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iPod May Not Have The Horsepower For Ogg [updated]

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the maybe-it's-a-lack-of-a-gumption-bit dept.

399

An anonymous reader writes "Gizmodo has an interview with a Rio engineer who speculates that current iPods may not have enough CPU power and/or memory to decode Ogg. He concludes that the Minis might be able to do it, and the next generation iPods will certainly be able to. Of course, just because Apple can doesn't mean it will." Update: 06/06 04:44 GMT by T : csm writes with this rebuttal: "According to Monty from Xiph.org (author of the Tremor codec and OGG itself), it should very well be possible to run Ogg on older generation iPods."

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399 comments

What is the downside of adding OGG support? (2, Insightful)

Crazy_MYKL (721064) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346439)

I mean really, Apple, what do you have to lose?

Re:What is the downside of adding OGG support? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346460)

I mean really, Apple, what do you have to lose?


Developer time and support time, mainly.


The more important question: What do they have to gain?

Re:What is the downside of adding OGG support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346477)

The fanatical open source geeks of course, but does apple really want them?

Re:What is the downside of adding OGG support? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346569)

Yeah, they are probably already scared spitless by all the fanatical apple geeks.

Re:What is the downside of adding OGG support? (1)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346594)

I mean really, Apple, what do you have to lose?

Developer time and support time, mainly.

The more important question: What do they have to gain?

That's the $10,000 question, really. And the answer is -- not much.

mp3 is supported because nobody would buy a device that didn't work with their current song library, and the majority of peoples' libraries are in mp3 format. Going forward, Apple would prefer to achieve as large a share as possible with their proprietary audio format (yes, I know the CODEC itself is open, but not the encryption wrapper).

Re:What is the downside of adding OGG support? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346497)

what do they have to gain ? say 10000 extra people worldwide ? big deal, the music industry is rapidly moving towards WMA because of the DRM, so i would of thought the iPod would support DRM'ed WMA before OGG and FLAC/SHN and other minor formats etc etc

NOW here's an experiment, take a phone book choose any phone number and ask the person that answers what OGG is, then ask them what MP3 is,

see OGG has a stupid name, the people when they named it show their ignorance over marketing and creating a brand (just like the jerks that thinks GNU or WINE are good names) , its driven by zealots which instantly would put off the suits that make the choices, and no-one i repeat no-one outside of /. and our geeky circles either cares or knows what it is let alone use it for their music collection, it is in short for now a commercial and consumer failure.

Re:What is the downside of adding OGG support? (0)

Too Much Noise (755847) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346719)

NOW here's an experiment, take a phone book choose any phone number and ask the person that answers what OGG is, then ask them what MP3 is

And some answering options:
  1. Don't know.
  2. Don't care.
  3. Dunno, the things Junior keeps getting off the 'net?
  4. The music I was listening to the other day?
  5. A digital audio compression scheme.


Wanna bet how many people would answer correctly for MP3? (hint: "don't know" is a better answer than "a music file").

All this shows is that the customer awareness for the MP3 name is larger, irrespective of technical specifics. Heck, Apple is trying to build customer awareness with AAC - add AAC to your experiment and compare. The more interesting question would be if you added WMA too, for that matter.

And, as a final point: how many consumer-type users even bother to enable the display of the file extension in Windows Explorer? as this makes the whole format point irrelevant to the ones that don't - they know it's music by the WMP icon and use WMP to listen to it. mp3? what the heck is that?

Re:What is the downside of adding OGG support? (3, Insightful)

MikeXpop (614167) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346535)

Credibility in AAC, mostly.

Y'know, the "better than mp3" codec Apple's trying to push?

Re:What is the downside of adding OGG support? (1)

deathazre (761949) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346587)

AAC is comparable, maybe slightly better than Vorbis, and definitely better than MP3 as far as sound quality goes--there was an article on /. about it not too long ago. But, it's proprietary.

Re:What is the downside of adding OGG support? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346664)

AAC == mp4

You do know that right ?

