Welcome to Doom9's Forum, THE in-place to be for everyone interested in DVD conversion.

Before you start posting please read the forum rules. By posting to this forum you agree to abide by the rules.

 

Go Back   Doom9's Forum > Hardware & Software > Hardware players

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 4th August 2005, 11:18   #1  |  Link
Y.T.
Registered User
 
Y.T.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 17
Stand-alone MPEG-4 (DivX, XviD...) Player Buyers Guide

Quite recently I went through the tedious process of researching the whole stand-alone player topic. Overall, there seems to be huge confusion over the actual technical features of these players and you have to scavenge dozens of Internet Forums for bits and pieces of unreliable information to aid your buying decision. Furthermore, Europeans suffer from a huge selection of players while people in the US have to choose between only a few available models.

Either way it is difficult to make an informed decision since there is no central review website for MPEG-4 players and reviews often forget to cover important technical details. Thus I decided to put together the things I learned while doing my investigations. I would very much welcome all input you can give me to this thread and in time it might become a fairly comprehensive overview.

I myself ended up choosing the Sigmatek XM-400 Pro with the Pioneer DV-575 and Pioneer DV-470 on a close second place on my ranking list. For the US market, the Oppo Digital looks like an excellent choice. From all the information I have gathered so far, all three of the above can be highly recommended.

In the following I will try to summarize some of the most important factors you should take into account when making your choice. This article will be mainly concerned with technical issues - after all, this is the Doom9 Forum. Issues like "is this player stylish enough for my living room and is it available in a colour that matches my Monet on the wall" you will have to solve yourself. Additionally, a strong focus will be on subtitles since almost all reviews of stand-alone players forget to accurately cover subtitle issues. Unless you live in one of the few countries where all movies are dubbed or you fancy only the bland, watered-down fare that Hollywood puts out for mentally challenged audiences these days, you will agree with me that subtitle support is important.

How to choose a stand-alone MPEG-4/DVD Player
(or at least the way I approached the problem )

1. Consider the alternatives:
  • PC connected to TV via TVout - no compatibility problems whatsoever. On the other hand you have to consider the noise your PC makes and whether or not you can keep it hooked up permanently or have to fiddle around with the cables each time you want to watch a movie.
  • Xbox with Mod Chip and DVD remote running XBMC - just like a PC, no compatibility problems at all. On some older models the DVD drive might have to be replaced; plus it still looks like a cheap game console and not like a DVD player. More details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_Media_Center
  • HTPC - several Home Theatre PC solutions offer much more than just DVD & MPEG-4 playback and the added benefit of no compatibility problems. You can have a complete integrated system for playing and recording TV, Movies and Music with Internet access to IMDB and TV schedules. Expect to pay as much as for a new PC though.
  • Various devices to stream videos from your PC and display them on your TV; harddisks with integrated MPEG4-playing firmware that you can hook up to the TV. Great if you have a "normal" DVD player already and only need a MPEG-4 solution.
Except for the first option in the list all of the above are more expensive than a high-quality stand-alone MPEG-4 player. The highly-debated compatibility issue with stand-alones has, for all practical purposes, been pretty much solved by now so stand-alones are very much worth considering!

2. Filter the broad selection of players on the market by defining your must-have features:
Go to http://divx-compare.com/section-1-lecteur-dvd-divx.htm and reduce the choice of players by searching for some rare features that you absolutely need and cannot do without. This could be stuff like .idx/.sub support, .ogm support or Nero Digital support. (Yes, the divx-compare website is in French only but it is really easy to use even if you don't understand a word of French. The 100+ players reviewed there are taken from and centered on the European market so US readers will have to stick to the global players whose products are available worldwide.)

3. Compare details, look for professional reviews & user opinions, find a firmware support community, check for availability.
Make sure you like the detailed test results for the player. Reviews help to find out if the player is very noisy or if the DVD drive breaks easily. Make sure to buy a model that has strong firmware support with people actively modding the firmware. Lastly, make sure you can actually get that model in your own country.

4. Try taking a close look at the player in a store (Optional)
If you are extremely lucky, you might be able to find the model you are looking for on display in a store. That way you can check it out real close and there won't be any nasty surprises after buying it. Before you go to the store, be sure to bring some DivX/XviD Test material along:5. Order your player and have fun!

This is the basic process that I followed and I quickly ended up with a very small and manageable selection of players to choose from. Of course you could also start your search by determining the price range you are prepared to pay but I opted for a feature-centric approach instead.

Now on to all the juicy details on what you should pay attention to when buying a player... the following is knowledge gathered from a multitude of forums and I hope it can give you a good initial overview of the situation.

