Test: AVC vs FLV vs XVID vx WMV, 960x540 @ 2Mbps at DVinfo.net

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Old March 17th, 2008, 05:02 AM   #1
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Test: AVC vs FLV vs XVID vx WMV, 960x540 @ 2Mbps

I'm trying to decide how to publish HD video on the web since Stage6 closed down so I've done a comparison test of HD web video formats at 960 x 540. I tried 5 options originating from Vegas Pro:

FLV in On2 Flix Pro
AVC in Sony AVC in Vegas
AVC in Main Concept in Vegas
Xvid in Xvid in VirtualDub
WMV in Vegas

I've used 2Mbps to try and show some differences between the codecs, but 2.5Mbps would generally give a better result.

Download them and please let me know your comments and which ones you like best.

At this stage I've only done 1-pass encodes. I may do some 2-pass but that Flix Pro is so slow.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 03:25 AM   #2
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I've now added a 2-pass On2 FLV encode with the deinterlacing/resizing done in Vegas not Flix Pro. That makes the encode faster. It's number 6 on my page.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 07:54 PM   #3
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Hi Nick.
They all look pretty good to me.
I use vegas pro 8 and i'm interested in the vegas templates you used,ie the sony avc,the main concept avc and the wmv.
Could you possibly post screen grabs of those templates or post the details on here.
Also you say 5 originate from vegas,but i only see three,plus one from virtualdub and one fromflix pro,or am i missing something ?

Also what format was the original footage,ie interlaced or progressive ? 1080 or 720 ?

Thanks.
Paul.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 01:53 AM   #4
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OK Paul I've added all those screen shots of the settings.

They all originate in Vegas but the flv and xvid encodes are frameserved from it into Flix Pro / VirtualDub. Vegas must be running unless you create an intermediate AVI file and don't frameserve.

Original footage was 1080-50i interlaced.

I've now also added a 2-pass CBR WMV version to the page and updated the 1-pass CBR version with a lower bitrate to match the other tests (I had some confusion between bits and bytes in the encoder settings).
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Old March 19th, 2008, 03:40 PM   #5
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Hi Nick.
Where's the screen grabs of the vegas templates ?
Are they on your site or did you post them in here ?

Thanks.Paul.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 03:41 PM   #6
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Found them,page 6 yes ?
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Old March 19th, 2008, 11:28 PM   #7
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They are within the page. You might need to hard-refresh the page (in I.E. hold down <CTRL> + <SHIFT> while clicking REFRESH)

I also re-ordered the files to be in a more logical order.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 02:20 PM   #8
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OK, I've now totally rewritten the page, condensed the number of contenders down to four options, and re-encoded them all with audio.

We now have: On2 VP6 2-pass FLV, Sony AVC, WMV9 2-pass, Xvid 1-pass, all at 2000 kbps CBR with 128 kbps audio.

I have now included Javascript popup links so that they all open in (the same) popup window.

Hopefully this now makes a good usability/compatibility/playability test as well as a good quality comparison.

Looking at these 4 options, for me the Xvid is the clear winner in both quality and playability. It has the best detail and best player. But for sure it's the least compatible as most viewers will not already have the DivX Web Player and will need to download and install it.

FLV is OK but the player has no buffering intelligence. I can only set it with a buffer in seconds, not percentage. It's the most compatible though (98.3% penetration in mature markets by December 2007).

AVC has too much contrast for my liking. This time it insists on buffering 100% of the file before playing.

WMV makes the visibility look bad. It's too soft for me.

Please let me know your experiences. Thanks!

[note: You might need to hard-refresh the page (in I.E. hold down <CTRL> + <SHIFT> while clicking REFRESH) to get the updated version if you have loaded it previously]
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Old March 21st, 2008, 05:20 PM   #9
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For some reason I could not get the WMV one to play but the other 3 are NICE. It's a very close call but the Xvid is probably the best.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 01:47 AM   #10
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Plus XviD unconstrained by a profile at 19Mbps in 1080p60 nearly matches HDV but it's in 1080p60. Uses less processor power too, on the PS3 trying to decode AVC in 1080p60 results in LOTS of frame dropping resulting in only 45-50fps. XviD only drops frames when the SPUs are not on, a pause and unpause solves that on 2.10.

My only bummer is that Vegas 7.0e can't decode using the XviD VFW Vidc, only encode.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 11:29 AM   #11
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Thanks Jack.

I've discovered better H.264 encoding with x264 and the discussion is continuing here on the doom9 forum if anyone is interested.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 03:27 PM   #12
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Which of these formats starts playing soonest using standard buffering settings? Would you use a bit rate this high for web-based distribution or consider dropping it some for smoother playback?
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Old March 27th, 2008, 10:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
Which of these formats starts playing soonest using standard buffering settings?
At default settings on my PC the FLV one started playing soonest for me but in my case that was a bad thing because it stops again very quickly. You can use the flashvar "bufferlength" in an embedded player to control how quick the video starts. Note that the Sony AVC file needs remuxing in YAMB or mp4box to make it play at all before the buffer is 100%. The player with the best buffering intelligence is the DivX Web Player. By that I mean it buffers just the right amount of the video to get it to the end without stopping. But I'm not keen on that because the need to download the player is a drawback.

Quote:
Would you use a bit rate this high for web-based distribution or consider dropping it some for smoother playback?
I would indeed use 2000 - 2500 kbps at 960x540 but I mark the download links as "BIG" or "SLOW" or something to give the viewer warning, and I also provide a 500kbps 480x360 version for those with less bandwidth. I'm currently testing x264 H.264/AVC in the hope of getting the video bitrate down to about 1500 kbps but still good quallity.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 03:58 PM   #14
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Did you narrow down the a "best" solution solution? I thought they all looked good. .wmv surprised me and seemed to run the smoothest. after 30 seconds the first flv looked like it was sending stills...
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Old September 4th, 2008, 12:20 AM   #15
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Hi Mark, I haven't had a chance to do much on this recently but when I get around to posting more videos I'll certainly be doing them in H.264 embedded in Flash. I'll almost certainly be using x264 via Megui but I'm not sure what settings I'll be using. But if I find software reasonably priced that uses the latest versions of the MainConcept H.264 codec then I might use that.
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