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Old 22nd July 2007, 13:52   #21  |  Link
Wilbert
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As for OOXML, I think most of the criticisms miss the fact that its primary goal is to provide a XML implementation that's backwards compatible to all existing .doc files, which introduces painful complexity. You might argue about whether or not that's worth doing, but for enterprises that want to take their existing past few decades of .doc content and make them searchable in a structured way while preserving the layout precisely, OOXML is a great solution.
OOXML is being pushed as an open standard, which is simply incompatible with being compatible with existing .doc files. You can't have it both ways. However, it's not open (future patents treats, references to older Word versions) nor a standard despite being pushed as one.

If you read what happened in the committee in Portugal:

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As you know, it's been reported that both Sun and IBM were told there was no room for them to join the committee in Portugal and so they were not allowed to attend the July 16th meeting. A member of that committee, Rui Seabra, has now published his notes from the meeting and given me permission to reproduce them here for you.
Just look at how many participants are affiliated with Microsoft:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?s...07071812280798

Or in the committee in the USA:
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Microsoft's plan to have its Office Open XML (OOXML) format fast-tracked for approval as an ISO standard hit a snag recently, when the V1, a technical committee that advises the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), failed by two votes to gain the necessary two-thirds majority of its 26 voting members to give OOXML the "Approval, with comments" rating. The INCTS is a committee accredited by ANSI that recommends the United States' position on voting for ISO standards. Subsequent motions to pass OOXML as "Disapproval, with comments" and "Abstention, with comments" also failed. Rob Weir, an IBM employee who is a member of the V1 committee, explained the decision on his blog, and noted that 16 out of the 26 voting members joined the committee very late in the game, and almost all of these new partners voted to approve OOXML. Weir noted that some of these new members were companies that were Microsoft corporate partners.
as reported on ars. I think that Microsoft should be ashamed of itself, but what else is new.

@mods,

Please move this to a different thread if you think this is off topic.
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Old 22nd July 2007, 21:23   #22  |  Link
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Originally Posted by bond View Post
in the end in the vc1 case imho it would have been better for the industry, the end customer and propably even microsoft if ms would have pushed avc right from the start, using their os standing to push THEIR avc implementation and not some extra implementation of a different open standard
Remember that VC-1 Simple and Main profiles predate H.264 both technically and for license terms. Microsoft (well before my time) went down the codec standard route before with MPEG-4 part 2, which turns out to be a profound disappointment across the industry - it didn't offer that much of a compression advantage over MPEG-2, and the protracted license agreement discussions scared off a lot of adoption. I was involved in many digital media projects that wouldn't even touch MPEG-4 in the late 90's to early 00's because there was going to be a "content fee" that hadn't been fully defined yet.

More germain to today, there are some real technical advantages to VC-1, particularly in decode complexity and ability to retain fine detail like film grain. Comparing a device like the iPod (H.264 baseline) and the Zune (VC-1 Main Profile), better decode complexity means power-constrained devices can use a superior profile, and deliver better quality at a given bitrate.

VC-1 was designed for HD and film content from the get-go, while H.264 only really became competitive in that arena relatively late with the addition of High Profile, created after VC-1 beat MPEG-2, and both beat H.264, in the initial DVD Forum HD tests.
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Old 23rd July 2007, 03:13   #23  |  Link
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Originally Posted by benwaggoner View Post
Remember that VC-1 Simple and Main profiles predate H.264 both technically and for license terms. Microsoft (well before my time) went down the codec standard route before with MPEG-4 part 2, which turns out to be a profound disappointment across the industry - it didn't offer that much of a compression advantage over MPEG-2, and the protracted license agreement discussions scared off a lot of adoption. I was involved in many digital media projects that wouldn't even touch MPEG-4 in the late 90's to early 00's because there was going to be a "content fee" that hadn't been fully defined yet.
MPEG-4 Part 2 has been a great success, consider: DivX, XviD, 3viX and QuickTime 6 and offers huge advantages over MPEG-2 otherwise people would have just stuck with MPEG-2 and doom9 wouldn't have XviD and DivX forums.
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Old 23rd July 2007, 06:11   #24  |  Link
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in the end in the vc1 case imho it would have been better for the industry, the end customer and propably even microsoft if ms would have pushed avc right from the start, using their os standing to push THEIR avc implementation and not some extra implementation of a different open standard
Revisiting the thread in case my last post may have made me sound like some communist.

