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Old October 24th, 2003, 02:20 AM   #1
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Behind the creation of a high-definition Windows Media 9 film

http://www.dv.com/features/features_item.jhtml;jsessionid=4HWMPIHN2XFOOQSNDBGCKHY?category=Archive&LookupId=/xml/feature/2003/johnson1103
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Old October 24th, 2003, 03:03 AM   #2
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Excellent article. Thanks for posting it, Ken.

I found this admission interesting: "You should also know that uncompressed WM9 color space is 8-bit 4:2:0 while uncompressed AVI is 4:2:2 in either 8-bit or 10-bit format, which is technically better quality, but we believe WM9 is very acceptable for independent theatrical playback."

We shouldn't expect WM9 technologies to be replacing 35 mm projection anytime soon. Perhaps with the next rev, Microsoft will allow for greater dynamic range and chroma fidelity.
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Old October 24th, 2003, 09:16 AM   #3
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The original MPEG2 signal imported from HD10 cams is in 4:2:0 space anyway.

So MS WMP9 does not lower the plank here at all.

Given WMP9's ability to deliver excellent-quality HD with 5.1 channel Surround Sound in small size files *with the minimal effort*, I'd say that it actually contributes more to the future of the HD distribution than any other format (D-VHS, blu-ray lasers...) at this time.

In my opinion, WMP9 is *the* platform for the HD movies distribution, being it home theater or movie theater.

Really easy to encode, too - just use a stand-alone, Free WMP9 encoder, or simply export your timeline from Premiere Pro directly into WMP9 format.

The only missing link for mass-distribution is a set-top player for WMP9 files for home theater. Given that MS Xbox already supports 720p HD Component out, one could hope that MS or its partners will come up with WMP9 player based on Xbox or alike.

(*Movie theaters* do not depend on this as they already have a specialized hardware for playing WMP9 files.)
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Old October 24th, 2003, 01:26 PM   #4
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Phenomenal article.

The subject matter of this topic essentially ends the 'HD10 vs DV 24P for feature film' debate.

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Old October 24th, 2003, 07:44 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Alex Raskin : Given WMP9's ability to deliver excellent-quality HD with 5.1 channel Surround Sound in small size files *with the minimal effort*, I'd say that it actually contributes more to the future of the HD distribution than any other format (D-VHS, blu-ray lasers...) at this time. -->>>

WM9 is not incompatible with Blu-ray. WM9 is just a codec.

But I don't believe we will ever see any Asian company put an MS codec into their products.

The next codec that will be used is MPEG-4+. Sony is already using MPEG-4 for HD in its HDCAM-RT.

It will be as good as WM9 and not something MS owns. Plus Apple QT is going the MPEG-4 way.

I suspect we'll see WM9 be as succesful as MS TV. Neat technology, but without acceptance worldwide. Few want MS into their business, especially Sony.
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Old October 25th, 2003, 11:12 AM   #6
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WM9 HD-DVD may become the defacto standard if the flighting between the media companies doesn't stop. WM9 HD-DVD players will be on the market 6 to 9 months before any consumer blu-ray (which we can't yet produce content for.) Microsoft might win this.

Samsung HD-DVD WM9 player due in January 2004.
http://www.cdfreaks.com/news2.php?ID=7696
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Old October 25th, 2003, 11:25 AM   #7
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Wait until Sony makes it clear that going with the Samsung, if we ever see it, will not play pre-recorded Hollywood HD DVDs.

Also, Sony is already selling a Blu-ray HD DVD RECORDERS in Japan and all other Japanese companies have shown Blu-ray. If they want one in the USA they can have it here overnight.

They are only waiting for agreement on copyprotection -- not technology.

Red-laser, WM9 is just FUD around the fact the future is Blu-ray and MPEG-2 followed by MEG-4+.

MS getting one Korean company to talk about a WM9 HD DVD is just FUD from Bill.

He's getting no place in cable boxes despite buying into cable systems. And he still can't beat Palm. Only when MS has an existing monoply can MS succeed.

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Old October 25th, 2003, 11:53 AM   #8
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Your thinking is around Sony being the dominant player (which it is in this market), yet Sony has a history of screwing up the introduction of better technology (Blu-ray could equal BetaMAX -- note: I hope it doesn't.) The DRM issues from the studios in what is messing this up. We could have MPEG4 HD red-laser today if Sony wanted it, and blue-ray could follow later (imagine a whole session of HD Buffy on a single DVD :) ) Sony is of course conflicted as a content producer and electronics company. There are compelling reason for both technologies. MS has an opening because its licensing is cheaper and there is a market appetite for HD content. There will be a market for the Samsung unit, if large enough, prepare for an in market format war.

PS. Of course I was suggesting that we can make HD DVD without upgrading our DVD burners.
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Old October 25th, 2003, 06:15 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by David Newman : PS. Of course I was suggesting that we can make HD DVD without upgrading our DVD burners. -->>>

Yes, that part is great. And fpr those with PC-based media systems with HD out -- it is a perfect solution.

Although I could not get 6-10mbps to playback. It always paused for several seconds at the start. Then played fine. Looked great.
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Old October 28th, 2003, 06:10 PM   #10
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I'm wondering what people use as their WMP9 bit rate? What is the best it can do...while still being able to run on most computer systems
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Old October 28th, 2003, 06:50 PM   #11
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I have found a 6Mbit average (allowing for peaks of 18Mbits) to be very good quality and decodable on nearly all 2.xGHz PCs.
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Old October 28th, 2003, 09:06 PM   #12
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can I encode with higher bitrate, such as 8M or 10M, then the quality is better?
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Old October 28th, 2003, 10:22 PM   #13
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Yes you can and the quality is a little better, however as the bit-rate climbs decoding CPU requirements will increase (although not much for 8-10Mbit.) I haven't done tests to say at what bit-rate what CPU speed is required.
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Old October 28th, 2003, 10:36 PM   #14
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well the advantage of the WM9 is that it compresses HighDef video to such low sizes, so we can use current technology as a medium. If the technology is here, then i don't see why we need to wait for blue-ray.
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Old October 29th, 2003, 07:34 AM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Yang Wen : ...WMP9...If the technology is here, then i don't see why we need to wait for blue-ray. -->>>

Because WMP9 files of good quality cannot be successfully played on the average PC.

Try playing Terminator 2 HD WMP9 (included on the DVD set of Extreme edition).

That's why I'm awaiting set-top boxes that would be able to decode and play WMP9s of high bitrate off of the DVD-ROMs.

This way we keep our DVD burners, and all is needed is to buy another $80 DVD player, now with the WMP9 decoder - no big deal financially to anyone!

I wrote Bill Gates about the need of set-top machines for WMP9, but haven't heard anything back as of now.

Hope MS pushes this thing (they already submitted WMP9 as SMPTE standard) on the hardware level as fast as possible. I'd love to move away from D-VHS as a distribution media, and back to the standard red laser DVD-ROMs, provided that manufacturers mass-produce WMP9 players as set-top boxes.
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