December 2001 News

Self Help | The Magazine | Downloads | Links | Tips & Advice | Help! I'm new | Contact Us | Subscribe | Home  

Inside the magazine
Self-help message board
Article reprints
How to contact us
Web links directory
Software downloads
Tips and advice
Fire-wire campaign
Subscribe today
Help Me, I'm new!
Fair pricing petition

In Software Downloads:
Adobe Premiere 6 (trial)
Paint Shop Pro 7 (trial)

Tips and Advice:
How to get started with computer video editing

Fire-wire Campaign:
Join our ongoing campaign

DVD burning from Adaptec

Adaptec has introduced a couple of affordable software/hardware editing packages that can capture and edit DV footage, and create and burn video discs in DVD and VCD formats (though not SVCD).
Cheaper of the two is DVpics Plus, at £65 (inc VAT). This centres on an Adaptec FireConnect 4300 OHCI PCI card (review, May 2001, p44) that comes with MGI VideoWave 4 SE for capture and editing, and has Sonic's MyDVD for producing video discs.
The second package, DuoConnect, at £110, is essentially the same but has at its heart a different PCI card - an AUA-3121 - which combines FireWire and USB 2.0. The card has three FireWire ports (two external, one internal) and four USB ports (three external, one internal), and is said to be backwardly compatible with USB 1.1. Each card comes with a six-pin-to-four-pin FireWire cable and, though not supplied with any software for the task, is said to be suitable for use with Macs.
Adaptec, 01276 854 500;

Apple upgrades laptop Macs

Apple has improved the specs on both of its ranges of edit-ready Mac laptop computers, each already featuring a built in FireWire port and came with Apple's basic video editing software, iMovie 2.
The Titanium PowerBook range, with a 15.2in TFT wide-screen active- matrix display, now comes with 667MHz or 550MHz PowerPC G4 processors; a faster system bus (133MHz on models with the 667MHz processor, and 100MHz paired with the 550MHz CPU); plus higher-performance integrated ATI Mobility Radeon AGP 4X graphics. The Titanium's built-in Ethernet networking is now a Gigabit - the first time this 1000Mbit/sec standard has been used in a portable PC. Hard disk capacities of 30GByte and 20GByte Ultra ATA/66 drives come as standard, and 48GByte as an optional extra.
Prices are £1,879 (inc VAT) for the 550MHz/20GByte model with 128MByte RAM; £2,584 for the 667MHz/30GByte model with 256MByte RAM; and £2,843 for the 667MHz/48GByte/256MByte RAM package. Maximum RAM in each case is 1GByte, and, until December 31, double the stated amount of RAM will be fitted, free of charge. Apple's iBook budget laptop range, with a 12.1in TFT XGA active-matrix display comes with faster PowerPC G3 processors (600MHz or 500MHz); a faster system bus (100MHz on the 600MHz model, as opposed to the older 66MHz - now used by 500MHz models); and more RAM as standard (128MByte - expandable to 640MByte). Prices go from £1,099 for an iBook 500, with 15GByte Ultra ATA hard drive and CD-ROM drive, up to £1,499 for an iBook 600, with 20GByte Ultra ATA hard drive and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combination drive/burner.
Both laptop ranges now have two operating systems installed, Mac OS X version 10.1 and Mac OS 9.2.1; and come with a smaller, lighter mains adapter.
Apple, 0800 039 1010;

LaCie offers DVD-R in FireWire case

A Pioneer A03 DVD-R/DVD-RW burner (review, August 2001, p30) is at the heart of a FireWire DVD writer from LaCie, carrying a suggested retail price of £763 (inc VAT).
The price for the cunningly named 'DVDRW drive' includes PrimoDVD and LaCie's Recording Utilities, plus a six-pin-to-six-pin FireWire cable, one 4.7GByte DVD-R disc and one 4.7GByte DVD-RW disc. Just like the Pioneer, the LaCie records to 4.7GByte DVD-R General Use discs at 2x speed (2.6 MByte/sec) and to 4.7GByte rewritable DVD discs at 1x speed. DVD read speed is rated at 6x (7.8 MByte/sec), and CD performance is 8x for CD-Rs, 4x for CD-RWs, and reading at 24x.
LaCie, 020 7872 8000;


LaCie cuts FireWire drive prices

LaCie has cut between 11 and 17 per cent from the prices of its two FireWire hard drive ranges. The company's 10/20/30/40GByte PocketDrives now carry VAT-inclusive SRPs of £175/£234/£293/£469, respectively. Its four full-size FireWire models are now £199 (40GByte); £246 (60GByte); £293 (80GByte); and £399 (120GByte).
LaCie, 020 7872 8000;

Win2K and Athlon processors

Our three-part series on upgrading to Windows 2000 (September- November 2001) failed to mention one important registry hack that should be carried out by users of Athlon-based PCs, once they've upgraded. Making this change stops the PC hanging when programs such as Ziff Davis 3D WinBench 2000 access the Accelerate Graphics Port (AGP). Thanks to reader James Richards for pointing out this oversight. The fix and a detailed explanation are available at: support/kb/articles/q270/7/15.asp

XP launches to critical acclaim, but should NLE users hold back?