I have NO PROBLEM with M$ wishing to compete in this arena. I should have been clearer on this. I still have issues with the pushing of their implementation using their O/S, even with AVC, but at least it's an embracement of an existing standard that they'd be pushing...

If M$ wanted to instead create a compatible H.264 implementation of their own I, and many others, would have been very welcoming to this. Whether WMV-AVC would have sucked or not, nevertheless, an M$ entry of this nature WOULD have been great for the industry.

My beef is the fact that they went ahead and led a party to create a completely different, and inferior, standard. There is no excuse for this other than their greedy desire for control, and by unfairly using their position with their O/S to give us all the impression that VC-1 is "THE" standard.

And to furthermore force it down our throats packaged with Windows, purposely EXCLUDING H.264 with the excuse, and insult, that it may be unsafe and one of the "too many codecs out there". This will certainly cause alot of friction.

Ben, is that an official Microsoft statement? This is how they treat a standard?

This is one ploy that will not work and will backfire. I think the public is aware of M$ and their crap by now.

And let me remind you that the Zune is NOT an attempt to compete with Apple and its iPod as the traditionalists might think. The Zune emphasis is a means to win more exposure for VC-1. This is a desperate attempt by M$ because VC-1 is getting beaten convincingly. When the iPod pounds Zune, this will set VC-1 further back, where it belongs.

What concerns me most about VC-1 is not that it will beat H.264. It won't. The real nuisance is in the fact that it will not die for a long time. M$ will not let it go and will keep irritating us over and over again, constantly poking at the industry and the dream of fluid compatibility.

VC-1 will surely end up like WMV - still bugging us as an annoying side format floating around that everybody who comes into possession of is always asking in forums how it can be converted to something else...

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Old 23rd July 2007, 07:46   #25  |  Link
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VC-1 was designed for HD and film content from the get-go, while H.264 only really became competitive in that arena relatively late with the addition of High Profile, created after VC-1 beat MPEG-2, and both beat H.264, in the initial DVD Forum HD tests.
Technically speaking, H264 main profile is superior to VC1 & MPEG-2 for HD. High profile is, of course, a lot better, because 8x8 transform is really a must for HD stuff, but even so, H264 MP outperforms both codecs.

However, when they did those tests, they may not have used a good h264 encoder. And it's easy to make a H264 encoder less efficient than Mpeg2. Look at ATI's software H264 codec...

So I'm interested in knowing what encoders where used for that DVD Forum HD comparison.

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MPEG-4 Part 2 has been a great success
No. For the industry, Mpeg4p2 is a huge failure. The only success for Mpeg4 part 2 is that it's widely used by pirate. That doesn't make it a success Finally, mpeg4 part 2 is only ~20% more efficient than Mpeg2. Don't be fooled by the fact that you convert a DVD 9 to a 700MB CD to rate mpeg4's efficiency. DVD9 is an overkill, it has a GOP of 12, and professionnal mpeg2 encoders used for DVD aren't that good.
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Old 23rd July 2007, 18:46   #26  |  Link
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Technically speaking, H264 main profile is superior to VC1 & MPEG-2 for HD. High profile is, of course, a lot better, because 8x8 transform is really a must for HD stuff, but even so, H264 MP outperforms both codecs.
Superior in what sense? That's certianly not my experience, especially for contet with film grain.

Sounds like a promising option for doing some actual head-to-head testing!
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Old 23rd July 2007, 19:15   #27  |  Link
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I must admit I'm mostly used to test TV content ( broadcast ), which is quite a lot more complex than movie, but which also is less grainy.

I must also admit I'm not a grain/noise addict, and that between ringing/blocks and sharp without grain, I'll choose the second any time.

And finally, I've never worked with anything higher than 10 mbps for HD stuff, and it may not be the bitrate at which the test was done.

