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VideoNOW PVD Reverse Engineering

simoniker posted about 11 years ago | from the kiddie-player-reversioning-shenanigans dept.

Toys 195

Zoc_All_Alone writes "In mid-July, Hasbro released the VideoNOW, a portable media player for kids. The disks are specially encoded ~3 inch audio CDs. We have started a project to reverse engineer the format, and have made considerable progress. More information about the player can be found at the Hasbro website."

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This is in honour of FPers everywhere (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865835)

rejoice!

Re:This is in honour of FPers everywhere (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866090)

Do you realize that by posting fake stories to slashdot, followed by fake discussions, you have in effect created a near-perfect simulacrum of the Slashdot you once destroyed?

So do you love slashdot and want it back? Do you miss Slashdot but have no idea how to create a real discussion with real, actual people?

I guess another way of putting it is, do you have any idea what the fuck you are doing?

DMCA VIOLATION (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865836)

I have reported you to the authorities for reverse engineering this. Please remain at your location; the SWAT team is on the way.

Re:DMCA VIOLATION (5, Insightful)

Nova1313 (630547) | about 11 years ago | (#6865939)

yeah really it's sad but anything that mentions reverse engineering anymore gets a comment like this. It's not a bad comment the problem is that it's so true. Everyone is sue happy.

That's all well and good (2, Interesting)

zifty (692892) | about 11 years ago | (#6865837)

But where are the people reverse engineering the EARLY kids' consoles, like the Socrates? I'm sure there are a few left in your collective attics...

Re: So Crates (3, Funny)

sporkboy (22212) | about 11 years ago | (#6865852)

We found it in a tranquil time of computing, with many steps and columns

Then, in the absence of Abe Lincoln, we brought back a Speak N Spell

Re: So Crates (1)

whiteranger99x (235024) | about 11 years ago | (#6865886)

Then, in the absence of Abe Lincoln, we brought back a Speak N Spell

I like the hack Bubs did when he made a Strong Bad robot out of a Grape Nuts box with a Speak N Spell [homestarrunner.com]

Re: So Crates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866183)

Ummmm.....

In Soviet Russia... They're blasting off, to the moooooon!!!!

(sorry.)

Re:That's all well and good (2, Funny)

Alien Being (18488) | about 11 years ago | (#6865990)

"But where are the people reverse engineering the EARLY kids' consoles, like the Socrates?"

When I was about ten I "reverse engineered" my kid brother's interactive eduational robot called 2XL. Conclusion: It was an 8-track player.

I guess I should have published my work to save these guys [pickletreats.com] the trouble.

But does it run Linux? (3, Informative)

mmoncur (229199) | about 11 years ago | (#6865841)

The VideoNOW Linux Project can't be far behind.

I'm sure Hasbro will nip this in the bud as soon as they realize someone could market their own shows for it. (Or, god-forbid, porn!)

But does it run Linux?-Tastless humour. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865864)

"I'm sure Hasbro will nip this in the bud as soon as they realize someone could market their own shows for it. (Or, god-forbid, porn!)"

If they did that? Would it be kiddie-porn?

Re:But does it run Linux?-Tastless humour. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865978)

This is kind of funny, but yes...tastless humor. GO back into your hole, pedophile! Just kidding. NO, IM NOT KID-DING!!! Freak...

DMCA (5, Funny)

Erick the Red (684990) | about 11 years ago | (#6865857)

We have started a project to reverse engineer the format, and have made considerable progress. So far we have been sued for $10 million, and we are posting in hope of gaining even more attention to our work.

Re:DMCA (4, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | about 11 years ago | (#6865919)

VIDEONOW discs feature a special proprietary format and will not fit into or play on other media players

How much do you wanna bet that their lawyers are not from playskool????

I just hope... (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | about 11 years ago | (#6865858)

I just hope you guys are not in the US...

One is never too careful nowadays...

Look at the pictures: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865861)

it can even be operated by negroes.

