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post #31 of 4623 Old 07-09-2006, 08:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjack
While this is true when there is not major changes to the design (moving from 1G to 2G SoC decoder for example), it may not hold true when moving to a completely different design. For example, it could be challenging for a SoC-based HD-DVD player design to match the current performance of Toshiba player for a chip generation or two. Of course, additional chips (at additional cost) could make up for it. At that point, maybe there would be different price/performance models introduced?
Just returned from my country cabin house so I also missed the opening of this great thread. Thanks Mark and Ken for making it available.

keith, very interesting point. We'll have to wait and see how gen 1.5 and later turn out.

Unfortunately, I do not think Toshiba will ever build enough A1s and XA1s to fill the current demand.

-Robert
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post #32 of 4623 Old 07-09-2006, 08:57 PM
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Robert,

If that's the case, and Amir's saying that we won't/might not see other CE's making a HD DVD player until Q1 of 07, does that pretty much guarantee a 1.5 later this year?

Surely to compete against, Sony, Pioneer and Panasonic, a short supply of A1's isn't gonna cut it.
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post #33 of 4623 Old 07-09-2006, 09:04 PM
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I would like to know how many HD DVD player total are in the hands of the end user in North America?

Also Toshiba has said a few times their forecast is to sell 600k to 700k players by April 2007. If so just how in hell are they going to do that when they can't even keep a single player in stock at BB (my local BB got three players at launch and zip since)?
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post #34 of 4623 Old 07-09-2006, 09:26 PM
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Hi Amir, wonder if you can help me with something. In a different discussion I said a Codec is a set of rules and as such it cannot improve (become more efficient) over time. What can improve is the encoder that becomes better at guessing when BW is wasted.

I told that to someone and they said (I am paraphrasing) I have no idea what I am talking about and codecs can improve over time. So if you can answer the simple question

can a codec improve over time or is it fixed, and is it the encoder that improves.

PS it would also be helpful if you can just clear something up. When you said that the HD DVDs are 18mbps was that MBR or ABR/VBR, also when saying 15 or 12 are we talking MBR or not. I would also be interested if you know what the MBR of these HD DVD disks are using, I don't remember anyone mentioning it.
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post #35 of 4623 Old 07-09-2006, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shore
Others are more likely to respond if the question does not involve information that is likely to be covered by an NDA. Product marketing plans almost always fall in this category.

I personally don't believe that a product is really shipping until FedEx has some random neighbor sign for it :D
Sure, most of us understand the constraints of NDA (under one myself now). It's still nice to get the very generic NDA bound business speak answers rather than nothing at all. The occasional hint arounds are also intruiguing fodder.

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Hard to participate if you don't know the thread exists. Some of us have a real life. OTOH, most questions can't likely be answered due to NDAs...
No offense intended to the other insiders, just wasn't sure how responsive some might be. It'll be great to see other insiders responsive despite demands on their own time.

Quote:
OK, just confirmed it and I was right. Hard disk option is not required for HD DVD playback. The HD DVD drive itself will have storage for bookmarks and such...
Thanks Amir. Interesting implication is that the lowest price into next-gen dvd this year may be the price of a Core 360 (currently $299) + Hd-Dvd addon.

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post #36 of 4623 Old 07-09-2006, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyP
Hi Amir, wonder if you can help me with something.
Hi Anthony. Would be my pleasure to answer :).

Quote:
In a different discussion I said a Codec is a set of rules and as such it cannot improve (become more efficient) over time. What can improve is the encoder that becomes better at guessing when BW is wasted.

I told that to someone and they said (I am paraphrasing) I have no idea what I am talking about and codecs can improve over time. So if you can answer the simple question

can a codec improve over time or is it fixed, and is it the encoder that improves.
I am not sure about the distinction between the two comments. A codec specification is that of the decoder. The encoder as you say, is not specified and can/does improve over time. The bitstream syntax however, puts a cap on much it can improve. Case in point is MPEG-2 which has more or less reached the end of the road.

So it is possible the other people were also talking about encoder improving also.

There is also another nuance in audio world where incremental layers can improve the base layer. This is for example, how DTS now supports 24-bit and up to 96 Khz sampling. Ditto for DD+. But these require new decoders to see the value of the “enhancement layer.â€

Quote:
PS it would also be helpful if you can just clear something up. When you said that the HD DVDs are 18mbps was that MBR or ABR/VBR, also when saying 15 or 12 are we talking MBR or not. I would also be interested if you know what the MBR of these HD DVD disks are using, I don't remember anyone mentioning it.
In all cases, I am talking about average rate unless I say otherwise. Some of the new titles have average rate of 12 Mbit/sec for example. I prefer to not disclose the data rates of the specific titles without permission from the studios. But in general, the current titles range in the 12 to 18 Mbit/sec. Some others have mentioned the rates btw, including some recent posts on the titles yet to be published...

