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Dirac 1.0.0 Released

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the open-standards-the-movie dept.

Media 127

dylan_- writes "According to their website, 'Dirac is an advanced royalty-free video compression format designed for a wide range of uses, from delivering low-resolution web content to broadcasting HD and beyond, to near-lossless studio editing.' Now a stable version of the dirac-research codebase, Dirac 1.0.0, has been released. The BBC have already successfully used the new codec during the Beijing Olympics and are looking to push it to more general use throughout the organisation. The latest version of VLC (the recently released 0.9.2) has support for Dirac using the Schroedinger library."

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127 comments

For low values of success (-1, Redundant)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086367)

The BBC have already successfully used the new codec during the Beijing Olympics...

With success like broadcasting the olympics, who needs failure?

Re:For low values of success (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086477)

Come again?

Re:For low values of success (0)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086631)

Unfortunately using the new codec will probably not help the BBC much. Once upon a time a BBC camera department training was regarded as being one of the best in the world. BBC cameramen were highly sought after.

Nowadays, you'll be very lucky if any of them know where the iris control or white balance is on a camera. Id guess that at least about 40% of all shots from news or sports footage is overexposed by at least 2 stops.

In addition, they have been very slow to make the change to HD, most other countries' TV companies changed over far faster than they did. Much of their "quality drama" output is still shot on 16mm film rather than 24p HD too -- mainly due to resistance to change from Camera depts, and a lack of talent therein.

Why even bother with a new codec, unless it's cheaper -- no-one in the BBC seems to care a damn about visual quality.

Re:For low values of success (4, Insightful)

ATMD (986401) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086707)

Could it be that the BBC's slowness to offer HD is related to the fact that most license payers receive their broadcasts via analogue or "Freeview" digital, neither of which currently support it? I guess they have better things to spend their limited budget on.

Re:For low values of success (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086945)

In a nutshell, yes. HD is also not much of a big deal to the vast majority of television viewers either. The only reason there is such a fuss over it in the United States is mostly because they are rolling out HD and digital at the same time: most of the improvement has come from the change to digital, not HD. In Europe it's not such a big deal because we've already switched to digital. HD is "nice" but it's not the huge leap in visual quality some people would like you to believe.

Re:For low values of success (2, Interesting)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087305)

I strongly disagree that "most of the improvement has come from the change to digital, not HD". TVs don't magically become a higher resolution when you add a digital decoder! The main benefit(?) of digital has been more channels.

I see a huge difference in quality between SD and HD. The most damaging thing for HD that I've seen is that many retailers used to play SD content on HDTVs, which isn't particularly suited for a TFT/LCD screen and can look terrible.

Re:For low values of success (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088125)

Yes,it is nice to have HD,the problem is that the big companies will ruin it by compressing [avsforum.com] the hell out of it to squeeze in more channels. personally,seeing as how many artifacts end up in the overly compressed HD,I'd personally rather have uncompressed SD than HD,thank you very much. I'm just lucky I'm on a small cableco that is going to stick with SD until they are finished upgrading their network,which they figure will take around 2 years. New servers,lots of fiber being laid,and with each new piece my Internet connection gets a little faster and snappier. But if all the providers start compressing the hell out of the HD signals I don't see HD adoption taking off. Who in the hell would want HD if they compress it so bad it looks like a low bitrate .wmv? But as always this is my 02c,YMMV

Re:For low values of success (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089441)

The main benefit(?) of digital has been more channels.

The main benefit to consumers is less noise in the signal, drastically improving the quality. Resolution isn't the only measure of quality.

Re:For low values of success (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090779)

TVs don't magically become a higher resolution when you add a digital decoder! The main benefit(?) of digital has been more channels.

Exactly! And "most of the improvement" is more channels! Outside of (a subset of) Slashdot and a few A/V forums, nobody really gives a shit about HD!