What you need to know before buying a MPEG-4 Player

1. General Hardware Criteria

Inside all of the players you will find the following:
  • Chipset - Dealt with under Section 2. Just make sure you know which one is in the box and that it's a Mediatek 1389.
  • DVD-Drive - Should be able to read all combinations of CD-R/RW, DVD+/-R/RW with good error correction for scratched disks. Should not make loud noises while reading disks.
  • Video D/A converter, Audio D/A converter, De-interlacer - Especially if you are a Cine-/Audiophile, find out what chips are used in your player and what the expert opinion is on the quality of their output.
  • DD (Dolby Digital) & DTS decoders - If you want to hook up your DVD-player to a surround stereo system and your amp does not have such decoders you will need these inside your player for full surround sound.
  • Fan - make sure the overall noise level of your DVD-Player is barely audible and does not disturb your viewing experience.
Outside check for the following:
  • Casing - Should be sturdy with firm rubber feet.
  • Display - Should be easily readable in broad daylight; a dimming option is a plus (so it doesn't disturb you while watching with all the lights off).
  • Remote - Make sure it works at your required distance and also from wide angles.
2. Chipset

There are several different Chipsets available on the market right now but arguably the most capable one is the Mediatek 1389 Series. Therefore I will only discuss the Mediatek.

There are several different versions of the Mediatek chip. Each one has a slightly different set of features but the feature matrix is confidential and has never been released by Mediatek. Here are some common ones:
  • 1389 GE - This is not DivX certified so don't buy players with this chipset.
  • 1389 FE
  • 1389 DE
  • 1389 EE - Most players with the EE chipset support SACD. Seems to be the most functional version out there right now.
Depending on the firmware used, functionality in your player can vary. More on this in Section 3. However, there are some limitations which are inherent to the Mediatek Chipset and are highly unlikely or impossible to be fixed by a firmware update:
  • No support for XviDs with GMC enabled.
    It is important to distinguish between DivX and XviD here. DivX with GMC uses 1 warp point and is supported on all Mediatek-based players. XviD on the other hand uses 3 warp-point GMC and is not supported on any stand-alone player right now. XviD + GMC however is very very rare. No need to worry.
  • No MKV (Matroska Video container) support.
    Unless Mediatek releases some more specs on the function calls in their firmware I doubt this will be implemented anytime soon. If you haven't heard about Matroska before, no need to worry about it.
  • No MOV (Quicktime Movie container) support. No RM (RealMedia) support.
    Same as above... In fact, this also goes for any super-rare, ultra-proprietary, non-MPEG-4 codecs and containers you can pull out of your hat and that I haven't even heard about!
  • Maximum resolution limited to 720x576.
    The upper bitrate limit also probably lies at ~5,000Mbps although that can vary from player to player. In plain terms this means: No playback of encodings of HD (High Definition) material. This is pretty much a non-issue at the moment since there is hardly any HD content available on the market for you to consume. In order to be prepared for the future, you might want to look at the first HD-capable chip on the market, the Sigma, covered extensively in this thread: http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=84003. Personally, I'd rather wait until BluRay and/or HD-DVD have established themselves on the DVD side of things and H.264 playback becomes possible on the compressed-video side of things. I wouldn't be surprised if this takes quite a while so I consider HD support to be a moot point right now.
  • No H.264 support.
    Right now, nada. In the future: Both H.264 and WMV9 will be playable with the new Sigma EM8622L and EM8624L chipset, as this press release claims: http://www.sigmadesigns.com/news/pre...ses/050418.htm
    Come christmas time, we might already have the first H.264 compatible DVD-player!
  • No support for any picture format other than JPEG (e.g. GIF, PNG) and any music format other than MP3 (e.g. FLAC).
    For music, note that OGG Vorbis and WMA are supported by a lot of players as detailed below. In general however, you will be better off if you simply regard your MPEG-4 player as a movie player, and not as an all-in-one solution for any media.
3. DivX/XviD Compatibility and more

All Mediateks (except the 1389GE) support both DivX and XviD in all combinations and variations. This includes CBR & VBR MP3 and AC3 sound, even as multiple audio tracks (so-called BivX). This also includes GMC & QPel for DivX and QPel for XviD. It also usually includes .srt and .sub textfile support for subtitles.

Where the differences between players start to show are:

- .sub / .idx vobsub support: Only a handful of players on the market support bitmap subtitles at all. For me, this immediately limited the choice of players very drastically since I could not live without vobsubs (text subs like .srt very frequently suffer from poor spelling due to the OCR process performed to extract the text out of the original bitmap subtitles).
The only players that have been confirmed to support vobsubs and that I have found out about are: Pioneer DV-380, DV-470, DV-575, DV-585, DV-676A; Philips 720SA; United 4969 Divx Certified; Sigmatek XM-400 Pro; Techwood DVX-5050S, DVX-550S; Keyplug KP-5610; H&B DX-3255; LG DK-8321N, DF-8900P; Targa DP-5100x; Silvercrest KH6507; Yamaha 550; Zensonic Z330; BlueSens 3005; Medion MD 7457; RJ Tech RJ-800DVXII.

