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Old April 23rd, 2012, 04:41 PM   #1
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Infographic: The History of Digital Video File Formats

Submitted on behalf of RealNetworks

Sometimes statistics can be difficult to comprehend. In this case, the exponential growth of the world wide web has provided some staggering numbers revolving around digital video. In the year 2012, Americans are on pace to view more video streaming over the Internet than they will on DVD or Blu-ray combined, according to a very recent study by IHS. Consumers will pay to legally stream, view and digest over 3.4 billion online movies, 1 billion more than physical media for the year! These staggering numbers are what drove Real Networks to create a piece of educational content on the history of digital file formats.

It's wild to comprehend how far the world has come since 1984, when the original digital video format (H.120) was invented. Even though it only had a maximum resolution of 176 x 144 and what would now be a dreadful 2 Mbit/s bitrate, this monumental moment set the stage for a future that is now the present in digital video. Because of innovations that began with the H.120 digital video format, we are now able to stream incredibly high quality videos and movies over the World Wide Web (in stunning high definition). Progression is a beautiful thing.

In celebration of the growth of online streaming video, the AVI player creators RealNetworks have crafted a history/overview of digital file formats.

Check it out at INFOGRAPHIC – The History of Digital Video File Formats

Enjoy, and be sure to leave your comments below!
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 06:38 PM   #2
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Re: Infographic: The History of Digital Video File Formats

I lived this history. I find the chart lacking and biased.

While I'll give RN credit for what it did for true realtime streaming, I've observed they've always had an anti-Macintosh posture. Sadly this timeline only reinforces that bias as it ignores the emergence of Quicktime in 1991 and it's acceptance as the basis for the ISO mp4 standard in 1998. In omitting these, this chart makes MSFT look like the innovator in desktop video with it's awful AVI format which is just plain bad history. Adding insult to injury, the chart leaves the well architected Quicktime a near footnote amongst a crowd of events in 2001. I also note RN chose to refer to Quicktime as Apple's "proprietary format" but did not use that adjective for MSFT's AVI, WMV or ASF.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 07:29 PM   #3
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Re: Infographic: The History of Digital Video File Formats

For a more complete history, it would also include compression in tape formats. I'll never forget the controversy at NAB when Sony introduced Digital Betacam. The worry was that generational losses would make it unusable. Competitors would show random noise on the screen as representative of the result after 100 generations. Some were ready to buy in to lower cost digital. Others saw it as the road to hell.

Now just look at how prevalent compression is for video and audio. Uncompressed video is a now luxury few can afford.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 07:53 PM   #4
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Re: Infographic: The History of Digital Video File Formats

What Les said!
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Old April 24th, 2012, 12:36 PM   #5
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Re: Infographic: The History of Digital Video File Formats

While there was information on there I didn't know, I was expecting more & a few things I really questioned. The 2001 timeline of .mov & QuickTime being one of them. I know I had QuickTime back in 1997, & I feel like I had .mov files in at least '99 or early '00. But maybe my memory isn't serving me right.

One error I spotted was it mentioning that LaserDiscs were digital, which is incorrect. The earliest LDs were all analog, with the advent of digital sound, later discs often put audio commentary on the analog tracks while playing Dolby surround sound on the digital tracks. The video was always 100% analog from the birth to the death of Laser Disc.
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Old April 24th, 2012, 01:01 PM   #6
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Re: Infographic: The History of Digital Video File Formats

Hmm...
Just checking... Laserdisc was never a digital format - it's pulse FM. Basically a full NTSC video signal remodulated onto an FM carrier and clipped. Everybody gets that wrong, common misconception.... It gave a great NTSC signal since the full NTSC bandwidth was used - unfortunately all the warts were reproduced too - dot crawl and all...


( I missed the post above)
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Old April 24th, 2012, 02:02 PM   #7
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Re: Infographic: The History of Digital Video File Formats

+1 for Les Wilson's post.
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Old April 25th, 2012, 04:08 AM   #8
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Re: Infographic: The History of Digital Video File Formats

I stopped reading after "RealNetworks"
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Old April 25th, 2012, 05:56 AM   #9
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Re: Infographic: The History of Digital Video File Formats

Nice revisionism of history. I'm a little bit surprised that this was posted here by Chris himself.
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Old April 25th, 2012, 06:49 PM   #10
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Re: Infographic: The History of Digital Video File Formats

They asked me to post it because they were interested in feedback.

I said, you want feedback? Sure, I'll post it.
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