Digital Digest - LiveUpdate Newsletter

Digital Digest - LiveUpdate Newsletter DIGITAL DIGEST - LIVE UPDATE Issue 24

Your "whenever I have time to write one" newsletter
Saturday, 10th March, 2001


0. Section Zer0 - An Introduction to this Issue

1. OpenDivX - the Future is Here ... Part Deux

2. DoJ Targets DeCSS Case

3. MIT Students Write 7-line CSS Cracking Source Code

4. Digital Fun and Games, and DVD Pet Hates

5. New Programs at Digital Digest

6. How to Cancel/Change Your Subscription Email Address/Settings
- how to maintain the subscription to this newsletter even if your email address has changed

7. A Simple Thank-you
- a thank-you message for all those that joined this list

0. Section Zer0

Welcome to this, the 24th issue, of the Digital Digest LiveUpdate newsletter. Well 2001 looks like to be an interesting year. The world economic climate looks decisively bleak, and the IT world is not plagued, everyday, with more job cuts and closures of major online business.

Apart from blaming the stock market for over inflating IT share prices, I guess we also have ourselves to blame - we have gotten so used to the Internet being a "cost-free" environment with free email, free ISP and even free software. In actual fact, these free services and products actually costs quite a lot to maintain. But when these businesses turn to a pay-per-use model, there will always be an start-up somewhere that will give out the same service for free, and so you'll have to increase services, at the expensive of profit - hence making it almost impossible to have some sort of profitable business online.

Will the future of Digital Digest be secure - perhaps so, perhaps not - I guess in the end, it all depends on you, our valued visitors. With your continued interest and support, I would say the future of Digital Digest looks solid, but as competition heats up, and running cost increases, it is harder and harder to maintain a good level of service - so if our website loads slower, our downloads not as fast as before, please bear with us, and offer us a kind word of here and then - it won't pay the bills, but it will help.

Here's to hoping the Internet does not die ...

1. OpenDivX - the Future is Here ... Part Deux

DivX4Windows - it's here
DivX4Windows - it's here

Just a couple of days/weeks after our last story on the development of the open-sourced MPEG-4 DivX codec, the OpenDivX initiative, the guys at Project Mayo have released a new version of their codec, designed for the Windows environment, and the result already looks good.

Although the codec is still extremely in-efficient (remembering that these guys are starting from scratch, and working for free), requiring a Pentium-III to get acceptable performance, the quality of the codec (if you ignore the bugs that may happen) is actually quite good - better than the original DivX codec in some cases. With more and more support for this codec, it looks like an efficient-bug-free version will soon be released, and once this happens, the future of DivX, as a universal ultra-compressive format, will be solid.

So for now, why don't you grab a copy of this latest codec (called DivX4Windows), try it for yourself, and if you know a little bit about programming, have a look at the source code, and perhaps you can find a way to speed up the development of the codec.

Download links for DivX4Windows here :



2. DoJ Targets DeCSS Case

Justice for the rich ??
Justice for the rich ??

Shortly after the change of government in the US, the US Department of Justice (DoJ), infamous for their fight against big businesses, like Microsoft, have done a complete turn-around and has publicly offered support for the MPAA, which in our opinion, is the largest and most profitable monopoly in the United States.

"Despite defendants' efforts to pitch this case as a classic story of the gadfly press and to cast themselves in the role of the protagonist reporter who seeks only to convey truthful information to the pubic, this lawsuit is really about computer hackers and the tools of digital piracy," U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White wrote in a brief that was filed after the federal government expressed interest in becoming an intervenor in the case, seeking a more "hands-on" role in this controversial case.

The issue, in our opinion, is not about piracy, hacking but about the ability of the MPAA and the multi-billion dollar DVD industry to keep their stranglehold on the very profitable DVD monopoly. By keeping CSS, the MPAA/DVD industry are free to charge DVD manufacturers excessive fees (of up to and beyond $USD 1,000,000) for the purchase of a CSS license, which we now all know is useless in preventing digital copying of DVDs. Still, they are permitted to charge these fees for something that obviously doesn't work. The whole point here is not about piracy, but about monopoly, and how the MPAA/DVD industry can get profits for every DVD hardware or software sold anywhere in the world, through the CSS licensing scheme. And not the US federal government want to get in on the action too, it seems.

