WMV-HD mini FAQ
Q: What is WMV-HD?
A: WMV-HD stands for Windows Media Video High-Definition. Basic information about it can be found at www.wmvhd.com
Q: Are there samples of this content available?
A: Yes, Visit www.wmvhd.com for information on new WMV-HD releases along with many titles to preview right on your home PC!
Q: What is this I hear about VC-1?
A: VC-1 stands for "Video Compression 1". This is the open specification Microsoft presented to the SMPTE standards organization.
Q: What audio codec is used in WMV-HD?
A: Currently WMV-HD titles use WMA Professional 5.1 channel audio. This is steps above the current WMA audio that you might encode content with in Windows Media Player 9 Series.
Q: Can I use my PC's 5.1 speaker setup with WMV-HD titles?
A: Yes you can. The URL below will help you out with this.
Q: Why isn't a Lossless audio codec used?
A: Currently due to space constraints. A DVD-9 disc can only hold about 7.95GB of data. If a Lossless audio codec were to be used the video bitrate would have to be chopped down to make room for both on the disc. Lower video bitrate means lower video quality.
Q: Are there any Audio/Video Receivers that support decoding WMA Pro?
A: Yes, currently the Pioneer VSX-59TXi does. This is the only one right now, but look for more to become available. Pioneer now has 4 additional AVRs that support WMA Pro over SPDIF. Please see Pioneer's website for updated information.
Q: Why is Dolby Digital (DD) not used for the audio?
A: WMA Pro 5.1 can offer better sound quality then DD at this point. Knowing this is basically up for debate you can decide for yourself about which is better. Any third party could create tools to add AC3 or DTS functionality to a WMV encoded file. As of now, only Microsoft's tools for encoding WMA have been released.
Q: Can I transcode the WMA Pro soundtrack to DD, so I can run it through my AVR?
A: Yes you can. The first option is if you have an nForce2 motherboard with SoundStorm you can set it to transcode the WMA Pro 5.1 to DD over SPDIF. This is limited due to the number of people who have (rather don't have) nForce2 motherboards with SoundStorm.
The second option will work for most others. Using the AC3 Filter (Currently in beta) from Sourceforge.net you can do this. Please see http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?postid=3820212 for more information and help with this.
Q: What OS is required to play a WMV-HD title?
A: Windows XP is the preferred OS for WMV-HD playback. There are many reasons for this, the top one being only WMP 9 for XP allows for WMA Pro 5.1 decoding. So if you wish to enjoy the 5.1 sound track you must have Windows XP with WMP 9.
Windows 98SE/ME/2000 may be used as long as you have Windows Media Player 9 installed. The 5.1 channel WMA Pro will be down-mixed to 2 channel stereo when using Windows 98SE/ME/2000.
Q: Is Windows Media Center supported for playback?
A: You bet! Windows MCE even provides control via your MCE Remote.
Q: Is windows 98 (Non-SE) supported?
A: No, Microsoft doesn’t produce WMP 9 for Windows 98. You will need to upgrade to at least Windows 98SE to play back these titles.
Q: Can I use my Apple Mac with OS X to play back these titles.
A: No, OS X is not supported. Try Flip4Mac WMV Components.
Q: What should my PC specs be in order to enjoy this content?
A: The recommend requirements can be viewed at the following link.
Q: DRM, what is it?
A: DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. This is a technology which has been developed by many different companies allow content owners to better protect their content while it's in a digital format. In this case, of course, it’s Microsoft’s flavor of DRM that would be used.
Q: I hear Windows Media Player 9/10 has DRM, should I be worried?
A: DRM is to be worried about and is not, this is a hard subject. DRM is encoded into content by the owners, or by yourself. While DRM limits fair-use, it should be understood that the content owners need to have a say in how there content is protected. Windows Media DRM gives them these options. Microsoft has developed DRM technology along with many other companies. Apple has Fairplay for example. While DRM does suck, currently in the world we live in (Piracy) this is what it has come too. This subject can be argued upon all day.
Q: I also hear these titles "Phone-Home", is this true?
A: Depending on how the content owner added DRM it might need to use your internet connection to obtain a license for you to play the content. Titles such as T2: Extreme Edition and Step Into Liquid both use "Phone-Home" DRM or what you could call "Dial-Up" You must have an active internet connection for these titles.
Q: I don't want Microsoft to know what I’m playing and when I do so.
