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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old January 13th, 2009, 11:46 PM   #31
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Tom,

Thanks for your excellent insights Tom.

I will check out the DVDA help file info. My software players and Sony BluRay player see and play the disks with menu navigation, but the distinction between a BDMV versus an AVCHD is very obscured since red laser BDMVs are not properly labelled as such by the players. Owners manuals and user documentation don't add any elaboration, since the BD5/9 disks are not officially supported.

Please let me know if you become aware of a method to force a factory reset. Sony's cautionary warning at update time is that no reversal is possible.

Larry
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Old January 14th, 2009, 12:00 AM   #32
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My software players and Sony BluRay player see and play the disks with menu navigation, but the distinction between a BDMV versus an AVCHD is very obscured since red laser BDMVs are not properly labelled as such by the players.
Very true. You can see a difference in some of the folder names.

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Please let me know if you become aware of a method to force a factory reset. Sony's cautionary warning at update time is that no reversal is possible.

Larry
Under System Settings, Restore PS3 System, it says "The PS3 system will be formatted. All system settings will be restored and all data on the hard disk will be deleted. Do you want to continue? Yes No

Obviously, I have not tried that, and I don't know if that restores the shipping firmware.

But I am thinking there is a way you may be able to do it from the pressing buttons on the face of the PS3 unit, but I'm not sure. Somebody must know...
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Old January 14th, 2009, 05:50 AM   #33
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I spent an hour Googling and searching and found that the factory settings restore does just the aettings and not firmware downgrade. The factory setting has no User ID, password, network discovery, video or audio swttings, etc. It is a master reset to defaults combined with forgetting all user info. The PS3 comes up in the latest firmware asking for time zone, language choice, user name, etc.

The hacker sites do talk about a method using developer tools, chip flashing, etc. Given the ingenuity and persistence of the PS3 gaming and pirating crowd, I would be very surprised if they had NOT YET discovered a way to downgrade firmware. The hacker sites require a login and serious browsing which I have not pursued. They are a sewer filled with virus and other malicious crap and I am unwilling to go there. They may require disassembly, special tools, reformatting the hard drive, etc. But in any event, not interested......

Larry
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Old January 14th, 2009, 08:58 AM   #34
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Eeew....

Thanks...(I guess). I'm fine with the current firmware. And Blu-ray is nice but I have no illusions. It is not the ubiquitous universal format for PC, data and entertainment it's been described as. In fact, no such format exists. Blu-ray belongs to the major motion picture studios, all the other uses for it are on the fringe. Something will come along that becomes more suitable. It just takes more involvement and participation from j6p, to acknowledge they need more avenues for content than BD, or cable, or broadband, or satellite. A practical distribution format that everyone can afford and wants, that supports multi playback formats, multi media, and is simple enough for the unwashed masses.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #35
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The current situation is in most respects far better for prosumer HD enthusiasts than in the recent past, so I can mostly consider the AVCHD disk aothoring alternatives to satisfy most sharing and distribution needs.

No doubt some better methods will arrive. BluRay is to my way of thinking too little, too late in an era of terabyte hard disks and dirt cheap flash memory.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 12:22 PM   #36
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The current situation is in most respects far better for prosumer HD enthusiasts than in the recent past, so I can mostly consider the AVCHD disk aothoring alternatives to satisfy most sharing and distribution needs.
It's just that AVCHD disk playback is being disabled in some machine firmware updates. Didn't we just say that? And when I say AVCHD, I'm also including BDMV on red laser since as you noted, they are seen as AVCHD disks by the players.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 12:26 PM   #37
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I'm also not sure I can agree the situation is much better today for HD enthusiasts necessarily, since we lost HD DVD, and three years ago we were putting content with full menu functionality on that format, we are barely able to do that with Blu-ray now without jumping through hoops. We also then (as now) had media players that played HD content, either streamed from hard drives or burnt to optical disk, vis-a-vis the I-O Data AVeL LinkPlayer2, the Buffalo, JVC and others.