Re:Look at the pictures: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865961)

Even gay negroes like yourself?

let's support them (3, Interesting)

SHEENmaster (581283) | about 11 years ago | (#6865866)

By buying units, and making certain the manufacturer knows we're buying them as a result of the project, thereby preventing a DMCA lawsuit that would only result in massive boycotting on our part.

On the other hand, it's easier to just sit and type about how much the DMCA sucks and how cool reverse engineering is.

Re:let's support them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865881)

Uh, YEAH, I'm going to go out and spend my money on some kids toy just to add "support" for some doomed sourceforge project.

You pie-in-the-sky, head-in-the-clouds, tree hugging bed wetting liberals are all the same. Totally detached from reality.

Re:let's support them (5, Interesting)

dasmegabyte (267018) | about 11 years ago | (#6865890)

No thanks. It's an ugly black and white video player which uses a stupid format. Besides, I already have this LAPTOP.

Re:let's support them (3, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | about 11 years ago | (#6865894)

like any other console, they plan to make revenue selling hillary duff songs for it and that sort of shit.

I'm sure they just wont care. This hack is of interest to about a dozen people worldwide, and I doubt there will be a big 0-day-videomanZ scene.

MS and Sony dont make too big of a deal over modding, and they have something to lose.

+5 Interesting?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865896)

For asking an army of slashdotters to go out and buy a pathetic video playback toy that at some point in the future may or may not be able to play home movies? Please!!

I guess the mods are desperate for good comments on this story!

Re:+5 Interesting?? (1, Insightful)

reiggin (646111) | about 11 years ago | (#6865957)

You, yourself, have obviously never been asked to mod. Or else you'd know that one of the requirements for modding is that you 1) ingest large amounts of beer, and that you 2) do some random acts of moddness just to throw off the community and/or see if they are paying attention.

right on (1)

Sean Clifford (322444) | about 11 years ago | (#6865898)

Right on, excellent point. The product was *just* released and at the rate the project is progressing, I expect that in a few weeks they'll be burning their own discs. At $50 a pop, it's a pretty cool & affordable project. A poster below points out that B & W was given up in the Nixon administration; however, I'm sure there's a colour one in the works.

Re:let's support them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865904)

Like they'd care for what reason people are buying them. It's all about $$$. That would make a win-win situation for them since people are buying the product AND they can sue people for reverse engineering it.

Re:let's support them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865972)

People always say this (Vorbis players, etc.) but they never say they have done this. So do it. Or shut up. Please. Talk doesn't need to be this empty.

One Question; (4, Interesting)

Honig the Apothecary (515163) | about 11 years ago | (#6865877)

Why?

It is freakin grayscale for christsakes. Most people gave up on Black and White video somewhere around the Nixon Administration in the U.S.

Its cute and all, but go buy a portable DVD and go find a project where you are not going to run the risk of being sued into oblivion by the borg of Hasbro.

Re:One Question; (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865980)

This is as useful as hacking a VHS VCR to read Beta format tapes.

Re:One Question; (3, Insightful)

Crash6-24 (704161) | about 11 years ago | (#6866025)

Why? Because it's there! Every product has some mystery (or proprietary stuff) that someone just has to explore. These guys are probably engineers in real life.

Re:One Question; (1)

stratjakt (596332) | about 11 years ago | (#6866034)

These guys are probably engineers in real life.

I got news for you, buddy.

This IS their real life!

Thats what they do, seriously. RTFA.

Just college kids with nothing better to do than fiddle about in the toy section at Wal-Mart.

Wake me... (0, Redundant)

jcostantino (585892) | about 11 years ago | (#6865878)

...when it's in color... 80x80 16 shads of grey LCD? C'mon!

Re:Wake me... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866032)

At least it makes me feel better about my Visor display.

I'm thirsty (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865882)

...can I please suck some warm, salty piss out of your flaccid cock?

Thanks mate.