Re:What is the downside of adding OGG support? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346687)

Apparently it would require more memory and a faster CPU on the iPod. I mean, that's what the article was about.

No call for...... (2, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346444)

a Beowulf cluster of ipods then?

Re:No call for...... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346457)

Don't understand - Does OOG have much more memory requirements than other formats ? If so, why ?

Re:No call for...... (0, Redundant)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346479)

Does OOG have much more memory requirements than other formats ?

Yes.

If so, why ?

because that's the way they made it.

Re:No call for...... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346515)

whoever modded that redundant and not the grandparent should be shot. stupid questions call for simple answers. the grandparent has been modded interesting while the question is the dumbest one i've read all day. OBVIOUSLY it uses more memory than other formats because the ipod can play other formats but according to the article, not ogg. parent is not redundant, it's informative. grandparent is redundant.

Re:No call for...... (5, Informative)

tuffy (10202) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346513)

Does OOG have much more memory requirements than other formats ? If so, why ?

Vorbis is a better codec at sticking more audio data in less space due to the years of research between itself and MPEG-1. But decoding that data doesn't come for free, and so Vorbis decoding is more memory and CPU intensive than mp3 is. But thanks to the integer decoder, that difference mainly shows up in high bitrate Vorbis files.

Re:No call for...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346604)

Vorbis is a better codec at sticking more audio data in less space due to the years of research between itself and MPEG-1. But decoding that data doesn't come for free, and so Vorbis decoding is more memory and CPU intensive than mp3 is. But thanks to the integer decoder, that difference mainly shows up in high bitrate Vorbis files.

If this was about a Microsoft Product, it would have been called bloatware.

You are mistaken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346651)

Bloatware is used for apps that take memory for doing nothing. Taking memory AND cpu time for computing something is the expected behavior - the decoding engine in itself is quite small.

I guess by your logic doing a mmap() is also bloatware, right?

Re:No call for...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346675)

MPEG-4's AAC is less CPU-intensive at decoding than MP3.

Since when is a Beowulf cluster joke offtopic? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346570)

Has /. been taken over by pod people? What happend to you guys? Where would we be today without beowulf cluster jokes and Soviet Russia jokes?

Vorbis (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346450)

It's Vorbis. Not Ogg. Damnit.

Re:Vorbis (1, Insightful)

gb506 (738638) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346716)

when I see Ogg Vorbis I think: vagina, egg, orb, salmonella, disgusting, muck.

That the name Ogg and/or Vorbis is being used to refer to ANYTHING is proof positive that the open source crowd should stick to what it knows (making things work) and stay as far away from marketing (making people want it) as possible.

Think about it. You're never going to see a marketing campaign with this tag line: iPod - new and improved with exciting Ogg Vorbis support!

Sheesh.

The name is wrong (5, Informative)

iriefrank (41550) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346451)

Not to be a smartass, but Ogg is just the name of the larger project. The actual audio compression format is called "Vorbis." [angrycoffee.com]

Re:The name is wrong (5, Funny)

Whyrph (620050) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346476)

They could've said "Ogg Vorbis", but they wanted to avoid superflous vorbisity.

Yes, I know I spelled it wrong. And yes, you can beat me up. Here's the lunch money.

Re:The name is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346482)

Specifically, Ogg is the container format. Like 'AVI' or '[R]IFF'.

You could probably put mpeg1-layer3 data in an Ogg container <shudder>

Re:The name is wrong (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346487)

Well, true, but nobody ever says "MPEG Layer 3 Audio Only File" instead of just calling it "MP3". The tradition of having a three-letter file type extention usually sticks, and since Vorbis files are .ogg files, "Ogg" is the word that sticks.

Re:The name is wrong (4, Insightful)

Bloater (12932) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346516)

Yeah, but so are my FLAC files, and my Speex files, I've also got some video (theora) files that are named with .ogg.