With Blu-ray, each time we take a step forward, we take another backward, and just seem to be running in place.

It seems to me the only thing that makes Blu-ray more viable as a distribution format is that HD DVD never was, and its demise cleared the path but new obstacles just keep getting put up.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 08:26 AM   #38
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Tom,

I guess my comment was mostly reflecting your observation that the disappearance of HD DVD has cleared the format confusion, and that AVCHD is now a pretty common feature of most BluRay players.

Although the players and authoring programs have been flip-flopping with their firmware, the trend now seems pretty clear that AVCHD is a legitimate format and that AVCHD camcorders comprise a viable market sector with more AVCHD content being originated every day.

Since the number of truly workable menued AVCHD authoring suites has substantially increased and the players seem to include AVCHD content to a large extent, I guess my optimism is arising from what I hope is a stabilization in the market.

The latest issue of Sound and Vision magazine I received yesterday did a nice comparison of 4 newest low cost BluRay players from Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, and LG, all prices below $300 MSRP and sold for lower street prices, in some cases below $200. I was happy to see all 4 explicitly offering AVCHD support.

So maybe this format will have some traction, after all...........

Larry
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Old January 15th, 2009, 12:52 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Tom Roper View Post
For Steve Mullen,

I think I've answered your questions. Vegas Pro WILL smart render HDV and XDCAM-EX, and DVD Architect will host them for input but DVD Architect will NOT accept your AVC h.264 files without recompressing them.

There are a couple of minor hacks involved to make these menu'd DVD4.7 disks play on most everything, which I have covered HERE . As you read that thread, keep in mind it works for mpeg2 as well as AVC.

I wish Vegas had the superior AVC encoding engine instead of DVD-A, but that's just the way it is.
1) Thank you. I downloaded the DVDA manual and found the warning on BD-5/BD-9. I see the virtues of your hack, but it looks complicated and Bill's last post says it's not working for him.

2) When you say DVDA must recompress AVC, are you saying it does so with files output by Vegas? I'm wondering about AVC exported from OS X applications.

3) Larry is pointing-out a huge flaw in the BD eco-system. To get DVDA 5 you need to buy Vegas even if you edit on a Mac. Then, even if you are willing to spend the money for Vegas, because you can't burn AVCHD (a Sony format) with DVDA (a Sony product) you need to use a hack to get BD-5/BD-9 (a sony BD format) discs to play on the PS3 (a Sony product).

Conversly, assume you could burn AVCHD discs, now you don't get menus and future non-Sony and non-Panasonic BD player may not play them. Or, is AVCHD in the BD spec and so it's only the old Samsung players that won't play AVCHD?

It seems we are being forced into a burn BD disc world. Which is fine for PC owners, but is a real problem for Mac users!

PS: I suppose if one bought Vegas Pro at a discount it would not cost much more than Sony Movie Studio 9 Pro (for 5.1) and Movie Factory 7 (for menus). Of course, there is still your hack to execute. That seems like a lot for Mac users and even non Vegas editors on a PC to go through!

If only Vegas could create menus and burn discs for the PS3. I hate pushing stuff through multiple applications!
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Old January 15th, 2009, 12:57 PM   #40
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I'm also not sure I can agree the situation is much better today for HD enthusiasts necessarily, since we lost HD DVD, and three years ago we were putting content with full menu functionality on that format, we are barely able to do that with Blu-ray now without jumping through hoops.
With Blu-ray, each time we take a step forward, we take another backward, and just seem to be running in place.

It seems to me the only thing that makes Blu-ray more viable as a distribution format is that HD DVD never was, and its demise cleared the path but new obstacles just keep getting put up.
You are SO correct! HD-DVD offered the same quality and was cheaper and easier. Sony really screwed everyone but the movie studios!
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Old January 15th, 2009, 06:23 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
1) Thank you. I downloaded the DVDA manual and found the warning on BD-5/BD-9. I see the virtues of your hack, but it looks complicated and Bill's last post says it's not working for him.