-- An AC in need

imagine the pr0n! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865883)

woohoo! 4-bit greyscale at 80x80. gives me flashbacks to storing pr0n on floppies...except this time it's motion pr0n!

reminds me of porn on my TI-89... (1)

felesii (673184) | about 11 years ago | (#6866278)

you could probably get better video on an Ipod

For your convenience: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865884)

Announcement: I have compiled all obligatory jokes in this post so you don't have to waste your precious time searching for them.


In Soviet Russia, a project to reverse engineer the format has starts YOU.

Imagine a beowulf cluster of those.

yes but deos it run linuks?

How much ghey pr0n fits on one disc?

Re:For your convenience: (1)

Cassius105 (623098) | about 11 years ago | (#6865920)

you forgot

"I welcome our new reverse engineered overlords"

Re:For your convenience: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866206)

"All your VideoNOW discs belong to us"?

I, for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865967)

welcome our old convenience-joke overlord!

standard formats (5, Informative)

shird (566377) | about 11 years ago | (#6865897)

After reading through the couple of updates they have, I get the impression that the format is actually a standard used somewhere but these guys just haven't figured out what it is.

They seem to be wasting their time grabbing frames and converting from jpegs etc. They should just try work out what the standard is. Afterall, why would the developers of the VideoNOW spend the time and money developing some new format when there are heaps out there already. They are already using a non-standard CD size to stop people just playing the discs on their own machines, and people wouldn't pay $8 for a few b/w low res cartoons to play on their own machines anyway. - so why use a propriety format?

Standard? Hah, don't make me laugh. (4, Informative)

pr0ntab (632466) | about 11 years ago | (#6865985)

It's just video in the standard duh-duh format, replacing the right audio channel. It's uncompressed, and the screen is 80x80, so there's only so many combinations of fps, bit depth to choose from. I wouldn't call it a standard, it isn't really encoded at all. The bitmap data is just, kinda there, like PCM audio.

They don't list an extraction step, but I assume it's CDDA. The mysterious packets in the audio track "left channel" might be used to help that extraction process on a cheap playback device, or provide error correction information that would normally be present in a Yellow Book format.

I don't think there's any standard out there for cramming video in an audio channel in a strange packeting format with a hack to read timing information out of the other channel. These seem like very hardware-oriented, cost based design decisions.

Re:standard formats (5, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | about 11 years ago | (#6866000)

A standard. It sure is!

Its called the "bunch of grayscale bitmaps one after another" standard. Audio in one channel, video in the other. Pretty much the most obvious way any reasonable designer would put it together.

The VideoNOW itself has no ability to decompress video or do anything fancy. Just load a pixmap into an 80x80 register array 15 times a second. I'm not the least bit shocked the bitmaps are already 80x80 hex arrays, ready to go.

Its unlikely Hasbro was ever concerned about someone hacking a goofy little kids toy that'll cost 20 bucks come christmas time.

Re:standard formats (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866107)

Do you realize that by posting fake stories to slashdot, followed by fake discussions, you have in effect created a near-perfect simulacrum of the Slashdot you once destroyed?

So do you love slashdot and want it back? Do you miss Slashdot, but have no idea how to create a real discussion with real, actual people?

I guess another way of putting it is, do you have any idea what the fuck you are doing?

Re:standard formats (1)

BJH (11355) | about 11 years ago | (#6866169)

Wouldn't it be funny if it turned out to be FLI or some other now-abandoned format that could have been played quite easily on a machine of the time, say an Amiga...

TOP TEN HOBBIES OF DARTH VADER (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865900)

10) Making prank "heavy breathing" phone calls

9) Sneaking up behind Star Destroyer crew members, covering their eyes, and demanding "Guess who?"

