If you share a computer, and have ever downloaded videos that you want to keep private, you’ll be interested in our new Video Padlock software. Introductory priced at $19.95, Video Padlock makes it easy to password-protect hundreds of videos that reside on your PC. Entering a single master password gives to access to your video library. Without a password, no access.
Technology often moves faster than the news! Here’s an example:
We were featured in an article done by Reuters on September 26, mentioning how Replay Media Catcher was able to download movies from Amazon’s new VOD (Video on Demand) service.
Apparently, Amazon was asked for comment, and shortly before the article hit the wires, they had updated their system, making Replay Media Catcher (for now anyway) unable to record. Other aspects in the article are still valid though, but Amazon was a particularly big part of the story.
Nevertheless, there are other ways to record from Amazon — we recommend WM Capture. As this is a real-time high-quality recorder that works by capturing videos directly off of your PC’s screen, there’s no way it can be blocked. The other interesting thing is how the story got going in the first place, which we’re still trying to figure out. Stay tuned!
This article in Ars Technica does a nice job illustrating the demise of Pandora may be just days away. The problem is with the royalty fees they are being asked to pay, in contrast to what broadcast radio pays (nothing) and satellite radio pays (about half). The music business needs a big restructuring, as it’s a sad day when cool services like Pandora go belly up, especially when they have revenues of $25 million(!). Read the entire article to learn more.
An article about Applian, Replay Media Catcher and RTMPE protocol recently was posted on Slashdot. While much of it is a spirited debate about DRM, there is an inaccuracy that we need to clear up. Some of the posters seem to think that we are breaking Adobe’s encryption in this latest version, which is false. The content we download is actually unencrypted. It looks like this was a stopgap solution by Adobe. It appears Adobe made a technical tradeoff between continuing to support their existing ad insertion technology, and fully encrypting their content. There are a lot of really talented engineers at Adobe – I just don’t think they have yet built a DMCA compatible system due to time constraints. Their Flash Video server technology is really well done, and after a major re-architecting, they will probably discover a better balance between ad serving and encryption. As far as the DRM issue goes: never, ever redistribute anything you’ve recorded without the express written consent of the content owner. Recordings are always for your personal use only. Applian’s intent is not to encourage customers to violate copyright laws.
Alex has looked into more of the technical details behind how NBC is streaming the Olympics, and has made an interesting discovery. Apparently the stream formats are different for live streams vs. pre-recorded streams. This means that you can make digital recordings of live events, and record from the screen for “rewind” or cached events. Below is his technical summary.
The Silverlight NBC Olympics server uses Windows Media Player for live streams and VP7 for prerecorded videos. VP7 is the format used by web sites like abc.com or fox.com and can provide very high quality (lossless) video compression including HD. The problem with this format is that it cannot be reliably streamed for longer periods of time like the live broadcasts. The math used to compress the video and the audio does not allow recovery when packets are lost which results in out of sync audio. Currently Windows Media Player is the only format that can do this. The live stream Olympics can be recorded with WM Recorder or Replay Media Catcher but the prerecorded clips can only be recorded with WM Capture.
This year NBC has teamed up with Microsoft (MSFT) to provide a wealth of Olympics footage at NBCOlympics.com. If you’re really into specific events that aren’t shown over your broadcast TV station, then you can likely watch them online. Very cool.
The Microsoft contribution is via the Silverlight video player, which you must install in order to watch video. Few video providers use Silverlight, which is why there are no programs (yet) that can record those feeds via stream capture. If you’re looking to record some of these events and save them forever, the best program to use is WM Capture. This on-screen recorder makes great quality videos from the Olympic feeds.
To burn these recordings to DVD, try the new Replay Converter 3.0, which is currently in beta. You can also make iPod format videos, or AVI files to import them into your favorite video editor.
Oh yeah – Go Team USA!
UPDATE: I noticed that you need to enter a zip code and your Cable provider to watch some online feeds. Try 94118 and ComCast Digital if you’re disallowed access.
Ars Technica has a nice analysis of the new pro-consumer FAIR USE bill being proposed in the USA. It’s a start, but there’s still a long way to go before true “fair use” recording rights are protected. Basically, the bill gives hardware companies an exemption, but does nothing for software. To me, it seems like a way to get the content companies and the hardware companies on the same side, and then crush the software companies, where all the true innovation is taking place. Go read the entire article.
This article in Techworld paints a picture of a business disaster waiting to happen, all because of overzealous DRM (copy protection) in Microsoft’s new Vista Operating System. Clearly Microsoft has gone out of their way to disable recording of premium content in Vista. It will be interesting to see what customers think.
I just received this email from iPAc (reprinted in full): Few power plays are as blatant and harmful as the PERFORM Act (S. 2644) from northern California’s own Dianne Feinstein. Simply put, PEFORM revokes your right to tape radio shows while imposing draconian DRM on all internet radio. The Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) explicitly allows a person to record radio programs for their own personal use. In exchange, we all pay a Hollywood Cartel tax on some blank CDs and tapes. It’s a bill that has served us well for over a decade, but now with advanced satellite radio receivers that allow paying subscribers to time shift their favorite programs the Hollywood Cartels are asking for ‘backsies’ on the AHRA. Always eager to please her real constituents in Hollywood, Dianne Feinstein stepped up to the plate and introduced PERFORM. But, if overturning the AHRA wasn’t enough, Feinstein slipped in a provision that changes the Copyright Act to force Internet radio stations to impose the most severe and draconian DRM possible. All of the Internet radio stations that you know and love will be forced to abandon MP3 streams. Innovative companies like Pandora are already heavily burdened and taxed by the DMCA, forcing them to spends additional money to license DRM is an undue burden. Who does Dianne Feinstein represent? Is it Northern California, the economic engine for the entire state and the nation? Or is it Southern California, the repressive monopolists that seek to limit expression and technology? You can find out how you can stop Senator Feinstein’s PERFORM Act at http://ipaction.org/action/perform Thanks very much for your continued support of IPac. Sincerely, Jake Fisher Executive Director IPac.org