2) When you say DVDA must recompress AVC, are you saying it does so with files output by Vegas? I'm wondering about AVC exported from OS X applications.
Right, AVC h.264 from Vegas must recompress. DVDA will accept AVCHD from Vegas without transcoding if you select one of the standard templates, but it limits your bitrate and frame rate choices.
Quote:

3) Larry is pointing-out a huge flaw in the BD eco-system. To get DVDA 5 you need to buy Vegas even if you edit on a Mac. Then, even if you are willing to spend the money for Vegas, because you can't burn AVCHD (a Sony format) with DVDA (a Sony product) you need to use a hack to get BD-5/BD-9 (a sony BD format) discs to play on the PS3 (a Sony product).
I agree. Ironically, the hack causes the BD-5/BD-9 to identify itself as AVCHD so that when presented it plays. It's enough confusion that some people don't know what to call it. True BD-5/BD-9 is on BD-ROM and doesn't exist.

Quote:
Conversly, assume you could burn AVCHD discs, now you don't get menus and future non-Sony and non-Panasonic BD player may not play them. Or, is AVCHD in the BD spec and so it's only the old Samsung players that won't play AVCHD?
My problem is only with Samsung that I know of, and it was the 2500, which is a current model. The hybrid BD-5/BD-9's have the same compatibility as regular AVCHD disks.

Quote:
It seems we are being forced into a burn BD disc world. Which is fine for PC owners, but is a real problem for Mac users!
It's not an insurmountable obstacle to the Mac user, but I agree 100% we're firmly nudged toward expensive Blu-ray burners and media, what a surprise!

Quote:
PS: I suppose if one bought Vegas Pro at a discount it would not cost much more than Sony Movie Studio 9 Pro (for 5.1) and Movie Factory 7 (for menus). Of course, there is still your hack to execute. That seems like a lot for Mac users and even non Vegas editors on a PC to go through!
I agree. The cost is not cheap although the hack itself is easy, and I would not encourage people to spend money this way except,

1.) I put the guide in the Sony Vegas forum where people presumably already own the product,

and

2.) The Vegas/DVDA workflow has unique benefits for XDCAM users and Sony products (Surprise!)
Quote:

If only Vegas could create menus and burn discs for the PS3. I hate pushing stuff through multiple applications!
I don't have anything better, so my viewpoint is limited but I'm warming up to Vegas and DVDA. I'm really stunned with the quality of the DVDA AVC encoder. They should have put that into Vegas.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 08:16 PM   #42
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It seems we are being forced into a burn BD disc world. Which is fine for PC owners, but is a real problem for Mac users!

It's not an insurmountable obstacle to the Mac user, but I agree 100% we're firmly nudged toward expensive Blu-ray burners and media, what a surprise!

With a Mac even going to BD has it's problems. On the Toast forum folks report menu and chapter issues when burning with Blu-ray burners.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 12:57 PM   #43
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"True BD-5/BD-9 is on BD-ROM and doesn't exist."

You are correct -- it was a spec pushed by Warner Brothers for releasing shorts on DVD-ROM. So any player that operates correctly is going to reject BD-R discs with BD-5/BD-9.

And, it seems the newer the firmware, the more likely this will occur. Unless, the software company is smart enough to set the correct bit(s). In this case -- at least for a while -- your discs may be played. BD-ROMs have a hardware flag that can't be faked so your hack can be broken at any time without warning.!

AVCHD was intended only for camcorder video, not exporting finished "movies." So any software company I suspect is going to find it hard to license AVCHD. (Of course, Smart GOP rendering might be acceptable because the software is only outputting the AVCHD that came from the camera.

I don't know how they generate FX and graphics without a license. Perhaps these Taiwan companies are operating without a license. In which case future play firmware may look for bits ONLY set by hardware AVCHD encoders and prevent the playback of FX and graphics.

Bottom-line, I don't think long-term that burning to anything less than BD is safe.

