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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old November 7th, 2008, 05:30 PM   #1
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24Mbps AVCHD Playback Requirements

Hi all, I've always been a fan of the HDV format for the ease of editing, however I need something more practical for recording hours and hours of footage out in the sticks and would rather not carry dozens of tapes. I was looking at getting a Canon HF11 camcorder for recording onto 32GB SDHC cards. I'm also planning to get an ASUS EEEPC 901 netbook, as it happens the eeepc has a SDHC slot and I was wondering if it was capable of playing 24Mbit AVCHD footage, spec would be Intel Atom 1.6Ghz, 2GB of ram. I see a lot of people saying you need a beast of a machine to edit it but I'm not sure about playback.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
Thanks
Danny
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Old November 7th, 2008, 07:26 PM   #2
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I see a lot of people saying you need a beast of a machine to edit it but I'm not sure about playback.
For playback a 2.66GHz QUAD.
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Old November 7th, 2008, 07:27 PM   #3
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Danny,

AVCHD playback requires a really fast CPU or a special video card with h.264 support. My previous Dell 3.0 GHz P4 Pentium with a cheap video card was totally unable to play back AVCHD from my Canon HF100, so I would NOT expect that the much slower Atom chip used in the ASUS could have a prayer of handling it.

On the bright side, you can use the ASUS as a good method of backup, to allow you to take the SDHC cards you have already recorded and copy them onto the ASUS hard disk. The ASUS hard disk is unfortunately small and this may be something you want to consider also. A more conventional, larger laptop would solve both problems, since you could get much faster hardware with much larger storage if you were prepared to pay the premium.

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Old November 7th, 2008, 07:43 PM   #4
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Thanks guys, I had a feeling that this would be the case but just wanted to confirm it.

Larry, the reason for going with the eeepc over a full laptop is because of its size and battery life, rather then cost issues, its handy for throwing into the bottom of my backpack and not having to worry too much about it. I'll be backing up cards to a 320GB external laptop drive so the small SSD drive isn't a problem.

Again Thanks
Danny
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Old November 7th, 2008, 09:35 PM   #5
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Danny,

I totally understand the Asus issue and am awaiting the touchscreen version myself to use it as you describe. This Asus version and a competing HP ultralight have been tempting me for the last few months. Great companion to the little Canon HF series!
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Old November 8th, 2008, 03:41 AM   #6
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Would a laptop like this be able to handle playback (and a bit of editing)?

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Old November 8th, 2008, 08:27 AM   #7
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Jurij,

The Core 2 Duo P8600 is not a quadcore, and will probably be marginal / inadequate for AVCHD playback / editing at full HD resolution. Dell and others sell quadcore laptops but they are quite expensive ($2300 and up).

Larry
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Old November 8th, 2008, 01:34 PM   #8
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Wow, I just let out some swear words... Whenever I searched for AVCHD playback specs, everybody said any core 2 duo will do, but now I'd need a Quadcore? Please tell you're joking...
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Old November 8th, 2008, 02:27 PM   #9
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"Any" core 2 duo will not. You have a lot of folks who just don't know what they are talking about that are "pontificating" and expressing "opinion" that often misleads.

My laptop is a Dell with the T7250 dual core running at 2.0GHz and it will play back HF100 MTS files using the Pixela Player that comes with the HF100 but the latest version of VLC (which is supposed to handle AVCHD) won't do it smoothly at all while it will on my quad core desktop machine. Editing on the laptop? Forget it unless I drop the quality in the camera to 1440x1080 12Mbps, and then it just barely handles it.

My desktop has an Intel Q6600 quad core running at 2.4GHz and I am having some problems editing 17Mbps MTS stuff, I can probably forget 24Mbps bitrate until a serious computer upgrade.

The fact is...AVCHD display and especially editing require real serious computer "horsepower", there is no getting around that.
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Old November 8th, 2008, 03:00 PM   #10
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The fact is...AVCHD display and especially editing require real serious computer "horsepower", there is no getting around that.
There is the option of EDIUS which will convert AVCHD to Canopus HQ. That will enable any 2GHz DUO to edit. But he'll need a very big disk. CineForm with Premiere will also work, but still he needs a very big disk.

Last resort: convert to HDV or DVCPRO HD. Now the disk need not be big.
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Old November 8th, 2008, 04:06 PM   #11
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just to add the important caveat that programs which transcode AVCHD into other formats to allow easier editing take a lot of conversion time to do so, particularly on a laptop with slower 5400 RPM disks, slower busses, and stepped CPUs.

The result is a big delay in doing any useful work.
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Old November 8th, 2008, 08:12 PM   #12
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The result is a big delay in doing any useful work.
If one is in such a hurry, AVCHD is not for the best choice. HDV takes an hour to capture. Unless one is in TV news, an hour is nothing.

The AVCHD solution is run the conversion overnight. That way no time is lost.

But, his question was about viewing. So if he goes AVCHD it's a 2.66GHz QUAD Core.

That's the price of super compressed media. Of course, if he chooses to use 24Mbps there is no real storage savings over HDV. And, he still hasn't spent the money and time needed to make a backup copy to a Blu-ray disc ($20 or $40) which tape automatically provides.

It's a classic case of buying what's hot and not realizing the camera makers are pushing products to consumers that make no sense. Thankfully, JVC didn't go that way and offers 30Mbps MPEG-2 that's 1920x1080. One has the recording quality and frame-size of AVCHD but the ease of editing that only comes from MPEG-2. Any computer that can edit HDV can happily play and edit. But, still no backup copy as provided by HDV tape.
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Old November 8th, 2008, 10:06 PM   #13
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Sometimes true but not neccesarily. I have gone from SD card to finished AVCHD disk in well below 10 minutes, with the admittedly unusual combination of very light editing, a very fast quadcore, a program which does not normally re-render, and a very fast 20x burner.

My ingest time is seconds, my editing / authoring time is 3-4 minutes, and my burn time is around 5 minutes.

HDV ALWAYS takes me longer owing to slow ingest time.

And indeed a quadcore is the only way I have also found to smoothly play AVCHD although nVidia and their hardware assisted playback may alter this for some newer systems.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 06:40 PM   #14
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an example: T7200 + 7900gs + mpc home

avchd full 1920x1080 smooths playback.

If you have an "enough" graphic adapter you don't absolutely need a quad to play avchd (off course the editing is another thing...).

ciao!!
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Old November 10th, 2008, 05:40 AM   #15
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I hope more people confirm this, because I cannot imagine being ale to afford a quadcore laptop in next couple of years...

Does anyone use Linux? I use Kubuntu and I live in the constant fear that it possibly doesn't support the use of GPU for decoding...
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