website hit counter April 2004 - Posts - Chris Lanier

April 2004 - Posts

WMP Newsgroup Posts.

I have almost got posting in the WMP groups down to a science.  I have about 20 copy-and-paste responce that i use to quickly reply to the 150+ posts a day in there.  What's best about them is that the OP's are getting great information w/o them providing context into their exact issue.  Only 1 in 20 have provided the needed information in their post to credit an “exact” answer.  So this makes my part go much faster, while getting them good answers and information.  I takes me about 15 minutes to reply to 75 posts.  That's a HUGE time saver!
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Step into Liquid!

Dispite the few issues with WMV-HD listed below these disc's are still GREAT.  I picked up “Step into Liquid” a day or so ago.  It is fantasic!  I would highly recommend that everyone pick up this titles. It's 720p and has 5.1 WMA Pro.  Most PC's can handle a 720p encode and have it look great.

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The Problem with WMV-HD

I have got a thread going over that AVSForum about the issues with current WMV-HD titles  I think Microsoft and the content producers really need to address these issues if they want to format to go places.

#1 - Add a DD or DTS audio track.  Currently WMP 9 can not even output WMA Pro 5.1 through SPDIF.  So if you have a AVR that can decode the stream it is useless that this point.  Almost everyones AVR can handle a DD stream out of SPDIF.

#2 - Everyone hates DRM, so for consumers to purchase the product we need to get the DRM to a state where the consumer doesnt know it's their.  That translates to Offline-DRM and no DRM that requires a internet connection.  Even though everyone should have WiFi in their house, the problem is that not everyone does.  So get rid of the dial-up DRM and goto Offline-DRM.

#3 - Content!  Current only one titles has been released that can be considered “main-stream”.  That would be T2 - Extreme Edition.  We want to see more content released to us.

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MLB Games via MCE.

As many might know Microsoft has be picked this year for distrobution of the MLB content instead of Real.  Microsoft needs to make an MCE interface for this.  Not only is it a great to sell MCE machine and the service but it bring the “eHome” idea closer to being a dominating force in selling PC's.
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Cost of MCE PC's?

So, a lot of people seem to think that MCE PC's are too overpriced.  Okay, that's cool becuase the OEM set's the price.  The problem i have with it is the same people think MCE sucks bcause it doesnt support HDTV or dual tuners.  HD card's right now cost about $300 and they only do OTA.  So even if MCE supported HD and dual tuners you are talking about adding over $500 to the cost of the PC.  Then the cost to Microsoft for having to explain what OTA is and how and what you get access to.

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Is There a Reason...

That people think the Microsoft Newsgroups are Microsoft Product Support?  At least one person a week seems to think this.  They don't want an answer from me or they don't want to provide any basic information on their problem.  And then they want to know why Microsoft isn't helping them.

Why do we have all these people who don't take the time to read before they speak?

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Why doesn't LameACM work with WMP?

I have been trying for a few days to get LameACM to work with WMP.  Having minor success though.  It's not hard to get WMP to see the encoder, it's just a few registry entries.  The hard part is when i try to rip and encode a track to MP3, WMP hangs using 400MB of RAM.  The audio is being encoded, but the files don't encode correctly.  It's gargled and just sounds like crap.  I would love to get a free MP3 encoder to work in WMP.  Having to pay for MP3 encoding in WMP makes Microsoft look like they don't want you to rip the audio in MP3.  Which of course is not the point, it's that the FhG encoder isn't free.
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nVIDIA's NV40

This card might just be the best thing to happen to digital media on PC's in years.  The card is promising Inverse Telecine, MPEG-2/MPEG-4/DivX/WMV9 hardware encoding and decoding.  You can encode MPEG-2 and WMV9 up to HD resolutions!

The only issues with this card are (1) The power (2) The space.  This card will require 2 power leads from the PSU.  It will take up the AGP slot+the closest PCI slot.

Windows Media Center Edition will shine assuming this card will be supported.  Getting HD into the PC and having hardware encode to limit CPU usage. 

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Windows Media Center 2005

As being reported by Neowin.net the latest beta for Windows Media Center is due to start soon.

Testers will get to test MCE on a beta PC provided by Microsoft for the time of the test only.  A beta tester for MCE will work with that PC for a few months to help Microsoft get some real world user information on the latest edition of Media Center.

This beta is codenamed “Symphony” and should offer many advances on Media Center and will hopefully add many new features (Dual Tuners Please) and fix many of the known problems with Media Center Edition.

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Convergence, Not Even Close

Bill Gates idea about convergence are great.  But I don't see it happening any time soon.  My biggest problem is the current software.  Of course in my case Windows Media Player.  The player does communicate with other parts of the OS or even other parts of the player.  In specific the Help File.