- .ogm & .ogg support: A few players support playing .ogg music files but only a very small selection actually support the .ogm container. The ones I know about are: Pioneer DV-470, DV-575, DV-585; Sigmatek XM-400 Pro; H&B DX-3255.
The latest hacked Pioneer firmware fully supports .ogm with multiple audio streams and subtitle streams. Same for the Sigmatek, except it does not support subs included in the .ogm, only external subs. I haven't checked up on the H&B firmware.

- XviD with Packed Bitstream (N-VOP) and more than one consecutive B-VOP (DivX with PB is no problem at all): Most Mediatek-based players do not properly supports this. Note that apparently players based on the old ESS Vibratto chips had no problems with packed bitstream XviD but since the Mediatek chip is superior in pretty much all other aspects I would not recommend ESS-based players. The problem occurs only if the XviD in question has more than one B-VOP at a time (one B-VOP seems to work fine) and usually leads to video stuttering (dropped frames) and loss of audio sync. This problem is actively being solved in many firmware releases right now. My Sigmatek XM-400 Pro, with the current official firmware, can handle any packed bitstream XviD thrown at it. Packed bitstream support also seems to have been implemented on the Targa DP-5100x, RJ-800DVX and LG 8900P as this article points out: http://www.divxtest.com/article.php3?id_article=93. This might mean that in the future firmware hackers will be able to implement N-VOP support in other Mediatek-based players as well. In the meantime, if your player does not support N-VOPs, the solution is quite simple yet bothersome: Get MPEG4 Modifier from http://www.moitah.net/. This simple tool can check if your XviD uses packed bitstream and disable it without having to re-encode the whole movie. MPEG4 Modifier runs with .NET on Windows or with Mono on Linux and MacOS as the command-line version (I have used it successfully on all three OSes).

- Region Free support: Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years you should know about this one. Most players have some kind of trick or hack to set them region free. Before buying, be sure to look up your model in the VideoHelp Database: http://www.videohelp.com/dvdplayers.
Certain models can require expensive hardware & knowledge to be made region-free in which case you might want to look for a different player or for a dealer who sells your model as region-free.

(continued in next post due to character per post limit on this forum...)

Last edited by Y.T.; 20th September 2005 at 09:10.
Y.T. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th August 2005, 11:20   #2  |  Link
Y.T.
Registered User
 
Y.T.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 17
- DivX 6 support: All Mediatek1389-based stand-alones should be able to play DivX6 encoded movies with the .avi extension. Many even support several audio tracks and subtitle tracks included in the .avi and some already accept .divx as the extension as well. A good overview of some common players tested for DivX6 compatibility can be found here: http://www.divxtest.com/article.php3?id_article=67
Note that none of the current players support DivX6 Menus and Chapters yet. However, now that the DivX6 standard has been finalized, there is a chance that some of them will support it in a future firmware release... Which brings us to a very crucial point:

- Firmware update support: This is one of the most-important aspects when choosing a player. Make sure the manufacturer and/or the user community actively support your model and release new firmware versions adding features and fixing bugs. If you are from a country that uses an alphabet that cannot be displayed with the standard set of latin letters, pay extraordinary attention - all Mediateks have problems with foreign .srt charsets and codepages, so you will need a modified firmware to have .srt subs in your native language.
A good starting point for firmware mods is the Mtz Website and Forums: http://mtz.softpedia.com. Additionally, you should perform an extensive google search on your model, sometimes you can come up with active firmware developer communities where you never would have expected them - I have seen some in France, Poland and Brazil. Unless there are hackers out there modding the firmware for your model, you won't have much chance to remain up-to-date in the future.

- Nero Digital Support: I do not cover Nero Digital at all in this guide since it has already been completely and perfectly covered in this thread: http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=94538. Basically Nero Digital certified players allow you to play back any files using the .mp4 container and AAC audio. (Many thx to bond for the info)

- WMA & WMV Support: A lot of players already support WMA and WMV3. If so, it is usually always mentioned in the player specs and not difficult to find out about.
As for WMV9, right now only players based on the Sigma EM8620L chip can play those. You can find some info on it here:
http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=84003
http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=87751
One such player is the Zensonic Z500:http://www.z500series.com/specs.php
(Interestingly, they also claim that they will have support for Matroska but have not implemented it yet...)

- 3ivX Support: Not many test results are available but since 3ivx is MPEG-4 compliant, an MPEG-4 player should in theory be able to play it back. Custom 3ivX extensions like Chapters will most likely not work. For 3ivx files with an mp4 container and aac audio, you will need a Nero Digital certified player in order to play them (thx to bond for the info). If anyone has some 3ivx test results to share, please post below.

- Dual Layer DVD Support: Support for dual-layer media is not always guaranteed so make sure to check/ask for it.

- Misc stuff: If you really need it, you will know to look for it. Examples include progressive scan support and the various advanced A/V connections you may or may not need like VGA or Optical.


