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  Freeware & Shareware
July 2002

Tim Hoke

Tim Hoke is the Sr. Pastor at Faith Presbyterian Church, a long-time member of Alamo PC and an avid computer user who loves to try out new programs, especially shareware and freeware. He gets excited about a good deal.  More than that, he enjoys sharing good deals with others.

Why not send him a note about your favorite shareware or freeware programs.

For those of you who like to watch movies (and who doesnít?) The wonderful world of computing has just made it easier to do so. No longer do you have to go to the video store or even leave your computer station for that matter! Now, in the comfort of your computer environment you can be a couch potato while sitting in front of your computer monitor. Thatís right, you can watch movies from your computer. Whatís that you said? Something about this being old news? Been doing that for a long time via your DVD drive? Iím not talking about DVD drives and disks. These movies come right over the Internet into your computer with the click of a mouse button. Perhaps youíve already been watching movie clips; now you can watch an entire movie! You can stream movies from a Web site or download them to your hard drive. 

Either way, youíll need some special viewing software. Would you pay $100 to for software to watch movies on your computer? How about $50? OK, then, would you pay $25 for the sheer convenience of sitting back and not lifting a finger to escape into your favorite film? Well, then, all you tightwads, how about getting the viewing software for free? There are several viewers you can download and use at absolutely no charge. Thatís right, you heard it here!

By far the most popular software package that plays movies on the computer is DivX Video Bundle 5.0.2. Formerly known as Divx Player and DivX Codec, this major update to the popular video software introduces a new generation of DivX technology, and contains all the software you need to create and watch videos in the popular DivX video format. 

DivX 5.0 includes many new features, such as enhanced video quality, more effective compression capabilities, and full support for the MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile decoding method. Version 5.0 is also optimized for AMD Athlon and Athlon XP processors and supports the new MPEG-4 based DivX file format. DivX Video Bundle also includes the new DivX Player 2.0 alpha, which supports the MPEG-4 format and offers a skinnable interface system. Version 5.0.2 is a bug fix release that fixes issues discovered in DivX 5.0.1. If youíd like an advanced version of the same then also try for free DivX Pro. It is the most advanced version of DivX software available and is designed for higher-end users. DivX Pro includes advanced video features that produce the best quality video and smaller file sizes. This version of DivX Pro is completely free, but it includes ad-support software from GAIN. If you donít want the irritation fo the ads, then fork over $30. Download .

Another piece of software that will enable you to watch movies via your computer is Quick-VCD Player Version 3.0. It is an easy media player, especially for playing Video CDs. The Quick-VCD Player requires Windows Media Player 6 or above already installed in the Windows. -Auto detects the media CD, and displays the available video files to play in the 'PlayList'. Clicking on any number in the playlist will loads and plays the corresponding media file. -Tracker bar in all modes (Full Screen, Default .etc). -Context menu support for advanced streaming settings, available in the Windows Media Player. 

Short cut keys for approx. all the functions available in the menus. Updates to this version include: unlimited CD files/tracks list, Loop + CD Continous play feature added, MPG/MPEG file support on files/track list buttons.

To run Quick-VCD Player Version 3.0 you will need Windows Media Player 7.1, which consists of seven features in a single application: 

  • a CD player
  • an audio and video player
  • a media jukebox
  • a media guide
  • an Internet radio tuner
  • a portable device that you can transfer music files to
  • an audio CD burner. 
These software programs are combined into one easy-to-use application designed to make playing digital media a mainstream experience. An audio CD creator and a unified player are also included with the program. This program also allows you to play streaming and downloadable digital audio, video, and other Internet content; play back CD and digital recordings; use the jukebox functionality to play or copy an entire CD to your PC in just a few minutes with one click; and much more. Windows Media Player 7.0 incorporated new built-in support for custom CD creation. It also included new skins, new visualizations, and a new Digital DJ skin that allows Media Player to create playlists. Version 7.1 adds WMA8 (Windows Media Audio 8) encoding, Windows Media Audio and Video 8 decoding, new smart transcode support for high-quality transfer to portable devices, and other enhancements and bug fixes. 

A third software option for watching movies from your computer is I-Video CD Player 1.0. I-Video CD Player supports VideoCD, MPEG, AVI, DAT, and MOV file formats. You can view x1, x2, and full-screen size with I-Video CD Player. I-Video CD Player can be used free, unless it's for commercial use, which is strictly prohibited. Distribution via CD-ROM or DVD is prohibited regardless of personal or commercial use; however, if you would like to find out about doing this, you can contact I-ON. 

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