Friday, March 2, 2007

Fair Use Legislation!

Support this bill! Do what you can now to express your approval.

A new bill in the US Congress aimed at protecting the fair use rights for consumers of copyright material would "legalize hacking," the Recording Industry Association of America said.

The Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing US Entrepreneurship (FAIR USE) Act, introduced onTuesday by Representatives Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat, and John Doolittle, a California Republican, would allow customers to circumvent digital copy restrictions in six limited areas when copyright owners' business models are not threatened, Boucher said. So-called fair use doctrine allows customers of copyright works to make limited numbers of copies, particularly for reviews, news reporting, teaching and research.

The bill would allow exemptions to the anticircumvention restrictions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), passed by Congress in 1998. The bill is revamped from similar bills introduced in the last two sessions of Congress, Boucher said.

"The fair use doctrine is threatened today as never before," Boucher said in a statement. "Historically, the nation's copyright laws have reflected a carefully calibrated balanced between the rights of copyright owners and the rights of the users of copyrighted material. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act dramatically tilted the copyright balance toward complete copyright protection at the expense of the public's right to fair use."

But the RIAA said the bill would effectively repeal the DMCA. The bill would "allow electronics companies to induce others to break the law for their own profit," it said in a statement. Advances such digital music sales, online games, on-demand movies and e-books can be traced to DMCA protects, the RIAA said.

"The difference between hacking done for non-infringing purposes and hacking done to steal is impossible to determine and enforce," the RIAA said in its statement.

The Boucher bill would limit the availability of statutory damages against individuals and firms who may be found to have engaged in contributory infringement, inducement of infringement, or other indirect infringement. The bill would allow libraries to circumvent digital locks or secure copies of works that have been damaged, lost or stolen.

The Consumer Electronics Association applauded the bill, saying it would give protections to consumers, educators and libraries. Without fair use protections, consumers couldn't use devices such as VCRs and digital TV recorders, the trade group said.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


There is a good information page on the XBOX 360 HD DVD drive and related resources here. In fact, the website is a great resource in itself.

Software and Information

I sure wish HD DVD software would be released for OS X. Supposedly, the major update to Apple's software DVD player in Leopard contains hints that it will play both Blu-Ray and HD DVD discs. See this article for more information. That will make life a lot better. Now if only Slysoft would issue a release of AnyDVD for OS X.

In the meantime, I have been considering purchasing the Japanese version of WinDVD 8 with HD DVD support. It is about $80, though, and I'm a bit nervous to buy the Japanese version if the U.S. update comes out soon. If you want more information on the only alternative to Cyberlink's PowerDVD, see this great page.

To order, do the following:

Follow the link to WinDVD 8 (Japan)

Add 通常版 to your Cart (→ 8,800円)

Vector Check Out - Screen 1

Section 1:

The first two fields require your e-mail address (Does not accept Hotmail)

Field 1: Email
Field 2: Verify Your Email

Section 2:

Click on the link Address not in JAPAN and complete the recipient fields.

Finally, hit the submit button at the bottom of the page.

Vector Check Out- Screen 2

This is your confirmation page.

You will be emailed a link for their payment Gateway (where you will enter your Credit Card info).

Vector Check Out - Payment Link (Via Email)

Section 1:

Do not deselect the option with the red text . This indicates you are paying via Credit Card

Section 2:
Field 1: Enter the name on your CC
Field 2: Enter your CC #
Field 3: Enter the card expiration month
Field 4: Enter the card expiration year

Section 3
Option 1: Registers you as Vector Passport Member
Option 2: Registers your CC for future use.

Section 4
Option 1: Register to receive Vector Newsletter
Option 2: Register to receive HTML Guide

Hit the submit button (gray) and check your email for the software link and serial #

File Size: 275MB

If anyone has used Win DVD, above, to play HD DVDs, let us know your experience with it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


If you are new to this blog, jump to the first entry down below, labelled "setup." Otherwise, please read on . . .

Hi Friends.

Well, after lots of tinkering, I have not been able to get Cyberlink PowerDVD HD to play HD DVDs through Parallels. I feared from the beginning this would not work, but, as with so many things, I continued to hope I would be proven wrong and the whole thing "would just work." Oh, that's right, this relies on Windows.