4. Problems you should be prepared to run into
  • XviDs are stuttering...

    -> Probably the XviD has packed bitstream and your player doesn't support it. See Section 3.3.
    Another possible reason could be bad interleaving in the file. Cyberace describes this easy way to fix that:
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cyberace
    To fix this problem use VirtualDub on your Windows computer to "Direct-Stream" both the video and audio which saves a new fixed file, (this does not affect the quality of the file as all it does is demux the audio from the video and mux them back correctly by interleaving the video with the audio data). Since VirtualDub creates a new header (internal index), it usually automaticly fixes any problems with bad/corrupt headers, too.
  • Picture smears and turns into psychedelic colours or just doesn't play...

    -> You've hit one of those really rare XviDs with GMC enabled. You will need to re-encode the movie.

  • Movies are displayed with the wrong aspect ratio...

    -> Some of the Mediatek chips with some of the firmware versions seem to have this problem... You will have to investigate possible solutions for your model on your own, sorry.

  • A part of the picture left and right is cut off on a 4:3 TV (even though the DVD player is set to Letterbox)...

    -> This is due to overscan which can be a serious problem... Read more about it here: http://www.mastersofcinema.org/revie...kingbeyond.htm . The only real way to solve this would be to have a progressive zoom function for movies so that you can zoom out just enough until the full picture frame is visible and underscanned. Divxtest.com always tests for this functionality in their player reviews but so far no player supports it - you can only zoom out to 50% and watch the movie in a tiny window. Note that overscan does not occur if you use the TV-out on your PC to play movies so that can always serve as an alternative in extreme cases. Reportedly the Asian models Yamakawa 365 and 375 based on the Sigma chipset support progressive zoom so you could check those out if this is important for you.

  • Filenames in the browser are too short; the subtitles don't look nice, the font sucks and you can't change the size; special characters and alphabets in subtitles are not displayed correctly etc. etc...

    -> These are default problems on all Mediateks that are easily fixed with a small firmware hack. This should not be a problem on players with good firmware update support.

  • JPEG viewing and MP3-CD listening sucks and is missing loads of functions (shuffle, anyone?)

    -> This is basically the same for almost all the MPEG-4 stand-alones. Get a DVD/MPEG-4 player for the one function it is really intended to do: play movies. Consider getting something else for your slideshows and MP3s. A few of these things can be fixed in the firmware but don't expect too much.

5. Links you should check out (apart from this excellent forum )
  • DivX Compare
    In French only but quite easy to browse (otherwise try translating it with babelfish). Great source for detailed technical reviews of the MPEG-4 playback capabilites of over 100 different players.
  • DivX-Test
    These guys have developed an excellent Test-CD with short movie clips to systematically test for a huge and very complete set of differently encoded movies you might want to play on your stand-alone. They have also tested a good deal of players with their CD, the results can be found here: http://www.divxtest.com/results.php3. Be aware that the tests were made quite a while ago with older firmware so the situation has changed since then for some of the models listed there.
  • Video-Help DVD Player Database
    Simply the largest index of DVD players out there. Very useful to read some user reviews of the model you are planning to buy and to check if there is an easy hack to make your player region-free. Unlike the two websites above, it lacks detailed information on DivX/XviD compatibility. E.g. it does have a field called "DivXSubs support" yet is not very meaningful since it does not tell you which subtitle formats are supported in which languages.
  • MediaTek chip-set (MT1389xx) Information - Std Def
    CruNcher's excellent thread on all things Mediatek1389 on this forum. Beware though, it is 20 pages long
  • Official DivX Forum
    The DivX DVD Players subforum on the official Divx.com forum.
  • MPEG Playcenter
    Good forum for information on stand-alones.
  • Mtz Modified Firmware Collection
    A starting point to look for both original and modified versions of firmware for your player. For models not listed there, try asking on their forum.
  • MT1389 Yahoo Group
    Mailing list discussing the Mediatek 1389 chipsets and firmware modifications.
  • Australian DivX & Stuff Forum
    Good Australian Forum on MPEG-4 stand-alones.
  • DivX Players Forum
    Very small new UK forum discussing MPEG-4 players.
  • GoodDVDStuff Forum
    Mostly Kiss player discussion but there are subforums for other MPEG-4 players, too.
  • MPEG 4 Terminology
    Excellent short explanations of terms like GMC, QPel etc. used in this article, courtesy of SeeMoreDigital.
Hope that information was able to help some of you!
Please feel free to post any additional information about the special features of the player you bought, new product developments or things I forgot to cover and I will try to update this Guide accordingly.

Yours Truly,
Y.T.

Last edited by Y.T.; 10th August 2005 at 13:19.
Y.T. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th August 2005, 12:20   #3  |  Link
SeeMoreDigital
Life looks better in UHD
 
SeeMoreDigital's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Notts, UK
Posts: 11,401
Many thanks for submitting your excellent post Y.T.