I've also got some of each that don't have any file suffixes beginning with dot

Re:The name is wrong (4, Informative)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346608)

So why don't we speak of "Avi movies" instead of DivX movies? They're rarely named MyMovie.divx, but instead MyMovie.avi.

In this case, AVI is an encapsulation format... just like Ogg!

You're right: Extension should be .VBS! (1)

slimsam1 (591962) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346645)

Stupid microsoft, they always take the good extensions!

/sarcasm

Huh? (5, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346464)

An engineer for a company in direct competition with Apple rips on Apple's hardware. Oh, he's speculating on it.

"Engineer Hugo Fiennes took a break from his day job as a hardware and firmware designer at Rio Audio (maker of the iPod competitor Karma player, among other things)"

That's news?

What's next, someone at Microsoft doesn't like Aqua? Ford engineer says Corvette "not as good as new Mustang"? Fiat engineers doesn't care for Ford Focus?

Re:Huh? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346499)

If he's so biased, why would he say the Minis could, and that gen4 definitely should?

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346564)

Yeah, this guy seems full of shit, the iPod can ENCODE MP3 in realtime if it has to, it's got a nice beefy ARM CPU, I'm sure it can play Vorbis files if it had a codec.

And as for memory, the thing has 32MB last I heard, it usually buffers the next two or three entire tracks, so it's got plenty for decoding Vorbis formats.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

jeffehobbs (419930) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346601)


How exactly can the iPod encode mp3 in realtime? The audio it captures via the various 3rd party add-ons is low bitrate .wav files, not .mp3s. All of the various compression and encoding is done by iTunes, then the already encoded files are shuttled to the iPod.

~jeff

Re:Huh? (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346653)

The hardware is capable. The software doesn't expose that functionality. See iPod Linux.

Re:Huh? (4, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346610)

Yeah, this guy seems full of shit, the iPod can ENCODE MP3 in realtime if it has to, it's got a nice beefy ARM CPU

I believe you're referring to the Belkin Voice Recorder when you refer to 'encoding MP3s in realtime'. Not so - the voice recorder stores audio as a mono 16-bit WAV with an 8 kHz sampling rate. Is not encoding MP3s in realtime.

-T

Care to back *your* assertion up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346724)

Or are you just speculating like the guy who works on that type of device is alleged to have done?

Let me think....who is probably correct.....a /. maccie troll with zero documentation, or someone who works in the field....hmmm....

Re:Huh? (1, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346598)

If this were true, which is more likely:

A) Manufacturer of the hardware will reveal its inabilities
B) Competitor of hardware manufacturer will point it out

Right... that's what I thought.

Re:Huh? (4, Informative)

in7ane (678796) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346617)

Did anybody (rio guy, poster?) at least bother to google [google.com] this? iPods CAN play ogg: (ok under Linux) and not far out of alpha [sourceforge.net] it seems.

So if somebody managed to get ogg to decode after loading up linux on an iPod, which is not exactly well documented hardware, Apple would not be?

Re:Huh? (1)

BlackSeal (772960) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346672)

Thank you. I was just going to post, "What is this? A news flash from the who the hell could care less department?"

Exactly why would Apple add in... (5, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346465)

...a standard that doesn't have a lot of real-world support? I mean, if you go onto one of the p2p systems, you find that everything is still pretty much mp3. So there is some incentive there for Apple to provide mp3 support. Why would they want to promote an alternative standard that they aren't selling, though?

Seems to me that Apple wouldn't benefit much from ogg or flac support. So why bother - besides, the article makes it clear that the processor in the older ipods probably won't even support the decoding of ogg due to cpu limitations.

Barking up the wrong tree here, sadly. Ogg has to get some critical mass before Apple would even consider it.

Re:Exactly why would Apple add in... (4, Interesting)

beckett (27524) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346505)

Apple has .ogg waiting in the wings. People have found .ogg and WMA icons [macnn.com] in the OSX iTunes .app package.

i do agree with you though, there are just not enough people using ogg for apple to care.