8) Practicing throwing Palpatine doll down pits

7) Genealogy

6) Using the force to learn to juggle

5) Mortal Kombat 5436

4) Using mind-reading ability to win at Battleship

3) Late nights with a pain droid

2) Sending anonymous love-notes to Mon Mothma

1) Checking Imperial Deli to see if they've named a sandwich after him yet

Way too much time on your hands (1)

Captain BooBoo (614996) | about 11 years ago | (#6865902)

is a scary thing sometimes. I really can't get interested in hacking a gray scale video codec just for grins. The only possible use I can think of is that by reverse engineering the code you would be able to make 30 min. text documents available on the go. Kind of along the lines of e-books I guess. Might call them E-white papers.

You better patent that ... (1)

pgrote (68235) | about 11 years ago | (#6865916)

... so when someone comes up with that idea in the next 12 months you can sue them two years down the line and make your money.

Of course, set up a shell company with the sole purpose of exploting IP rights. :-)

Re:You better patent that ... (1)

modme2 (630194) | about 11 years ago | (#6865962)

call it SCO? ;)

Re:You better patent that ... (1)

gnarled (411192) | about 11 years ago | (#6866073)

No, PanIP

80x80 greyscale? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865908)

I can watch better quality porn^H^H^H^Hvideos on my cellphone!

Jeez.

Why? (-1, Flamebait)

flyingrobots (704155) | about 11 years ago | (#6865932)

Why is it that when someone attempts to lock stuff they deem propritary so it won't get copied all over the place, so they can make a buck, someone has to come along to nullify it?

Instead of spending all your time trying to ruin someone's hard work, why don't you use your time and make something that *you* can sell? Hhhhmmmmm?

I hope you get sued and you go to jail.

Kevin

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

buysse (5473) | about 11 years ago | (#6865971)

I don't think that the goal is to copy their content -- 'tis to create new content, or to be able to use the player for my own content. If I have a recorded television show (time-shifted, if you will), why shouldn't I be able to put it on the appropriate media and watch it on the bus with this little thingamajig? Why should I respect a lock on hardware that I have purchased?

Re:Why? (2)

flyingrobots (704155) | about 11 years ago | (#6865995)

Because the company wishes to make money on the content that is displayed on the device. There isn't anything wrong with this.

Why is this so hard to understand? Why can't people be allowed to make money on things *they* make. They took the risk. Do you understand what it takes to market something? It's a *huge* risk.

Why can't someone's hard work just be simply respected? It isn't that hard.

If you want something that will display content you want...make it yourself. You might get an idea on the kind effort, long hours and sometimes heartache that it takes...maybe this will help you understand.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Wumpus (9548) | about 11 years ago | (#6866040)

It's just the CueCat all over again. Someone has a dumb idea (give away the scanner, sell the links), and then the entire world is just expected to sit there nodding and saying how smart this is.

Figuring out how stuff works isn't malicious. Neither is finding new uses for your property.

I doubt that the target audience for this is going to go wild burning their video collection on this thing. If Hasbro's content is unique enough and cheap enough, it'll sell. If it isn't, and people don't want it, it won't sell, reverse engineering or no reverse engineering.

Re:Why? (1)

buysse (5473) | about 11 years ago | (#6866157)

I was just pissed off by weaselnuts saying that he hoped that H*sbro would sue them all. It caused me to rant slightly.

Re:Why? (1)

CaptainTux (658655) | about 11 years ago | (#6866166)

Why can't someone's hard work just be simply respected? It isn't that hard

I don't quite understand why it's so hard for YOU to understand this issue. Modding equipment doesn't take away the ability of the manufacturer to make money off of their product. It actually EXPANDS it. Hasbro can continue to make their kids content and market it to kids (that is their market you know). But by allowing it to be modded they are opening up a new sales channel: Adults who want to play specialized content. So now they have people buying the unit for kids but you also have other adults -- MILLIONS of CHILDLESS adults who wouldn't buy this otherwise -- buying it because they can mod it to play their own content.

This particular project isn't going to be something that's going to have earthshaking implications for anyone. But the freedom to tinker [freedomtotinker.org] with the equipment we buy actually helps the manufacturers. They just need to realize that.