Re:For low values of success (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25091013)

Well, the difference I notice with a good HD feed is like the difference between looking at a picture and looking into one. Subtle, but it's there. Unfortunately few of the "HD" providers really seem to actually use it. (Or know how?) HD is actually noticible on a couple Discovery HD shows and some special HD programming for PBS. (Amazingly enough.) But a lot of the other channels that say "HD" don't really seem to embrace it properly. The few shows that say "HD" on the big 3 networks seem only to be a reframed and up-sampled standard resolution image. Bigger, the colors are smoother, and it tends to fit the screen better than what the TV automatically does with a SD channel. But you notice that it fails in comparison to a good HD feed because it completely lacks the depth and sharpness.

The fact that cable companies can also garbage up a good HD feed with their compression, and that the major networks tend to scrimp on HD quality except for a few special events or some sports programming doesn't help any. I suppose blu-ray doesn't help either, a more open format for recorded media might help HD better than what networks and cable are doing.

Re:For low values of success (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087755)

Could it be that the BBC's slowness to offer HD is related to the fact that most license payers receive their broadcasts via analogue or "Freeview" digital, neither of which currently support it? I guess they have better things to spend their limited budget on.

Who on earth modded that insightful? It makes no sense! It's completely wrong. It has nothing to do with the broadcast format, but the recording format. Using 16mm film is FAR, FAR more expensive than HD video.

It also means that other countries are less likely to buy their output. Thus ending in a downward spiral of quality, due to less money being available for production.

The changeover has nothing to do with cost, and everything to do with resistance to change and a erroneous, misguided elitism that film is better. 35mm might be for some things, but 16mm is dead tech, other than as a training medium for 35mm.

Re:For low values of success (1)

Relyx (52619) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088933)

These days HD content is more likely to be recorded onto a high end digital video format like HDCAM. Many of the cameras are descended from the old DigiBeta camcorders seen on news cameramens' shoulders. There are also cameras such as the Sony F23, Thomson Grassvalley Viper, the Panavision Genesis and the Arri D20 which bear a closer resemblance to those from the world of film. These are mostly used on features, commercials and music videos.

Re:For low values of success (2, Insightful)

lxt (724570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086919)

16mm is a perfectly viable format for 24p HD, so your question is something of a contradiction. Sure, the quality might not be as good as it could be, but it serves a niche market for low budget HD output on 'quality' drama. Comparing the BBC's HD drama output to the stuff in the States is disingenuous, not least because HD penetration in the UK is extremely low but also because shows in the UK tend to run on lower budgets anyway than prime-time US serials.

Re:For low values of success (2, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086971)

Id guess that at least about 40% of all shots from news or sports footage is overexposed by at least 2 stops.

And I thought that was some kind of UK New Wave artsy Duane Hopkins/dogma thing they were going for.

Once again, I mistake incompetence for artistic innovation.

Re:For low values of success (5, Insightful)

ttlgDaveh (798546) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087035)

Someone's evidentially not been watching Top Gear [topgear.com] , which features some of the best camera work on TV and film.

Re:For low values of success (1)

zyzko (6739) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088091)

Not to mention that Top Gear looks absolutely stunning in HD - check the Polar Special, it is definitive HD demo material.

But the grandparent has a point. Digital terrestial TV is kind-of half baked in most European countries because they went with DVB-T (MPEG 2). (As did my country, Finland). That means that without new boxes the terrestial customers are left with SD until the next "big change". And since the as in the UK and in Finland there are similiar terrestial networks the national TV companies (BBC in the UK, YLE here) are not that interested in producing HD content for cable customers. YLE did the Beijing Games in HD as a test for a small ammount of terrestial customers living withing coverage of one broadcast tower, though.

I'm not an advocate of delaying transition to digital TV, but in countries where there is a strong public tv company (like in UK and in Finland) it might have been better to wait for DVB-T2 and MPEG4 and transition to HD at the same time. Here in Finland YLE promises HD content maybe in 2016, until that it is cable and satellite and no public tv in HD I fear...

