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Old July 2nd, 2004, 12:59 PM   #1
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Windows Media 9 - working great

After condiderable travail I finally got WM9 encoder working - just a stupid mistake on my part. The WM9 encoder can be downloaded for free from Microsoft's web site, and is capable of compressing HD1-10 files to allow about one-and-a-half hours on one DVD with quite good quality. In other words, it can compress 720P as well as MPG2 can compress 480I - maybe better! The downside is you need WinXP and a 2.5 GHz P4 to play it. I think we'll soon see some inexpensive DVD players that handle WM9. This would be great!

Here are my suggested steps:

1. After opening the program, immediately close the pop-up "wizard" box. (Using the wizard was my first mistake!)

2. With ZOOM drop-down choose 25%. With DISPLAY drop-down choose OUTPUT.

3. Select PROPERTIES (just above DISPLAY drop-down). A SESSION PROPERTIES window will now occupy the left half of your screen.

4. Under the SOURCE tab (wich should already be selected) choose SOURCE FROM - FILE.

5. Click BROWSE...

6. With FILES OF TYPE drop-down choose ALL FILES. You can now see m2t files.

7. Open the file of your choice. Use a short one for trial purposes - my 3GHz P4 takes about ten times running time to encode. Once you choose the file, it will take some time for the file name to appear in the window - seems very slow for 3GHz P4!

8. Select OUTPUT tab.

9. Check ARCHIVE TO FILE. Uncheck other two options. Assign file name.

10. Select COMPRESSION tab.

11. Under DESTINATION drop=down select WINDOWS MEDIA HARDWARE PROFILES.

12. Click EDIT... button. Here in the CUSTOM ENCODING SETTINGS window is where you can define a number of encoding parameters. Notice it defaults to CBR (Constant Bit Rate) at 4105 Kbps. I prefer QUALITY VBR (Variable Bit Rate) for both AUDIO and VIDEO under the MODE drop-downs. After choosing
VARIABLE, select the QUALITY-BASED tab at the top. Check that VIDEO SIZE and FRAME RATE are OK. I find that a VIDEO QUALITY setting of 65 - 70 to be the "sweet spot" for both quality and file size. Click OK.

While the rest of the tabs should be OK, I'd like to mention the PLUG-INS tab. It appears that not much is available, but if you click the REGISTER... button at the bottom you can add a number of plug-ins to the left column. (Notice this must be done separately for audio and video.) Plug-ins can then be activated and configured by shifting them to the right column. I like to add a little detail gain with the INTERVIDEO SHARPNESS (with my HD-10). The TV is fine, but I thought this helped the PC monitor.

13. Click the APPLY button at the bottom. (Then wait awhile!)

14. Click the START ENCODING button at the top.

15. Sit back and watch the (slow) progress.


Hope this helps someone.
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 09:41 AM   #2
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UPDATE

Just encoded an hour and twenty minutes at 68 with six second key frame, and it's only 1.09 GB. Not much motion though. There were a few artifacts, but very impressive for a file that small. I have done short trials with a lot of motion that would be over 4GB for that much time. Apparently motion means a LOT! VBR is unpredictable, but much better than CDR I think.

Anyone have any experiences to add!
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 09:49 AM   #3
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I wish there was a Mac version! But, with the latest announcements it looks like within a year both Mac and PC will have low-cost HD-DVD solutions for us all.

I'm curious - does anyone out there plan to buy a HD capable DVD player soon? The V Inc. one is available, I think?

Murph
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 05:18 PM   #4
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I would be thrilled to be proven wrong, but I don't believe V Inc's Bravo D3 has been released yet. The D2 is out and plays WM9, but not in high-def.

I am very eagerly awaiting these players, since WM9 clips from my HD1u look fan-dam-tastic on my PC monitor!!

Whether I will actually get a Bravo will depend on the initial on-line buzz: the D1 and D2 have both had some quirks and quality issues.

Waiting, waiting....mutter, mutter.
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 06:42 PM   #5
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I emailed V Inc. a while back and I'm on the Bravo D3 email list for when it gets released. The only thing I wonder is whether any encoded WM9 file will work or if it needs to be a certain bit rate. I'll be sure to read the tech specs first before I purchase. Does anyone know?
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Old July 5th, 2004, 02:14 PM   #6
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Shame that there are about 4 HD DVD formats right now:

WM9HD, HD Blue Laser, HD Red Laser (I hear has less quality that blue laser) and the H.264 (is that right???).

Let's hope they settle on one HD DVD format!

heath
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Old July 5th, 2004, 09:59 PM   #7
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Well personally I'm hoping it's anything but Windows Media 9, I just installed the WM9 player on my Mac to try and play .WMV files, and of course the first thing it does is crash, in fact I can't get any .wmv files to play on it!
When will this dinosaur of a company (Microsoft) learn to test their code before subjecting the general public to their apparant indiference to quality?
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Old July 5th, 2004, 10:17 PM   #8
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It's probably quantity over quality.

And don't you have a blazin' fast dual 2 ghz G5?!

heath
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Old July 6th, 2004, 08:37 AM   #9
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Personally.....I think wmv9 when it does mature will be an excellent format for shunting HD material around. I have had some bizarre occurances with WMP9, which show it's flakiness at this stage, as well as successes that flag it's potential. Anyone who mistakenly believes that ANY software house is going to magically provide the perfect HD solution at the first attempt should take a reality pill!!

As far as hardware for the playback of HD on HD capable displays.... I've been keeping my eye on the developments with the Roku HD 1000. Despite the promise that the V Inc. Bravo D3 may hold, it appears the Roku may be more mature and capable with HD10 material......and it's flexibility in connectivity is a major bonus. It's interesting that it's only been mentioned once here - I think by Heath - yet the Roku board has some posts from Roku owners who've successfully used it with HD10 footage. There's an upgrade to the Roku's software which apparently is set to unlock more of the unit's MPEG2 decoder chip capabilities.

Anyone here know for certain whether the Roku really does deliver for HD10 owners?
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