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Iyonix DVD video playback is here

By Chris Williams. Published: 17th Oct 2003, 02:08:00 | Permalink | Printable

Cino is the key

thumbnail of CinoThe team that brought RISC OS Aemulor has another killer app this Autumn - Cino: The Iyonix DVD player. After much guesswork and speculation, anyone who guessed that Cino is a software DVD video player for the Castle XScale Iyonix wins the right to wear a smug grin.

"The project is still very much in the early stages, however we hope to have some prototype code playing video from DVD running at the Guildford show on Saturday on the Aemulor stand", Neil Spellings of Spellings Computer Services Ltd. explained in this morning's announcement. They already have a logo sorted, though. Pricing is also yet to be decided.

"We are very excited about bringing the ability to play this exciting format to RISC OS. The Iyonix PC has given us the hardware capable of performing all the advanced decryption and decoding required for high quality audio and video", Neil continues in the announcement.

"The DVD format is now mainstream, and Cino will allow Iyonix owners access to the many hundreds of thousands of movie releases in this format, along with al the extras only found on the DVD-Video format such as making-off documentaries theatrical trailers and directors' commentaries".

Jack Lillingston, managing director of Castle, is said to be "excited" that DVD video playback has finally landed.

What's the goods?
Cino comprises the DVD video playback software, a DVD filing system and digital audio support. The DVD video player section reportedly uses "some of the advanced hardware features only present in the Iyonix PC" and is capable of playing back high resolution video and digital sound within the desktop, or in full screen mode. Cino can incidentally handle all DVD regions.

The DVD file system (DVDFS) reads the DVD-ROM discs and has a number of features over the standard CDFS. The digital sound support consists of a PCI sound card and drivers. The sound drivers enable the Iyonix to provide cinema style surround sound, that's five speakers and one sub-woofer.

We asked the Cino team what video clips they've had playing. Neil responded with: "Any! Been testing on Titanic, Matrix Reloaded, LOTR etc. At present, it's 'hardwired' to play from specific sectors from 'known' DVDs, as there is no UDF filesystem support yet, so we're just streaming the data straight off the disc as opposed to reading the VOBs directly. We can also throw file-based VOBs at it of the hard disc, ripped using a PC, and it will play those too."

Pushing to the limit
"Using advanced features in the IOP321 (which even RISC OS 5 doesn't appear to use yet) such as DMA burst transfers to screen memory, our image plotting is 9 times faster than RISC OS 5 manages natively", Neil also told us. "This is all without using any hardware acceleration from the GeForce2 card, as NVidia wont release details of their MPEG decoding APIs so we're really pushing the Iyonix to the limit (DMA transfers from DVD, decryption of the data, splitting and decoding the MPEG2 streams, ICT, plotting to screen memory, decoding and playing AC/3 sound etc etc)."

DVDFS will be Iyonix only initially, however there are plans to do a version for legacy machines.


Cino website Cino Press Release

Previous: South East show news round up
Next: A punter's view of the South East show


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Awesome stuff. This is another great step forward for the Iyonix. Welldone -- Steve Knutson New Zealand

 is a RISC OS Userknutson on 17/10/03 2:49AM
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Brilliant! Not only do we now have a DVD player but also a 5.1 surround sound card. Perhaps we could see other programs utilizing the DVD and surround capabilities in the future (games?).

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 17/10/03 2:56AM
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32 bit version of TEK perhaps with sound sound and a DVD version of TEK the movie (starring Paul Vigay) free with every new Iyonix ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userknutson on 17/10/03 4:51AM
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This is the first RISC OS news since the launch of the IYONIX to literally leave me open mouthed. This was followed by five minutes worth of excited and incredulous giggles.

Fantastic stuff.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 17/10/03 8:08AM
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Great. I knew the machine was always capable of doing this - and now the naysayers can move onto the next topic :-) I had looked at doing this myself, but in truth, I'm glad someone else has taken time to do it.

moss: shush ;-)

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 17/10/03 8:34AM
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The Aemulor team are GODs of RISC OS development.

This does two things: 1. It gives another major reason why you're better off with an Iyonix than your SA RISC PC (or emulator). 2. It takes RISC OS one big step back to being a real option for the general computer user.

Still, why do all that work and make it all pointless it all by watching Titanic and Matrix Reloaded, when they could have been watching an import of Punishment Park?

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 17/10/03 9:01AM
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I've never quite understood why anyone would want to watch a DVD on a PC rather than on a big telly and comfey sofa in their livingroom. This is a superb advancement for RISC OS technology, but I personally wouldn't see a great use for it.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 17/10/03 9:22AM
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It's "cool".

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 17/10/03 9:25AM
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Thanks for all the positive comments everyone. We are excited about this as everyone else.

Once we get the PCI sound card drivers working, we'll be publishing the API's to the drivers on the web, so game developers are most welcome to make use of them.

