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On2 Releases VP6 video codec

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the looking-pretty dept.

Programming 111

A reader writes:"On2 Technologies, the folks who brought you the open-source VP3 video codec (now managed by Theora.org), have released our latest codec, VP6. Highlights include hi-def support with no encoder restrictions, real-time encoding at full D1 resolution, and substantial performance & quality improvements over VP5. Best of all: no "patent pooling" restrictions or external licensing fees, a la MPEG-4."

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111 comments

FRIST PSOT!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5936797)

DCR SPAMCANNON!

Hurrah! (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936911)

A glorious day for video pirates and pedophiles everywhere.

On2. Sponsored by islam.

This ad paid for by On2 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5936799)

On2 Technologies, the folks who brought you the open-source VP3 video codec (now managed by Theora.org), have released our latest codec, VP6.

Glad to see people can just submit press releases.

Re:This ad paid for by On2 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5936811)

Yeah no shit. "A reader" wrote that then did they? Yeah, right.

Re:This ad paid for by On2 (0, Insightful)

kerneljacabo (320052) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936814)

This isnt just simply any oddball posting up a press release. It is very beneficial to let the community know about large announcemnts. Personally, I think this is fabulous!! Its about time we had a codec like this with all the stupid restrictions.

Re:This ad paid for by On2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5936865)

At least this is honest, unlike many of the other blatant slashvertisements I've seen posted as "articles". (ie; anything that Apple is hocking)

Re:This ad paid for by On2 (4, Funny)

fobbman (131816) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936878)

On a positive note, PR folks tend to send their releases through spell-checkers before they publish them.

Re:This ad paid for by On2 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5936912)

Yes but this is Slashdot. Even if the original text was 100% error free, the "editors" of Slashdot would still introduce at least one error in an attempt to make it "blend in" with the rest of the badly spelled rubbish.

Re:This ad paid for by On2 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5938601)

Since there's no download, nor - if history serves as a guide - will there be a download to test, I think this is fairly irrelevant.
Since I've never come across On2-encoded video I suspect that this codec isn't worth the hassle.

Re:demo for download (0, Redundant)

Herr_Nightingale (556106) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938656)

Where can I download a demo version of this encoder to test for myself the truth of On2 claims? Online samples provide a basis of little strength for proper codec comparison.
These samples are tailored for perfect compatibility with the encoder, not for proper benchmarking.

compatibility, freeness, speed, and distributed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5940850)

The fundamental problems with all of the codecs around are:
1. compatability - the average user is not patient to play the game of getting all of the upto date codecs all the time
2. freeness - too many patent/high cost codecs
3. speed - both for encode or decode
4. distributed encoding support
5. multipass encode support
6. file size - smaller is better with high quality video

And of course for /., some codec which is specifically written for:
1. cartoons
2. movies with large amounts of the same color in ech frame (no jpeg noise added to a large block of the same color)

encode speed fix ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5940874)

anybody use a tivo or one of those home theatre dvd recorders to re-encode divx/xvid/vcd/svcd/real/wmf/etc to mpeg2 ????

I know it goes digital to analog to digital, but is the quality any good?

Hmm (5, Insightful)

afree87 (102803) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936804)

This will be a rather hard codec to propagate, given that many people don't even know or want to know how to install XviD.

Re:Hmm (3, Informative)

PhiberOptix (182584) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936907)

if theres demand for the codec, then interest will grow. Many subbed animes are already being released in Xvid format. Also, installing xvid is just as easy as installing divx or any other app in windows, given that you d/l a binary package

http://www.divx-digest.com/software/xvid.html

Re:Hmm (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937770)

Just admit it, HENTAI!

There, I said it.. what a load off my chest.. so to speak...

Re:Hmm (5, Interesting)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936923)

many people don't even know or want to know how to install XviD

Right up to the point where they download their first XviD video file. Then, like anyone else, they'll pay the price and install the darn codec (after posting on countless message boards asking why the heck their video won't play).

It's a necessity thing. Nobody wants to install what they don't need. However, the people who *make* videos experiment all the time to get the best quality they can...and once that happens, the others are forced to follow. Heck, if I can be made to install RealOne on my computer, anybody can be made to install anything. It was the hardest compromise of my principles I've ever made.

Install ffdshow and other video tools mentioned (4, Informative)

McQuaid (524757) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937220)

Ffdshow [sourceforge.net] is a filter for most mpeg4 codecs. Works with divx 4,5, xvid and other mpeg4 implementations. If all you do is playback, no codec required. Also if use alpha xvid codecs and it doesn't playback properly with ffdshow, you know that your vid isn't mpeg4 compliant. Btw, I capture/encode shows all the time in windows and would like to do this in linux, but it seems really lacking. First off, avisynth [avisynth.org] is an indispensable tool for dealing with video. What first attracted me to it was the best ivtc plugin by Donald Graft [mordor.net] . This processes telecined sources back to their original film frame rate which I use on toons/film sources.

