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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 07:48 AM   #31
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I see lots of interesting theories being tossed around, but it sounds like we won't really know how AVC recorded at 19-25+ Mbps looks compared to HDV until someone offers that in a professional quality camera. Meanwhile, HDV works reasonably well today, so it's "a bird in the hand" until something better is available and supported in shipping products.
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 10:24 AM   #32
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
Rather than looking for a "reputable source" to support this...
You've confirmed my point.

You apparently can't provide a single link to a scholarly paper or journal article that can confirm your suggestion.

I, on the other hand, can provide links to articles that contradict the point of view that you expressed earlier.

For example, the research paper at the following link:

http://tinyurl.com/fxpur

Here are some key quotations:

"Unlike the MPEG-2 video coding standard, AVC/H.264 targets a wider range of video applications, ranging from video at mobile devices and bit rates as low as below 30Kbit/s to HDTV and bit rates of 20Mbit/s and above."

"Our tests showed a noticeable superiority of AVC/H.264 compared to state of the art MPEG-2 video encoders in almost all test cases."

"The AVC/H.264 encoders, which were at a very early stage of optimization, competed with MPEG-2 encoders that have been optimized for nearly a decade."

"Even at a very early stage of optimization AVC/H.264 has shown a remarkable superiority in coding efficiency compared to current MPEG-2 encoding technology."

In addition, I can point to a key white paper on the topic of H.264 and high bitrates.

Here's the link:

http://tinyurl.com/mzo89

The report concludes:

"The new video standard known as H.264/AVC presents a rich collection of state-of-the-art video coding capabilities that can provide interoperable video broadcast or communication with degrees of capability that far surpass those of prior standards."

"With the new FRExt amendment, and especially the new High Profile, H.264/AVC further bolsters its position as the premier design for standardized video compression."

"We believe these technologies provide a hitherto unavailable set of cost/performance points that will have a powerful impact on both consumer and professional video applications in the years to come."

By the way, the FRExt amendment defines four new profiles:

♦ High (HP)
♦ High 10 (Hi10P)
♦ High 4:2:2 (Hi422P)
♦ High 4:4:4 (Hi444P)

All four of these profiles build further upon the design of the prior Main profile, and they all include three enhancements of coding efficiency performance:

♦ Adaptive macroblock-level switching between 8x8 and 4x4 transform block size
♦ Encoder-specified perceptual-based quantization scaling matrices
♦ Encoder-specified separate control of the quantization parameter for each chroma component

The High 4:4:4 profile additionally supports the residual color transform and predictive lossless coding features not found in any other profiles.

H.264 is the future.

- Jerry Jones
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 10:43 AM   #33
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The concept of AVC-HD only being better at "lower bit rates" may be technically true, but certainly obfuscates the concept of whether the footage will look better at the proposed bitrates.

I mean, let's be serious: ALL CODECS are designed to function with lower bitrates. Isn't that the very definition of a successful codec? How much it can compress?

If you give any codec enough bandwidth it should look fantastic. Give MJPG a gigabit per second and I bet it'll turn out results that look like uncompressed HD (er, yeah, but uncompressed HD takes up a gigabit per second, so what's the point?) I bet Cinepak would look pretty darn good at a gigabit per second too.

So then it comes back to the real crux of the issue, which is: is MPEG-2 at 25 megabits "good enough"? Or do we need better, and will AVC-HD at 18 megabits outperform HDV at 25 megabits? It should be accepted as a no-brainer that AVC-HD 720p at 18 megabits will be noticeably superior to HDV 720p at 19 megabits...

At equivalent bitrates AVC will outperform MPEG-2 every single time, up until you get to sufficiently high bitrates where there just isn't that much difference anymore. There comes a level at which both codecs have enough bandwidth that they're both producing high-enough-quality results (the point of diminishing returns, if you will.) But is that level 25 megabits for MPEG-2 1080? Some here would say yes, and there are plenty of us who say "no way." It becomes a subjective call, whether it's good enough "for you."