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post #37 of 4623 Old 07-09-2006, 10:10 PM
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the thread was in the projector forum (BD=disaster thread), the discussion was max rate. My point was that max rate can't change as much as average rate (if any) without loss of quality in hard scenes. I tried to differentiate between encoder and codec, MBR/VBR/ABR/CBR so that we can get into the discussion. I tried to differentiate between the two (codec and encoder) because I wanted to explane that yes an encoder can find a better way to encode something in a given codec, but in general you would need the same max no matter how much the encoders improve if you want to end up with the same quality. (i.e. let’s say a movie has part A that is at max and part B that is at max with encoder X, encoder Y is better and even if A does not need as much, B might still need it, so Max has not changed) -it was a long discussion over several days :)
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post #38 of 4623 Old 07-09-2006, 10:35 PM
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Amir,

I think we'd all like to hear how Microsoft got involved with HD DVD. Perhaps a trip down memory lane?
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post #39 of 4623 Old 07-09-2006, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertR1
Amir,

I think we'd all like to hear how Microsoft got involved with HD DVD. Perhaps a trip down memory lane?
Ah, I am saving that for a book we might write one day.... :) Here is the short version. I ask that folks read it as a story and not subject of debate on the merits of our position or my assertions below.

In the normal course of growing our technology for internet streaming, we were in the final stages of designing Windows Media Video 9 (WMV-9) which is the Microsoft version of VC-1. A few of us had the crazy idea of seeing if we could do HD resolution with it even though at the time, big video was quarter SD resolution! Some months later, we were encoding HD content with it, albeit, at 720p since that is all that PCs could decode in software at the time.

Then one of our guys got the idea of using WMV for digital cinema. That pushed the codec design to an extreme, having to perform on 30 foot screens. We redesigned some of the algorithm to improve quality for that application. And our technology became quite popular with independent film makers. At Sundance film festival for example, we were the only digital projection technology.

Some time later, in a private demo to a large studio, they asked why we had not proposed WMV-9 to DVD forum for usage in AOD (original name for HD DVD). We found out that we were already late to the party in that a shoot out was already in progress and results were due shortly (in a couple of weeks from what I recall). We contacted DVD Forum folks asking if we could enter and were told NO.

We looked around and noticed that one of the companies bidding had one of our ex-employees working there. The company was later bought by Dolby and is not in business anymore. But we went ahead and partnered with them and instead of bidding their codec, they bid ours. To everyone’s surprise, VC-1 finished first even though we had a fraction of the time everyone else had to optimize their encodes. We were challenged to a second competition where we again we finished first.

The above was just the beginning though. The testing was part of the working group. Politically, we did not stand a chance of getting selected at the board level. But a few things helped. First, we agreed to open the specifications for our codec and submitted it to SMPTE (which then named it VC-9 but politics got it renamed to VC-1 later).

Second was the expansion of DVD Forum steering committee membership to include more companies to break the chokehold that BD companies had at the time in DVD Forum, stopping the approval of HD DVD spec. In that re-election (by the entire DVD Forum membership of some 250 companies), we and Disney were elected to the board. That gave us one vote :). But more importantly, gave us a chance to interact with other companies there, letting us make our case better.

Months later, in March of the following year (almost 9 months after the first test), VC-1, together with MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC were selected as mandatory.

Later that year, iHD, the interactivity technology that we had co-designed with Disney, also got approved as mandatory in DVD Forum. As was AACS copy protection group which we had joined the previous year. So we had three important technologies to us in HD DVD. In parallel, we succeeded in getting BDA to also accept VC-1 and AACS but that is for another story :).

Despite better success in DVD Forum than BDA, we stayed neutral as far as our public stance was concerned. Last spring however, BDA selected BD-J over iHD for its interactivity spec, even though its own technical working group had recommended iHD by a majority vote. And further moved to adopt BD+ copy protection, a technology which both DVD Forum and AACS had turned down. Both of these caused major deviation at the software development level, causing us to scrap our ideas to build a single player for both formats. Further issues popped up with some folks claiming that BDA could override some of the provisions in AACS such as managed copy.

We also got concerned that no independent replicators could manufacture BD at the time and that technical challenges remained there, despite 4+ years of development. We worried that BD would be too slow to come to market and too expensive to produce. And hence, it would slow the usage of high-performance PCs for HD playback.

The above led us and Intel to move to support HD DVD and made an announcement to that effect last September.

OK, so it is not so quick to even give the summary :).