But the versatility goes way beyond that. Here's an animated menu [cultact-server.novi.dk] I made for batman tas for a vcd I was working on, which btw I authored with videopack 5 to include animated menus, galleries with audio and chapter selection (I love pimpin that :) ).

Also worth mentioning is Tmpgenc [tmpgenc.net] , probably the best mpeg 1 encoder, which is free. And not to shabby mpeg2 encoding. Also of course is virtualdub [virtualdub.org] , which has come in handy on many occasions.

So where are the comparable linux equivalents? I couldn't find them. I'd love to see a write up on video encoding on linux, maybe I'll do one myself.

Re:Install ffdshow and other video tools mentioned (4, Informative)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938936)

Ffdshow is an easy replacement, as it's based on a Linux project, ffmpeg [sourceforge.net] .

The extent of my encoding comes from recording TV or VHS tapes and throwing a few filters at them for cleanup and encoding. So I've never had a chance to become familiar with what features avisynth has. Some people over at Doom9's Linux forum have mentioned getting Avisynth running in wine [doom9.org] .

Tmpgenc should be a pretty easy replacement. Transcode [uni-goettingen.de] seems to be a favorite for mpeg2 encoding. There was a problem when I first started using Linux, which slowed mpeg encoding to a snails pace for a while, and I've never found a chance to get back to see how it works when fully functional. A lot of peoplel swear by it though, and it's feature list is pretty impressive. Avidemux, as well as quite a few other programs also provide mpeg1 encoding, I think through ffmpeg.

Everything in VirtualDub/VirtualDubMod except video capture should work fine under wine and that's what I used for quite a while before Avidemux [fixounet.free.fr] appeared. The design and functionality are very similar to virtualdub, and it also includes encoding to mpeg1.

One of the two best media players for Linux, Mplayer [mplayerhq.hu] , should be noted to have better support for matroska [matroska.org] , in cvs, than is available for the format under windows. And these [bunkus.org] tools can be used for creation and editing of matroska files.

For capture from a tv card, I use nuppelvideo [tuwien.ac.at] , and then use avidemux to edit and convert to a smaller format.

Re:Install ffdshow and other video tools mentioned (1)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 11 years ago | (#5939602)

Please drop me a note.

I'm the "keeper" of links on Donald's site.

There are a few new projects and I'd like to ask your help.

Re:Install ffdshow and other video tools mentioned (2, Interesting)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 11 years ago | (#5940402)

I'd love to see a write up on video encoding on linux, maybe I'll do one myself.

I forgot to mention, that if you do take this on, Doom9's Linux forum [doom9.org] is probaly the single best source of information out there to start with.

I think there's a real need for a site centered on video editing, capturing and encoding under Linux. It was probaly the single biggest challenge for me moving to Linux, simply because all the information out there is so scattered. Compiling some information is something I keep meaning to do, but never seem to be able to find the time and energy for.

Re:Hmm (1)

Cyno (85911) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937256)

Thanks to Linux one day this may be a thing of the past. Both xine and mplayer use codecs stored in /usr/lib/win32.

This means you can go here and get the latest codec packs. Untar them in your home directory. Then as root make sure the /usr/lib/win32 directory exists and copy the codec files into that directory. Its really that simple.

Then whenever you need to move these around a network with ssh..

scp root@hostname:/usr/lib/win32 /usr/lib

Re:Hmm (0, Redundant)

Cyno (85911) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937296)

Should use preview more often.

Those codecs can be found here [udel.edu] .

Re:Hmm (2, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937460)

"Right up to the point where they download their first XviD video file. Then, like anyone else, they'll pay the price and install the darn codec (after posting on countless message boards asking why the heck their video won't play)."

I'm tellin you guys, porn's a great motivator!

Re:Hmm (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938772)

Right up to the point where they download their first XviD video file. Then, like anyone else, they'll pay the price and install the darn codec

XviD is free - and installation is hardly difficult, unless you can't remember what 'apt-get xvid' or 'emerge xvid' does.

I assume it's as easy under Windows, right?

Re:Hmm (4, Informative)

Bulln-Bulln (659072) | more than 11 years ago | (#5939467)

Right up to the point where they download their first XviD video file.

There are no XviD video files. Currently most video files are:
AVI Container
MPEG-4 Video Track
MP3 Audio Track

The difference between DivX files and XviD files is the FourCC ("Four Character Code" or something).
DivX and XviD are just differernt encoders, not different formats. Just like LAME and FhG MP3Enc are differend encoders, but produce the same format.
If you change the FourCC from ''XVID'' to ''DIVX'' the normal DivX codec should be able to play it (I've never heard of any problems).
That's why I think, the people who encoded the video file should change the FourCC to DIVX, try to decode the file using DivX, and (if it works without problems) release the file with the DIVX FourCC.
This way you can reach a wider audiance.