Microsoft launched Windows XP on October 25, backed by positive reviews in which it was widely acclaimed as the company's best operating system yet, perhaps, the best desktop OS ever sold. Initially, Home and Professional are available with server versions to follow by the year's end. Home (around £80 inc VAT as an upgrade and £164 for the full version) is slightly more expensive than Win98SE or Me - which it's intended to replace. But Pro (about £158/£233) is slightly cheaper than Windows 2000. Home and Pro are based on the same underlying code - unlike, for instance, Me and Win2K - but there are differences between versions. Home has no support for dual processor or for Raiding hard disk drives in software - two features that are available in Pro, and in Win2K.

XP is an evolutionary development from Win2K (itself based on NT technology), especially in terms of stability. XP is more user- friendly than Win2K, with help from many new wizards that simplify common tasks. It's faster in booting up and loading programs and better able to run older programs and hardware. In every regard, we think it's better than Win98 and Me. However, XP doesn't give any native support for non OHCI-standard video editing cards - not that any other OS does. And, at the time of writing (November 2), none of the big-three editing card makers - Pinnacle, Matrox and Canopus - had XP drivers for any non-OHCI cards available for download.

This has already caught out a number of readers (see an example in Help and Letters, p24) who've blindly upgraded to XP without realising that no suitable editing card drivers are yet available. In truth, no upgrade should be carried out without trying hard to assess the difficulties that may be caused by hardware or software that won't run under a different OS. Readers considering a move to XP should closely read our Upgrading to Windows 2000 tutorial, which appeared in three parts between September and November 2001. Most of the tips and advice given in this series - including when NOT to upgrade - apply equally well to XP. Also, take advantage of Computer Video's free 24-hour self-help message board ( to ask outstanding questions BEFORE carrying out an upgrade, rather than after.

Microsoft is working hard to iron out bugs from the initial release. Eight updaters are already available and a Win XP version of the system tweaking utility Power Toys, which EVERY Win XP user should download (it's under 1Mbyte), gives a great deal of extra control over how Windows works, has some useful maintenance tools and even includes tricksy stuff such as being able to run four separate desktop configurations and switch between them instantly. It's available from: downloads/powertoys.asp

Firing up XP for the first time can be a bowel-loosening experience for anyone familiar with any version of Windows from 95 to 2000, because the desktop, by default, is bare except for the Recycle Bin. With no standard icons to click on (My Computer, My Documents, Internet Explorer etc) the user can do little but try the Start button (now in a tasteful light green) - as Windows helpfully suggests! Doing so immediately presents a two-column pop-up menu, rather than the expected single-column. It is quite simple to return to a classic single-column Start menu, but new users should accept that they're going to flounder for a while until they understand what's going on, and why - and only then return to the old ways if necessary.

Microsoft attempting to put at the user's disposal a lot of the power that has long been built into Windows, but hidden from anyone who couldn't be bothered to use the on-screen help or customised the OS to any extent. The start menu is where the missing desktop icons have gone, and gives fast access to other common tasks and applications too, with icons for Help and Support; Control Panel; Search; My Music; and My Pictures, along with a list of frequently used programs.

Things are also very different when opening a folder, because the default view includes a column of small icons to the left - each with a meaningful description. These allow the user to carry out a number of everyday tasks, including many that were previous hidden away in drop-down menus or right-click, context-sensitive menus. XP offers some all-new features of its own, for example, after connecting digital media hardware devices. XP makes those that it recognises (and that's a much larger number than Win2K does) instantly available from within My Computer or from a relevant icon in an Explorer window, e.g. Scanners. Similarly, connecting a digital stills camera will allow instant access to the stills, with options to email or print via a web-based print shop. Popping in an audio CD doesn't just play it, but also gives options to rip the contents in compressed form (Windows Media, of course) to hard disk, and even - if a burner is fitted to the PC - to burn these ripped files to CD. DVD playback isn't provided by the OS, but can be added with DVD Xpack - a low-cost (US$15) plug-in from InterVideo

( A DVD player is, of course, required. The company also sells an MP3 encoding and ripping plug-in for $10, and both are available together for $20.

Naturally, DV camcorders aren't left out, and connecting one up to an OHCI FireWire port fitted to the PC gives the user an option to run XP's own - very basic - video capture and editing program, Movie Maker. And, all this digital media stuff is done without having to install a single bit of extra software. Watch out for our full review of XP Home and Pro next month, and take great care if considering an upgrade before then.


Recent features...
View The Archive

Reviewed in December's issue:
Ulead DVD MovieFactory
Toast 5 Titanium
Roxio VideoPack 5
Ricoh MP5120A
Pinnacle Express
Philips DVDR1000

In December's news:
DVD burning from Adaptec
Apple upgrades laptop Macs
LaCie offers DVD-R
LaCie cuts FireWire prices
Win2K & Athlon processors
Windows XP launches

Contact Us | Subscribe | Home (c) WVIP. Designed by Mark Newman.