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Putting the Squeeze on LSX-MPEG Suite 2.0

Another bugaboo is file size. We tried pulling through the biggest AVI we could find on our hard drive, a 4GB animation. We didn’t get far. We discovered, a few frames into our test run, that the stand-alone encoder has a file size limitation. Actually, we were expecting this problem. We saw complaints posted on a Ligos user group to the effect that the stand-alone encoder hangs up on files larger than 1GB.

Ligos claims this is a limitation of the Video for Windows software and the AVI file format itself. (Ligos uses Video for Windows to decode the input file.) Recent versions of Microsoft’s DirectShow remedy this a little, by raising the file limit to 2GB. That said, however, we were able to base the majority of our tests on a 1.1GB file with no problems whatsoever. It’s also worth noting that the suite’s Adobe Premiere plug-in is not restricted by file size, since Premiere does the file handling for the transcoder — all the more reason to put transcoder, editor, capture and player in one shrink-wrap, we thought.

Thoughts of an all-in-one media toolbox recurred again when we started futzing with the suite’s new Super VCD feature. We quickly learned that it is intended for transcoding only, so we needed another program to actually burn the MPEG-2 file onto a CD-ROM, in addition to the wares needed to capture and author video. Ligos makes it clear that theirs is not a DVD player; although MPEG-2 is the basis for DVD video stored as VOB (Video Object) files, there is more to DVD than straight MPEG-2.

Even the hacker in us longed wistfully for a fully integrated software suite that could handle all the functions of media storage and transport. Still, we wouldn’t want to compromise this suite’s wide variety of settings and options, and more importantly its transcoding prowess, for a package deal.


Bottom Line

This transcoder suite will do just about everything MPEG for you, but you might have a difficult time trying to find your way around its many features and options.

P R O S
C O N S

  • A software-only MPEG codec; no additional card needed

  • Has a plug-in for Adobe Premiere, a time-saver and a first step toward integrating transcoding with other programs

  • Wide variety of optional settings

  • Runs well on a PIII, 500MHz PC

  • Unnecessarily difficult to use

  • Stand-alone encoder hangs up on some files bigger than 1GB

  • HELP needs some help

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