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post #40 of 4623 Old 07-09-2006, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyP
the thread was in the projector forum (BD=disaster thread), the discussion was max rate. My point was that max rate can't change as much as average rate (if any) without loss of quality in hard scenes. I tried to differentiate between encoder and codec, MBR/VBR/ABR/CBR so that we can get into the discussion. I tried to differentiate between the two (codec and encoder) because I wanted to explane that yes an encoder can find a better way to encode something in a given codec, but in general you would need the same max no matter how much the encoders improve if you want to end up with the same quality. (i.e. let’s say a movie has part A that is at max and part B that is at max with encoder X, encoder Y is better and even if A does not need as much, B might still need it, so Max has not changed) -it was a long discussion over several days :)
Actually, max rate does come down with advanced codecs. For a given scene, we can achieve better efficiency in both average and peak rate. Of course, the ratio is not predictable or always proportional between the two. To give you a sense, the peak rate for some HD DVD titles is less than 20 Mbit/sec. This is just shy of the average rate of MPEG-2 in BD titles! Needless to say, the peak rate in BD titles is well in excess of this rate.

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post #41 of 4623 Old 07-09-2006, 11:31 PM
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So, Amir, are you going to be at Universal City on Aug. 7 - 9 ?

There are a few new categories at the awards ceremony.
Apparently, some finalists have already been notified to dust off their penguin suits.

I’ll provide an obscure hint as to whom, if you do so regarding the 1.5 or 2nd gen thingee……..first -via P.M. if you prefer.
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post #42 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 12:02 AM
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This might be of some interest to some. I have in my hands two new HD DVDs from Japan. What is unique about them is the audio encoding. They are the highest encoding specs of any title available from either camp:

1. Keith Jarrett, Tokyo Solo (concert) 2002. Audio streams are:
a) LPCM stereo
b) DTS 5.1 at 96Khz, 24-bits
c) Dolby True HD 5.1 at 96 Khz, 24-bits
d) DTS-HD Master audio 5.1 at 96Khz, 24-bits

2) True Blue: Beautiful sea, Beautiful sound (underwater scenes with music)
a) 96Khz, 24-bit, 5.1 PCM
b) other tracks that I can't read

The video is MPEG-4 AVC and while it looks good at times, especially in True Blue, it also suffers from compression artifacts at times. So unfortunately, we don't have best audio and best video together. But we do have the situation where audio is more important than the video and the right audio technology is there to suppor them.

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post #43 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 12:03 AM
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Thanks Amir! You tell good stories. That story actually tells a lot but no need to veer the thread :)

Here's a fun interview:
http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=367701

" we proved that we were able to make it up to 45GB on a three layer disc which has two sides and will go up to 95GB and all those kinds of discs are able to be mass produced at an affordable price." < Interesting!
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post #44 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 12:47 AM
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It's just so amazing to know that we were that close to not having VC-1 as a codec in both hidef standards. A job well done to Amir and his team for pushing VC-1 as an good alternative to mpeg2 and AVC.264.

Amir, I still don't get Disney and iHD. You said that Disney is involved in the design of iHD, but why is Disney giving HD DVD the cold shoulder now?
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post #45 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 01:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckong
It's just so amazing to know that we were that close to not having VC-1 as a codec in both hidef standards. A job well done to Amir and his team for pushing VC-1 as an good alternative to mpeg2 and AVC.264.

Amir, I still don't get Disney and iHD. You said that Disney is involved in the design of iHD, but why is Disney giving HD DVD the cold shoulder now?
me wanna know too :p .... rumour has it, another studio is going to announce their support for HD DVD .. ;)
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post #46 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 01:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyg
Is there any other company besides Toshiba that will have an HD DVD player out by the end of this year?
Difficult to give such specific schedules for other companies. I would say a safe bet is Q1 next year. Sooner could happen but the schedule risk would be higher.
Are you excluding the Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on from this statement, or are you saying Q1 is a safe bet for the add-on as well?

-Talk

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post #47 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 01:35 AM
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post #48 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 02:49 AM
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Got a couple more to whoever can answer:

By helping Warner with their VC-1 titles, is Microsoft helping Blu-Ray?

In other words, is Warner getting "2 for the price of 1" by having Microsoft help them with VC-1 on HD-DVD and then just easily porting these over to Blu-Ray once 50 GB becomes available?

Also, is there any indication Warner will try to limit titles to 25 GB so that they fit on both HD-DVD and the economical single-layer Blu-Ray discs?



btw, Lite-On indicated a while ago they'd probably make HD DVD drives, I think that is what they are referring to, not actualy CE players (it's a translation, so it's probably off).
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post #49 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 05:34 AM
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Thank you Amir for the discussion of how MS came to be involved in this mess. That clears up many questions for me.

