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MotionPixels Codec and MovieCD format on Pre-Reset and Post-Reset beta builds of Windows Vista, has anyone ever tried this?


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We otherwise know about the shortcomings of Windows Vista when it released in 2006-2007 with compatibility issues with software and hardware, high system requirements and bloated features. Fortunately, it was able to somewhat recover with the release of its two service packs in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Among new changed to the UI and the addition to new programs, a couple of components were updated, including Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, Windows Movie Maker and the DirectX API which was version 10.

But the introduction of DirectX 10 brought over a new change to the codec standards for Windows Media Player and the Windows operating system in general, and one by many that can sometimes be called controversial. That biggest change was the removal of support for the only two 16-bit Windows 3.1 video codecs, and those codecs were MVI1 and MVI2, also known as the MotionPixels codec format.

In case you don't know about the MotionPixels codec (MVI1 and MVI2), it was developed by a company called Sirius Publishing back in 1996 with at least two versions released. The first being MVI1, which was only used with an old obscure 1996 PC puzzle game called Treasure Quest, which was wrapped in a MVI file format container extension (.MVI). The second and most common version is MVI2, which was wrapped in a common AVI file format container extension (.AVI), and this was used by an old home video format called MovieCD which was first released exclusively on Windows in 1996 and discontinued around 1999 and was also used in a couple of third-party PC games during the late-1990s.

The audio on MovieCD was just a standard Windows WAVE sound file with mono sound at the bitrate of 88 Kilobits per second while the MVI2 MotionPixels video codec used on the format had inconsistent resolution between its 131 titles, as the resolution was different with each title with a resolution of either 320x236 or 320x224 (perhaps maybe even 320x240 and 320x220 were also used). The MovieCD format also came bundled with the MotionPixels Movie Player that was used for playback of the format.

The catalogue of both TV and feature film programs available on the MovieCD format was mostly spawned from deals with New Line Home Video, Anchor Bay Entertainment, Alliance Video, Trimark Pictures, Rhino Entertainment and Central Park Media, offering genres such as action, comedy, anime, computer animation and music performances.

However, the MovieCD format, the MotionPixels codec and even the MotionPixels Movie Player were plagued with so many issues and problems from the start when the MVI2 codec was first released, which prevented it from being compatible with any modern operating systems and computers. These include but not limited to:

- The codec was designed with Windows 3.1 in mind, meaning that while it was compatible with Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000 and XP, the codec had a ton of bugs that conflicted with other video player & video editing software installed on the user's computer, which can sometimes result in the program crashing.
- The codec wasn't natively compatible with the DirectX audio and video codec APIs, as it used the outdated Windows 3.1 audio & video codec APIs.
- The MotionPixels Movie Player that came with both the MovieCD home video format and a few third-party PC games had the executable names of AWARE31.EXE, AWARE95.EXE and AWARENT.EXE, and all of which had many software bugs that had never been fixed by Sirius Publishing and has also never been unofficially patched and fixed by software reverse-engineering enthusiasts either.
- The MovieCD home video format was released in 1996, which was the same year that the DVD format was released and as such, in addition to competing with LaserDisc, VHS and Video CD in most cases, the format never had any chance to succeed in any form with only 131 titles released on the format.

As a result of these bugs and problems caused by the MVI2 codec, and the fact that Sirius Publishing when under in the early-2000s, it's probably been made clear that Microsoft wanted to distance itself away from the MotionPixels codec, and as a result officially dropped support for the MVI2 codec from Windows and DirectX with the releases of Vista and version 10 respectively from 2006-2007 and onwards. As a result, when playing an AVI file encoded with the MVI2 codec, you just get audio and no video, and I even wonder if the aformentioned Treasure Quest game and MVI1 codec isn't compatible with Windows Vista and upward as well.

Now that I've got the info regarding the MotionPixels codec out of the way, I've wanted to hear if anyone has ever tested both the MotionPixels codec, the Treasure Quest game and the MovieCD home video format on any Pre-Reset and Post-Reset builds of Windows Vista, mainly as I wanted to see and hear when the codec was last compatible with Windows before the release of the Windows Vista RTM.

Hopefully I can get answers from anyone who has tried this.

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If either of these two articles regarding DirectX 10 and Windows Vista Beta 2 Application tests are anything to go by, perhaps support for 16-bit audio and video codecs like the MotionPixels was dropped from Windows Vista during the Post-Reset development stages between the first eight development reset builds and Build 5212 (winmain) the earliest known available Windows Vista Beta 2 build.

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