Re:Hmm (2, Interesting)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 11 years ago | (#5940367)

The difference between DivX files and XviD files is the FourCC ("Four Character Code" or something). DivX and XviD are just differernt encoders, not different formats.

True enough, although certain features of mpeg4 encoding can be, at any one time, implemented in one, and not the other. I haven't been keeping up with the progress of either xvid or divx lately, but I know that at one point xvid was ahead in B-frames support, which caused some compatibility problems between it and divx.

Of course, all that aside, even if they are completely compatible with each other, if you're talking about a person who doesn't know how to install XviD, do you really want to recommend to that person that he should try changing the FourCC code? I assume not, since you later said:

That's why I think, the people who encoded the video file should change the FourCC to DIVX, try to decode the file using DivX, and (if it works without problems) release the file with the DIVX FourCC.

Which, I guess if you test before-hand, would work just fine. Still, I don't know if I agree with your manner of thinking, and many encoders might disagree also. Why wouldn't you ask instead that divx encoders change the FourCC to XVID? Because divx is more popular? Well, that's a great disservice to the xvid developers, who could use the extra help in making *their* codec more popular by causing more people to download it. After all, I personally prefer the open source xvid to divx...The divx 5 team actually tries to charge you for the "pro" version of their codec which has enhanced features for encoding.

Re:Hmm (1)

Isosonys (589846) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937505)

Wont be that hard of a codec to propagate. Look at Winamp 2.91 it has both vp3.1 and vp5. Looking at On2's news, They also gave aol vp6. On2 is smart to whore the codec to Winamp. HUGE install base.

XviD is DivX compatible (Re:Hmm) (1)

salimma (115327) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937556)

given that many people don't even know or want to know how to install XviD.


I am rather surprised that this point has been made, but XviD is DivX compatible. You can watch any XviD encoded movie if you have the DivX5 codec. DivX4 might do if experimental XviD features such as B-frames are not used.

I personally use ffmpeg for encoding right now. I have not noticed any movie that would not play interchangably across the DivX-compatible, MPEG4 clone codecs.

Second Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5936807)

Well, there, pilgrim... Only after ya eat the peanuts outta my sheat!

Re:Second Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5938809)

You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?

Cheaper productions (3, Funny)

nother_nix_hacker (596961) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936823)

Best of all: no "patent pooling" restrictions or external licensing fees, a la MPEG-4."

Will that mean my educational *ahem* videos will now be free? :)

Re:Cheaper productions (0, Redundant)

bazik (672335) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936849)

You mean your pr0n collection?

Re:Cheaper productions (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936874)

Of course he measn his p0rn collection. Everyones knows slashdotters seldom get the chance to actually practice with real girls and must rely on video to provide them with educational imformation on this subject

Re:Cheaper productions (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936877)

What about porn isn't educational?

Re:Cheaper productions (1)

AlgUSF (238240) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936935)

pr0n is very educational. It allowed me to understand how to satisfy a woman, problem is like most slashdotters, I have never had the opportunity to try out on a REAL woman.

Re:Cheaper productions (off-topic) (1)

DrPascal (185005) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937098)

Real women don't have an orgasm when you ejaculate on them. Don't try this when you finally get your chance.

You can't learn how to have good sex from a video. You need experience.

Re:Cheaper productions (off-topic) (0, Offtopic)

AlgUSF (238240) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937139)

That is a good piece of information, now is a good way of proposing oral sex "Hey b__ch! Gimme head!"?

Re:Cheaper productions (off-topic) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5937544)

Start with giving it to her.

Re:Cheaper productions (off-topic) (1)

AlgUSF (238240) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937155)

Wait just a second!
Isn't it her job to please me, not the other way around. As long as I get what I WANT, everyone is happy! :D

Re:Cheaper productions (off-topic) (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937174)

Well she started shaking, and making funny noises when I done it.

or was that the rohypnol wearing off?

Re:Cheaper productions (off-topic) (1)

Angry White Guy (521337) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937383)

BWAHAHAHAHA!


Re:Cheaper productions (off-topic) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5938787)

Maybe not, but it does make them happier [thesandiegochannel.com] (Link is to "Study: Semen May Improve Women's Mood").

Re:Cheaper productions (1)

Trashman (3003) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937725)

Pr0n is not educational. In fact, watching pr0n could warp your sense of reality.

Here are some rules to help clue you in:

1. If you're interviewing for a job and the HR Person is a hottie, no matter how hard you imagine about having sex with her. It just won't happen.

2. If you catch a woman masturbating that doesn't mean she will/has to have sex with you.

3. As a previous poster mentioned, if by chance you manage to get that far with a woman, ejaculating on her will not make her orgasm.

4. And lastly, (and trust me on this one guys :) ), despite what a pr0n flick will have you believe, not all women like anal sex.

