Tuesday, November 08, 2005

10 Video Playback Devices

10 Video Playback Devices
Originally uploaded by gadget.

Apple beat Sony at the portable music game because of CODECs (compression) first and design second. Sony's digital players required that you CHANGE your MP3 music into ATRAC format up until September 2004. This relatively unknown compression was a carryover from their 1993 MiniDisc technology. Meanwhile Apple's PortalPlayer designed iPod could play 7 different audio formats. This meant the music that the early adoptors had already placed on their hard drives required no more than a copy to the iPod hard drive - no re-encoding or time consuming step was necessary.

Once the early adopters like something they become the gorilla spokespeople on the street pushing the best technology to their peers. The Apple led design made them easy to look at after the technology made them easy to listen to. Video players have a difficult battle as digitized content is wrapped in Digital Rights Management, or DRM that is difficult, if not illegal to break. DVD's employ Content Scrambling System or CSS, which under The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (warning: PDF link) makes it illegal sell ripping software which "breaks" this. That means you cannot play the DVD that YOU bought on a different piece of hardware which may not have a DVD player embedded. On top of this, the different portable playback devices, ten of which are shown above, all support different processor speeds, CODECs (technically just the decoders) and screen resolutions.

What are you to do? Sony and Apple want to make it "easy" by providing a closed system that will let you convert content that you create into video for the PSP and iPod with video. Forget about putting your DVD movies on those devices without jumping through a multi-step process. There are third-party programs that will re-compress multimedia content like DivX, but these applications do not speak portable device language however.

Enter Diversified Multimedia - the company that created the once popular, but now illegal DVD X Copy that was taken off the market from court orders in the spring of 2004. This sharp team of programmers has regrouped to create software that manages your audio, video and photos residing on your computer hard drive, with the necessary encoder CODECs to make this content palatable for your mobile devices. Their Media Vault software to converts any number of different compression formats into any number of mobile device resolutions.

The best part about this software, which gives it true utility, is that as your devices get upgraded, you can add modules to the software to support your new devices. So your Treo 650 can play back your library today and the currently un-released Treo 700 with its different screen resolution and CODEC can display old or new content in the future. These guys have created the missing link between movies and TV shows stored on Media Center PC's and TiVo's. No longer will you be beaten by a CODEC. Information wants to be free, and mobile.

http://www.divmm.com/ - Diversified Multimedia

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