Re:Exactly why would Apple add in... (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346584)

It'd be very interesting if iTunes and the iPod were to suddenly support the WMA format... because aside from Apple's iTune's Music Store and RealNetwork's offerings, every other major downloadable music store is using WMA for DRM.

If the iPod were suddenly to support WMA files, wouldn't that mean that iPod owners would be able to comparison shop all of the music stores for the best price on any given track? BuyMusic.com and WalMart.com have already staked their claims at selling for less than 99 cents on the most popular tracks.

Jobs on Vorbis (3, Informative)

typhoonius (611834) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346648)

Found this while looking for a shot of the icon:

Arik Hesseldahl: Had a small profit. OK. Any interest whatsoever, since in the open source OGG Vorbis format?

Steve Jobs: We're certainly not getting any requests from customers for it.

Cite [macobserver.com]. Basically what everyone already knows; they're unlikely to support Vorbis because consumers are unlikely to want it. Most of my music is in Ogg, so this is the main reaosn why I'm not interested in the iPod (even though the touchwheel thing is so damn slick), but I'm certainly not representative of the majority.

Re:Exactly why would Apple add in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346662)

Apple has .ogg waiting in the wings. People have found .ogg and WMA icons in the OSX iTunes .app package.

How is an icon evidence of anything more than wishful thinking?

Re:Exactly why would Apple add in... (1)

SmittyTheBold (14066) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346723)

Because they obviously paid some artists for their (admittedly, minimal) time to create an icon specifically for .ogg files, and that icon was included in the release build of iTunes. If they weren't working on it or interested at all, why would they even make an icon?

Unless they were hoping to block Rio sales by implying future Ogg support without actually saying a thing. Observe the geek, who wants Vorbis support. Ogg-using geek thinks about getting a Rio Karma, but then hears news that "Apple might be working on .ogg support" and instead decides to either hold off on the Rio or to actually buy an iPod instead. So it's either something they're working on, or a clever marketing ploy. Neither would surprise me.

Well, Why Not? (1)

Mister Proper (567223) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346554)

In the world of software it seems to be generally the case that you try to support as many formats as possible, both for reasons of usability (why will it open that, but not this document?) and usefulness.

Though, of course, ultimately competitive reasons are the motive. Players in monopoly positions might disagree.

What I want to say is, why not ask Apple to support Ogg Vorbis? Surely it's a good thing Vorbis fans aren't so cynical as to not even bother voicing polite requests for Vorbis support. That should definitely be all the more true if they're willing to put their money where their mouth is at.

Critical mass (4, Interesting)

Julian Morrison (5575) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346628)

Is it just me or is Ogg becoming quite popular - as a movie format? I've seen lots of .ogm files on Suprnova.

Re:Exactly why would Apple add in... (1)

willy_me (212994) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346642)

iPods/iTunes now support Apple Lossless - very similar to flac. I did a bit of testing and I found that the file sizes of Apple Lossless were slightly smaller then flac, but the difference was negligible. However, the encoding times for Apple Lossless were far better then those for flac. They must have spent a great deal of time optimizing it.

Because there is no quality loss in converting between Apple Lossless and flac, it really doesn't matter that iPods don't support flac.

Reagan dead. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346468)

Actor/U.S. President Ronald Reagan was found dead in his California home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his prayers to a mythical being, there's no denying his contributions to superstition and tyranny. Truly an American icon.

My Opinion (5, Insightful)

luigi22_ (733738) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346470)

Adding OGG support would be more than enough to convince me to buy an iPod. I can't really see the downside except for increased strain on the system memory, if what the article claims is true.

Re:My Opinion (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346568)

the Rio Karma HAS .ogg support, is $100 cheapter (for the 20 gig version), twice the battery life, tis shorter (a bit wider), and has a very nice UI...why wait for the ipod to get ogg support when there's a good player(s!) out there right now with it and more - you wanna pay $100 for that silver apple on the back?

Re:My Opinion (1)

Trurl's Machine (651488) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346603)

Adding OGG support would be more than enough to convince me to buy an iPod.