Learn from your parents' mistakes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5937159)

use pron?

Re:Cheaper productions (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5939963)

Will that mean my educational *ahem* videos will now be free? :)

If you want a really "free" codec, stick with VP3/Theora. They aren't saying VP6 is free, just that it's less of a hassle to license it than MPEG4.

I'd much rather see an authorative quality comparison myself...

Licensing (4, Interesting)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936837)

Sure, VP6 has simpler licensing because it is completely proprietary, but H.264 is supposedly patent-free and it has the advantage of being a published standard with mulitple competing implementations.

H.264 not patent free (3, Informative)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 11 years ago | (#5939043)

Actually, H.264 is manifestly NOT patent free. There may be a license-fee free baseline profile for it, but it's certain that the higher profiles will have some kind of license fee ala the current MPEG-4 codec.

Still, that certainly doesn't kill a format in every case. Every DVD player pays $2.50 to MPEG-LA.

Standard mod points bitch. (1)

WasterDave (20047) | more than 11 years ago | (#5939567)

Short, correct, to the point. Where are my mod points when I need them.

Dave

NOT Free (5, Informative)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936863)

People, this codec is not free, it is not open source and I'm not even sure that it will be a free download. Even though VP3 was indeed open-sourced and is as free as can be, VP6 is not. It does not have MPEG4's licencing limitations but it is not open-source. It is, for all intents and purposes, as free as WMV and Real.

Re:NOT Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5936918)

So...?

Re:NOT Free (1)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936989)

I like my wmvs and rp9s and mpeg4 as much as the next guy, and I think it's excellent there is another player in the block. I'm not really into justifying my choices of codec with political arguements (free, open source, gpl etc.), but many here are. The article, as presented, left the impression that vp6 was free (since vp3 was free and, indeed, open source). I'm just pointing out, for the /.ers who do care, that it is not. If it is irrelevant to you, no harm done, but if you are on the lookout for the next big open source thing, well, this is not it.

Re:NOT Free (2, Insightful)

Cyno (85911) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937094)

nevertheless I still enjoy being reminded that On2 brought us VP3. I will keep an eye on that company and its products in the future and if I happen to need a commercial solution at some time they will be at the top of my list. :)

Doom9 codec tests (4, Informative)

fluor2 (242824) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936919)

I would really recommend reading this codec comparision by doom9:

http://www.doom9.org/index.html?/codecs-103-1.ht m

Doom9 shows us very nice screenshots from non-keyframes. The conclusion is still: XViD is the best codec around. I hope people understand that whatever other companies claim (e.g. "50% better compression") you should never underestimate what doom9 says: all codecs out there now are VERY similar. None of them is really outstanding.

Re:Doom9 codec tests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5936952)

I was most amazed by the performance of the RP9 codec. I wondered, what amazing new codec is this, that can beat divx? Then I realized it was Real Player 9. The sour taste still hasn't left my mouth...

Re:Doom9 codec tests (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936958)

I can say that my JPEG can deliver more than 50% compression than that of normal JPEG settings. However it doesn't mention that the image quality will be awful. Its all relative

rus

Re:Doom9 codec tests (5, Informative)

Ishin (671694) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937014)

Doom9 is a good site to get news on about what codecs and applications are new, or releasing new versions. It's also a good place for discussion with the developers of many open source applications and codecs/video containers. However, I'd recommend that if you read their video codec reviews, you keep several things in mind. Firstly, the review is very subjective, and though I agree with the conclusion (xvid does the best job in my experience) the reviewer isn't exactly doing a normal comparison. Secondly, they're not very open to criticism, constructive or otherwise, and seem to have the attitude that they are THE EXPERTS on video encoding and codecs, and are thus beyond reproach, although, from what I can tell, the site owners aren't actually actively involved in the development of any codecs or applications. The main two flaws of the review are: A. they use post processing in all of their comparison screenshots and the reviewer used post processed shots to determine which he thought looked best. That in itself pretty much invalidates the results, as the actual output of the codecs isn't the only thing being tested, but also the perceptual quality of their respective post-filtering schemes. B. he was using a special version of xvid that's not available to the public, and that many of the people involved in xvid didn't even realize existed, which, once again completely invalidates his results for the rest of us. So, like I said, good site, great news, even greater discussion, questionable codec review.

Re:Doom9 codec tests (4, Informative)

real_smiff (611054) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937314)

don't be silly.. neither of those things "completely invalidate the results". postprocessing - it's a real world test of how these codecs are going to be used by most people. "special version" - there are thousands of "special versions" of Xvid, every build by every person who releases builds is a special version... it's in development, that's what CVS is for. You can pick up a build of Xvid now and get results like he got there, there's no fraud like you seem to imply. Having said all that, i think Doom9 is probably biased towards Xvid, but for good reasons. It's forum is really the 2nd home of Xvid.