And to those who think public TV is crap and I should go for commercial cable / sat receiving anyway: What we have from YLE here is quite good actually - quality news and documentry (of course to be applied with the normal critical thinking and not believing the only source) and for an example recently they bought the rights for all the HBO shows and BBC material is also quite common. HD would be very, very nice, thankyou...

top gear = rockin' :) (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088263)

I've seen only one episode (vsiting a friend who watches TV more than I do, and who gets more channels), but it made me want to see many more. (The one I saw was about zooming and crunching through East Africa in beaters purchased in-country -- pretty impressive how they all held up, actually, though all suffered pretty badly.)

Thanks for your support, TV licensees of Britain!

timothy

Re:top gear = rockin' :) (2, Funny)

caluml (551744) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088667)

Thanks for your support, TV licensees of Britain!

Uh, that's OK. Just send me some money, and I'll make sure it gets passed on to the right pub... I mean people.

Re:For low values of success (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25089157)

Someone's evidentially not been watching Top Gear [topgear.com] , which features some of the best camera work on TV and film.

No no, you're right. One show out of the hundreds that the BBC produces invalidates his whole fucking point.

Re:For low values of success (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090881)

Except that all that great camera work detracts from the actual cars shown. I love the show, but recently i've been steering towards Fifth Gear which lets me look at a car from specific angle for more than a fraction of a second.

really? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086375)

Remember when we all used GIF until somebody came out of the closet with a patent claim. How can we be sure about this one?

Re:really? (5, Informative)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086417)

Read their site. From the FAQ [diracvideo.org] :

Do you infringe any patents?

The short answer is that we don't know for certain, but we're pretty sure we don't.
We haven't employed armies of lawyers to trawl through the tens of thousands of video compression techniques. That's not the way to invent a successful algorithm. Instead we've tried to use techniques of long standing in novel ways.

What will you do if you infringe patents?

Code round them, first and foremost. There are many alternative techniques to each of the technologies used within Dirac.
Dirac is relatively modular (which is one reason why it's a conventional hybrid codec rather than, say, 3D wavelets) so removing or adding tools was relatively easy, even though this may mean issuing a new version of the specification.

Re:really? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086703)

The real question is, how does it fare against good H.264 encoders e.g. x264? And how are the encoding speeds?

The few comparisons I've seen put H.264 as having the edge when it comes to both, but not by a lot.

Re:really? (4, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086833)

Encoding and decoding is presently fat and slow. It's very much in development.

Re:really? (4, Interesting)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088193)

Since you claim this I assume that you tried the 1.0.0 already - I watched the promo vid, and it says the BBC is using the codec to handle HD content over their standard def infrastructure at very low latency (a few ms, if I remember correctly).

Nonetheless, this seems to be an interesting thing to keep an eye on, because the codec specs address good compression especially for very high bandwidths, which is going to be an important issue for movie post production/processing, HD content and the likes. The promo vid is well worth watching.

Great, but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086389)

I tried using the Schrodinger library but I'm uncertain it works. Plus, I can't find my cat.

Re:Great, but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086407)

Plus, I can't find my cat.

Be glad for that, as long as you dont you might still have one.

Re:Great, but... (4, Funny)

tobiasly (524456) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086765)

I tried using the Schrodinger library but I'm uncertain it works. Plus, I can't find my cat.

I hate to tell you, but your cat is dead. And/or not.

Pantsents by CANON (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086391)

CANON pantsentize DiraC.

0xBBCD (4, Interesting)

hey (83763) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086413)

I see the first 4 bytes are 0xBBCD.
British Broadcasting Corporation Dirac.

Re:0xBBCD (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086517)

Did you mean to say the FOURCC (which is usually not the first four bytes) is 'BBCD'? 0xBBCD is usually two bytes...

Re:0xBBCD (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086549)

Isn't that just 2 bytes? :)

*nibbles on parent's geek card*

Re:0xBBCD (2, Informative)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086911)

The size of a byte doesn't have to be 8 bits, though it usually is.