That said, the encoder definitely matters. If the JM was used for the test ( gods forbid ), I can understand why h264 lost. JM is efficient, but doesn't have a good ratecontrol ( not even average ), and cares only about PSNR - which is completely the opposite of what is needed for keeping grain.

That's why I wanted to know what encoders were used for the comparison.
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Old 23rd July 2007, 19:20   #28  |  Link
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No. For the industry, Mpeg4p2 is a huge failure. The only success for Mpeg4 part 2 is that it's widely used by pirate. That doesn't make it a success Finally, mpeg4 part 2 is only ~20% more efficient than Mpeg2. Don't be fooled by the fact that you convert a DVD 9 to a 700MB CD to rate mpeg4's efficiency. DVD9 is an overkill, it has a GOP of 12, and professionnal mpeg2 encoders used for DVD aren't that good.
Slide 19 of http://www.ihollywoodforum.com/documents/IPTV/15.ppt shows certainly more than a 20% bitrate reduction.

MPEG-4 was only the current standard for a narrow windows. There weren't many standards between DVD and HD-DVD for MPEG-4 Part 2 to be adopted by. ASP was only finalized in 2002. I'll admit some of the more ambitious profiles of MPEG-4 did fail but certainly not SP/ASP. It also depends on what segment of the industry to which you are are referring. The stated goal of MPEG-4 was for streaming/mobile platforms so it's no surprise it wasn't adopted for broadcast use and the like. For video distributed over the internet: legitimate, illegitimate, or both MPEG-4 has been quite popular.
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Old 23rd July 2007, 19:42   #29  |  Link
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http://www.ihollywoodforum.com/documents/IPTV/15.ppt shows certainly more than a 20% bitrate reduction.
It shows 25 to 35% bitrate reduction, and it's a document meant to promote Mpeg4 over Mpeg2, so I think I'll prefer my figures.

Anyway, the document claims a 50-66% bitrate reduction for AVC and it's an overstatement. 50%, perhaps, 66%, never.

Quote:
For video distributed over the internet: legitimate, illegitimate, or both MPEG-4 has been quite popular.
Legitimate ? where ? I can see WMV, VP6, RV, MOV ( h264, sorenson, and sometimes Mpeg4 SP ). But nothing else.

I still stand by my point of view : mpeg4 sp/asp only broke through for illegitimate distribution.
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Old 23rd July 2007, 19:59   #30  |  Link
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It shows 25 to 35% bitrate reduction, and it's a document meant to promote Mpeg4 over Mpeg2, so I think I'll prefer my figures.

Anyway, the document claims a 50-66% bitrate reduction for AVC and it's an overstatement. 50%, perhaps, 66%, never.

Legitimate ? where ? I can see WMV, VP6, RV, MOV ( h264, sorenson, and sometimes Mpeg4 SP ). But nothing else.

I still stand by my point of view : mpeg4 sp/asp only broke through for illegitimate distribution.
A lot of the QuickTime6 era stuff is MPEG-4 SP. RV is closely related to MPEG-4 both are derived from H.263. FFMPEG decodes all three with a common decoder.

Also in the internet world, rather than making an interoperable part in the middle of the data flow like in the broadcast world, the video format was the last mile so that's where companies tried to exert control hurting adoption of an open standard. Let's not forget Microsoft distributed 3 broken MPEG4 implementations before admitting they had no longer had interest in the format.

But to get back to the point at hand it was used by a major market player QuickTime (and also minor players Blizzard and Stage6).

It was more popular for illegitimate works but calling it a flop for that would be like calling MP3 a flop. Divx is the MP3 of video, that is by no means a flop.

Microsoft which should have had every market advantage with MPEG-4, being the authors of a reference implementation never actually did anything with it. It didn't fail them, they failed it.

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Old 23rd July 2007, 20:12   #31  |  Link
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And mpeg4 derives from mpeg2, and AVC from ASP, and...

Come on, all those codecs are block based, so of course they are closely related. As for RV, RV10 is more different from ASP, and isn't decoder by the same decoder in ffmpeg ( I checked the code source, the encoder shares some common code, as does most of the encoders in ffmpeg, but not the decoder )
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Old 23rd July 2007, 20:35   #32  |  Link
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Sorry about the Real Video thing. I was clearly wrong there but it was used by QuickTime 6.