While you are in the question answering mood, is the 360 add-on a USB device and if so what will happen when I plug it in to my PC?
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post #50 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 07:17 AM
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I hope some of the insiders can shed some real light on this: http://www.videobusiness.com/article/CA6350773.html

So as to not derail this specific thread, maybe direct your answer to this thread instead: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=695587

There's a LOT of confusion and uncertainty about this and what it really means.

Thanks! (Also thanks to the answers to my questions on page one!)

Great ISF Job by Chad B.
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post #51 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talkstr8t
Are you excluding the Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on from this statement, or are you saying Q1 is a safe bet for the add-on as well?

-Talk
I assumed the question was about non X-box HD DVD playback. As we have announced, the 360 option is on schedule to release before end of the year.

Also, let me re-iterate that other companies may release products this year. I am simply being conservative, as to not set expectations that need to change to later. And of course, there are companies that I may not know about.

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post #52 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by price3
While you are in the question answering mood, is the 360 add-on a USB device and if so what will happen when I plug it in to my PC?
As it stands now, we are not stating any compatibility with the PC.

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post #53 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efralope
By helping Warner with their VC-1 titles, is Microsoft helping Blu-Ray?
I can't confirm one way or the other whether Warner will use VC-1 or BD :). But if they asked, we would support them.

Quote:
In other words, is Warner getting "2 for the price of 1" by having Microsoft help them with VC-1 on HD-DVD and then just easily porting these over to Blu-Ray once 50 GB becomes available?
It is not clear whether Warner will use the same encode or not. In some cases, the encode does not fit on 25 gigabyte BD discs.

Quote:
Also, is there any indication Warner will try to limit titles to 25 GB so that they fit on both HD-DVD and the economical single-layer Blu-Ray discs?
Per above, we still have to wait and see what happens. You should expect in the spectrum of options that Warner BD titles can also be on MPEG-2.

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post #54 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckong
It's just so amazing to know that we were that close to not having VC-1 as a codec in both hidef standards. A job well done to Amir and his team for pushing VC-1 as an good alternative to mpeg2 and AVC.264.
And few had any regrets until last month when they saw the quality of MPEG-2 :). It has been a difficult 3 year journey. Politics is what defines new formats for the most part. Technical merit often takes second place. And this happens in most multi-lateral standards.

Quote:
Amir, I still don't get Disney and iHD. You said that Disney is involved in the design of iHD, but why is Disney giving HD DVD the cold shoulder now?
This is a story on to itself :). I have to run to work. Will post something about this later.

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post #55 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 09:09 AM
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Since Intel is an HD DVD backer, why can't they do another run of a couple hundred thousand of the old P4 chips that the A1 and XA1 use?

Check out my DVD Reviews at http://www.digitallyobsessed.com
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post #56 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Zimmer
Since Intel is an HD DVD backer, why can't they do another run of a couple hundred thousand of the old P4 chips that the A1 and XA1 use?
Right in this same vein...your post reminded me of this:

I know Amir already hit this, but some of you insiders might have a moment of fun in this thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=696615

Give 'er a shot. It's kind of interesting...;)

Great ISF Job by Chad B.
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post #57 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efralope
btw, Lite-On indicated a while ago they'd probably make HD DVD drives, I think that is what they are referring to, not actualy CE players (it's a translation, so it's probably off).
They make DVD players, so BD and/or HD-DVD players would not be out their realm. We work closely with them on a lot of custom stuff, including cases for our "copy this and go into production" reference designs, etc.

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post #58 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Q of BanditZ
Give 'er a shot. It's kind of interesting...;)
My first thought when I saw that thread this weekend is that I see either (1) a paperweight coming or (2) an AACS revocation is coming. :) Although from what I've seen from the current designs (yes, we ripped both players apart and analyzed them in detail), getting access to unprotected content looks pretty trivial for any decent engineer.

Keith Jack
Sigma Designs
BD, IPTV, HDTV decoder supplier
Blog: http://www.keithjack.net
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post #59 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 10:01 AM
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Amir,

What is Intel's part in all of this? So far I've not seen them actively involved and simply on a few press releases where their name is on the support list.
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post #60 of 4623 Old 07-10-2006, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by kjack
My first thought when I saw that thread this weekend is that I see either (1) a paperweight coming or (2) an AACS revocation is coming. :)
LOL

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Although from what I've seen from the current designs (yes, we ripped both players apart and analyzed them in detail), getting access to unprotected content looks pretty trivial for any decent engineer.
Indeed.

What do you think would/could happen if someone upgraded that RAM and that existing Pentium chip in those players? I know that audio and video performance would most likely not be affected, but I'm speculating myself that one could see uber fast response time, load times, menu functions, etc. etc.

There's one poster in there who says he's done some things and I hope he chimes back in, especially with pictures.

Great ISF Job by Chad B.
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