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Copyright 2000, 2009 Alexander Milukov, All rights reserved
Unauthorized publishing, translation or reproduction in any form is prohibited.
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What's new in Windows XP (focused on digital multimedia) ?

This article is only author's humble opinion. The screenshots illustrate some real impressions of the author, but they may differ from latest versions of the software you may have.

For those of you who do not have enough time to follow my thoughts, I'll be extremely short: Windows XP does not have anything new against the Millennium Edition and Windows 2000.

Are you in doubt ? Lets begin some longer story...

First I suggest you read my previous article about Windows Millennium Movie Maker. It gives you some background... I would like to say, personally I do not think a hardware upgrade should be done each time you install an updated operating system. Of course I had a memory upgrade, so this time my PC used 256 megabytes of RAM, but nothing else changed. I have bought an USB flatbed scanner - but it is not worth to talk about it just because it works fine under W98SE too.

So, lets begin. I had the following hardware:
  • Intel Pentium II 400 MHz CPU
  • Lucky Star ABX2V jumperless motherboard (Intel 440BX chipset, Award BIOS 4.51)
  • 256 MB RAM (DIMM SDRAM, PC133 certified)
  • 8.4 GB & 20 GB ATA-66 Fujitsu hard disks
  • ASUS E608 DVD-ROM & HP CD-Writer 7200+
  • S3 Sonic Vibes PCI audio card
  • ASUS V3400 TNT with video i/o AGP card
  • Pinnacle miroDC10+ video capture PCI card
  • Compex RL2000 PCI LAN card
Windows XP takes about a hour to install and I placed it onto the 2GB logical drive with about 1,5 GB free space. XP successfully re-used a boot menu made by Windows2000 and allowed to run either of two systems at boot time.

When Microsoft says Windows XP offers "even better" hardware compatibility I know it means nothing changed. Of course Windows XP didn't recognize my S3 Sonic Vibes card, miroDC10+ board, ASUS3400 video-in feature and Compex LAN card.

Fortunately the driver for S3 Sonic Vibes audio card made for Windows NT was smoothly installed in Windows XP and worked fine.

Exactly the same way as it failed in Millennium, new Windows XP Movie Maker failed to run without a soundcard.

Hmm... after such a "similarity" was detected, needless to say, I knew what should I test first.

Do you remember, Microsoft sold few very old video codecs with WinMe. Lets check it out... Wow! They all are here again. Are you ready to buy now some stuff dated 1992..1995 ?!


Just look at copyright dates...

If you want you can compare file dates and versions for the codecs above. I'm just interested how many times Microsoft can make sales of the same very old codec versions...

New Windows XP Movie Maker allows you to import the same image formats as you were allowed to import in Millennium WMM. It may look as if there are a lot of different formats supported, but this would be a wrong assumption. ASF and VMW file extensions share the same format, and all JPG, JPE, JPEG and JFIF are the same, too. Yet another marketing effort...
See 'Import File' window screenshot

Previously Movie Maker had a seriuos problem related to images that have different width and height. When you made a clip WMM added a black stripes to enlarge picture canvas.

To see if this bug was gone, I created a simple project with two clips. One was short video clip (a boy smiling) and another was a still image (rabbit picture). I have overlapped the clips to make a transition (fade) and to see both clips rendered at a time.

Unfortunately nothing was fixed there since Millennium. Two vertical stripes at left side of the frame and at right side illustrate this.
See 'Canvas bug' sample screenshot

Last what I've tested, was a set of output formats and other options. It is obvious the next Microsoft strategy' step will be charging for online photo and video storage sites. Just look how they assume you will use your clips made in Windows Movie Maker: send by e-mail and/or upload to site. I think there will be used some incarnation of ASF file format... Ok, let it be. But why I have only three possible settings to save to ?! Yes it allows you to write avi files. But why only at 25 Megabytes per second data rate ?! There is no way to save a file with, say, 3 or 5 Megabytes per second data rate. It's very frustrating.

Better they showed me a clip picture size...
...same for still photos
What we can save
AVI is available only at 25MBps data rate
High Quality save options
Low Quality save options
Other settings
Saving with 25 Mbps data rate
Saving with 768 kbps data rate
quality selection...

Finally, in this "new" Movie Maker you will find no filters at all, and exactly 1 (one) transition. Even for newbies, this will not satisfy you.

I think the best time to buy some new Windows version was approximately in 1999. And of course you bought Win98SE. If you're interested in video editing, capture and home video production, are you sure Windows XP would be a right thing ? Personally I'm not.

Copyright 2000, 2009 AM Software