Even just with illegitimate usage only, MPEG-4 was not a flop. It is the MP3 of video.
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Old 23rd July 2007, 21:28   #33  |  Link
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Even just with illegitimate usage only, MPEG-4 was not a flop. It is the MP3 of video.
Except that it isn't being used significantly my major content producers. .mp4 mainly gets used for user generated content, not commercial publishing, and most of that .mp4 is H.264.
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Old 23rd July 2007, 21:49   #34  |  Link
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Except that it isn't being used significantly my major content producers. .mp4 mainly gets used for user generated content, not commercial publishing, and most of that .mp4 is H.264.
When i say MPEG-4, i mean it in the MPEG-4 Part 2 Sense. Very little of the MPEG-4 content I'm talking about even comes in .mp4 (mp4ff). Not a lot of content from commercial publishing is released in mp3 either.
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Old 29th July 2007, 04:08   #35  |  Link
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First of all, to anyone interested in the "behind the scenes" history of WMV9 and VC-1 development, I recommend you read this AmirM's post on AVSForum: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post9931723

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I will remind everybody that I do in fact work for Microsoft as an engineer in its video codec group.

@Puzzler:
You seem like a smart guy who can make valid arguments so I'm finding it really puzzling that you insist on using that ridiculous "M$" acronym in your references to Microsoft. I hate to nitpick but it really makes it hard to take your arguments as unbiased. It gives the whole thing a bit of a playground namecalling flavor.

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in the vc1 case they have been forced by the dvd/bluray bodies to make the prior closed vc1 "standard" an open standard, harming microsoft's tactic of exlcuding competitors but still being better than being not included in hddvd/bluray
This wasn't exactly a surprise to Microsoft or a challenge to its business model. It's a fact of the media and consumer electronics industry that a technology such as a codec needs to be adopted and governed by an industry organization. Microsoft is certainly not the first company ever to take its proprietary technology and open it up to standardization. Dolby Digital and DTS Coherent Acoustics both came from commercial companies, yet they also both exist as standards adopted by ATSC and ETSI, for example. In fact, let's not forget that even the ubiquitous MPEG-1 Layer 3 format was developed based on patents by Fraunhofer IIS, Thomson, Alcatel-Lucent and others.

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My beef is the fact that they went ahead and led a party to create a completely different, and inferior, standard. There is no excuse for this other than their greedy desire for control, and by unfairly using their position with their O/S to give us all the impression that VC-1 is "THE" standard.
Control of what? It's already been established here that Microsoft has little more to gain financially by supporting VC-1 than it does by supporting H.264. It doesn't own VC-1 standardization nor licensing. Microsoft's chief investment into VC-1 right now is into its encoder implementation.

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And to furthermore force it down our throats packaged with Windows, purposely EXCLUDING H.264 with the excuse, and insult, that it may be unsafe and one of the "too many codecs out there". This will certainly cause alot of friction.
You're speculating, or at the very least misintepreting Ben's words. H.264 supports wasn't purposely excluded from Windows because the codec is unsafe. Nobody ever said that and it's certainly not true. In fact, I would like to point out that an H.264 decoder - as well as a number of other "industry standard" decoders such as MPEG-2, AAC and AC3 - has been made by Microsoft and has thus far been bundled with the Zune Player, Xbox 360 Dashboard and Xbox 360 HD-DVD unit. The fact that it hasn't yet made it into a standard Windows release has been more a result of tight schedules and strict release guidelines than of some conspiracy plot to thwart H.264 adoption. Vista DXVA 2.0 API, for example, natively supports H.264 decoding HW acceleration. Future releases of Windows are pretty much guaranteed to have some form of H.264 decoder included (though whether simple DirectShow playback of MP4 files will be supported remains at the mercy of the mighty Vista planners whose decisions often baffle even us MS codec folks ).