------------------

Unless Apple re-writes OS X to meet DRM they cannot have BD players -- hence no Apple BD burners, hence no BD support in Studio or iDVD. Moreover, neither Toast 9 or Toast 10 support Chapter marks from FCP. Plus, I'm not sure Toast will encode 5.1 from Apple's SoundTrack.

It seems Mac users are going to have to buy a PC with BD burner to create "pro-quality" BD discs.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 04:32 AM   #44
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This is an interesting discussion. Thank you very much to those who are sharing their experience here. Larry, I really appreciate all the info you've posted about the various editing/authoring tools in this and other threads.

I am disappointed to hear all the difficulties and lack of standards regarding AVCHD on DVD media. I'm assuming that the main objective here is to package AVCHD video into a convenient format which can offer a DVD-like playback experience (i.e. menus, chapters, etc.) on a TV. From the posts in this thread, I gather that burning true BD disks for playback on a BD player is currently the only way to reliably accomplish that objective using optical disks.

This makes me wonder if optical disks are really the best solution? Perhaps it would be easier to author electronic files for playback on media players like the PS3, "WD TV HD Media Player", HTPC, etc. There are some formats that can support HD video with menus (at least in theory). The big questions here are what format(s) would work best, what authoring tools are available, and what playback devices are available? I would appreciate any thoughts on this from the experts. I hope this is sufficiently on-topic as long as we limit the discussion to formats that support menus. Thanks.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 05:49 AM   #45
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From the posts in this thread, I gather that burning true BD disks for playback on a BD player is currently the only way to reliably accomplish that objective using optical disks.
Unfortunately, no. BD-R/RE media isn't recognized as Blu-ray even by the Blu-ray Association. You are not allowed to add the Blu-ray logo. The BD-Logo is basically used to communicate to the consumers that the products having BD-Logo is complying with BD Specification and compatible with other BD products. It's been established even BD-R/RE is not compatible with all players.

For AVCHD, the situation is worse. Just an anecdote, I was in the big box store, and of all the Blu-ray players, only the Sonys, Panasonics and LG stated AVCHD compatibility. Those that didn't, were the Pioneer, the Samsungs, Sharp, Insignia.

Quote:
I am disappointed to hear all the difficulties and lack of standards regarding AVCHD on DVD media. I'm assuming that the main objective here is to package AVCHD video into a convenient format which can offer a DVD-like playback experience (i.e. menus, chapters, etc.) on a TV.
There's more than one objective. Even without menus, getting your content to play as soon as the disk is inserted on every player, being able to use up-to-date audio and video codecs, satisfactory bit rates, getting it to output at native 24p, are important objectives to me. How about ink jet printable artwork and covers? How many disks with menus say Memorex? More than we'd care to admit I suspect. It sort of wrecks the whole professional theme.

Quote:
This makes me wonder if optical disks are really the best solution? Perhaps it would be easier to author electronic files for playback on media players like the PS3, "WD TV HD Media Player", HTPC, etc. There are some formats that can support HD video with menus (at least in theory). The big questions here are what format(s) would work best, what authoring tools are available, and what playback devices are available? I would appreciate any thoughts on this from the experts. I hope this is sufficiently on-topic as long as we limit the discussion to formats that support menus. Thanks.
To me, Blu-ray has far bigger problems than people trying to play AVCHDs with menus. The internet is abuzz with people ripping whole catalogs of Blu-ray titles. The industry response is to change the key inside the players forcing owners to upgrade firmware to play the latest titles. That just isn't going to sell players. And by the looks of it, I don't think Blu-ray will be adopted by the mainstream.

For a while, regular ole DVD will remain king. And if you want your HD content to be seen in all its glory, it is incumbent on you to supply it in whatever format your customer can use, whether optical, magnetic or flash. The content must be compelling. There is no need to limit the discussion to formats with menus, because with some machines HD content or menus will be mutually exclusive.

You mentioned the WD TV HD Media Player. I have one of these. It's much more format friendly than any Blu-ray.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
Bottom-line, I don't think long-term that burning to anything less than BD is safe.
Agree but Blu-ray itself is not long-term enough of a format to worry about, my $0.02.
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