Tux

Check out the great Linux based consumer based PC I have for sale! [safferconsulting.com]

Re:Why? (1)

buysse (5473) | about 11 years ago | (#6866168)

How, by creating my own content, am I preventing them from producing their own? I'm honestly interested in the answer.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about 11 years ago | (#6866301)

If I have a recorded television show (time-shifted, if you will), why shouldn't I be able to put it on the appropriate media and watch it on the bus with this little thingamajig?

Why? Maybe because it's extremely low-res, black and white, and nearly as expensive as small, portable, DVD-players will be in a short while. Plus, DVDs (or VCDs/SVCDs) are easy to make.

Why would you *want* to do anything with this?

Re:Why? (-1, Troll)

Pig Hogger (10379) | about 11 years ago | (#6865996)

Why is it that when someone attempts to lock stuff they deem propritary so it won't get copied all over the place, so they can make a buck, someone has to come along to nullify it?
Instead of spending all your time trying to ruin someone's hard work, why don't you use your time and make something that *you* can sell? Hhhhmmmmm?
I hope you get sued and you go to jail.

You **MUST** be a suit [jargon.mu.nu] . Comeon, you **HAVE TO BE** a suit [jargon.mu.nu] . Will you **ADMIT** that **YOU ARE** a suit [jargon.mu.nu] ? **ONLY A SUIT [jargon.mu.nu] ** would think that conservatively.

But in any case, it's not really important. Even though you are a suit [jargon.mu.nu] , it's no importance. Suits [jargon.mu.nu] are always the first one to say no whenever someone comes with a bright idea, but whatever they say, it's of no importance, because bright ideas triumph by their own merit.

If it were not the case, suits [jargon.mu.nu] would still lead us (from behind, of course - what does a suit [jargon.mu.nu] knows better than his behind???) to the mammoth chase, and the hunters would still marvel why mammoths never have to peel suits [jargon.mu.nu] from the bottom their feet...

Re:Why? (0)

Mikey-San (582838) | about 11 years ago | (#6866154)

Wow. Could you be more annoying [bartleby.com] ? You sure are annoying [bartleby.com] . I mean, only an annoying [bartleby.com] person would keep putting the same annoying [bartleby.com] link in his or her post to point out (annoyingly [bartleby.com] , I might add) something that's such an annoying [bartleby.com] waste of time in the first place. It's almost like you're TRYING to be annoying [bartleby.com] .

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866287)

Or he's trying to google bomb the word suit.

Re:Why? (1)

dann0 (555381) | about 11 years ago | (#6866371)

If "bright ideas triumph by their own merit", Pig Hogger, where's my Jet Pack? Why don't we all have flying cars? What about fridges that automatically order food after I've taken it out? Aren't these bright ideas? Have they triumphed?

Besides, fool [slashdot.org] , who wears a suit on a Mammoth hunt, anyway?

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

EverDense (575518) | about 11 years ago | (#6866026)

I hope you get sued and you go to jail.

Why is it that whenever someone disagrees with the motives of a story on SlashDot, they have go
to extremes in what they perceive should be the punishment?

These guys are not doing anything too hurt Hasbro's ability to make money.
Even if they were, why should they go to jail?

I bet the Hasbro executives are quaking in their boots "Oh no, the geeks are trying to get at
our super secret mini-CD codec".

You are a twonk!

Work for Hasbro, do you?

Re:Why? (0)

flyingrobots (704155) | about 11 years ago | (#6866075)

No I don't work Hasbro and this isn't intended to be flaimbait. And yes they are hurting Hasbro's ability to make money. They wouldn't have made the CD format difficult to udnerstand and use if it wasn't part of their marketing plan.

This is serious subject. Companies are spending billions to protect their property. Cracking someones propritary format in my view is stealing. Plain and simple.

I see no one was answered the real question....the real challenge isn't craking someones protection schemes...the real challenge is making something that is useful enough for someone to purchase and use.

I think (and I this is what I really think) people who do this are disgraceful.