At present, its getting hard to concentrate on actual development, because you can quite easily find yourself sat having watched half a movie and not written one line of code!


Neil www.cinodvd.com

 is a RISC OS Userspellinn on 17/10/03 9:32AM
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Also, my "hardwired" quote above is already out of date (and it was only a few days ago!) - Cino now reads the available VOBs of the DVD and you can choose which one to play.


Neil www.cinodvd.com

 is a RISC OS Userspellinn on 17/10/03 9:59AM
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So, whose software have they nicked for this ?

 is a RISC OS Userjerryf on 17/10/03 10:34AM
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jerryf: well decss for a start ... unless they licensed it.

</random s*** stirring>


 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 17/10/03 10:45AM
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Frankly I couldn't care less about that. Fact is we have DVD playback. Great!

I wonder, is the PCI sound card essential to obtain sound or is it only for surround sound output? Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 17/10/03 10:55AM
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A further thought has jus occurred. Does the name 'Cino' have anything to do with David McEwens 'Cineroma'? Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 17/10/03 10:56AM
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Well, the website says that they are legitimate MPEG licensees, and that the code is not based on any linux or other open-source player but is fully coded themselves to get the speed needed; the foreign players also tend to use lots of facilities not available on the Iyonix, such as MMX, threading etc.) -- John Pettigrew, Cambridge

 is a RISC OS Userjohnpettigrew on 17/10/03 10:56AM
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The embedded market would love something like this - no need for hardware mpeg decoding chips(however cheap they may be) meaning less components, smaller boards and lower power requirements.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 17/10/03 11:20AM
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How soon before we can get the Iyonix to play any DVD movie?

Web site note: The use of white text on light grey in the FAQ section makes it very hard to read in IE6.

 is a RISC OS Userquatermass on 17/10/03 11:57AM
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reply to imj.

One reason for wanting DVD playing on a computer, as well as the TV, is that two people may wish to watch different things. There's no way I could get near the TV when my wife is watching something. :-))

 is a RISC OS Userlibrarian16 on 17/10/03 12:09PM
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imj: You've not spent enough time in airport lounges :) Or indeed on business trips. The 24 boxed set and my laptop passed quite a bit of time whilst shuttling around Germany earlier this year.

It's a very impressive achievement by the Aemulator guys. Of course, it's still vapourware till it ships.

-- Dougal

 is a RISC OS UserDougal on 17/10/03 12:30PM
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jerryf/fibble: The only part of Cino which directly contains code from another source is the DeCSS decryption. This will be made available, with source, as its "open source" (although how "open" remains questionable!) To license the "official" DVD decryption code costs $30,000, which obviously is a little beyond the realms of a small RISC OS player (unless everyone was happy to pay $1000 per copy?!). Our MPEG license is totally seperate, and covers the royalites payable to the MPEG Patent holders for using their technology.

We did consider a port of another player, but a) we'd have to give it away and we have bills to pay and b) Most of the code was just too dependant on floating point, MMX, DirectX etc.

Doctor: No, the two arent related, although it just so happens that both play MPEG video streams.

And a PCI sound card is only required if you want the full 5.1 surround sound. Cino will output a downmixed stereo signal through the Iyonix own audio system by default.

g0tai : I agree, and ARM/Intel have finally added MMX-like instructions to the ARM designs (bit late for us though!)

quartermass: Dont be impatient! We've only just announced the thing.... :-) Website point noted, and fixed. What r u doing using IE6 anyway? ;-)



 is a RISC OS Userspellinn on 17/10/03 12:38PM
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Dougal: How many times do you have an Iyonix in an airport lounge? :-) Yes, I also watch DVDs on my laptop on planes and soforth, but my comment was in respect to a fixed desktop machine, really.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 17/10/03 1:18PM
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I imagine the most typical reason for playing dvds on a desktop would be for student types who might only have a computer monitor in their room and no tv.

Also I have my computers and for-movies projector in the same room, so it would be a good way of getting progressive dvd playback on the projector.

-- Sendu Bala,

 is a RISC OS Usersenduran on 17/10/03 1:42PM
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There's a real point to DVD on your desktop. Here in the south East, even people who earn an ok salary are generally crammed into bedsits and shared houses before finally buying tiny one-bed flats, with not enough space to swing a mouse. Where I live, being able to nip upstairs for a quick burst of Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue, while the flatmate watches some naff clickflick is a a godsend.

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 17/10/03 1:47PM
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If Cino uses DeCSS then it's in big trouble. DeCSS AFAIK is illegal, and anybody using it risks opening a huge can of legal whoopass.

 is a RISC OS Userjerryf on 17/10/03 2:11PM
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jerryf: would you like to present some evidence, there's (ttbomk) no reason why it would be - at least one judge has declare it legal for personal use.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 17/10/03 2:33PM
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The link below may provide some insight into the DeCSS situation inside the UK.