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Originally Posted by PuzZLeR
And let me remind you that the Zune is NOT an attempt to compete with Apple and its iPod as the traditionalists might think. The Zune emphasis is a means to win more exposure for VC-1. This is a desperate attempt by M$ because VC-1 is getting beaten convincingly. When the iPod pounds Zune, this will set VC-1 further back, where it belongs.
And let me remind you that you are now recklessly speculating. I hate to be blunt, but that's a pretty ridiculous statement - which once again doesn't do any favors to your many other valid arguments presented thus far. Do you seriously think Microsoft would've put all its money and resources into producing the Zune only so it could secure support for a codec standard it doesn't own in a market of limited product penetration (just compare the number of portable media player owners to the number of people who own cell phones or PCs)?

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Originally Posted by PuzZLeR
What concerns me most about VC-1 is not that it will beat H.264. It won't. The real nuisance is in the fact that it will not die for a long time. M$ will not let it go and will keep irritating us over and over again, constantly poking at the industry and the dream of fluid compatibility.
Right, because if H.264 wins, surely nobody will ever come up with a competing codec solution ever again and everyone will live happily ever after in digital peace and harmony.
Sorry, but in my opinion having multiple codec standards benefits the consumer by urging the codec implementers to continually keep improving their quality and efficiency. There's certainly room in the world for VC-1 AND H.264, just like there's room for Dolby Digital and DTS, MP3 and AAC, ZIP and RAR, etc, etc, etc.

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I wonder why Windows doesn't support Ogg Vorbis out of the box? Are the licensing costs too high, perhaps?
No, but the cost to plan, develop, test and support Ogg Vorbis might be. Technology resources might be free, but human resources aren't. And for what? To cover the <1% of user playback scenarios? Sorry. Asking for MP4 and MPEG-4 SP/ASP/AVC support in Windows is a perfectly valid request given the amount of content available and ease of access to it. But Ogg Vorbis? Yeah, not so much.

FWIW, the reason Microsoft removed all 3rd party codecs from its WMP codec download server (back in the old days Indeo, ACELP.net, Voxware, and a bunch of other now obscure codecs were hosted online) was because it couldn't vouch for the security of components whose source code it didn't own. This wasn't entirely without merit - codecs such as Voxware were notorious for having memory leaks and bugs which their parent company never bothered to fix. I'm not saying it was a decision which benefited WMP users, but it certainly wasn't entirely unwarranted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shapierian
Even just with illegitimate usage only, MPEG-4 was not a flop. It is the MP3 of video.
Quote:
Originally Posted by benwaggoner
Except that it isn't being used significantly my major content producers. .mp4 mainly gets used for user generated content, not commercial publishing, and most of that .mp4 is H.264.
Well, I think you both have a point. MPEG-4 SP and ASP have certainly made a significant impact in online video delivery, but compared to MPEG-2, it certainly hasn't had the same impact in the professional video market. MPEG-2 is still the de facto standard for digital broadcasting, archiving, digital tape storage, etc.
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Old 29th July 2007, 14:09   #36  |  Link
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Right, because if H.264 wins, surely nobody will ever come up with a competing codec solution ever again and everyone will live happily ever after in digital peace and harmony.
Sorry, but in my opinion having multiple codec standards benefits the consumer by urging the codec implementers to continually keep improving their quality and efficiency. There's certainly room in the world for VC-1 AND H.264, just like there's room for Dolby Digital and DTS, MP3 and AAC, ZIP and RAR, etc, etc, etc.
Agreed. Personally I think VC-1 is useless; its only advantage is lower playback processor requirement, which it gets at the cost of a massive loss in quality (or better said, a much higher bitrate required for the same quality). All it has going for it is that its mildly better than MPEG-4 ASP. And with computers constantly getting faster, a lower processor requirement becomes a useless feature in the long-term.