Instead of spending time on this...volunteer for something like this for example:

Team Overbot [overbot.com]

Notice that I'm not an Anonymous Coward :)

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Nihilanth (470467) | about 11 years ago | (#6866112)

here's an alternate way of looking at it:

a company is only going to make a product as useful as they have to to charge you as much as they can get away with. Lots of math is involved. Board meetings. Statistical analysis. This is the reason everything costs too much and sucks.

Now, lots of people out there devote their time and energy to making the things people paid way to much for work better. Whats wrong with that?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866123)

I don't mean to be disrespectful...but the answer is that it's not yours.

My point is...if they think they can make it better, then they need to make their own. Their own design and features and then they need to try to sell it.

Then the reason for the board meetings, and all the statistical analysis will become a bit more apparent.

Re:Why? (1)

pyrrhonist (701154) | about 11 years ago | (#6866155)

Cracking someones propritary format in my view is stealing.

Actually it's fair use. It's also how you discover if a company is doing dangerous things with their hardware...

Re:Why? (1)

i_am_nitrogen (524475) | about 11 years ago | (#6866306)

Do you also believe that car modifications (that don't affect safety of the vehicle) should be illegal? When people purchase a piece of hardware, they don't sign a contract saying they won't do anything to it. When buying a DVD, they don't sign an agreement that they will only watch it in Windows or on a standalone player. Why should some lame robot be any different, that just replaces CD audio data with very low bandwidth video data?

These things are fully within the limits of the law of any sane country. Sure, there are some exceptions, like the radio interference regulations of the FCC and equivalent organizations for electronics, and emissions laws for cars, but as long as the reverse engineering doesn't harm anybody else, it is (or should be) perfectly fine. Reverse engineering a dinky little video player doesn't harm anybody.

Profiting from someone else's creative work without their permission (publishing piracy) is indeed wrong. None of these things are intended for that.

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

PaulK (85154) | about 11 years ago | (#6866046)

I hope you get sued and you go to jail.

Unless you are posting to slashdot using your original IBM PC and a 300 baud Hayes modem you are a hypocrite.
Reverse Engineering has brought you most everything you use in your life, from your television to your sneakers.

Since reverse engineering is legal, neither criminal or civil penalties apply.

BTW, being sued does not lead to incarceration.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866135)

But I am posting to slashdot using my original IBM PC at 300 baud with my Hayes modem.

While being sued does not lead to incarceration, it does however lead to reencarnacion.

Re:Why? (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 11 years ago | (#6866309)

Since reverse engineering is legal, neither criminal or civil penalties apply.

It was before the DMCA. Now all anyone has to do, is claim that there is some form of even the most simply copyright protection built-in, and it is illegial to reverse-engineer it.

Re:Why? (1)

sealawyer2003 (688442) | about 11 years ago | (#6866353)

It's not enought to simply claim there was copyright protection. You should actually have such protection. It isn't really that hard to add some kind of weak encryption if you aren't trying to be compatible with something else, but from the description on the web page, the reverse engineers did not encounter anything that looks remotely like a protection measure. Of course it's always possible that there is a patent or two involved.

locked..? (1)

pr0ntab (632466) | about 11 years ago | (#6866161)

Oh yeah, there was all that encryption they broke and huge warnings on the screen when they inserted a disc.

I hope you just created that account to post this bullshit.

No Color ?? (0, Redundant)

sPaKr (116314) | about 11 years ago | (#6865935)

I know Color LCD's are more expensive.. But really.. Black and white in this day and age. The LCD is 80x80 already.. so the res is like insanly horrable. If it was color it might be mildly intresting, but as it stands it sucks.

Move over Adobe... (1)

eyeball (17206) | about 11 years ago | (#6865943)

He also discovered a graphic format called PPM, where graphics are defined by hexadecimal, making shades of grey.

I think we found our new outlawed ROT13.