Re:0xBBCD (3, Funny)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087053)

It doesn't? It's Blasphemy! In the beginning, there was word. And in word there was two bytes. In two bytes there was 16 bits. And the root saw it was good.

Re:0xBBCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25087067)

Well that sure is news to me. I'm gonna punch my assembly teacher in the face next time I see him.

Re:0xBBCD (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089481)

Assembly is platform specific. When dealing with a specific platform, the number of bits in a byte doesn't change.

Re:0xBBCD (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25089815)

Oh, you'd be surprised. It's amazing what you can see in data formats such as serial communications.

Re:0xBBCD (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25090303)

That's communicating between different platforms. I was referring specifically to local computations.

Re:0xBBCD (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25091135)

But it's not communicating between different platforms. Or rather, it need not be. The amount of hardware on which a byte equals 8 buts, but still use '9600-7-e-1' or 9600 baud, 7-bit, even parity, one stop bit serial communications on their primary serial port is quite large, even if they're only talking to another such machine. And irrelevant of the internal computation byte size, most machines have to deal with flat ASCII text, which is typically 8-bit bytes.

My point is that byte size is also protocol dependent for all sorts of communications, even platform specific ones.

Oh snap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25088287)

Geeks are getting uppity now!

Open source overkill (4, Interesting)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086435)

From the FAQ:

What are the license conditions?

The Schrodinger software is available under any of the GPLv2, MIT or MPL licences. Libraries may also be used under LGPL.

Sounds like someone wanted there to be no question about whether it was open source.

Re:Open source overkill (5, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086497)

The Schrodinger software is available under any of the GPLv2, MIT or MPL licences. Libraries may also be used under LGPL.

Sounds like someone wanted there to be no question about whether it was open source.

Sounds to me like the license exists in multiple states at once, which may be exactly the way Schrodinger would have liked it.

Re:Open source overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25089243)

Hmm maybe every time observation about license is made the license collapses to one specific eigenlicense? So first step in solving dispute concerning the license random roll of dice is made to decide which particular license is used?

Re:Open source overkill (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086505)

I am not sure, but isn't MIT one good enough to relicense it to (L)GPL or MPL?

Re:Open source overkill (5, Informative)

MrWim (760798) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086647)

The GPL makes assurances regarding patents that the MIT license doesn't:

"Each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under the contributor's essential patent claims, to make, use, sell, offer for sale, import and otherwise run, modify and propagate the contents of its contributor version."

So if you use it as a GPL licensed library you can't get sued by the BBC or other contributors to the code.

Re:Open source overkill (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086955)

Yes - GPL says that explicitly, bit MIT (copyright holders) grant you:

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so ...

So they GRANT you to do with it more less anything, even if they own patents and they can not take their word back and saying ... ops, we're sorry, we have some patents, so we will sue you now.

Of course they can not grant you immunity to third party patents, but neither GPL guys...

Re:Open source overkill (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087215)

Isn't that clause new to the GPLv3?

Re:Open source overkill (2, Informative)

dapyx (665882) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087981)

No, the GPLv3 has clauses about using the code in a DRM system, the anti-patents clause has been for a long time.

Re:Open source overkill (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088069)

I seem to recall something about a Novell-MS dealbreaker being in the GPLv3 that, if adopted by the kernel itself, would mean a lot of fireworks, but I might be thinking of something else.

I'm definitely not talking about the Tivoization clause.

Performance? Benefits? (3, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086449)

How does it stack up to other codecs?

Do we need another codec?

Re:Performance? Benefits? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086533)

We don't need another codec, per se, we need a royalty free codec, that can be legally implemented in FOSS situations, and others without a lot of legal overhead. Assuming it isn't markedly worse than others in performance terms, Dirac qualifies. If by some miracle(class II or greater) mpeg4 were available under such terms, there wouldn't be any point to Dirac; but that isn't exactly likely.