Re:Doom9 codec tests (1)

Ishin (671694) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937371)

I should add a qualification to my statement, the 'Ishibaar' version that was used by Doom9 isn't available compiled into binary form, you'd either have to get a binary directly from 'Ishibaar' himself, or get it off it from his specific cvs version and compile it youself (something those 'most people' you're talking about might have no idea how to do).

Besides, I implied no fraud, I implied exactly what is going on there, poor methodology in the testing.

Re:Doom9 codec tests (1)

Lerxst Pratt (618277) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937347)

This info is very informative. You seem to have left one piece if information out though: If Doom9 are not THE EXPERTS, then who is? I am not trying to bash you in any way. Per your insight into their review (which I agree with you), I'd like to see an alternative link which offers a true comparison using your defined criteria. I really appreciate your analysis otherwise.

Re:Doom9 codec tests (1)

Ishin (671694) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937965)

You seem to have left one piece if information out though: If Doom9 are not THE EXPERTS, then who is?

Why do I get the feeling you're trying to draw me into a flame? The impetus to provide who THE EXPERTS happen to be isn't mine, it's apparently yours.

Once again, the purpose of my post wasn't to flame doom9, it's a great news site. It was to warn those that would go there that their article wasn't as good as it could have been.

As an aside, I'd consider the actual xvid/virtualdub/divx/RV9 developers to be 'THE EXPERTS' when it comes to each of their respective products. Everyone else is just a user, no matter how empowered they may feel.

Re:Doom9 codec tests (1)

Lerxst Pratt (618277) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938022)

Perhaps others would flame you, but that was not my direction nor intention. I'm seriously seeking sound (uhh, I mean video) advice. ;-) Please re-read my comment in light of this. Ignore the bold, emphasized words if it helps.

Re:Doom9 codec tests (3, Informative)

Ishin (671694) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938223)

Sorry to misinterpret you, then.

I'm sorry to say that I've yet to find a really satisfactory and impartial comparison, much less, one that is up to date. I've had to do all of my own testing to figure out what settings do, and how codecs compare. Mainly xvid, divx4/5, sbc, and ffvfw. As I stated earlier, I've found xvid in it's latest incarnations(Koepi [goe.net] and Umaniac's [hopto.org] versions are easy to find, and work great, in my experience) are the best, and the doom9 xvid forum is a great place to give feedback to, and get information from, the creators of this robust and customizeable codec.

This [digitalinsanity.ath.cx] is probably the closest thing I could find to an impartial comparison, displaying unpostprocessed, and postprocessed images from many different codecs. Unfortunately, when I tried the link, it didn't respond, hopefully it will be back up.

Hope it helps.

Re:Doom9 codec tests (1)

Lerxst Pratt (618277) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938347)

Super info, Ishin. This is the kind of info I've been hoping to find. I appreciate the followup.

and what of H.264 (2, Informative)

moogla (118134) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937048)

The On guys compared VP6 to something called H.264, which I come to find out later is an official standard (newly released) for MPEG-4 encoding. It looked really damn good, almost as good as VP6 on the frames they chose.

I understand XviD's implementation of MPEG-4 is based on H.263.

So is anybody (including XviD) considering implementing it? I understand it isn't patent-encumbered. I could be wrong...

Re:and what of H.264 (1)

Jordy (440) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937315)

There are patents covering H.264 (or MPEG-4 Part 10), but they appear to be all defensive patents and no licensing fees have ever been required for them.

H.264 was designed to give DVD quality at sub-1 Mbps levels, so it should be significantly better quality than what xvid provides at higher bitrates.

The only problem is I haven't seen a realtime decoder for it yet and I hear encoding is a major CPU hog. :)

Re:and what of H.264 (4, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937393)

I understand XviD's implementation of MPEG-4 is based on H.263.

XviD follows the MPEG-4 ASP (advanced simple profile) spec. Virtually all of the current major video codecs out there use some minor variant of this.

H.264 usually refers to the MPEG-4 AVC (advanced video coding) profile. This promises a 2-4x size improvement at similar quality to the ASP. However, it has one major problem...


So is anybody (including XviD) considering implementing it? I understand it isn't patent-encumbered. I could be wrong...

Yes, an AVC implementation exists [hydrogenaudio.org] , but it provides its own demonstration of why no one uses it yet despite the improved size and/or quality... Namely, 30-45 seconds per frame at encode time. For a full-length movie, that comes out to two or three days for a single-pass encode.

Additionally, even if you feel inclined to wait that long for the sake of quality (personally, I would), the link I gave above points to more of a proof of concept than a "real" viable codec. It needs quite a lot of tweaking just to make it compare to existing ASP codecs such as XviD.