Feature? (5, Insightful)

RedWizzard (192002) | about 11 years ago | (#6865945)

From the Hasbro site:
VIDEONOW discs feature a special proprietary format and will not fit into or play on other media players.
How is it a feature that their discs won't play anywhere else?

Re:Feature? (1)

flyingrobots (704155) | about 11 years ago | (#6865968)

So someone can make a disk and know that he/she will be able to SELL it w/o copies of it poping up everywhere. How did this post get a score of insightful?

Re:Feature? (1, Flamebait)

RedWizzard (192002) | about 11 years ago | (#6866052)

What are you talking about? I don't see how the lack of interoperability is any benefit to the consumer. When you sell something to the public you list features that are beneficial to the public, not "features" which are beneficial to the manufacturer or some other third party.

Re:Feature? (0)

flyingrobots (704155) | about 11 years ago | (#6866398)

Guys you keep forgeting one thing.

The design of the device isn't yours and you didn't make it.

You have no right to decide how it is or isn't benifical to customers. Customers decide with their wallets.

Just because you think some feature of a product isn't benificial doesn't give you the license to undermine the protections that were built into it.

There are many reasons this feature is desirable. Both for cosumers with children and the company itself. A few slashdoters have stumbled across it..some trying to be funny.

Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it isn't benificial and it doesn't mean that the feature is bad.

It is a feature (2, Informative)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | about 11 years ago | (#6866053)

in the same way that a wart on the end of your nose would be.

At one time... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866310)

Many years ago when a manufacturer said "proprietary", it was a good thing, because it implied they had a secret invention.

Its kind of how "discriminate" used to be a good thing, but now itw not.

80x80 16 shades (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865953)

80x80 resultion with 16 shades of black...

I'd rather watch a 30 minute animated "buddy icon."

What is the point? (besides the obvious) (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6865986)

16 shade greyscale on an 80x80 pixel 4"x6" LCD? For fuck's sake, that's like watching video on a TI-8X calculator! (which, incidentally, you can do [ticalc.org] ) Sure, it sounds like a fun project and all, but I don't think geeks will be rushing to encode their movies to this format so they can be played on this dinky little player. On the other hand, the player looks VERY portable and runs on 2 AA batteries. So I guess there is some potential for a low cost low resolution video/picture/text? viewer. It is interesting, at least.

Re:What is the point? (besides the obvious) (1)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | about 11 years ago | (#6866239)

There's really only one application of this : portable porn. Now you can carry all the best money shots with you wherever you go. Oh wait, most of the target audience never goes outside their house anyway.

Nothing new under the sun... (5, Interesting)

raytracer (51035) | about 11 years ago | (#6866004)

It sounds to me like this little gadget is the modern implementation of a narrowband television. There are still guys who dink around with this stuff (indeed, I've started to assemble the parts for one myself), for fun you could try the Narrow Band Television Association [wyenet.co.uk] website.

That being said, it seems like the format can't possibly be that difficult to determine. If the authors posted .wav files of some of the audio tracks, I suspect that an afternoon's worth of work by someone familiar with NBTV would crack the modulation wide open. After all, the box itself is obviously very cheap, it probably has very little CPU power, it can't be that complicated.

It's a pity they don't use the normal mini-CDs, if they did I might buy one just for the novelty of being able to make my own CDs. I think they missed a bit of a hacker market by deliberately disabling this possibility.

Re:Nothing new under the sun... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866165)

It's a pity they don't use the normal mini-CDs, if they did I might buy one just for the novelty of being able to make my own CDs.
The discs are 85mm and, judging by the picture, its a top-loading player. So the 80mm mini-CDs should fit in without a problem. Hopefully the laser can read CD-Rs.

Re:Nothing new under the sun... (1)

po8 (187055) | about 11 years ago | (#6866321)

I think they missed a bit of a hacker market by deliberately disabling this possibility.

The typical concern with toys is that the hackers might propagate content inappropriate for children. I'm guessing that this sort of content control was a factor here.