Yet without competition, we'd probably still be using something like VP3. So in that sense, VC-1 for the win.
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Old 29th July 2007, 16:49   #37  |  Link
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one of the points of creating an open standard is to push competition. you dont need multiple standards for that...

if technology advances there will be new standards (like h.264 following mpeg-2)

having two comparable standards at the same time does imho more harm to the customer than that it helps, because he needs (to pay for) more tools/patent holders, making it more expensive for him without giving him better quality/performance than in the case of one standard being used by all

additionally i dont see vc1 as being able to keep up with h.264 technically, so all in all i actually support Dark Shikari's opinion of vc-1 being useless

but thats just my opinion
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Old 30th July 2007, 20:31   #38  |  Link
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Originally Posted by Manao
VC1, as a standard, is less efficient that AVC ( it lacks CABAC, good intra prediction, reference bframe ).
If I were to disable AVC's CABAC and B-frames, which would take the quality lead then?

Won't baseline AVC decode comparatively fast as VC-1 in this case, assuming good decoders for both?

If so, from a technical standpoint, what's the use of VC-1?
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Old 30th July 2007, 21:56   #39  |  Link
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If I were to disable AVC's CABAC and B-frames, which would take the quality lead then?
Doesn't that effectively take AVC down to roughly ASP level in terms of efficiency? If that's the case, one would assume VC-1 would then have a clear edge. It'd be interesting to see a real test though.

Quote:
Won't baseline AVC decode comparatively fast as VC-1 in this case, assuming good decoders for both?
If so, from a technical standpoint, what's the use of VC-1?
To play the devil's advocate: we've all seen great looking MPEG-4 ASP (i.e. XviD) HD encodes at reasonable bitrates and the decoding is lightning fast. So why insist on AVC for HD encoding either? ASP seems to do the trick just fine.

The Avsforum post I linked to in my previous entry talks about some of the design advantages of VC-1 over H.264 in HD encoding. And no, I'm not saying VC-1 is a superior design over H.264 in every way - I'm just saying there are design features of VC-1 that favor HD encoding, for example. Rather than make sweeping "codec X is better than codec Y" statements, I think it's far more appropriate to evaluate every codec in a specific encoding context.
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Old 30th July 2007, 23:10   #40  |  Link
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Agreed. Personally I think VC-1 is useless; its only advantage is lower playback processor requirement, which it gets at the cost of a massive loss in quality (or better said, a much higher bitrate required for the same quality). All it has going for it is that its mildly better than MPEG-4 ASP. And with computers constantly getting faster, a lower processor requirement becomes a useless feature in the long-term.

Yet without competition, we'd probably still be using something like VP3. So in that sense, VC-1 for the win.
Eh i don't find it ok sure VP3 isn't better as VC-1 but @ the time it was released it was a match for Mpeg-4 ASP and ON2 allways fought against multi billion dollar companies (and Open Sourced VP3 for Theora) with less resources and does great if you ask me (just look @ the flash deal) it's research is top and now look @ the size of Microsoft Research and Compare it with On2 hehe also Real Video is based on H.264 we all know On2 is based on their realy own researched stuff (they developed Vector and Wavelet based Video Codecs early on) not like Microsoft being Chair of VQEG for H.264 and discussing every tech aspect of it over and over in hundreds of meetings (and finaly stab it in the back).
Btw do you know why Bill Gates has this Vision of the Future and why he writes so cool books about it is because he stands at the first line with MS Research and gathers all his Intel about the Future from them :P it's not our Future he Visionizes it's the Future MS Research creates for him.

And about the Bundle Video Codec stuff with the OS Apple does exactly the same thing with H.264 (it's implemented deep in the OS all the applications can make use of it) don't forget they where major devs and contributed the Container but in all the way they Market it much better then Microsoft and whole Hollywood stands behind them (you never gonna see a PC Notebook in Movies allways those nice IBooks ) that's a hard breed for MS and everything MS does is copying all the way and that badly look for example @ Apples trailer Page and then Compare with Microsofts *rofl*

But Sometimes i really wonder if MS Research is really that great for example the thing with the Xbox 360 and the Dashboard AVC playback thing lol i can only lough about this (why to buy this high tech shit if i can build me a unrestricted player) it's so ridicoulus but that's how Microsoft is restricting restricting and restricting but hey Sony isn't any better :P

PS: WOW (not Vista related) i didn't use the $
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http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=168004

Last edited by CruNcher; 30th July 2007 at 23:39.
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