Expression Encoder Pro 4 from (without Codecs) to fully (with Codecs)

Its been a long time since Microsoft abandoned Expression Encoder 4 Pro. 

And I have read horror stories about their license activation system.

But confirming, today 05/31/2023, you can still Activate, and that the Install of a Retail Copy will (convincingly) say "without codecs" until you manually "Change the Product Key" it won't prompt you during install, it will install in "without codecs" mode only first.. and it will say Licensed, but until you enter / change the Product Key to exactly the one for your copy of the Product and Activate.. it will not go into "with codec" mode.

You also only get two Activations before the Key is no longer usable, so DO NOT Activate the first time before changing the Product Key.

The default install is to go into a mode it says blatantly is "without codecs" after initial install.. when its properly changed with a valid Product Key and Activated it does not say "with codecs" its just blank.

From the Expression Help > About menu option, from a machine Simply installed, there was "No" prompting for a Product Key.

The only way you have to know its now in with codecs mode, is to create a new project, add some source, and try to change to MP4 format and your presented with the H.264 options and nothing stops you from Encoding.. its the absence of problems that confirms its fully Enabled and Activated, not simply "without codecs" and activated and therefore crippled.

From the Expression Help > About menu option, from a machine Simply installed, there was "No" prompting for a Product Key. (AND) then the Help > Enter Product Key and Activate was used and it "removed" the (without Codecs) message that was originally there and the MP4 and H.264 Encoding options started appearing, and worked.

This screenshot is from a different machine in which it had the "without codecs" message and a Product Key was then entered and Activated. I'm not screenshot'ting from the exact same machine both ways since removing and Re-Activating will burn a usage of the key. Discovering the issue was rather non-intuitive and stumbled upon and I don't want to upset the current system until a Full Backup. 

My recollection is a tiny checkbox below the field for entering the Product key that says  "Activate Product Now" and its pre-checked.. so as part of Entering the Product Key and hitting the [Continue] button, it will "also" contact Microsoft to attempt to "Activate" the Product, success will change the About screen to remove the "(without codecs) message and MP4 and H.264 Encoding will now be possible. This should also unlock the MPEG2 and other codecs available for import.

When I think about it (Activate) should be thought about as a synonym for (Unlock) to enable features in this product.

There is no (Deactivate) function to save an Activation so you can re-Activate on a different system, the Key usage is "burned" which is very sad. Most of the rest of the Industry supported "De-Activations" but apparently this Product line or Microsoft had not got to that level of maturity by the time the Product was discontinued.

This was from about they years 2010, with products new to CLR or "Managed Code" and Bill Gates edict to license and activate everything.. so it was awash with confusion.. and they were laying off "legacy" talent and constantly competing with incumbents like Apple and Adobe for tool market share, including with Opensource alternatives.

So they didn't really have any guard rails and they weren't listening to the general public and had their own personal problems internally.. (I think) the effect and intent was all versions (did) install the Codecs, but they were by default (crippled or "de-activated") and the original intent was to make Buying online and (enabling) a simple action of entering a Purchased Product Key from a website, the effect would have been instant and no re-installation would have been required.. but the behavior of this workflow was massively confusing and hard to troubleshoot.. since they were striving for "Customer Self-Service and checkout.. but it rather backfired traumatically and probably doomed the product line.

Other vendors adopted a download the "Full Featured Copy" with codecs and patch or add-on the necessary Codecs after.. and that became the "normal behavior" but this was so alien and ad-hoc it made the experience simply too foreign and difficult to support.. every problem or interpretation took human intervention.. which could not scale.

And instead of making it easy to upgrade hardware or move or reinstall a Copy from machine to machine, they "burned" Product Keys / License keys after two uses.. making it further difficult to support, and requiring human intervention "again".. it was a textbook demonstration of a product role out disaster.

Sure that made it difficult to "pirate" but it also made it "tossable" and "never use again" non-repeat business.. the chaos that was occurring at the time and the brain drain and decision maker drain and people laid off made it easier to just shut it all down.. and that appears to be what happened.

Another thought from the year 2023 is in an effort to safe guard against malware and virus infection they constantly kept updating and upgrading the Windows 7 kernel and Signing certificates for accepting and installing drivers and application software, these are also used to validate Activation mechanisms when visiting Microsoft sites.. SHA1 to SHA2 that sort of thing.. at least Windows 7 has to be updated sufficient to be able to communicate with the activation servers in order to activate. Its not that the services have been shutdown, its that the certificates for communications are out of date on the client side of the communications.


Starlink App for iOS gets remote control VPN

The title might not be quite accurate, but the Behavior is the same.

When your away from home, or not connected to your homebase Starlink network, you can "still" use the Starlink App "remotely" to connect back to your homebase and control your Starlink router.

I have mine set to only fire up at certain times of the day rather than run all night long burning up kilowatts when I'm not there or I'm asleep. 100 watts can add up over time, and I can failover to a cheaper backup provider for when I decide to pause service in RV mode.