Ahh... (1)

moogla (118134) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937450)

that sucks.
Also, the inability to decode it in realtime at HDTV resolutions without a P4 3GHz is kinda disheartening.
Well, its' nice to know you can still give it a shot! For archival purposes it sounds like a lark. Thanks for clearing that up.

Re:and what of H.264 (2, Informative)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 11 years ago | (#5939067)

Actually, those encode times aren't that bad at all for a development codec. Back when I started doing professional encoding (1994), we targeted 80 minutes of render time per minute of source files, so a feature film would be more like a week of computer time. Still had a very viable business based around that.

Of course, that was with 80 MHz computers...

LOTS of companies are working on AVC implementations, and they'll certainly compete on speed. There's lots of areas in the standard where speed/quality tradeoffs can be used.

Re:and what of H.264 (2, Informative)

Jordy (440) | more than 11 years ago | (#5939693)

Yes, an AVC implementation exists [hydrogenaudio.org], but it provides its own demonstration of why no one uses it yet despite the improved size and/or quality... Namely, 30-45 seconds per frame at encode time. For a full-length movie, that comes out to two or three days for a single-pass encode.

I hardly think this matters for professional encoding. There are real-time H.264 hardware encoders in development by VideoLocus [videolocus.com] and Sand Video [sandvideo.com] .

Besides, it took quite a while for the old MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 reference encoders to be anything but dog slow, so I have no doubt that in a years time we'll see at least a 4x speed up with software optimization. Add that to the 2x hardware speed up and you have something that starts to look viable for quite a few applications.

Re:and what of H.264 (1)

jelle (14827) | more than 11 years ago | (#5941216)

"H.264 usually refers to the MPEG-4 AVC (advanced video coding) profile."

More so the other way around. H.264 was developed under the wings of the ITU (jvt) with the "codename" H.26L. The goal was to make a successor to H.263 that would make usable video conferencing possible at 10kbit/s (!). Then, when the HDTV broadcasting compression performance tests were being done, the H.264 guys though 'why not scale our resolution and bitrates up and join that test', so they did and beat MPEG4 by a healty margin. That's when the ISO (of MPEG fame) woke up and smelled the H.264 coffee, and a new joint committee was formed for a 'new version' of MPEG4 that would basically be a reprint of the H.264 standard with an ISO logo on top.

Re:and what of H.264 (2, Informative)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 11 years ago | (#5939087)

Xvid uses the Simple and Advanced Simple profiles of MPEG-4. These were extensions of baseline H.263 (aka MPEG-4 short header), but with LOTS of enhancements.

FWIW, H.263 is the standard video codec used in videoconferencing system. Most of the IRAQ video was using it.

All MPEG-4 codecs are patent-encumbered, and will require license fees in some circumstances. However, these tend not to be too onerous. For example, today's MPEG-4 video codecs are free for the first 50,000 units distributed per year.

What about FFMPEG's MPEG4 Codec? (2, Informative)

engine matrix (553187) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937771)

I did not see that listed in Doom9's comparison. It seems the MPlayer developers prefer it over Xvid. I've always used FFMPEG MPEG4 with fantastic results.

"no external licensing fees" but .... (2, Insightful)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#5936963)

OK, the summary says no external licensing fees (though I don't see anywhere on the site itself that makes that claim), but then you do see this statement:

"VP6 is available for commercial licensing. Note that custom engineering services may be required to integrate VP6 into your application."

So I wonder if it's going to be one of those things where almost anything will require "custom engineering services" and they'll just get you there. Maybe they just won't publish an api doc, thereby requiring their services no matter what ;)

Does anyone really care? (3, Interesting)

Datasage (214357) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937150)

I dont, i'll continue to use Divx or Xvid. Being that both are either free or really cheap (for the pro ver of divx).

I dont buy thier claims that its any better than divx. To start with, thier samples are biased and most likely have been changed to show an advantage in thier product.

If they do in fact have a better quality then the comperable codecs, is it worth the cost of licening this codec for just a slight improvement in quality?

Linux download? OS X download? (2, Insightful)

Sebby (238625) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937236)

This thing only runs on Winblows.

I guess they don't realize that to some content people, cross-platform availability is more important to smaller file size.

Re:Linux download? OS X download? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5937496)

Yep! Was very excited by their claims, immediately tried to download the player, which to my horror turns out to be only available for windows. Do we really need another windows only codec? Or is the idea that say, Apple will intedgrate this codec into quicktime?

At the moment though, if you wanna use this codec then you have to dance the dirty with Micro$oft, which is most certainally not free, or without restrictions. We use heaps of video on our sites, streaming, downloadable etc. and our primary concern is cross-compatibility.

So, nil point for ON2.

Re:Linux download? OS X download? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5938569)

yeah, like 3% of the computer-using population...

Re:Linux download? OS X download? (1)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 11 years ago | (#5939190)

While the software demo is on Windows, On2 has made codecs for multiple platforms before, and certainly can do so again. Bear in mind this demo is to get people to LICENSE the codec. I'm sure they'd be happy to port the codec to whatever for a licensee writing a sufficiently large check.