The notion that "its advantage only holds at lower bitrates" is a red herring. It's one of those statements that is technically true, but completely irrelevant to the discussion. If the bandwidth is sufficiently high, what do we need codecs at all for? The whole point of a codec is: better efficiency and better quality at a chosen bitrate. And H.264 has it all over MPEG-2 at the same bitrate, at least at the bitrates that are low enough to be involved in this discussion. I guess another way to put it would be: will H.264 at 18 megabits have enough bandwidth to show noticeable improvement over MPEG-2 at 25 megabits?
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 10:48 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
On a related note, how might AVCHD-intra at 50 Mbps compare to DVCPro HD at 100 Mbps?
As pointed out earlier, there is no AVCHD-intra; there are two different formats being introduced, either long-gop AVC-HD, or the new AVC-Intra.

According to Panasonic's Phil Livingston, 50-mbps AVC-Intra delivers equivalent picture quality to 100mbps DVCPRO-HD.
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 10:57 AM   #35
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Any next future progressive small camcorder offer on this new AVC-Intra?
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 11:45 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathieu Kassovitz
Any next future progressive small camcorder offer on this new AVC-Intra?
AVC-Intra has only been discussed as part of Panasonic's HPX2100 ($20,000 2/3" camera).
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 12:12 PM   #37
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
So then it comes back to the real crux of the issue, which is: is MPEG-2 at 25 megabits "good enough"? Or do we need better, and will AVC-HD at 18 megabits outperform HDV at 25 megabits? It should be accepted as a no-brainer that AVC-HD 720p at 18 megabits will be noticeably superior to HDV 720p at 19 megabits... At equivalent bitrates AVC will outperform MPEG-2 every single time, up until you get to sufficiently high bitrates where there just isn't that much difference anymore. There comes a level at which both codecs have enough bandwidth that they're both producing high-enough-quality results (the point of diminishing returns, if you will.) But is that level 25 megabits for MPEG-2 1080? Some here would say yes, and there are plenty of us who say "no way."
Excellent.

Agree 100%.

However, I would offer the following additional observations:

FACT: Matsushita apparently decided not to market HDV MPEG-2 camcorders through its Panasonic brand, but instead through its JVC brand.

FACT: Sony decided to market HDV MPEG-2 camcorders.

FACT: Canon decided to market HDV MPEG-2 camcorders.

FACT: Sony and Canon and JVC hope to sell as many HDV MPEG-2 camcorders as possible to recover research and development costs and earn a profit.

FACT: It took several months following the introduction of the first JVC consumer HDV camcorders for other manufacturers to offer more "professional" models.

OPINION: I believe Matsushita seems to be in a position to market H.264 camcorders more aggressively than the other manufacturers because that company's Panasonic brand has no HDV camcorder line to protect. Therefore, I believe the Panasonic brand is the brand to watch where H.264 development is concerned. These first-generation Sony AVCHD models seem to be designed to protect Sony's HDV camcorder lines from serious competition.

- Jerry Jones
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 12:29 PM   #38
 
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Barry,

Question for you.

Two AVCHD news articles that I have read recently mention two different maximum data rates for that format.

Craig Johnston's TV TECHNOLOGY article:

LINK: http://tinyurl.com/zxu7z

QUOTATION: "HDV compresses to and records at 25 Mbps. AVCHD compresses to and records at 18 Mbps."

The official AVCHD Web site lists the maximum data rate at 18 Mbps.

LINK: http://tinyurl.com/y8xnwx

Wayne Cole's recent GOVERNMENT VIDEO article compares AVCHD to HDV this way:

"AVCHD uses an almost identical data rate (24 Mbps) -- in an MPEG-2 transport stream wrapper."

LINK: http://tinyurl.com/nvvtd

Is it 24 Mbps? Or is it 18 Mbps?