There can never be too much information about MPEG-4 capable players/devices... I have not read all the information yet, but may I suggest you amend the title of your post to read "Stand-alone MPEG-4 Player Buyers Guide" or even "Stand-alone MPEG-4 (DivX) Player Buyers Guide"?

DivX is after-all a brand name for just one of the many possible MPEG-4 ISO alternatives!

Many thanks... and welcome to the forum.
__________________
| I've been testing hardware media playback devices and software A/V encoders and decoders since 2001 | My Network Layout & A/V Gear |
SeeMoreDigital is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th August 2005, 12:34   #4  |  Link
Y.T.
Registered User
 
Y.T.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeMoreDigital
I have not read all the information yet, but may I suggest you amend the title of your post to read "Stand-alone MPEG-4 Player Buyers Guide" or even "Stand-alone MPEG-4 (DivX) Player Buyers Guide"?

DivX is after-all a brand name for just one of the many possible MPEG-4 ISO alternatives!
Sorry, my mistake. I changed the title and also tried to replace all instances where I incorrectly talk about "divx players" to "MPEG-4 players". I somehow must have slipped into the habit of saying "DivX" since it is the one term that non-technically minded people will recognize when you talk to them (just watch their facial expression if you start throwing terms like MPEG-4 at them )... The same way I always talk about Linux when I mean GNU/Linux. No excuse to make those mistakes in written conversation though...

Edit: Fixed, added and rearranged a few of the points in the guide. The structure should be a bit more coherent now and the occasional spelling mistake has been mended. I think I'm finished for today...

Last edited by Y.T.; 4th August 2005 at 14:35.
Y.T. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th August 2005, 20:09   #5  |  Link
bond
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 9,779
Quote:
Originally Posted by Y.T.
ND is completely proprietary (read: Windows-only) technology, is rarely used in the real world and will likely be superseded by DivX 6 anyway.
sorry to say it that harshly but this is total nonsense:
nerodigital is 100% mpeg-4 compatible. its uses mpeg-4 asp video (like xvid, divx, 3ivx aso), mpeg-4 aac audio (like itunes) and the .mp4 container (like apple, x264, 3ivx and lots of other free and payware tools)

nerodigital is in fact more open technology than divx is, especially when talking about their "new" container, which is basically .avi extended with 100% proprieatary, closed and not publically specified technology
in fact you wrote about packed bitstream and what problems it causes and what not. packed bitstream is another example of a proprieatary extension to a standard done by divx (one that is reverse engineered already tough)

the .mp4 files created by nerodigital are, as mentioned, following the mpeg-4 standard and can therefore be played in various non-nero tools already, like mplayer, videolan, quicktime, realplayer and windows media player (or any other dshow player) when installing freely available filters (like ffdshow, haali, 3ivx, coreaac and what not)

you can also place xvid and divx streams inside the .mp4 container with free and opensource tools, like mp4box and mp4create and they are the same way compliant to mpeg-4 as nerodigital and can therefore also be played on every nerodigital-enabled hardware player of course

Quote:
- 3ivX Support: This is a difficult one. Almost no information is available on this issue, even on the official 3ivX forums. Supposedly it is pretty much MPEG-4 compliant so it should theoretically play on most players. Many players might not like the .3ivx extension though so you might have to rename your files or look for a firmware fix. Advanced 3ivX stuff like Chapters will certainly not be supported at all. If anyone has more information on this topic, please enlighten us.
well, let me enlighten you again
its widely known that 3ivx is also 100% mpeg-4 compliant, like nerodigital
it also offers tool which output asp video with aac audio in the .mp4 container, just like nerodigital

they also offer a vfw encoder (just like divx and xvid), which lets you encode for example in virtualdub to .avi
if you want 3ivx streams to play in a hardware player simply change the 3ivx fourcc to something the player understands (propably DIVX or XVID)

3ivx doesnt offer any tool which outputs to .3ivx
__________________
Between the weak and the strong one it is the freedom which oppresses and the law that liberates (Jean Jacques Rousseau)
I know, that I know nothing (Socrates)

MPEG-4 ASP FAQ | AVC/H.264 FAQ | AAC FAQ | MP4 FAQ | MP4Menu stores DVD Menus in MP4 (guide)
Ogg Theora | Ogg Vorbis
use WM9 today and get Micro$oft controlling the A/V market tomorrow for free
bond is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th August 2005, 00:46   #6  |  Link
kosmonaut
Registered User
 
kosmonaut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 90
Hi Y.T.,

Great job! From the DivX perspective, I would only add that DivX certification does mean a lot. We extensively test the players and you can depend on them to do what we promise, which is play back files encoded according to our Home Theater profile . Of course we can't make promises about XVID playback, but from my experience most files on the internet are encoded so they can be played in DivX certified devices, regardless if the codec chosen is DivX or XVID.

