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Old January 21st, 2004, 06:41 PM   #1
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Windows Media 9 = HD DVD?

I read an interesting article from Video Systems' newsletter. Unfortunately, I couldn't find that article on their site, and I don't want to cut and paste it for (c) reasons. But it led me to this:

http://www.wmvhd.com/

Is WM9 the future of HD DVD? Apple, where are you?

Also, if you do a search at Video Systems' site, the article is:

HD on Your DVD
Dan Ochiva

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Old January 21st, 2004, 06:58 PM   #2
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I'm really curious about this too. I'm a devoted Mac user, but can't help but notice the excellent quality available with the free Windows Media Encoder. I don't see the .wmv HD as too valid right now because you have to have a fast chip just to play the movies (due to the extreme 9000kBps bitrate), but the potential is certainly there.
As far as Apple, some predict that Pixlet will provide the future of computer driven HD. It has the advantage of real time scrubbing, not all choppy like Windows. However, right now it is geared specifically toward HD editors. Maybe, I say as I cross my fingers, this will develop into the codec that everyone is waiting for.
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Old January 21st, 2004, 10:10 PM   #3
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I've film scanned about 20 thirty minute 35mm films, the client then encoded them as 1280 x 720 media 9 videos, with 5.1 soundtrack as well. Looks great on a 1280x720 DLP projector in a full theater environment.
So where is Apple, the former media leader?
-Les
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 04:32 AM   #4
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wmvhd is picking up fast. I have no doubt it will be the standard HD-DVD format for HTPC owners. Sure everyone does not have a 3GHz processor but most will in two years. And a lot of people already have them. wmvhd 1080p from a good source looks friggin awsome on a HD display. I don't think wmvhd was ever intended for web distribution. It's a DVD-ROM distribution format.

I'm having a hard time seeing Pixlet as a contender in this market.
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 01:56 PM   #5
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With its no interframe compression and "lossless" video quality, Pixlet is way overkill for the average consumer. I would prefer to be able to FF/REW/scrub like the formats we have right now (dvd, vhs) to the stutter effect with the Windows Media codec. However, I certainly don't feel that consumers should have, or need, access to a lossless version of the video. Considering that you generally watch a movie in 1:1 or 1x time, Pixlet's scrubbing would be nice, but not necessary.
Next, consider that Pixlet has been topic of discussion for almost a year now, and was even released to the public in October, yet there is virtually no information on it other than the Apple press release. Its geared specifically toward the professional market. I agree with Martin that Pixlet probably won't provide much, if any, competition with the current wmvhd, unless Apple gives it a major overhaul.
I am very impressed by wmvhd and would love to see it on a full sized HD monitor/television. With all the talk of blu-ray discs and bigger, faster media, I wouldn't be suprised to see wmvhd in distribution within the next year or two. Am I correct in assuming that you can just plug the monitor into the DVI port and run fullscreen like a projector?
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 02:38 PM   #6
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Aside from some issues, I'm enjoying cutting with Pixlet in FCP. But I don't recall, and I may be wrong, but Pixlet was created more for delivery of footage for editing, etc., than final delivery to DVD, etc.

Apple probably will have a more common version like WMVHD.

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Old January 22nd, 2004, 06:01 PM   #7
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I've been playing with wmvHD and I think the codec is pretty clean. The compression is good, that's for sure.

I will buy the first player I can find and try it out on an HD comsumer TV. I guess that will be in March or so.

Cheers

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Old January 23rd, 2004, 11:01 AM   #8
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At CES several companies announced multiformat DVD players that scaled up to 1080i and support WMVHD.
Here is one company, see their new D3 line

http://www.vinc.com

This particular model has built in uprez/scaling technology.

No need for a high powered WinTel machine AFAIK.
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Old January 29th, 2004, 11:39 AM   #9
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Real 10

There will hopefully be competition eventually for WMV. The Real 10 codec was released just recently. More info here:
http://www.realnetworks.com/products/codecs/realvideo.html

I haven't had a chance to play with it much yet, but its claims as far as HD include:

Same quality at 75% lower bitrate than HDTV
Same quality at 30% lower bitrate than WMV 9
HDTV quality video at <5 Mbps
Supports all HD formats and resolutions including 720p and 1080i
Interlaced support—the RealVideo 10 bitstream can carry 60 fields / second interlaced content
New RealAudio Multichannel provides the ultimate home movie experience through the encode and decode of 4, 5 and 5.1 channel audio

How easy it will be to integrate this into an editing workflow will remain to be seen. Premiere has had an export path to RealMedia in the past, but no way to edit with it.

