Digital Digest - LiveUpdate Newsletter

Digital Digest - LiveUpdate Newsletter DIGITAL DIGEST - LIVE UPDATE Issue 31

Your "whenever I have time to write one" newsletter
Thursday, 5th December, 2002


0. Section Zer0 - An Introduction to this Issue

1. 2003 - What's Next ?

2. New WinDVD

3. NVIDIA Makes it a Three Horse Race

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

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


0. Section Zer0

Welcome to this, the 31st issue, of the Digital Digest LiveUpdate newsletter, and most likely, the last ever ... for this year. The holiday season usually means more site development time, and hopefully, I will have something new for Digital Digest knocked up soon ... stay tuned!!

Since we're starting a new year soon, this is probably a good time to talk about what I think will be the "next big thing" in terms of digital video - after all, I've already successfully predicted the rise of PC-DVD and DivX and the fall of DIVX, or at least that's what I tell people to make them think I'm smart.

But before we get to the "next big thing", let's not forget that PC-DVD and DivX are still far from being dead and even now, a new player has just come into the software DVD player.

Enjoy :)

-- DVDGuy

1. 2003 - What's Next ?

As someone who publishes a website about technology, it is always important to be able to predict the next new piece of technology, or at least know when a new technology has matured enough to be given the right amount of coverage. DVD Digest was opened at a time when 2X DVD-ROM drives had been just released, and all the problems with the first generation DVD-ROM drives had just been ironed out. DivX Digest started when the now infamous version 3.11 Alpha of the DivX codec was released. So what will 2003 bring, if anything at all?

First of all, I expect DVD-ROM titles (eg. applications, games) to finally make some impact. I am not saying it will replace CD-ROMs (although there is no reason why it shouldn't), but after several years in the wilderness, it has to make some impact, right? Heck, even DIVX is more widely used than DVD-ROM right now. I think practically every new computer sold has a DVD-ROM drive now, and they are now less than $US 30 per drive - but certain games and applications are still sold in multi-CD format, sometimes requiring several CD swaps just to install the damn thing - DVD-ROM would solve all that.

DVD-ROM - where's the beef ?
DVD-ROM - where's the beef ? 

XviD - making it big in 2003 ?
XviD - making it big in 2003 ?

XviD should also make it big in 2003. While it is already quite popular amongst "enthusiast" users, it has yet to reach the mass acceptance that DivX currently enjoys. All this should change with the open-source XviD developing quite nicely. XviD should give the commercial DivX Pro a run for its money.
Convergence is a buzz word that has been floating around for a while now - it refers to the convergence of the computer with everyday appliances, such as home theatre. DVD (Video) is probably the first format to truly cross over between computers and home theatre, and I think it's huge popularity probably has something to do this this fact. With game consoles such as the X-BOX basically now just small computers with DVD-ROM drives, it's really just a matter of time before a computer connected home theatre system will be just as common as the good old VHS VCR. New software being release also reflect this trend, with increasing number of video capturing/digital video recording type software being released (see WinDVD Recorder later in this newsletter) that tries to emulate the convenience of a VCR, with the added functionality of a computer (and CD/DVD writers, and being digital, of course).

X-Box - "Convergence" in action
X-Box - "Convergence" in action

DVD Recordable - this Sony does both DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW
DVD Recordable - this Sony does both DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW

This brings us to the next big thing, which in my opinion will be DVD burning. It's true that the format wars, DVD-R/RW versus DVD+R/RW, has not yet resolved itself, but with the news of multi-format drives (supporting both DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW), 2003, I think, will be the year that DVD writing will finally be in the reach of the average computer user. Note that I said "computer user" and not "consumer". This is because I do not believe standalone DVD recorders will reach a level where it can become a replacement for the VCR, since VCR is the DVD Recorder's only competitor, in my opinion. With VCRs so widespread, and more importantly, so cheap and relatively easy to use, DVD Recorders will have to do quite a bit to prove itself a worthy replacement for the good old VCR - it will have to get a heck of a lot cheaper as well.
DVD recorder drives for computers are another matter - it's easy to see the transition between CD-R/RW and DVD-+R/RW - it's also easy to see where all the extra space that DVD recordables bring can be used, mainly in the backup of existing data (either DVD movies, or a handy backup of your hard-drive). With some drives already costing below $US 300, the price drop required for DVD-+R/RW to become standard equipment in computers can be reached relatively quickly (compared to $1000+ for standalone DVD recorders, which will take a while to drop down to a more affordable $300 or so).

Standalone DVD Recorders - 2003 too soon?

So is it time to get a DVD-+R/RW drive now? Probably not, at least not until more multi-format drives are released and competition forces the price to drop further. But it's probably a good idea to start saving up for one now.

Related Links :

DVD-ROM Games 
XviD Explained (Newsletter Issue 29)
Sony's Internal DVD±RW Drive DRU500A

Related Discussions :

Poll : Buying DVD writers
Poll : DVD writable formats

2. Star Wars Episode II DVD and Fullscreen Madness

WinDVD Platinum
WinDVD Platinum

Intervideo has just released several new line-ups in the WinDVD product range, notably WinDVD Platinum, WinDVD Creator and WinDVD Recorder.

WinDVD Platinum can be considered the next major version of WinDVD, only this time, it's for Windows 2000 and XP only (Windows 9x/Me versions may be released soon). It has all the same advanced features as WinDVD, plus a few new ones thrown in for good measure.

WinDVD Recorder takes the WinDVD platform one step further. It has all the same features as WinDVD Platinum, plus it also has video capturing (both digital and analog support), encoding and burning on to CD or DVD recordables.

WinDVD Creator then takes WinDVD Recorder's playback functions away, and add upon it's video capturing, editing and authoring capabilities.

WinDVD Recorder
WinDVD Recorder

I had a look at WinDVD Platinum under Windows 2000, and it's very similar in nature to WinDVD 4.0, with a little bit more spit and polish, if you know what I mean. Notable additions (compared to WinDVD Plus) are video docking (a GUI feature), full DivX support, video effects, Dolby virtual speakers technology (emulates 5.1 sound from 2 speaker), SRS TruSurround XT Headphone support, 96 kHz/24 Bit audio decoding and other small, but useful, additions/changes (include LanguageMate, which allows you to use multi-language DVDs as a language learning tool - cool!!).

As usual, a full review of WinDVD Platinum will be released as soon as possible, including details about WinDVD Recorder as well.

Download/Purchase Links :

WinDVD Platinum
WinDVD Creator
WinDVD Recorder

3. NVIDIA Makes it a Three Horse Race

For a while now, the software DVD player market battle has been one between Cyberlink (PowerDVD) and Intervideo (WinDVD). This may soon change, with graphic giants NVIDIA joining in the fray with it's new NVDVD player.

NVDVD player is a commercial DVD player ($39.95, downloadable version) which may not have all the fancy features of WinDVD and PowerDVD (like DTS decoding, SRS TruSurround, etc...), but does it's primary job of DVD decoding quite well. Being developed by NVIDIA, there is a strong leaning towards support for NVIDIA devices, which is understandable, although other graphics cards, especially those compatible with the latest version of DirectX, are well supported too. It also has some unique features as well, which I won't be too surprised to see included in the next major versions of WinDVD/PowerDVD. Overall, while still a few steps behind PowerDVD/WinDVD, it's not too far behind.

NVDVD - not too far behind

Related Links :

NVDVD Review

Download Links :


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5. A simple thank-you

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