The Mediatek based players are very good, but they are not the only ones. A lot of people are quite happy with Sigma based players, some even like their ESS players. Even better, we are testing a number of new chips right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Y.T.
- DivX 6 support: All Mediatek1389-based stand-alones should be able to play DivX6 encoded movies with the .avi extension. Many even support several audio tracks and subtitle tracks included in the .avi and some already accept .divx as the extension as well. A good overview of some common players tested for DivX6 compatibility can be found here: http://www.divxtest.com/article.php3?id_article=67
Note that none of the current players support DivX6 Menus and Chapters yet. However, now that the DivX6 standard has been finalized, there is a chance that some of them will support it in a future firmware release...
Speaking of which, look for a number of announcements in this direction very soon...

-Kosmonaut
kosmonaut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th August 2005, 10:48   #7  |  Link
Y.T.
Registered User
 
Y.T.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bond
the .mp4 files created by nerodigital are, as mentioned, following the mpeg-4 standard and can therefore be played in various non-nero tools already
Thanks for the lesson and sorry for me rambling about something I know nothing about... I had only come into contact with one Nero Digital file which completely refused to be played back in mplayer (the one movie player that has been able to play absolutely anything for me, even broken files) and so I had hastily dismissed this format as something completely incompatible to open source systems without actually reading up on it (like that new "magic" RatDVD format people are so excited about which can only be played back on Windows). Sorry for being an uninformed troll.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bond
you can also place xvid and divx streams inside the .mp4 container with free and opensource tools, like mp4box and mp4create and they are the same way compliant to mpeg-4 as nerodigital and can therefore also be played on every nerodigital-enabled hardware player of course
Very interesting. So effectively a Nero Digital certification simply means added .mp4 container and aac audio compatibility. I've corrected my statements above and added your input. I still don't see any advantage of the Nero Digital format though (except for encoding speed) if all I can do with opensource tools is use it to store my XviD and AAC streams in there - a nice 1.4GB XviD encode with AC3 sound inside an .avi would do just as fine I think. Am I right to assume that all the custom stuff like chapters Nero puts into the .mp4 user-space atom is completely proprietary and not available anywhere else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bond
well, let me enlighten you again
Thanks again for all the useful information

Last edited by Y.T.; 5th August 2005 at 11:04.
Y.T. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th August 2005, 11:30   #8  |  Link
SeeMoreDigital
Life looks better in UHD
 
SeeMoreDigital's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Notts, UK
Posts: 11,401
Quote:
Originally Posted by Y.T.
Very interesting. So effectively a Nero Digital certification simply means added .mp4 container and aac audio compatibility. I've corrected my statements above and added your input. I still don't see any advantage of the Nero Digital format though (except for encoding speed) if all I can do with opensource tools is use it to store my XviD and AAC streams in there. I guess the specifications for stuff like menus and chapters are not available openly?
Hardware playback of MPEG-4 video with AAC audio in .MP4 has been available for quite a while.... I've been able to do it for over two years with my Sigma Xcard. And earlier this year I-O DATA and Buffalo launched (high-def compatible) stand-alone players with .MP4 container support - neither of which are NeroDigital certified though!

In the case of stand-alone player/device manufacturing, NeroDigital certification has helped to set guidelines for manufacturers to follow with respect to how encodes with multiple audio tracks and chapters can be switched within .MP4.... Plus, a new standard for placing multiple VobSub subtitle streams within .MP4 too!

Muxing tools such YAMB (with MP4Box.exe) offer simple ways of muxing all types of compatible streams into .MP4... You can even add names to your chapters, which can be viewed on your TV


Cheers
__________________
| I've been testing hardware media playback devices and software A/V encoders and decoders since 2001 | My Network Layout & A/V Gear |
SeeMoreDigital is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th August 2005, 18:08   #9  |  Link
Cyberace
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by bond
sorry to say it that harshly but this is total nonsense:
nerodigital is 100% mpeg-4 compatible. its uses mpeg-4 asp video (like xvid, divx, 3ivx aso), mpeg-4 aac audio (like itunes) and the .mp4 container (like apple, x264, 3ivx and lots of other free and payware tools)
Correction; yes Nero Digital is 100% MPEG-4 compatible, but it's based on the MPEG-4 AVC profile (Advanced Video Coding, which uses H.264 encoding) ...not the MPEG-4 ASP profile (like XviD, DivX which uses the H.263), and unlike MPEG-4 ASP (H.263) it can not be played back in most stand-alone DivX-players (DVD-players which can decode/play DivX), and compared to MPEG-4 ASP (XviD/DivX/H.263) you need a much more powerfull computer to decode (and encode) MPEG-4 AVC (NeroDigital/x264) as it's much more CPU intensive
Cyberace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th August 2005, 18:21   #10  |  Link
SeeMoreDigital
Life looks better in UHD
 
SeeMoreDigital's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Notts, UK
Posts: 11,401
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberace
Correction; yes Nero Digital is 100% MPEG-4 compatible, but it's based on the MPEG-4 AVC profile (Advanced Video Coding, which uses H.264 encoding) ...
I have just got to ask, where the hell have you read this load of tosh Cyberace?