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Old January 29th, 2004, 02:00 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Joe Carney : At CES several companies announced multiformat DVD players that scaled up to 1080i and support WMVHD.
Here is one company, see their new D3 line

http://www.vinc.com

This particular model has built in uprez/scaling technology.

No need for a high powered WinTel machine AFAIK. -->>>

Interesting Joe! Hey, do you have an HD1 or HD10? I feel kind of alone in Palm Beach County with my HD10. :-)

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Old January 30th, 2004, 11:53 PM   #11
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I didn't like developing in RealPlayer because it subjected the user to the Realplayer website which had pop-under ads for the x-10 camera, and had a well hidden link for the free version of the player, they made it impossible to link directly to the download page.

The player itself is obnoxious. it installs itself in the taskbar (on windows) and has some sort of message center that delivers ads to you.

Their streaming server is expensive, we have a 60 user license at work that we paid around $1000.00 for 4 years ago, now they are pricing based on bandwidth instead and for 500kbs stream you get about 6 users for around $1000.00. Quicktime Streaming server is free. Windows Media Server comes free with Windows Server.

MPEG4 is great, DivX which is MPEG4 compliant rivals the quality of Windows Media, and can be played in Windows Media and Quicktime both (with DivX installed).

People have posted examples of HD content in 3ivx here which also looks great, another MPEG4 format.

You can stream most flavours of MPEG4 (after hinting) from Apple's free streaming server.

VInc's player is based on sigmadesign's chipset which also supports MPEG4

It will be a long time before Microsoft makes an encoder for Macs (If ever), there are already free MPEG4 encoders available on both platforms.

I think the solution is clear, MPEG4!
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Old January 31st, 2004, 02:45 AM   #12
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I found that for 5 megabit Divx 5 encoded 720P video, the decoding ( playing ) takes too much CPU.
Won't play smooth video.
I've used Divx ever since it was a hacked Microsoft mpeg4 codec, but for 720P it just takes too many cycles to decode.

Media 9 can play good quality video on lower cost Celeron systems.
Has anyone played 720P Divx 5 megabit in a P4 2Ghz ok?
Is there a standard for 5.1 sound with Divx using a normal player?
-Les
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Old January 31st, 2004, 11:38 AM   #13
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Les,

I agree that WMV HD will play smoother than MPEG4 on a 2 Ghz machine (both will play poorly on a slower machine).

My most recent project was distributed as WMV HD on CD, for the short term I will continue to use WMV. In 18 months the average processor speed will double, and I am hoping the difference will become less of an issue. Not having a Vinc deck, I don't know how either format will play in HD.

I think DivX's somewhat shady early history is an impediment to its acceptance but I choose not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 10:26 PM   #14
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My total guess

Honestly I believe the excitement over WM HD is because of a few things.

1. It's the first HD Codec shipping non beta
2. HD owners are very eager to see more HD content
3. It's promoted by Microsoft

However I see very distinct problems. I doubt that Hollywood is going to let MS in. Sure you can download WM HD video of the coral reef or planes flying but for people looking to produce and distribute their videos they need the format that will eventually gain critical mass.

That format is h.264 and is the codec for the official HD-DVD. Look for Apple to support h.264 in a future version of Quicktime. Honestly I think we're going to see Quicktime 7 with h.264 support at NAB 2004 to go along with Final Cut Pro 4.5. I have no inside information or contacts it's just a hunch that the next version of QT is coming and HiDef support will be in it to enable a new version of FCP.

I see Pixlet and h.264 working hand in hand. Pixlet will allow us to edit in HD and then we will be able to convert our projects to h.264 or re-purpose to other formats.

Despite Microsofts early lead the DVD Consortium has approved h.264 as the HD-DVD codec and I believe you will see a majority of studios delivering products in this format. Apple will be right there as they already have robust support for MPEG4 video and audio.


http://www.envivio.com/products/h264.html

For info on coding efficiency.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 10:51 PM   #15
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T2 Extreme DVD has the original theatrical cut of T2 on WMV9.

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