- Jerry Jones

P.S. Johnston writes that the manufacturers themselves are declaring AVCHD to be twice as efficient as HDV.

In Johnston's words:

"At twice the efficiency, a simple math exercise would show that with its 18 Mbps encoding, AVCHD is 28 percent more efficient on the storage side, and that would still allow AVCHD to produce about a 70 percent increase in picture quality over HDV."
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 01:58 PM   #39
 
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Never mind, Barry.

I just found the answer to my own question on the official AVCHD Web site.

That group agreed to revise the maximum data rate upward to 24 Mbps as indicated by the revised chart on the following AVCHD Web page:

http://tinyurl.com/ylc2za

Apparently, this maximum data rate change was approved as the new standard for AVCHD earlier this year.

- Jerry Jones
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 03:04 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
AVC-Intra has only been discussed as part of Panasonic's HPX2100 ($20,000 2/3" camera).
Merci for the quick and comprehensive reply.

MK
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 05:21 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
It should be accepted as a no-brainer that AVC-HD 720p at 18 megabits will be noticeably superior to HDV 720p at 19 megabits...
Assuming otherwise similar cameras that seems like a sensible statement, but some here would apparently argue otherwise. Unfortunately, we've yet to see professionally-oriented AVCHD cameras using such bit rates or any fully functional way to edit AVCHD footage, so it's all speculation until that happens.

And unless someone releases a tape-based AVCHD camera the cost of recording media is still a nuisance, with flash cards selling for $20-40/GB = $220-440/hour at 18 Mbps, compared to ~$3-5/hour for HDV (miniDV) tape. So if Panasonic is the only company likely to release a decent AVC camera then they're more of a threat to themselves than anyone else, since a good AVC-Intra camera would replace the HVX200 before it would edge out HDV. Either way, new solutions are welcome: let's see some!
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 05:49 PM   #42
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
I guess another way to put it would be: will H.264 at 18 megabits have enough bandwidth to show noticeable improvement over MPEG-2 at 25 megabits?
I completely agree. That's a point I can get behind. Where I can't get behind it, is the marketing BS that is already being spouted about "AVC is twice as efficient as MPEG and therefore 12Mbps is equal to or better than MPEG 2 at 25Mbps." The message that's being proliferated is that AVC is twice as efficient and therefore equal or better at half bitrates.

Jerry, I can point to all sorts of material, but like other marketing material, it's market-driven. I don't consider that worthy of using as data. Spend a little time on the MPEG.org website, or better yet, spend some time encoding. I realize it's tough for folks to spend time actually DOING something with the codecs as opposed to reading opinions, but sometimes, that's the only way you can see it for yourself.
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Old October 29th, 2006, 12:45 PM   #43
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When are these Panasonic cameras supposed to be coming again?

I don't think the current cameras are really the best advertisement for AVCHD, too much noise (not good for lower bit rates) and I expect it is not the highest grade coder. The Samsung h264 has been delayed, we don't expect to see it until next year. But, in the meantime, it will be interesting to see how good the Pana versions shall be.

12Mb/s compared to 25Mb/s might work in best conditions, no noise, little movement and progressive. But I would prefer 24mb/s 720p with a really good coder, to really see a shine on large screen. Anything below 18Mb/s, low noise, decent coder, I don't think is worth that much.

Pity they didn't put HDMI and progressive in the HV10, at least there would be a clear point of something to buy.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 08:55 PM   #44
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Does anyone know if this new Pani camera will do 720P 60?

Thanks
JohnG

---------------------------------
edit: Found several forum/net posts indicating this camera is 1080i.

Last edited by John Godden; November 6th, 2006 at 10:21 AM.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 12:04 PM   #45
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The specs are not complete but it has been stated by Panny that this camera is targeted at consumers, not professionals. This is a camera to sell in Best Buy, etc. Dont expect too many higher end features or options...



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