So every time you purchase a new DVD movie in the US, or elsewhere, or whenever you purchase a DVD player, DVD-ROM drive or a DVD decoder software/hardware, be comforted by the fact that a good percentage of the money you just paid will be going towards the fight to keep you from using your purchase hardware/software to the full extent of their abilities, and the fact that what you have just bought, according to the MPAA, doesn't even belong to you.

For more news on the DoJ decision, please refer to this article :,4586,2689144,00.html

3. MIT Students Write 7-line CSS Cracking Source Code



#!/usr/bin/perl -w

# 531-byte qrpff-fast, Keith Winstein and Marc Horowitz 
# MPEG 2 PS VOB file on stdin - descrambled output on stdout 
# arguments: title key bytes in least to most-significant order 

$_='while(read+STDIN,$_,2048){$a=29;$b=73;$c=142;$t=255;@t=map{$_%16or$t^=$c^=( $m=(11,10,116,100,11,122,20,100)[$_/16%8])&110;$t^=(72,@z=(64,72,$a^=12*($_%16 -2?0:$m&17)),$b^=$_%64?12:0,@z)[$_%8]}(16..271);if((@a=unx"C*",$_)[20]&48){$h =5;$_=unxb24,join"",@b=map{xB8,unxb8,chr($_^$a[--$h+84])}@ARGV;s/...$/1$&/;$ d=unxV,xb25,$_;$e=256|(ord$b[4])<<9|ord$b[3];$d=$d8^($f=$t&($d12^$d4^ $d^$d/8))<<17,$e=$e8^($t&($g=($q=$e14&7^$e)^$q*8^$q<<6))<<9,$_=$t[$_]^ (($h=8)+=$f+(~$g&$t))for@a[128..$#a]}print+x"C*",@a}';s/x/pack+/g;eval

In a related news, two MIT students have written a 7-line (not including header + comments) Perl code that allows you remove the almost non-existent copy "protection" on DVD files.

"I think there's some value in demonstrating how simple these things really are and how preposterous it is to try to restrict their distribution," says Winstein, a 19-year-old MIT sophomore computer science major.

The code, for those that are interested, are on your left.

Basically, DVD manufacturers are required to pay a handsome sum of about $USD 1,000,000 (I think) for a CSS license key which will allow them to manufacturer goods compatible with the DVD format - that makes the above code worth about $USD 1900 per character (not including header information, which is optional for an additional $USD 317,490). In the end, all the cost will be handed down unto us, the consumers, so the next time you wonder why DVD prices are so high, you'll know who to blame.

4. Digital Fun and Games, and DVD Pet Hates

We have just started a new fun and games section within Digital Digest, for those who need some rest from all the DVD/DivX playing, ripping, conversion, encoding and authoring they have been doing.

Currently, the section is still pretty lame, as it only features some link to some DVD/DivX/Digital/Movie related polls, comics, jokes and some online games to relief the tension - more content will be added as time goes by. For example, we've just added a poll which ask you what you hate most about the DVD format (eg. CSS, Macrovision, Regions ...). There are also some excellent The Boondocks comic strips that makes fun at the current DeCSS lawsuits.

Start the fun here :