I'm shocked at the misconceptions regarding MPEG-4 SP/ASP in .MP4 that are still floating around this forum.... it's very annoying, disappointing and pretty scary..... And it's just not true at all


Cheers
__________________
| I've been testing hardware media playback devices and software A/V encoders and decoders since 2001 | My Network Layout & A/V Gear |
SeeMoreDigital is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th August 2005, 19:10   #11  |  Link
bond
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 9,779
Quote:
Originally Posted by Y.T.
Thanks for the lesson and sorry for me rambling about something I know nothing about... I had only come into contact with one Nero Digital file which completely refused to be played back in mplayer (the one movie player that has been able to play absolutely anything for me, even broken files)
mplayer here has no problems at all playing any nerodigital .mp4 file

Quote:
Very interesting. So effectively a Nero Digital certification simply means added .mp4 container and aac audio compatibility.
yes, of course it also defines similar things like the divx certification, like no qpel, gmc allowed aso...

Quote:
I still don't see any advantage of the Nero Digital format though (except for encoding speed) if all I can do with opensource tools is use it to store my XviD and AAC streams in there - a nice 1.4GB XviD encode with AC3 sound inside an .avi would do just as fine I think. Am I right to assume that all the custom stuff like chapters Nero puts into the .mp4 user-space atom is completely proprietary and not available anywhere else?
all nero players as you read already also support chapters and subtitles, which in fact makes it superiour to divx-only player, as the divx certification doesnt need the player to support subs and chapters and therefore you can never be really sure if your stuff works on the player (eg subtitles)

chapters are in the userdata of mp4 and are nero's own creation, but in fact it has been reverse engineered and lots of non-nero tools support it already, eg 3ivx and haali. creation of those chapters is also possible without needing any nero tool via mp4box

the subtitle streams nero uses in .mp4 are dvd subtitles (aka vobsubs) and nero does that for two reasons:
1) it makes things easier when doing dvd to mp4 conversions as you simply store the sub stream from the dvd in mp4 without modification
2) every dvd player is already able to handle them
there is currently no non-nero tool which allows you to place vobsubs in .mp4, but playback already works with haali and videolan

still the official subtitle format for .mp4 is ttxt which nero doesnt uses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberace
Correction; yes Nero Digital is 100% MPEG-4 compatible, but it's based on the MPEG-4 AVC profile (Advanced Video Coding, which uses H.264 encoding) ...not the MPEG-4 ASP profile (like XviD, DivX which uses the H.263), and unlike MPEG-4 ASP (H.263) it can not be played back in most stand-alone DivX-players (DVD-players which can decode/play DivX), and compared to MPEG-4 ASP (XviD/DivX/H.263) you need a much more powerfull computer to decode (and encode) MPEG-4 AVC (NeroDigital/x264) as it's much more CPU intensive
nerodigital in fact includes two video codecs: asp and avc
of course the one supported on hardware players is only the asp one
__________________
Between the weak and the strong one it is the freedom which oppresses and the law that liberates (Jean Jacques Rousseau)
I know, that I know nothing (Socrates)

MPEG-4 ASP FAQ | AVC/H.264 FAQ | AAC FAQ | MP4 FAQ | MP4Menu stores DVD Menus in MP4 (guide)
Ogg Theora | Ogg Vorbis
use WM9 today and get Micro$oft controlling the A/V market tomorrow for free
bond is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th August 2005, 09:57   #12  |  Link
Cyberace
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeMoreDigital
I have just got to ask, where the hell have you read this load of tosh Cyberace?

I'm shocked at the misconceptions regarding MPEG-4 SP/ASP in .MP4 that are still floating around this forum.... it's very annoying, disappointing and pretty scary..... And it's just not true at all
http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=73022
http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=96059
Cyberace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th August 2005, 10:31   #13  |  Link
CruNcher
Registered User
 
CruNcher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Germany
Posts: 4,949
Very good wrap-up so far Y.T. about the known facts but the MT1389GE got more stable with newer firmware i would say it's equal now to the DE chip ahh and something else

Quote:
MediaTek chip-set (MT1389xx) Information - Std Def
SeeMoreDigital's excellent thread on all things Mediatek1389 on this forum. Beware though, it is 20 pages long
Sniff Sniff
__________________
all my compares are riddles so please try to decipher them yourselves :)

It is about Time

Join the Revolution NOW before it is to Late !

http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=168004
CruNcher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th August 2005, 10:39   #14  |  Link
SeeMoreDigital
Life looks better in UHD
 
SeeMoreDigital's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Notts, UK
Posts: 11,401
Quote:
Originally Posted by CruNcher
ahh and something else

Sniff Sniff
Yep.... this is "me old mate" CruNcher's thread... not mine

Cheers
__________________
| I've been testing hardware media playback devices and software A/V encoders and decoders since 2001 | My Network Layout & A/V Gear |
SeeMoreDigital is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th August 2005, 10:46   #15  |  Link
SeeMoreDigital
Life looks better in UHD
 
SeeMoreDigital's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Notts, UK
Posts: 11,401
But "where" exactly have you got the notion that NeroDigital is "based on the MPEG-4 AVC profile (Advanced Video Coding, which uses H.264 encoding) ...not the MPEG-4 ASP profile (like XviD, DivX which uses the H.263), and unlike MPEG-4 ASP (H.263)"?