This assumes that Cino is designed to defeat the region system of DVDs so you can play any DVD from any region. That would be illegal.

However, I doubt that the author would intend for that to be the case (with such legal implications), and I rather suspect that Cino would obey the region system set on the DVD drive. If so, then Cino may well be legal.

-- Ian Hawkins (g0tai).

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 17/10/03 2:34PM
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g0tai : CSS and the region system are two entirely different things. CSS is the encryption system. The region system simply requires players to adhere to a few rules, which is basically : do not allow playing of discs of a different region than set natively, and allow the user to change the latter up to 5 times total.

In fact, the article you quote states quite clearly that DeCSS is highly likely to be illegal in the UK. But that it's untested in court.

 is a RISC OS Userjerryf on 17/10/03 2:50PM
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OK, well, just been verifying that fact with some people who might know. I will post another hyperlink when I find the relevant information;

"<***> DeCSS isn't illegal last time I checked" "<***> certainly not in the UK" "<***> a judge ruled that if you've bought the DVD, you have the right to play it back on whatever device is capable" -- Ian Hawkins (g0tai).

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 17/10/03 2:53PM
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That's alright then. g0tai's anonymous friends said DeCSS is legal, so it must be. Right? ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 17/10/03 2:57PM
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imj> I did say I would post links to the relevant information when I had it, but never mind. Perhaps you didn't read that far.

I've just done some searching on groups.google and web.google and there actually has been no legal cases involving DeCSS recently in the U.K. But it appears the author in Norway who was taken to court got aquitted under 'fair use' at the beginning of 2003.


-- Ian Hawkins (g0tai).

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 17/10/03 3:14PM
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Um. There may be some confusion over who can do what. A user may be allowed to play DVDs on anything that can. A manufacturer, however, can not provide such a player if it's based on illegal software/hardware/methods. Which means that, as a user, you can probably use DeCSS legally. But nobody is really allowed to provide it to you. Hence (probably) the fuss a while back over DeCSS being *spread* (as opposed to being illegal in itself).

 is a RISC OS Userjerryf on 17/10/03 3:14PM
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I suppose it depends whether CSS is seen by the law as a *copy* control mechanism or an *access* control mechanism.

Certainly, the presence of CSS encryption on a DVD doesn't prevent copies of the DVD being made as a direct bit-for-bit copy of the DVD will result in a copy which is equally as usable as the original.

To my mind, all deCSS does is circumvent an access contol mechanism(CSS) which, providing you owned the original DVD, would fall under fair use. Otherwise, all DVDs would have an accompanying licence stating that you were only allowed to play the DVD on a DVD/CCA licenced player.

Cue flames ;)

#include "standard_IANAL_disclaimer.h" </slashdot>

 is a RISC OS Userjmb on 17/10/03 3:20PM
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We arent using DeCSS to bypass the region code enforcement - this will still be enforced by the player and you will get the usual 5 changes before becoming permanently fixed.

We are using the freely available code as a way for users to read data from DVD discs which they own. We wont be charging for its use. I dont disagree that its legal status is questionnable, hence my original comment. IMHO, its impossible for DeCSS to be classified as a "trade secret" which is what the basis of the legal action against the author was - you can even buy DeCSS t-shirts with the source on!!

Quite simply, without using it, the whole project would be unfeasible.



 is a RISC OS Userspellinn on 17/10/03 4:17PM
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But are you selling the t-shirts at the show? :-)


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 17/10/03 4:26PM
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Region enforcement is evil, though. You can't even get The Baby on region 2.

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 17/10/03 4:34PM
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dgs : That would of been a great idea, but time is against us, unfortunately.

Jess: I agree. I have a region free (stand alone) player myself. Wouldnt be without it.



 is a RISC OS Userspellinn on 17/10/03 4:43PM
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Last time I looked, the DeCSS T-shirts were yanked from the website that was selling them, as the legal issues were too hot.

Thinkgeek or (and www.eff.org) used to sell them too, but not anymore, however you can get the anti-RIAA/MPAA/SCO shirts still ;)

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 17/10/03 5:11PM
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This is fantastic news. I'll be first in line to buy my copy. I have an RPC-1 (region-free) drive lying around, so perhaps I could even use that. I was thinking that if people have access to PCs, they can flash the firmware in their DVD drive to make it hardware region-free, and then they'll hopefully be free to watch DVDs from any region.

It *is* possible to bypass even hardware region protection in RPC-2 drives by using Windows software, but I've no idea how it works. See [link] for details.

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 17/10/03 5:20PM
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Simon: I think you can still get them. See [link]

Technically you could re-flash your RPC-2 drive with RPC-1 firmware on a PC, but we of course couldnt condone that :-)



 is a RISC OS Userspellinn on 17/10/03 6:18PM
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Congrats Neil on Cino (I am really impressed !!!).