On2 are a bunch of good, old school codec guys.

Where's the original files to encode? (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937710)

Looked at their version of a football game, checked out the competing codec's version of same content, and funnily enough, the VP6 version looked better.
I want to be able to test this myself, but without having the original content, this isn't going to happen. To be honest, they all looked a bit awful. With a meg for 10 seconds of video, how did they manage to get the other codecs to look so bad!?
Meaningless test.

My experience: (1)

indiigo (121714) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937879)

Never heard of player. Download player, states that it's hundreds of days old on first run. Checks for updates. Doesn't find any. Attempt to play the slowest broadband (100Kbps stream,) which my connection should be able to handle fine, WMP and other players do, at least. Connection drops 2 seconds into playing and never recovers after spending a minute trying to rebuffer.

Uninstalled.

Re:My experience: (1)

matthewjheaney (672795) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938691)

Try it again. We had some server-side installation issues which may have prevented you from getting a successful connection. --MJH

Re:My experience: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5938710)

Can you say slashdot?

And xine does ogg theora now ... (2, Interesting)

timothy (36799) | more than 11 years ago | (#5937929)

related note; the older On2 codec which has become the basis of Ogg Theora isn't dead: Ogg Theora is listed as supported in the newest version of Xine, as mentioned yesterday [slashdot.org] .

timothy

Re:And xine does ogg theora now ... (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 11 years ago | (#5939145)

And, for those using mplayer, (rudimentary) Theora support made it into the mplayer CVS tree recently...

Patents? (1)

Ogerman (136333) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938072)

OK, so there are no "patent-pool" licensing fees, but are there any patent issues with VP6? Suppose someone writes an Open Source implementation of this new codec? Will there be issues for those who live in less-free countries that allow software patents? The world really needs a completely free video codec.

Re:Patents? (1)

Adrenochrome (555529) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938224)

You're asking to prove a negative. It's kind of hard to say. Given the USPTO's penchant for handing out patents in spite of ample evidence of prior art, who is to say that down the road someone won't pull a patent for "A method to represent full-motion video via a mathematical function" out of their orfice and file suit...

Re:Patents? (2, Insightful)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938500)

No doubt On2 has filed patents on VP6. Their pitch is that all the patents are (supposedly) owned by them instead of 20 different companies, so it's easier to negotiate a license. Of course, if you aren't willing to pay licensing fees at all then it doesn't make any difference.

Didn't find a Mac vers... (2)

azav (469988) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938115)

Is there one?

Or is this win only?

3D ideas in movie codecs? (2, Interesting)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938471)

AFAIK, many video codecs use some kind of FFT/DCT/wavelet compression for individual frames, and then some rather different techniques to account for the similarities/changes between subsequent frames. As a physicist I find this rather too complicated; it would be more natural to treat time as a third dimension, and just use FFT/DCT/wavelets or whatever for the whole 3D package (probably split into NxNxN cubes).

Quick googling shows that such codecs have in fact been investigated. But are these ideas used in any current codecs?

Of course every lossy codec has its problems, but there's at least one reason why I'm intrigued by these 3D style codecs: it could be easier to balance resources between single-frame precision vs. motion. With fast action we're less sensitive to details, so the codec could use more information for motion and less for the image details. And vice versa for slow scenes. This would happen automatically if the codec always preserved the strongest percentage of frequency/wavelet components (which is a standard way of signal de-noising).

Re:3D ideas in movie codecs? (1)

worldcitizen (130185) | more than 11 years ago | (#5939766)

Current video compression techniques use lossy compression schemes, which are based on removing elements that are perceptually less important.

In a movie, human perception for intra-picture elements (2D picture) is not the same as inter-picture (variation over time). The elements that can be eliminated are quite different and that is why you get better results by applying different techniques for compressing each of them.

For example: imagine a static wall painted with a single color. A "distortion" that changes the color slightly (but that color is stable within the NxN square) can be quite acceptable. Take that same wall and slightly change the color over a period of time (and different changes for different NxN sqares). You will definitely see unnatural movement.

If you were using a compression technique that is not based on human perception, treating 2-d and time uniformly might work (provided that the compression could be reasonably optimized for 2D and time at the same time)

Re:3D ideas in movie codecs? (1)

psm321 (450181) | more than 11 years ago | (#5939812)

I beleive Ogg Tarkin developers were investigating some of this... but that project has been pretty much sidelined now. I think you can still download a very experimental encoder

Re:3D ideas in movie codecs? (1)

Hast (24833) | more than 11 years ago | (#5939826)

I've discussed this with friends as well while taking classes on image processing and such. Not sure why there are no such codecs in existance though.