Even my cellphone has a bigger color display (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866056)


and that is right now 65k+ colors , by the time you figured it out my 2003 cellphone is going to seem old, oh and it cost me nothing (0$) with my talkplan

In other news.. (1, Troll)

1000101 (584896) | about 11 years ago | (#6866057)

...there's still no cure for cancer

man, i would love to have that much free time.

Re:In other news.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866221)

This one might be a slight bit troll-ish, but at the same time it's fairly insightful IMHO...

Dude #1: I'm bored. Let's find the cure for cancer.
Dude #2: Nah.. Let's drink beer and crack something no one will care about.
Dude #1: DUDE! You are l33t!

SIMULACRUM (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866080)

Do you realize that by posting fake stories to slashdot, followed by fake discussions, you have in effect created a near-perfect simulacrum of the Slashdot you once destroyed?

So do you love slashdot and want it back? Do you miss Slashdot but have no idea how to create a real discussion with real, actual people?

I guess another way of putting it is, do you have any idea what the fuck you are doing?

"watch what you want" (1)

yo5oy (549821) | about 11 years ago | (#6866083)

it seems almost perfect for a slashdot crowd: "watch what you want, when you want, where you want? ... VideoNOW, the future of entertainment right in your hand." Anyone want a small pr0n viewing device? I guess pr0n is pr0n, whether it be in B&W or in color.

Deja vu all over again (1)

sporktoast (246027) | about 11 years ago | (#6866084)


Oh my God! It's the new [michaeloreilly.com] Pixelvision [jm3.net] !

Actually, it's not. At least, not yet. Pixelvision was so great because it was liberating. It was the video version of the portable 4-track tape recorder. It brought the DIY/Garage ethos to movie making.

This thing is all about consuming licensed content ("Collect Them All" [hasbro.com] ) from the major media players, as if that's any big surprise. Sure, Zoc_All_Alone [wsu.edu] is reverse-engineering the file format, but until someone can hack a Mavica [steves-digicams.com] to record in that format, I don't think it will be as compelling to fiddle with.

Format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866085)

"He also discovered a graphic format called PPM, where graphics are defined by hexadecimal, making shades of grey. "

WOT ??? Graphics defined by numbers ? I dont understand what this is getting at ....

Console (0)

Caez (470978) | about 11 years ago | (#6866093)

Maybe they hope to make most of their profit off of the discs and not the player itself like w/ consoles and games?

Why reverse engineer this?... (1)

AsmordeanX (615669) | about 11 years ago | (#6866101)

Why would you want to reverse engineer this? Why for a case mod of course! Soon, you too will be buying a VideoNOW so you can gut it and put a small LCD in a drive bay that will show video.

Just think, you can download Lord of The Rings fron the net then the kids can crowd around and watch tiny screen.

"When I was your age, our TV was round and 3mm across. We had to ride a bicycle generator for 8 hours to watch 21 minutes of TV."

Seriously, it might make good modding material, but beyond that I think it is useless.

great role models (5, Funny)

r_glen (679664) | about 11 years ago | (#6866140)

"Okay Johnny, see how daddy bypasses the cryptography algorithm on this special "Sing Along Volume 5" disc? This is what us grownups call 're-verse engine-neering'" ... "But Daddy, why are you wearing an orange suit and sitting behind that glass?"

DMCA Violation? I don't think so... (3, Interesting)

mewyn (663989) | about 11 years ago | (#6866202)

This seems to be a very dumb device, just displaying 15 pixmaps a second. The DMCA's anti-circumvention applies to encrypted or other anti-copying measures. If you have a data stream that's this blatantly out in the open, I would imagine that the DMCA need not apply.

mewyn

Give me 8cm DVD-R and GBA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866272)

Come out with 8cm DVD-R media and a player I can hook up to my GBA and I'll buy it.

rhyme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6866393)

With yellow eyes my green face my pink and white afro
I'm no toy kid your style is made by Hasbro ...


-Kool Keith, Real Raw
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