I'm using Beta 3 Build 3106 of Parallels (which is GREAT software -- not working on this issue does not diminish it). The short of it is that the HD DVD drive is recognized in Parallels. You must, of course, click on the USB button and add the XBOX 360 Memory Unit and XBOX 360 HD DVD Drive. The drive appears and opens. The four standard HDVD folders appear.

My guess is that the hang-up in Parallels has to do with graphics drivers. What happens next is that Cyberlink PowerDVD opens, sees the HD DVD, spins it up . . . and then hard freezes. It takes CTRL-ALT-DEL and closing PowerDVD to continue.

I'll continue to play with it and post whatever I can learn. I'd love to hear from others, too. Here is pic of the farthest I have been able to get with PowerDVD. Wouldn't it be cool to have PowerDVD HD running in coherence mode?

More on CyberLink PowerDVD

The interaction between the digital audio out, the two screens, HDCP, and PowerDVD is interesting and difficult to predict. As you use the software on your Mac, you will find that the behavior of CyberLink PowerDVD somehow interferes with the SPDIF digital audio. I'm not sure how or why, though the guess I hazard is that HDCP, controlling audio and video, messes with the audio and ties PowerDVD to a certain screen.

I have a 50" Fujitsu Plasmavision screen hooked up to the iMac as monitor two. The mini-DVI out on the iMac is hooked up to a DVI cable which then feeds the signal to the Fujitsu. Ordinarily, this works like a charm on the Mac.

On the Windows side of Boot Camp, things are a bit different. The ATI drivers and Catalyst software recognize and handle the Fujitsu fine. I haven't explored ATI's "theater mode" referenced in the Catalyst software. I'm just not sure yet what it does or how to activate it. So, I use the Fujitsu as the "second" monitor on Windows XP (one minor thing that annoys me on Windows is that the monitor is always located to the right side of my iMac monitor after each reboot -- regardless of how many times or how I try to save in ATI Catalyst that the Fujitsu is to the left of the iMac).

As I mentioned in the first post, I immediately noticed some interesting issues with PowerDVD and the two monitors.

* First, one can, contrary to my prior impression, drag the PowerDVD software between the two monitors even when open and playing a movie. Once the PowerDVD window gets about 50% of the way onto the second screen, the movie freezes, it produces large green artificats or blocks, and some rainbow blocks. But then, after a stutter freeze of about a second, it cleans itself up and restarts the movie right where it was. Again, I'm no expert in this use, just a user who experiments, but my guess is the freeze, noise, resume pattern when dragging between screens has something to do with our favorite technology, HDCP.

* Second (and this one is more odd), PowerDVD works best for me if I start it on my Mac in this way: (1) open PowerDVD on the built-in LCD monitor; (2) set audio in PowerDVD to "2 Speaker"; (3) drag the program window with the splash screen to the Fujitsu monitor; (4) maximize PowerDVD; (5) start the movie; and, finally, (6) change the audio to "SPDIF." Now, the movie is running, all is OK with the world, and one can sit back and enjoy. Varying this pattern (for example by changing to SPDIF on the LCD monitor) results in no sound whatsoever when I drag PowerDVD to the Fujitsu. Changing to SPDIF out of sequence can then result in a "We are sorry but we must close PowerDVD" error.

* Third (and this appears to related to item number two, above), if I change the audio or leave the audio in PowerDVD on SPDIF, drag PowerDVD to the Fujitsu, maximize, and start a movie Cyberlink emits a "pop" sound over the speakers and shuts down. When in doubt, I can always succeed now by opening the movie on the LCD and dragging it to the Fujitsu, you just have to not freak out over the whole artifacting / pausing thing PowerDVD does.

* Fourth, PowerDVD does not let me use the mouse to select the HD DVD menu items. To move the "pointer" and select different menu items, I have to use the arrow keys on the keyboard and return. Just an oddity. I wonder if it does that for everyone or if use Windows Mac users are so blessed.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Setup


This will guide you in setting up the Microsoft Xbox 360 HD DVD on your iMac (the same steps should work on a MacPro and MacBook Pro). I haven't tried this setup on my MacBook. Just speculating, I'm afraid the integrated graphics on the MacBook might not be sufficient to make this work.