With all due respect, I don't think Apple designs its hardware thinking personally about you (unless you're Steve Jobs, of course). Like most commercial institutions, Apple thinks in terms of "target group(s)". The target group of the people who actually know what OGG is, is too small to be relevant. Sorry guys, get used to it.

I can't really see the downside except for increased strain on the system memory, if what the article claims is true.

Well, increased strain on the system memory means less efficient harddrive caching and this means less battery life. Adding more memory would also have negative effect on battery life. So you have a serious downside here, while the only positive effect would be winning the hearts (and wallets) of the people who actually want to use Vorbis on their portable. Can you say "negligible" [open-dictionary.com]?

Vorbis Support not Widely Needed (3, Insightful)

caffeinefiend (681092) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346471)

Apple may offend certain groups, such as Linux Users, by not supporting the Ogg Vorbis system, however the majority of computer users will never even consider using this codec. I submit this for consideration: What Operating system has the largest desktop user market share? Windows, obviously, Apple does not need to support Vorbis because Windows users, in general, have no need for this.

Re:Vorbis Support not Widely Needed (1)

BiggyP (466507) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346521)

what? so you mean they're better off adding WMA support, because that's what all those windows users will have their crappy 64kbps music collection encoded with?

anyway, how about a dedicated hardware deocoder, there was an article quite some time ago [slashdot.org], did anyone manufacture one?

Re:Vorbis Support not Widely Needed (4, Insightful)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346530)

By your logic, Apple does not need to support itself because Windows users, in general, have no need for it.

Why don't you try running a successful large company and get a feel for not being a producer, not a consumer?

Re:Vorbis Support not Widely Needed (4, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346556)

There's no reason why they couldn't put the FairPlay wrapper around Ogg Vorbis files the same way they do around Advanced Audio Codec files now.

However, MPEG formats have always been mindful of keeping the decoding processing load low, even if that sometimes comes at the expense of encoding time or quality. The idea is that they want to keep the playback devices as cheap as possible.

Apparently OGG sounds better, but its processor load is putting it out of reach of dumber consumer devices.

Re:Vorbis Support not Widely Needed (1)

pmjordan (745016) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346578)

Windows Media Player uses WMA, as far as I know. The iPod supports what, AAC (or whatever Apple's proprietary format is called) and MP3. I'm not sure I'm following you here. People still need to *buy* an MP3 encoder. That's right, MP3s are patented and require license fees.

Oggs, apart from using a superior compression algorithm, are completely open, and encoders are available for free, for all OSes.

Yes, MP3s are more popular, but that's nothing to do with Windows, it's mostly that MP3s have been around longer, and were around at a critical time.

Re:Vorbis Support not Widely Needed (1)

fr0dicus (641320) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346650)

Exactly, and even if for some reason, Linux suddenly chomped 50% of the desktop market share, you'd still never see Ogg Vorbis widely used. Microsoft and Apple would be straight there with their formats.

It'll be a moot point before that state ever exists, because storage size won't be an issue.

And? (1)

subtillus (568832) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346483)

While I can accept that a lot of people might care about Ogg, it doesn't make a difference to me, my files are all AAC or MP3s.

Either way, this news isn't going to make me huck the ipod in favour of one of the uglier players, whatever they're called.

Re:And? (1)

incom (570967) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346701)

While I can accept that a lot of people might care about apple merchandise, it doesn't make a difference to me, my player supports my formats.

Apple will not (2, Interesting)

TwistedSpring (594284) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346486)

Apple will probably not support ogg. Ogg has no DRM, and iTunes etc. is based around buying stuff before playing it. I don't own an iPod but I assume I know it plays MP3, I just doubt strongly that apple will add ogg support to it when they probably want to push more people towards iTunes and thus earn more revenue. Ogg doesn't really match up with "revenue", so Apple will probably not support it.

That doesn't mean to say that 3rd party hackers won't find a way to put ogg on an iPod, of course.