Cheers
__________________
| I've been testing hardware media playback devices and software A/V encoders and decoders since 2001 | My Network Layout & A/V Gear |
SeeMoreDigital is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th August 2005, 11:54   #16  |  Link
Y.T.
Registered User
 
Y.T.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by CruNcher
Sniff Sniff
Oops, my apologies CruNcher, this has been fixed.
Y.T. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th August 2005, 17:22   #17  |  Link
Cyberace
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeMoreDigital
But "where" exactly have you got the notion that NeroDigital is "based on the MPEG-4 AVC profile (Advanced Video Coding, which uses H.264 encoding) ...not the MPEG-4 ASP profile (like XviD, DivX which uses the H.263), and unlike MPEG-4 ASP (H.263)"?
I admit I was wrong about that, didn't know Nero Digital had two video codec formats (I thought it only had the one, and that was MPEG-4 AVC H.264). ...I thought you meant that I was wrong about MPEG-4 ASP = H.263 (XviD/DivX) and MPEG-4 AVC = H.264 (x264)
Cyberace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th August 2005, 22:36   #18  |  Link
Nogs
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 16
What a great post... some many forums have people asking the same questions over and over again and this covers most the points very well.

I think all LG players that do divx can do packed bitstream or can have the firmware updated to support itA nice new hacked verion on MTZ website today which lists the models it will work on.

Targa DP-5100x is a LP 8900P as sold by LG Australia. Both support .sub / .idx

You don't mention DVD-R (or +) Dual Layer support which I suspect is because its mainly unknown. The Targa and Pioneer 575/470 can read DL discs but for minus read the first 4.7gb only properly. For + the Pioneer can read both layers, the Targa can't.
The new Pioneer 585 (UK model) has been confirmed by Pioneer to fully support dual layer.

avforums.com, forum.surdvd.com and phorums.com.au/forumdisplay.php?f=42 are good forums. You tend to find the same people on the same forums with the same advice...pretty much as per this.
Nogs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th August 2005, 11:52   #19  |  Link
Y.T.
Registered User
 
Y.T.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogs
some many forums have people asking the same questions over and over again and this covers most the points very well.
That is why I felt some kind of summary was badly needed. I've seen literarily dozens of "recommend me a DivX player" threads... I wonder how forum moderators can cope with so much redundancy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogs
You don't mention DVD-R (or +) Dual Layer support which I suspect is because its mainly unknown.
Thanks, I had totally forgotten about that. DL media is still on the highly expensive side here but it's still a very important issue. Thanks for all the information on different models.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogs
avforums.com, forum.surdvd.com and phorums.com.au/forumdisplay.php?f=42 are good forums.
And thanks for all the links, too! I added the aussie forum to the linklist above... surdvd is for Francophones only and avforums seems too generic to me so MPEG-4-specific information is hard to find.
Y.T. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th August 2005, 12:40   #20  |  Link
Cyberace
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Y.T.
3. DivX/XviD Compatibility and more

All Mediateks (except the 1389GE) support both DivX and XviD in all combinations and variations. This includes CBR & VBR MP3 and AC3 sound, even as multiple audio tracks (so-called BivX). This also includes GMC & QPel for DivX and QPel for DivX. It also usually includes .srt and .sub textfile support for subtitles.
I think you ment to write QPel for XviD here (see bold text above) as you already mentioned QPel for DivX.
I think you should also mention 'B-frames' there for both DivX and XviD as some old chipsets support that.
And as for subtitles you should maybe mention VobSubs (.idx + .sub)too, most chipsets don't support that


EDIT: Slightly off-topic tip; if a XviD/DivX AVI file is stuttering in your player then chances are it hasn't been properly interleaved by the person/tool who encoded it, to fix this problem use VirtualDub on your Windows computer to "Direct-Stream" both the video and audio which saves a new file (which will be fixed), (this does not affect the quality of the file as all it does it demux the audio from the video and then muxes them back correctly by interleaving the video with the audio data). Since VirtualDub also creates a new header (internal index) it usaually also automaticly fixes any problems with bad/corrupt headers too.

PS! A mod should make this topic thread a sticky (pin it!) as it is a very

Last edited by Cyberace; 11th August 2005 at 16:30.
Cyberace is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 04:35.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.