The app doesn't "expose" this capability right away, its not intuitive. Perhaps they will update the online docs later.

Tapping on the "word" > NOVUS (cloudy symbol)

Produces a new set of options;

Notice how option one, the Top - has a "go to" > arrow 

Notice how option two, the Bottom - has a "ready to connect" > checkmark


Top or "Local" assumes you will shortly be connecting to a Local Wifi to find your Starlink router.

Bottom or "Remote" knows your far from home, but is ready to connect back over the Internet (cloud) to your homebase.. its "VPN" ready since your not at home.

But in both cases I have (red dots) because my Starlink router is currently {powered down} based on its offline power saving mode. Its not really offline per sec.. its "sleeping" and therefore not communicating. It should be waking up in about one hour and then the [Remote] option should go (green dot) and be ready for a virtual private network remote session to update and configure its settings.

This is my best guess at this time.

Its a powerful option if correct.

I began investingating this path due to finding a recent blog entry here;





I was able to remotely connect, it did go (green dot) but the Sleep Schedule setting is not Adjustable remotely, you can't even disable it. Currently it reports you must be connected locally in order to edit the sleep schedule.. which points to this not being  a comprehensive VPN like solution for remote management, rather its a targeted remote command system, which probably depends on some sort of bespoken API based on REST or some other post apocalyptic , web 2.0 protocol.


TDK indiCapture VC-2600 UE drivers and insides

I happened across this TDK IndiCapture with driver and software disk today. Curious I took a look inside and at the device drivers.

This comes from around the year 2002-2004 when video capture from camcorders, and later television became popular.


The device driver hints that its actually based on a Lumanate / Emuzed / Bali USB device which uses the Broadcom KFir-II hardware compression chip.

TDK 2002



;;; ---------------------------- REGISTER EMUZED DIRECTSHOW FILTERS
HKLM,Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce,"EzIKfir.ax",,"RunDll32.exe %11%\EzdReg32.dll,RegisterControl %11%\EzIKfir.ax"
HKLM,Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce,"EzdFWrtr.ax",,"RunDll32.exe %11%\EzdReg32.dll,RegisterControl %11%\EzdFWrtr.ax"
HKLM,Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce,"EzdFCtrl.ax",,"RunDll32.exe %11%\EzdReg32.dll,RegisterControl %11%\EzdFCtrl.ax"

; Localizable

IndiAvIn.InstallationDir    = "TDK INDI AV-IN USB Drivers"
IndiAvIn.Provider              = "TDK Electronics Corp."
IndiAvIn.Manufacturer      = "TDK Electronics Corp."
IndiAvIn.DeviceDesc        = "TDK INDI AV-IN USB Device"
IndiAvIn.Crossbar             = "TDK INDI AV-IN USB Crossbar"

The TDK Suite disc is in BIN CUE format but easily converts to .ISO format

It includes ArcSoft ShowBiz 1.2

Since it is designed for Windows XP only with a 32 bit device driver, its probably not of as much interest today, but the KFir-II chipset was often used in Rovi Tivo devices of that day and of fairly good quality.

The Moonsoon capture utility SnappySoft might also work with it.. and since SnappySoft works with many MPEG sources of the day, PowerDirector 8,9,10 may also be a viable capture software.

The primary Video decoder chip was the Thompson / Philips / NXP SAA7115 although the device driver clearly suggests its the SAA7114

; SAA7114
HKR,SAA7114,"DeviceAddress",0x10001, 42,00,00,00
;HKR,SAA7114,"CrystalFrequencyKHz",0x10001, 24576 ; 24.576
HKR,SAA7114,"CrystalFrequencyKHz",0x10001, 32110 ; 32.11

The SAA7115 also supported "frame locked" audio sampling which suggests it discarded audio samples for which there was no frame data, and thus avoided loosing synchronization between audio and video where frames were lost.

 Versions of the Bali USB appeared as Pinnacle / Avid bundles and as combo video capture and NTSC / PAL TV tuner capture devices.


or just


I believe there was a slight update that TDK made available for ShowBiz 1.2 but it was never archived and did not seem related to the device driver.

The design and implementation of the device driver is extremely simple and minimal. and being associated with Luminate / Emuzed it was probably fairly stable.. L & E went on to manufacture and import devices for Dell Computers.. and their selection as a provider probably speaks to their costs, simplicity and stability compared to the competition at the time.

The original MSRP was at the time I think $199 .. there is no equating that to today, in todays dollars even with inflation adjusted figures.. since the whole process of video capture has changed substantially.


Tivo Humax (03-20-2023) DRT800 Pwr Supply, Capacitor List

Replaced the capacitors in the Power Supply with these, proactively, some were swelling, but Tivo Humax DRT800 was still working.


