEG Intel (P4) Optimized version
	FlaskMPEG AMD Optimized version
	FlaskMPEG 0.594 Pre3
	TMPGEnc beta 12b
	Vidget 1.01
Editing : 
	MPEG2VCR 3.10
GUIs : 
	Pers-o-FrontEnd 4 Normalize 1.0
Mac tools:
	bbDemux 1.0d2 
	mAC3dec 0.9.2
	Mac MPEG2Dec 1.0b4
	MPEG Stream Guillotine 02b
	PCMtoAIFF 1.0
Playback :
	Cool DVD Soft 1.10
	Elecard MPEG-2 Decoder 1.22
	Elecard MPEG-2 Player 1.17
	Eugene's DVD player 0.96 
	WinDVD 2.6.4 Patch
	Zoom Player 1.00b2
Playback tools :
	More PowerDVD Skins
	More WinDVD Skins
Region :
	DVD Genie 3.81
	DVD Remote Selector 1.77
	Region-free Firmwares
Ripping :
	All ripping tools are now hosted by our partner site, RipHelp - please refer to them for the latest versions.
Other :
	DVD Expert 1.21
	Movie-Box Database 1.20
	Movie Organizer 1.41

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6. A simple thank-you

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