Re:Performance? Benefits? (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087229)

Exactly, Matroska is great and all from a freedom standpoint, but technically it's far behind the encumbered ones.

At least we have ogg for audio, it seems like nothing can beat it in terms of quality/bitrate:-)

Re:Performance? Benefits? (1)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087355)

Matroska is a container, not a codec.

Re:Performance? Benefits? (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087455)

Yeah I realized that after I wrote this:-) I meant Theora. Oopsie.

Re:Performance? Benefits? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25088149)

Also, try to encode with the newer versions of Theora. It has gotten much improvements in the last year - quality problems were never in the decoding as some will have you believe, but that the encoder pretty much sucked.

Not sure what you expect and I'm no video buff... but it sure looks a LOT better.

(You may still be right, of course. I've just found that 99% of all who state anything about anythings quality usually have formed their opinion once, maybe years ago, and then keep on repeating it).

Re:Performance? Benefits? (2, Interesting)

Tweenk (1274968) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087369)

Matroska is not a codec. It is a container format, and it beats any closed-source competitions hands own on features (e.g. as far as I know it is the only format that supports embedding custom TrueType fonts for subtitles).

The best video encoding combo right now is:
- Matroska as the container
- H.264 for video
- Ogg Vorbis for audio
- ASS for subtitles

Re:Performance? Benefits? (2, Interesting)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088237)

How does Vorbis really compare against AAC? Besides the whole royalty/patent free issue, does Vorbis really beat out AAC? (Ignoring royalty/patent issues here because you also mentioned H264)

Re:Performance? Benefits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25089675)

OGG is far behind AAC in terms of quality/bitrate. And from what I hear Dirac is only comparable to good old MPEG-4 ASP (divx/xvid), not to AVC (H.264).

Free as in beer or speech? (1)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088195)

This came up in yesterday's discussion of the Canonical codec pack.

Standardized codecs, like VC-1 and H.264, have full open specifications and typically even reference source code implementations that can be reused in a variety of ways.

However, they also require patent fees depending on use and jurisdiction.

The issue of free software has always been asserted to be about "speech, not beer" but it seems like there's an assumption that it has to be free as in "speech AND beer." I'm sure all kind of arguments can be made that it should be that way, but everything I've read recently sort of begs that question by conflating the issues of closed source and patent licensing. When to me they look like pretty orthogonal issues; all of the reasons why people say they like open source are still delivered if the source is open, irrespective of whether a patent fee is paid. And MEPG-LA makes patent administration and payment pretty straightforward under RAND terms.

Did I just miss some prior discussions?

Re:Free as in beer or speech? (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088501)

You are right and wrong. If I want to keep MPEG-LA happy, i need to pay quite a bit of money if there are more than 100K downloads IIRC. For a open source project that is *not* selling the code it is a lot of money. Most OS projects are not done with money, but with time.

How many copies of mplayer do you think are out there? Its a lot more than 100K copies.

But here is the real rub. Even if you pay the fees, they give *no* guarantee what so ever that you are not infringing some other patent.

Also these non discriminatory terms are crap. If the fee is high enough, it discriminates plenty. Add to that the bulk of these patents are utter rubbish. I would say there are not with the spirit of anything free, freedom, beer, or otherwise.

Re:Free as in beer or speech? (1)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088821)

You are right and wrong. If I want to keep MPEG-LA happy, i need to pay quite a bit of money if there are more than 100K downloads IIRC. For a open source project that is *not* selling the code it is a lot of money. Most OS projects are not done with money, but with time.

But if you're just distributing the source, you wouldn't need to pay the patent. If it's a real product, or if users are compiling it into one, is doesn't seem to be an infringement on "freedom" in the classic RMS definition to wind up paying a fee. You still have full control over the code and technology used.

But here is the real rub. Even if you pay the fees, they give *no* guarantee what so ever that you are not infringing some other patent.

Theoretically true, although that hasn't happened much in practice, at least in this space. And Theora and Dirac are in the same legal position, and don't have the market effet of lots of companies looking for patents to assert to get a share of the MPEG-LA revenue.