This was a lot more capacitors, but they looked in much worse shape than before. Clear signs of bulging and heat stress. Removing the white (charred) stabilizing caulk around the caps holding them or attaching them to the PC board took a lot of effort. I had to use a dental pick like tool to gradually and carefully chip away at the compound.

Finally got it done however. I took a pic of the main filtering capacitor.. but don't have that pic handy right now. This power supply seems common between the DRT800 and DRT400, not entirely certain yet.. I have a DRT400 I plan to proactively re-cap as well.. its caps look even worse than the DRT800. 

Seems the older and further back in time I go with my Tivos the worse off the capacitors are.. most are Capxon or OST.. I'm sticking to mostly replacing with Nippon and Rubycon.


Tivo HD (02-14-2023) TCD652160 Pwr Supply, Capacitor List

Replaced the capacitors in the Power Supply with these, proactively, some were swelling, but Tivo HD was still working. 

Soldering isn't my best skill, but I was slow and careful and got it done. There was a surface mounted capacitor or resistor very close to the through hole for some capacitors, so I might have considered cutting the existing leads and tagging the replacements to the old leads sticking up from the board.. but I desoldered and succeeded at replacing them. I left them standing a little higher than normal away from the board to help with possible cooling by air and heat reflection from the caps to the pc board and back to the caps. I did not use non-corrosive silicone caulk to hold them still.. its kind of expensive, but I did leave them widely separated to keep them from vibrating into each other. I think this is a risk with the heat and cooling cycles and possible physical harmonics, be that fan vibrations, hdd vibrations, or some other vibration from the caps themselves. The electrolytic caps have a fluid between the paste and the wrapped internal planes and expansion and contraction can possibly generate an internal vibration of the cap itself and have adverse side effects if coupled to the pc board or neighboring caps.

The Tivo HD is a Series 3, but there were two or three models in that series, and in the Tivo HD I have apparently there were two different power supplies.

If it helps any my Power supply had the following label on the Input Filter Capacitor

My read is -

Model No: YM-3081A OP AR

3Y Power: CP-1319R2

TiVo P/N: SPWR-00011-000 

These are clearly not related to the Capacitor itself or its value and voltage.

There are other markings on the pc board itself.


Installing Windows 7 and updating in 2023


I had to install Windows 7 to support some older capture hardware with drivers and editing software that only worked under Windows 7, no Windows 8 and no Windows 10.

I got a few unfamiliar errors.

The first was I mistakenly used a Windows 7 (no Service Pack) install ISO image and then when I tried to install Windows Updates I had saved manually.. I got one to install and then all subsequent said "Not applicable to your version of Windows)

You have to install with a Windows 7 with SP1 slipstreamed ISO to succeed at Updating it with saved Updates.

So Windows updates meant for Windows 7 with SP1 , barely, or will not work with Windows 7 with no SP1 installed.

Same thing happens if you use a Windows 7 32 bit ISO and not the Windows 7 64 bit ISO, but that's easier to recognize.. I think it might have even a more specific error message hinting at the architecture not being right.

Then once you are installing the Windows Updates there are several critical de-marcations that really should have been Service Packs.. but since the culture had changed they couldn't use old terminology.

01 - 2015 April Servicing Stack Update 

- windows6.1-KB3020369-x64

02 - 2016 April convenience-rollup (Windows 7 Service Pack 2)

- windows6.1-kb3125574-v4-x64

03 - 2016 July and August Update Rollup

- windows6.1-KB3172605-x64

- windows6.1-KB3179573-x64

04 - 2019 March Servicing Stack Update and SHA 2 update

- windows6.1-kb4490628-x64

- windows6.1-kb4474419-v3-x64

After all of this.. amazingly.. Online Activation "works"

Until now I had to activate using the phone app.. but apparently its a matter of certificates and algorithms for online communications.

There are other Updates, but for various reasons.. you might want to not install them since they start monitoring or nagging the user about Updating to Windows 10 or later.

You also need to consider using this for "a specific purpose" rather than "general purpose" since it will be less secure than other operating systems and no longer receives security updates.


Origin of the name Ty Files

Tivo Ty Files were an exported version of the database oriented FSID files from an early version of the Tivo operating system. This is purely speculation.. but

T could stand for Tivo

Y could stand for 'Yellow Dog Linux'

Early versions of the Tivo recording box were based on the IBM PowerPC PPC cpu.

A version of Linux compiled for the PowerPC cpu was called 'Yellow Dog Linux' which is where the fancier YUM command later used in RedHat Linux came from. Its was more the Package manager to the package format, as APT was to the debian dpkg file relationships.

Anyhoo.. that the original Tivo operating system probably had some similarities or origins to the Yellow Dog Linux, might explain the inclusion of the letter 'y' in the name.

And since the FSID objects in the storage system were a type of non-file, file which held an entire recording, calling them Ty files .. might make a nice play on words or 'pun' attractive to program writers at the time.