Just a side question about the audio, if I understand it correctly you're downmixing the DD (AC-3) to Stereo (presumably just PCM output from the Iyonix SPDIF out (if it has one ?)). Would it be possible for you to provide a user selectable setting to enable or disable direct output of the AC-3 (or potentially DTS) stream so an external device could do the 5.1 output ? I think that might be a neat addition, and it would mean that if someone already had a Dolby Digital decoder they would not need to fit a second sound card to the Iyonix (although if required I think most of us wouldn't mind another card if it enabled a full DVD experience to be produced on Iyonix.

Again I am very impressed by your news and wish the best with Cino.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/10/03 6:30PM
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The plan for the 5.1 is to make it configurable, so that you either get encoded AC3 on the S/PDIF digital output of the card (for connection to an existing DD decoder) or you drive your speakers directly from the card (via an amp of course) thus not requiring an external decoder as we'll be doing the decoding.

Although the Iyonix does have S/PDIF out, its only tracked to a header on the motherboard, and would require interface and isolation circuitry before you could connect anything to it. The cost of producing this board in very low numbers was more than the cost of supplying a mass-produced PCI soundcard. The soundcard also has the benefits of on-board DSP, which we are hoping to use to free up some CPU cycles to allow us to increase the video framerate, and 6 analoge outputs for direct connection to PC surround speakers.



 is a RISC OS Userspellinn on 17/10/03 9:22PM
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The region of the drive is only part of the protection. The software that plays back the video is supposed to have region protection built in too, and to some degree, the OS.

I have 3 region free drives, but you still have to use patches of the Hollywood+ software or PowerDVD (apparently ;) ) Personally I prefer my Apex and Yamakawa region/RCE/Macrovision-free players - or simply copy the DVD and remove the protection ;)

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 17/10/03 9:30PM
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Oh, copyleft is the company I was talking about - people have had a lot of trouble with them, after having paid for the T-shirts, they can't get them delivered as copyleft is too worried about legal issues.

www.boycott-riaa.org has some good ones though ;)

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 17/10/03 9:32PM
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DVD player manufacturers have got quite lax over the region systems in efforts to make money. On many cheaper models all is required is a code entered by remote to select the desired region from the locked one. By doing this, companies can sell the same models worldwide and easily change the region setting, without even needing to remove the cover. Perhaps Cino could be altered so it can only play local region discs, but by entry of a code region can be changed, making it technically legal?

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 18/10/03 00:39AM
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Will it play VCDs and, if so will the VCD player be made available for RPCs and A7Ks?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 18/10/03 08:01AM
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Nice one - impressive. Most impressive.

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 18/10/03 08:15AM
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Regarding region-free, is it really necessary for us to re-flash? Can't it be done the way 'DVD Region Killer' for Windows does it? From the help file:

The DVD Player software looks on the inserted DVD disc and checks its region. If the region matches, the disc will be played. If not, the disc is rejected. There are two possible ways to overcome this problem:

1. The Region of the Player Software is changed before a DVD from a different region shall be played. A very good tool called DVD-Genie does exactly this. However, this approach is sometimes troublesome, as newer player software need the region of the Windows operating system to be changed, too. To change the region with a tool like DVD-Genie, the player software must be terminated and started again, which can become slightly annoying. 2. The data which is read from the DVD-ROM is modified "on the way" to the DVD player software. If the DVD player software checks the region on the DVD, it will always see a matching region code and will play the DVD. This is what the old DVD region killer 1 did. 3. A hardware protected RPC-2 drive is "emulated" by a device driver! All player software and the Windows operating system "believe" in the hardware lock and will disable their region code checking. This is what the wonderful DVD Region Killer 2 does!

Is it possible to do this sort of emultion under RISC OS? Actually, according to that description, it's not RPC-2 drives per se that are the problem, but rather it's still all about the software. Why is there an issue for us? Or are you deliberately staying away from having it multi-region out-of-the-box?

The only time DVD Region Killer doesn't work is when:

Some DVD titles make a double check: They have software on the DVD-ROM which asks the player "hey, what is your region"? If the player responds with the wrong region, the DVD won't play. In this case you can force a default region from the tray icon.

 is a RISC OS Usersenduran on 18/10/03 10:51AM
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NVidia should either release details of their MPEG decoding API's to Iyonix developers or create API's for the Iyonix themselve. Did Castle contact them for this?

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 18/10/03 11:45AM
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Getting API documentation out of nVidia is nigh on impossible, especially when a company as small (in relative terms) as CTL is the one asking. :(

 is a RISC OS Userjmb on 18/10/03 5:29PM
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The Cino discussion forum is now open if anyone want to continue discussing Cino.




 is a RISC OS Userspellinn on 19/10/03 1:17PM
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