It would seem like wavelet would be a good candidate as it's quite easy to "shave off" coefficients to try different compression rates. But considering that there are no such codecs I'd assume that there are reasons for it. I haven't heard or read any though.

Re:3D ideas in movie codecs? (2, Interesting)

plastik55 (218435) | more than 11 years ago | (#5940900)

Well, such a scheme might produce somewhat better compression (especially since the impulse responses of visual neurons resemble 3d wavelets, naturally suggesting a 3d scheme for efficient representation.) I once implemented a scheme using 3d wavelets for optic flow detection, with some pretty good results on canned data.

The drawback is that it requires more complicated encoders and decoders, which use more memory and more memory bandwidth due to the need to decode several frames at once. Today's hardware isn't quite up to the task, especially for encoding in realtime or decoding on a set-top box.

IMO, 3d transforms might help boost efficiency but they probably won't lead to a more mathematically "elegant" codec. After all, the task is to produce an image that fools the human visual system into percieving the image as real thing, using the smallest number of bits in the encoding. Since the problem definition is based on something as big and complicated and poorly understood as the human visual system, the problem solution is going to reflect that complexity. The more advanced video codecs get, the more they will reflect the complexities of the visual system. Look at mp3--it's basically a pretty simple quantized DCT scheme for audio, but getting good performance out of it requires the encoder to know about and exploit all sorts of psychoacoustic masking effects, basically embedding a model of the auditory system into the encoder.

codec overload (2, Insightful)

LordMyren (15499) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938587)

does anyone else get the idea that all these new better more innovative codecs are seriously damaging the overall encoding scene? sure, all the computer users can just go download the latest nemo codec pack, but stand alone players trying to support all these new different formats are being over run by a army of different codecs. ultimately we doom ourselves.

Re:codec overload (1)

cranos (592602) | more than 11 years ago | (#5940511)

Exactly I demand that we go back to the way it was, shadow puppets!

I don't care about the special effects, give me a large sheet and a hurricane lamp and I can show you love scenes that'll blow your mind.

Seriously I have no problem with the concept of hundreds of codecs out there. Most of them are small niche type objects that don't affect me or the TV Station that I work for. We stick with MPEG and AVI and we have no problems.

This is likely to be VASTLY expensive. (4, Informative)

almaw (444279) | more than 11 years ago | (#5938713)

Another poster pointed out that this codec isn't free, and is just as commercial and proprietry as Real and WMV. They're wrong - it's actually much worse than those in terms of cost and lock-in.

Now, I don't know what the terms are for VP6, but our company investigated implementing VP5 a while back. To encode in realtime, you needed dedicated hardware ($15,000 per license). To encode offline, you need software at $10,000 per license. This is licensed on a rolling annual basis - i.e. $10,000 a year. You then additionally need to license the TrueCast on-demand server to distribute content, which is similarly priced.

I'd expect VP6 to be similarly priced to VP5. You'd better be encoding an awful lot of video and saving an awful lot of bandwidth to make it worth your while.

OTOH, the quality of VP5 was extremely good for a given bandwidth (much better than xvid).

Re:This is likely to be VASTLY expensive. (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5940051)

You'd better be encoding an awful lot of video and saving an awful lot of bandwidth to make it worth your while.

It seems that AOL thinks it's worth the money [on2.com] . Probably because they very well may be doing huge ammounts of encoding. Maybe the AOL-TimeWarner merger will begin to yeild something interesting.

OTOH, the quality of VP5 was extremely good for a given bandwidth (much better than xvid).

Nice to hear someone who knows what they are talking about among the rest who are saying how much better Xvid is than anything else on the planet...

Might I point out that you *could* use VP3.2 for absolutely no fee... Not as good as VP5/6, but still a step-up from MPEG4, and since it's open source, anyone can enhance it in any way. Just as Ogg Vorbis has quite a few incredible tools/features, so too with Theora once it is released, no doubt.

Just Great.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5938715)

Makes it that much harder to view pr0n :(

Improved! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5939791)

"Up to 40% image quality improvement over VP5."

Makes you wonder how BAD VP5 really was..

Issue in PDF of AVC v. VP6 comparison (1)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 11 years ago | (#5940378)

The linked article is generally pretty good, but I found one rather glaring omission. When testing AVC (called H.26L in the artcle), they only used a single reference frames. One of the most important features of AVC is its support for multiple reference frames. These work by allowing the codec to do motion estimation from multiple previous frames (3 in the baseline profile, 5 in the higher profiles). This helps compression efficiency a lot with things like muzzle flashes, spinning fans, or anything else where part of the image is obscured, and then revealed again.

But using only one reference frame, their testing wouldn't have been able to approach the theoretical quality the codec is capable of.

Still, VP6 looks to be an excellent codec. And supporting multiple references frames is expensive in terms of CPU power and memory requirements, so there are reasons why they wouldn't have wanted to us it in VP6.
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