The Help Files should _know_ your problem and bring up a solution.  The current help docs in WMP do just about nothing to really help.  Sure, they tell you the the error text in most cases, but the users have no idea what the hell it means.

Example:  If I'm playing a DivX encoded AVI and have not installed the DivX Codec WMP should look up the 4CC and bring up a help file that has something other than “File Format Not Supported”.  That implies that WMP doesn't support the AVI file format.  Since 90% of the WMP do not know that AVI is a container format or even if we told them they wouldn't know what it means then they come into the newsgroups demanding to know why WMP doesn't support AVI's.

In the real world of convergence WMP should get that 4CC, open the help file for _specifically_ for the 4CC of DIVX, or DX50, Etc.  In that file there should be _two_ different explanations.  (1) Simple, cookie cutter explanation.  (2) The technically explanation.  Why DivX isn't support, what DivX is in full, etc.  Even if it's not Microsoft's codec we still need to let the users know what it is b/c they go off thinking it's Microsoft's problem and the software is crap.

So, before my watch can communicate with my shoe and my shoe communicates with my car and my car has is running Windows XPe and that car adjusts itself for me, and it can buy me things i want and suggest places for me to go, i what WMP to tell me what's wrong _and_ why something went wrong, _and_ how-to fix it.

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DVR-MS 2 WMV Release Candidate!

The long awaited DVR-MS 2 WMV RC has been released! This is a great application that builds right into the Media Center interface. Select any of the recorded TV's on your hard drive and via the remote change encoding options and start the encoding. This is amazing! If you are looking into getting a Portable Media Center when they are released look into this program. If also has the other great uses of course. Since DVR-MS files are MPEG-2 video it's still rather large in file size. WMV is the opposite and still maintains great video and audio quality.

 

www.nacontap.com

 

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Will Microsoft Support Third Party Formats?

Let's face it Windows Media is the best and nothing else can top it!  Okay, maybe there are a few other codec's that offer some good features.

Don't get me wrong, but Windows Media does have it strong points.  Not only does WMV offer great streaming, but the video quality is superb and audio is too.  But, after 10-15 posts a day in the WMP newsgroups relating to people not having the correct audio/video codec's installed i think Microsoft needs to do better.

I'm not saying that “they” should support playback (i.e. don't call MS if you have problems with the codec), but they should make it easier for people to find out what codec they need to play the media they want to play.  WMP9 only shows the 4CC tag for a few codec's.  I have seen XVID displayed, but that's about it.

I don't think it's to much to ask for WMP9 to get the 4CC and then link to a page in which the codec's can be downloaded from in a simple way.  I can send people the FourCC.org, but they havent a clue on what to do next.

Even better Microsoft should either (1) Write DirectShow filter's for different codec's or (2) Partner with the makers of FFDshow (The Best), or an application like it and have them make compile a version MS can ship with Windows.

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Windows Media Video High Definition

Like high quality video?  How about high quality audio?  You are the prime candidate for Windows Media Vidoe High Definition films.  This up-and-coming format can produce stuller video and audio playable on Windows XP PC's.  As with any new technolgy there still are some problems with it.  There are two major problems facing playback of this content right now.  (1) That great technolgy known as Digital Right Managment (DRM).  The addition of DRM to these films puts “so” much stress on the processor for decrypting the protection that “most” processor's don't have the power to display the video smoothly.  Of course this will change in time.  nVidia latest and greatest graphic cards (NV40, I think [??]) will be able to assist in decoding the video, leaving the CPU to work on the DRM.  (2) Even without DRM being added to the clips it still does take a powerful PC to decode 1080p video.  I was completely amazed today when i tried to play a clip at 720p on my MCE machine.  My currect MCE isn't really fast.  It's a 1.2Ghz Athlon, 512MB PC133 RAM, and a ATI Radeon 9000 64MB GFX card. I was able to play 720p clips (No DRM) on the machine in MCE and WMP nicely.  A few dropped frames, but it didnt affect the overall experience of watching the clips.

To take complete advantage of the WMV-HD video you would really want a High-Def display with DVI-In and a graphics card with DVI-Out.  I currectly don't have an HD hisplay but was also amazrd at how the video looks going right though S-Video to a 32in CRT TV.

Check out http://www.wmvhd.com/ for more information and i'll be posting alot on this topic as time goes on.

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The Green Button Launch!

Today is the day.  We (TGB) launch our new site after the admin's ran into more than a few problems with InfoPop hosting the site.  Without notice they (InfoPop) decided to upgrade the forums to the latest version that they liked to call “Eve”.  If they had only told everyone in advance that might not have been a problem.  But after there “upgrade” many members could connect, login, or post on the site.  The new forums are Powered by InstantForum.NET v3.4.  A large improvement over InfoPop “Eve“ platform.

Anyone intersted in Windows Media Center should check out the new site and register and account if you don't already have one.

The Green Button - http://www.thegreenbutton.com/

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