5. New Programs at Digital Digest

DivX Software :
Audio :  
	Normalize 0.232
Bitrate Calculators : 
	Advanced DivX Calculator 1.6
	DivX Birate CalcIT
	DivX Pro 1.0
	Ecuador's AVI Bitrate Calculator 2.0 Release 2
	Tony Savon's BitCalc 0.1
	VOB2MPEG4 Calculator 1.05.00
Codecs :
	3ivx MPEG-4 Codec 1.0d2 
	DivX4Windows 4.0 Alpha 48
	Kristal Studio DivX Codec 4.3.3
	Microsoft MPEG-4 VKI Codec
	SMR Codec
Conversion :
	AVI2VCD 1.3.9
	AVI2VCD / AVI Audio Decompressor 1.3.9
	bbMPEG 1.24 b17aand AVI2MPG2 1.24 b13
	DVD2AVI 1.59
	M4C / IceM4C / idM4C
	MPEG2AVI PX3 0.1.0
	SoftEngine 2.0
Cut/join :
	ASF Cut
	AVI Revolution 2.2 
Editing : 
	AVI Mux 0.4
	AVIsynth 1.0 b31 + Plugin 0.28 b37
	AVIUtl 0.96i
	DivFix 1.04
GUIs :
	Fast DivX 1.0d
	m4c GUI 0.3
	WM8Enc GUI Beta1
	WM8 Encoder GUI
	Windows Media V8 encoding utility Frontend 0.2 beta
Launchers :
	DivX The Launcher 1.0 (English) ; 2.1 Beta 2 (French) 
	Figgy's Simple DivX Launcher 1.1
	Full-Moon Launcher 4.0 
	MDVD Go! 1.0.3
	MediaLauncher 0.05
	MediaLauncher Creator 0.01
	MicroDVD Autorun 1.75
	Movie Launcher Plus 1.11
Players :
	Ar1z Video Player 2.75 
	BS Player 0.827
	MediaBox 1.0.4b
	Mediastation 0.04
	RadLight Player 3.02 
	Ripnot Player 3.00 
	Sasami2k 640B
	Twins Video Player 1.0
Rip-Packs : 
	BH's DivX Rippack 
	DVD Killer 2.4
	DVD:Reaper 2.52
	DVD-RIPP 3.95
	EasyEncode 0.5 alpha 2
	FairUse Wizard 0.25 Beta
	G-Ripp 0.4
	MPEG2AVI Rip Pack 2.2 
Subtitle tools :
	MicroDVD Hebrew Fix 1.1
	SSA to SubRipper Converter 0.05b
	SubRip 0.93b
	SubtitleFix 2.0 
	Subtool 2.2
DVD Software :
Audio :
	DSEnc 1.2 Beta 4
Authoring :
	DVDauthorQUICK 2.05D
	DVD Wise 1.74
Conversion :
	DVMPEG 5.07
	FlasK MPEG 0.6 Preview
	Flask MPEG Multi-pass
	Flask MPEG SubtitleFix v6
	Flask MPEG Tsunami v6
	Flask MPEG Vulture
	LSX-MPEG Suite 2.0
	Mac MPEG2Dec 1.0b5r2 
	MegaPEG 1.5 
	TMPGEnc beta 12d
	WinVCR 2.0
GUIs : 
	AZZA-GUI 1.00 
Mac tools:
	mAC3dec 1.0.1
	Mac MPEG2Dec 1.0b5r2
Playback :
	DVD Station Plus 1.2 
	Eugene's DVD player 0.96.1 Beta
	ShowShifter 1.00.258
	Zoom Player 1.30 
Playback tools :
	More PowerDVD Skins
Region :
	DVD Genie 3.85
	Region-free Firmwares
Ripping :
	All ripping tools are now hosted by our partner site, RipHelp.
	Please refer to them for the latest versions.
Other :
	DirectX Control Panel Applet
	DVD Expert 1.21
	Movie-Box Database 1.21
	Movie Collection Tracker 1.0 
	Movie Manger 2001 
	NewsReactor 1.0 Build 3916
	WinCRC 1.0

6. How to Cancel/Change Settings/Email address for Your Subscription to this Newsletter

Changing subscription status for this newsletter is pretty easy. 

To un-subscribe :

- Send an email to  using the email account that receives this newsletter.

To change the email address that receives this newsletter :

- Un-subscribe using your current one, and sign up using a new email address 

7. A simple thank-you

Just a note to thank all the thousands of people (3000 at last count), including you, who joined the DVD Digest LiveUpdate program. We've spent quite a bit of time developing this site, and making it what it is today, and really do appreciate your continued support.

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We hoped you enjoyed another LiveUpdate newsletter. We'll try to make this newsletter a regular fortnightly one in the future.



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