A: Completely understandable! The content owner makes the choice on what type of DRM to encode. If they choice Dial-up (aka Phone-Home) you will have to deal with it in order to view the content. E-mailing these content owners and letting them know you dislike "Phone-Home" DRM is a good idea, blaming Microsoft is a bad idea. Microsoft doesn't choose this, and they do recommend "On-Disc" DRM when working with content owners.
Q: Will Windows Media Player 10 make playback of WMV-HD titles better?
A: Yes it will. WMP 10 (When released) will enable WMA Pro 5.1 to be set over SPDIF to a AVR that can decode WMA Pro. The DRM components of WMP 10 will also be more efficient. This means that it will take less processing power decrypt it, and should result in smoother playback.
Q: Why video/audio is playing back very choppy, what can I do?
A: Currently OEM ship their PC's with drivers and such poorly configured.
Q: I have an AV receiver that supports decoding WMA Pro 5.1, but it's not working right, why?
A: WMP 9 can not currently send WMA Pro 5.1 through SPDIF. WMP 10 should fix this. WMP 10 will be released in the upcoming months and is for Windows XP only.
Q: "Page not found" error while trying to play a WMV-HD file through WMP.
A: This could be a few things. If you get this while trying to play the clips from the "Do Amazing Things" free DVD then you will want to have the disc auto-run first and navigate to the clips, then play them from there first. This should fix the problem with the "Do Amazing Things" disc.
This could also happen if the web server hosting a license is down. Generally WMP should give you an error when this happens, but...
Q: I am getting error "C00D27D8" while trying to play a WMV file (Trailers mostly) in WMP.
A: This error means that the DRM license has been removed by the owners of the content. Per Marc... "It may be non-intuitive to see movie trailers with DRM protection and expiration dates, however the movie studios must pay “per song” royalties for each time a song is played beyond a certain promotional period. The DRM protection applied to this particular movie clip was used to terminate the viewing of the clip after the promotional rights had expired."
This error will occur now with the "Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed" trailer. Others may appear in the future.
Q: T2: Exteme Edition will not play when I have the Technical Beta of WMP 10 installed, will this be fixed?
Q: I'm having License Acquisitions issues with “Step Into Liquid“, anything I can do?
A: SyncCast provides support for these issues. You can e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**IMAX Titles General**
Q: What type of DRM is used in the IMAX WMV-HD films released by Image Entertainment?
A: All of the IMAX disc use "on-disc" DRM. This means that you do not need an internet connection to enable playback. These discs with "on-disc" DRM can also be played in any country.
Q: What video resolution are these titles?
A: All of the current IMAX WMV-HD discs have both the 720p and 1080p versions of the film on the same disc.
Q: What is the audio track on these discs?
A: All WMV-HD titles use WMA Pro 5.1 audio. More on this above.
**Coral Reef General**
Q: Why does my copy of "Coral Reef" not auto-run?
A: This is a known problem with the "Coral Reef" disc. To fix this you will want to open the Registry Editor in Windows (Start>>Run>>Type "regedit") and then navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DESCRIPTION\System\CentralProcessor\0\Processor Name String.
You will want to make a change to your processor name. If you have an Intel Pentium processor change it to "Intel(R) Pentium(R) X CPU x.xxGHz" (You will replace "x"'s with the correct numbers of your processor. (Ex. "Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.00GHz")
If you have an AMD Athlon change it too "AMD Athlon(tm) XP xxxx+" (you will replace the "x"'s with the correct numbers for your processor.
Basically you don't want "Athlon" or "Pentium" to start the string.
Q: After I re-boot the string changes again, can I fix that?
A: Yes you can. Open Notepad and copy-and-paste the following... (Don't include the = signs and input your correct data from above.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DESCRIPTION\System\CentralProcessor\0] "ProcessorNameString"="AMD Athlon(tm) XP"
Save this file as "Coralfix.REG" and put it in some directory that is out of the way. I suggest C:\Windows\System32.
Now create a shortcut to "%windir%\regedit.exe /s C:\Windows\System32\Coralfix.REG" and put it in your Startup folder in your Start Menu.
Q: I get ActiveX errors when trying to launch this disc, how can it be fixed?
A: This can be caused by the use of Spybot. To fix this navigate two [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Zones\0] and you should see ["1004"=dword:00000003] You will want to change this too ["1004"=dword:00000000].
**Do Amazing Things General**
Q: What type of license is included for the “BMW Films' The Hire” shorts?
A: This has a 60 day license, after 60 days it will not be playable. This was a choice made by the content owners.