Also these non discriminatory terms are crap. If the fee is high enough, it discriminates plenty. Add to that the bulk of these patents are utter rubbish. I would say there are not with the spirit of anything free, freedom, beer, or otherwise.

Have you actually all of the H.264 or VC-1 patents? If so, you've got more patience than I do!

Also, it's not ND, but RAND - REASONABLE and non-discrimintory. If anything H.264 and VC-1 are much more reasonable than MPEG-2, since they're a lot cheaper per unit and have an annual cap for high-volume products.

Anyway, feel free to hate software patents, but it seems to me like that's a different issue than open source.

wavelet codec (1)

pikine (771084) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088431)

What about Dirac being a wavelet based codec that has inter-frame motion compensation? Wavelet is superior to DCT-based codec, like mpeg-1, 2, and h.264. Dirac's inter-frame encoding is also something that motion JPEG 2000 doesn't have.

Re:Performance? Benefits? (5, Informative)

Tab is on Slashdot (853634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086667)

How does it stack up to other codecs?

As I say below, unfortunately the quality is lacking compared to modern codecs like H.264 and even (dare I say) VC-1. Apparently that's just the nature of using wavelets. While they give a very natural style of compression on still images (JPEG-2000, etc), they do not translate well to moving sequences because, unlike all other current codecs, the image is not broken up into blocks that can then be tracked and diff'd in time. Still, it'll be interesting to follow Dirac, if only because they're taking a radical new approach with only Michael Niedermayer's Snow as a peer.

Re:Performance? Benefits? (4, Informative)

delt0r (999393) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086773)

As I state below. Most of codecs performance has to do with the encoder. At 1.0.0 its too early to tell if the format/codec design is limited.

However a great codec without a good encoder is no good at all. But its early days yet considering h.264 has been around for 5+ years.

Re:Performance? Benefits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086811)

Apparently that's just the nature of using wavelets.

Dirac doesn't use wavelets.

Re:Performance? Benefits? (5, Informative)

Tab is on Slashdot (853634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086869)

Dirac employs wavelet compression, instead of the discrete cosine transforms used in most older codecs (such as H.264/MPEG-4 AVC or SMPTE's VC-1). Dirac is one of several projects attempting to apply wavelets to video compression. Others include Rududu [2], Snow and Tarkin. Wavelet compression has already proven its viability in the JPEG 2000 compression standard for photographic images.

Yes it does :|

Re:Performance? Benefits? (2, Funny)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087097)

The codec is new, give it a few months.

Early DVDs looked like shitty 90% compressed jpegs too, you know.

Re:Performance? Benefits? (2, Interesting)

Tab is on Slashdot (853634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087205)

Update: I've been told by the devs that Dirac is optimized for HD live action, wheres my tests have thus far involved SD animated content, so, YMMV. I'll have to try some live action sources next.

fuck muslims (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086465)

i'm so glad that they are dying by the score. their little faggot religion is shit and is bringing down the human race. give up your faggot religion muslim bitches.

fuck mohammad, fuck allah, fuck islam.

raghead faggots.

Content (4, Interesting)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086469)

I was wondering where I could find some vids to check out quality vs. file sizes and found this [bbc.co.uk] index of demo files. Looks great in VLC, quite impressive even at lower bitrates.

Underwhelming Results (1)

Tab is on Slashdot (853634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086475)

While it's very cool what the BBC is doing, and it's good to see wavelet technology being pushed, Dirac 1.0 falls extremely short in my tests (at least on animated material at medium bitrates). In the H.264 era, the quality is unacceptable. Here's hoping they'll be able to keep improving it. On the other hand, I know at least one x264 dev who's convinced that OBMC wavelets will never match the quality of MC block-based approaches without a major breakthrough.