HD DVD on My Mac! And thanks to Microsoft!

Yep, it is ironic but true. For a little over $200 you can watch HD DVD on your iMac. Of course, you will need Windows XP (I don't have Vista and haven't tested this on Vista) on your iMac in either or both a Boot Camp configuration or Parallels configuration. Personally, I have my Boot Camp partition set as the Parallels installation, too.

For best results with slower processors and less memory, run this in Boot Camp.

What do you do first?

Buy the Xbox 360 HD DVD from any source. It comes with a power supply and USB cable. The device is also a two-port USB hub with full sized USB "A" ports on the rear.

Boot into Windows and install these drivers for the Xbox 360 HD DVD player. As the instructions in the RAR file tell you, right click on the .inf file and click "install." You will then need to reboot.

OK, after reboot, you can go ahead and plug in the USB cable for the drive. When you plug the USB cable in, you will find new hardware. Let Windows do its thing automatically and it should find the drivers. If not, try again and point to the directory where the un-RARed drivers are located.

The next step? You need to update your ATI Catalyst drivers for the Radeon Mobility X1600 video card. This is necessary so the software video player in Windows will "see" that your Catalyst drivers speak HDCP. The current release is Catalyst Mobility Full 7.2.

WARNING: If you do this, you are changing the distributed ATI drivers Apple includes in its Boot Camp beta. Do this at your risk. It works fine for me, but I make no representations, etc.

It is a major pain to get the Catalyst 7.2 release to run on the iMac. The utility by AMD/ATI does a chipset check and refuses to install on the Mac. Fortunately, there is a full install version that does not check the chipset. Get that version here.

Reboot after installing this package.

Next step. This one involves spending some more money. You will need AnyDVD HD by Slysoft. Running this program in Windows XP effectively "strips" the HD DVD of HDCP and AACS. The HDCP is important, because otherwise the Mac Radeon X1600 and internal LCD monitor don't speak to each other with HDCP, thus giving one frozen green squares of DVD playback. At least I think that is the reason. Experiment, have fun. If you can get it to run without Slysoft's AnyDVD HD, so much the better. Look into the product here.

WARNING: Slysoft AnyDVD is allegedly illegal in the United States and many other nations. I argue that "fair use" should cover the making of back-up DVDs that you own and for circumventing the HDCP silliness identified above, but the courts of the United States would probably disagree given the current MPAA / RIAA atmosphere. Purchase and use at your own risk. And nothing I'm saying here should encourage you to use this product and I certainly do not condone circumventing encryption or other copy protection.

You are getting close if you have followed this so far. The next step in this journey is to purchase Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra Deluxe from Cyberlink's website. Although this software is available by bittorrent on PirateBay, I encourage you to throw some money to the makers of this player and support them by purchasing it. While not perfect, at least they put something on the market.

One deceptive bit of advertising by Cyberlink, though, is that the user must currently install EITHER the HD DVD version or the Blu-Ray version. To ensure the correct installation, have your Xbox 360 HD DVD installed and working OK as per above BEFORE you install the Cyberlink software. If it sees the HD DVD drive, the correct HD DVD version installs. Otherwise, one has to rename the Blu-Ray directory and name the HD DVD the old Blu-Ray name before installing (complicated and odd, I know).

There were a few quirks. First, the Sigma Tel onboard audio driver went haywire on reboot. I have no idea why. Since I need to send audio out through SPDIF, this was a big deal. In Device Manager, I unistalled the Sigma Tel codec and rebooted. It found it, installed the driver, and voila, all was OK again.

In addition, I find one has to open PowerDVD on the screen on which the HD DVD will play. Must be something about HDCP. The program is not happy being dragged between screens open and playing a movie. Let AnyDVD do its thing for a while, too, before trying to open a movie. Because PowerDVD pops open on its own before AnyDVD is ready, I have to close PowerDVD and reopen it a bit later.

Finally, some DVDs do odd things with the subtitles -- I have to turn them off using the HD DVD menu each time the disk is loaded. Don't know what that is about.

OK, enough for now. I'll post more when I try it in Parallels and as other things come up. Please post your experiences below, too!