News from OGG Theora, too! (5, Informative)

c0l0 (826165) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086619)

Dirac isn't the only royality-free, patent-unencumbered video codec there is - Xiph's OGG Theora has been around a while already, yet failed to impress quality-wise up until recently. There's some really cool development going on however, and you may see some of the results achieved over there: http://xiphmont.livejournal.com/35363.html [livejournal.com]

It's noteworthy that the changes made only affect the ENCODER, thus no changes to the DECODER (the part of a codec all applications used to play back files have included) are necessary. This bodes very well for HTML5, which will include some support for Theora on at least Mozilla (and iirc Opera) browsers.

Re:News from OGG Theora, too! (5, Interesting)

Tab is on Slashdot (853634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086733)

Theora gets a bad rap for being outdated technology, but it does have a few advantages over MPEG-4 ASP: the loop filter, adaptive block sizes, and multiple reference frames, putting it closer to H.264 than MPEG-4 ASP. With these features, it's really a pretty strong showing from Xiph, and things can only get better as the encoder nears 1.0.

Re:News from OGG Theora, too! (1)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088255)

Except that Theora not only start being behind the then-emerging H.264 and VC-1, but its implementations are launch were quite a bit weaker than even Xvid of the era, and have essentially stagnated.

And since then, it's fallen even further behind; the implementations of standardized codecs has been improving a lot more each year than Theora, as have proprietary codecs like the later entries in On2's VPx series (Theora was forked from VP3; On2 just announced VP8).

There's been some interesting work in the last year or so, but very much research, not development. The new screen shots showing improvement a few months ago didn't even include rate control, and weren't close to being usable in production.

In the same six months, x264 has made a variety of dramatic improvements that are already usable in the real world.

So, question: why so little progress on Theora for so long? For all the focus of the industry on "we must have a non-patent encumbered codec!" it seems like the open source efforts have all gone into xvid and x264. Anyone know what was blocking progress on Theora for so long?

Re:News from OGG Theora, too! (4, Insightful)

delt0r (999393) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086749)

This is a big point. The Encoder is far more important that the rest of the codec. Folks talk about xvid and divx as if they are codecs when really they are different encoders for mpeg4.

Both Theora and Dirac have plenty of space to move with regard to encoders.

However there is no easy way to measure "distortion" of the encoded image that matches the human visual system all that well. (unlike audio). But I expect most codecs to get better in the next few years because of encoders. (including h264).

Ironically h264 does so well because of the availability of a free, fast and good quality encoder done my the community. Not the license owners.

Re:News from OGG Theora, too! (2, Insightful)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086827)

However there is no easy way to measure "distortion" of the encoded image that matches the human visual system all that well. (unlike audio).

How do you objectively measure psychoacoustic distortion? Do the same techniques not apply to vision simply due to unknown constants or is there some more fundamental reason?

Re:News from OGG Theora, too! (5, Informative)

delt0r (999393) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086993)

In sound the idea of masking works really well. That is if there is a loud sound at a particular frequency we tend to not be able to hear sounds that are a low in pitch and a bit quieter (IIRC). Its effectively masked. The other big advantage is also the linear nature of sound.

But the human visual system is a *lot* more complicated. IIRC about 1/3 or our brains are used for visual perception. Currently we use PSNR (Peek signal to noise ratio) as a measure. But this has been shown many times to be a very poor indication of what we perceive. One example is blocking. Blocking cause straight lines to form in the image and our brains lock on to them far more quickly that other artifacts.

Next is the colour and the 2d nature of a image. Then add that the eyes do a bunch of preprocessing on motion perception and its getting quite difficult. Finally we have the method of comparison. Which often involves comparing still images from the video stream. Yet if thats a high motion scene the codec might be better off encoding these frames with low quality because we can't perceive the quality loss combined with fast motion.

Lets also not forget how many people think youtube is good quality or at worse, good enough!

Re:News from OGG Theora, too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25090125)

In sound the idea of masking works really well. That is if there is a loud sound at a particular frequency we tend to not be able to hear sounds that are a low in pitch and a bit quieter (IIRC). Its effectively masked. The other big advantage is also the linear nature of sound.

But the human visual system is a *lot* more complicated. IIRC about 1/3 or our brains are used for visual perception. Currently we use PSNR (Peek signal to noise ratio) as a measure. But this has been shown many times to be a very poor indication of what we perceive. One example is blocking. Blocking cause straight lines to form in the image and our brains lock on to them far more quickly that other artifacts.

Next is the colour and the 2d nature of a image. Then add that the eyes do a bunch of preprocessing on motion perception and its getting quite difficult. Finally we have the method of comparison. Which often involves comparing still images from the video stream. Yet if thats a high motion scene the codec might be better off encoding these frames with low quality because we can't perceive the quality loss combined with fast motion.

Lets also not forget how many people think youtube is good quality or at worse, good enough!

So you want a psychovisual compression scheme, like what MP3 has done for audio, get rid of the crap we can't see?

Re:News from OGG Theora, too! (1)

lxt (724570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086951)

However there is no easy way to measure "distortion" of the encoded image that matches the human visual system all that well. (unlike audio)..

I'm not sure I agree with that...and I think the fact that there are people who *can* tell the difference between a 256kbs MP3 and CD-audio and those who *can't* perhaps shows that there's no easy way to map quality of audio onto something that matches human perception. There are plenty of technical ways however, both for audio and visual. I'm not sure where you're getting this from.

Re:News from OGG Theora, too! (4, Interesting)

delt0r (999393) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087055)

All the R&D papers I have read and from folk in the field working on this. Its well recognized that psychoacoustic models are far more developed than psycho visual models.

I don't doubt that some people can tell the difference between flac and mp3/ogg/aac. But the true number is far less than the claimed number (do a proper blind test to really find out). Also you don't design codecs for 0.5% of the population that can hear the difference, but for the 90% that can't and the other 9.5% that don't care.

Now its a fact that PSNR is used in most encoders. Its also widely recognized that it is not a good measure. I have done my own image compression and got better PSNR than jpeg per bit, and yet it looked far worse.

So I'm not really sure where you getting the idea that is even in the same category as audio.

Where is the windows codec. (0, Troll)

NuclearFirestorm (1235886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087029)

The new VLC can decode dirac files, but there is no way to encode in windows. So this wonderful release doesn't do 99% of the world much good.

Re:Where is the windows codec. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25087117)

Windows is not 99% of the world. It is, depending on who you ask, between 88% and 95% of all desktop computer users. Of course, most of those don't give a damn about encoding Dirac files; the proportion of Windows users among highly IT literate, technically minded people is somewhat lower.

Re:Where is the windows codec. (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087189)

Hmmm... "Killer application" drives adoption of platform.

Most people on Windows only consume, not produce.

Flower chase the sunshine.

Re:Where is the windows codec. (2, Interesting)

figleaf (672550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087195)

I downloaded the code from sourceforge and compiled the code using Visual Studio 2008.
Looks like the encoder is distributed in source format only. I could not locate any pre-built binaries.

I am having trouble figuring out what the command-line parameters mean from the README supplied in the source tarball.
This certainly needs better documentation for non technical users.

The samples certainly look impressive. I will try to compare it against my current favorite encoder -- x264 -- over the weekend.

Re:Where is the windows codec. (2, Interesting)

figleaf (672550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25088523)

Took me a while to figure I needed to use YUV input.
Unfortunately, it looks like Dirac is no match for x264. :(
Even VC-1 beats Dirac.

Re:Where is the windows codec. (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25087301)

It's development software; new innovative software tends to be one platform, generally whatever the devs are most comfortable with. I don't know a thing about windows software engineering since early xp, but if I make something cool enough for linux someone else will probably be interested in porting it.

Video processing is commonly done on non-windows platforms because then you don't need a per-computer license for each node in the render farm, and FOSS software can follow an edl as easily as the proprietary stuff that created it. Maybe that's what bbc is using?

Just a guess

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