Re:Apple will not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346506)

> Ogg has no DRM

Neither has AAC.

Re:Apple will not (1)

overbyj (696078) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346544)

As an anonymous poster says below, AAC doesn't have DRM either. It is a layer added by Apple so that they control the specs of the DRM. DRM could easily be added to Ogg Vorbis if someone wanted to do that but I wouldn't count on Apple doing that.

Re:Apple will not (1)

tji (74570) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346565)

Apple will probably not support ogg. Ogg has no DRM ... I don't own an iPod but

The audio format has very little to do with the DRM. If Apple wanted to use Vorbis on their music store, they could wrap the files in their DRM.

But, anyway your response is off base, because the DRM only applies to music purchased in Apple's music store, not to any of your own music ripped from CD's. Apple only uses AAC for the music in their store, but this does not stop them from supporting MP3 from within iTunes and the iPod. (I do own an iPod, and I use both AAC and MP3)

Re:Apple will not (5, Informative)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346581)

AAC and MP3 do not have DRM either.. the DRM layer was added for the iTunes music STORE, which is a recent addition.... people bought ipods LONG before the iTMS existed.....

Why do people insist on thinking that ipods and itunes are all just about the store? The majority of ipod owners DONT use the store.

What's in it for Apple? (3, Insightful)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346640)

Exactly. Mod parent up. Etc.

Why would Apple want to support the Ogg Vorbis format? Call me cynical, and I've said this before, but what's in it for Apple?

Apple support MP3 because it's vital to their business model to get people with MP3 collections on board. Apple supports their own DRM-encumbered format so that they can sell you tunes via iTunes that you can't then share for free.

What's in it for Apple to support a new format that has no DRM? DRM where they want you to go. MP3 is just the bait.

w00t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346495)

All your OGG are belong to U.

Why OGG? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346498)

This article indicates precisely why OGG Vorbis probably isn't a good idea on your ipod or mp3 player... namely, you get 25% LESS battery life. In a non portable, that's fine, but for a portable player with limited battery life... why in the world would anyone choose to get 75% performance with a negligable increase in sound quality (from headphones)?

Re:Why OGG? (1, Interesting)

nagora (177841) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346577)

why in the world would anyone choose to get 75% performance with a negligable increase in sound quality (from headphones)?

For one thing my entire CD collection is now in OGG format on my main machine and I'm not about to re-encode for the benefit of Apple's decision to add yet another music format. So, until OGG is an option I'm not interested in an iPod. With it, on the other hand, I can live with 25% less battery life.

TWW

Re:Why OGG? (5, Insightful)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346671)

why in the world would anyone choose to get 75% performance with a negligable increase in sound quality (from headphones)?
It's not really a linear scale from worse to better. Setting aside the dogmatic choices a lot of the free software people make, the compression artifacts and failures of the MPEG layer 3 and vorbis CODECs is fairly different.

Even at higher bitrates, mp3 (or its encoders) tend to have a lot of difficulty producing tuned white noise, especially in harmony with better-formed sounds. A breathy voice or a flute can be murder to reproduce. There's also a kind of "glistening" that happens when it tries to represent overtones near the high end of the encoding frequency.

On the other hand, vorbis seems to more often fail with balances of the frequency range, making some components of sounds louder and others softer than the original, especially with the earlier encoders. Sometimes this merely gives you a too-tuned and prounounced bass range while bands in higher frequencies become too soft. At other times, more complex instruments can lose their character altogether. Steel guitar strings lose the harsher-defined overtones and sound more like nylon, for example.

Personal preference determines which kind of loss people will choose. Some even pick specific formats to best represent specific styles of music.

Can't Linux on iPod Do This? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346508)

I thought that the Linux on iPod [sourceforge.net] project managed to get Ogg playback working ?

Sure - it may not be at 100 percent realtime, but I bet Apple engineers (vs the noble folks who had to reverse engineer the iPod) could manage.

Story submitter is a noob (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346512)

Everyone knows Ipods aren't measured in horsepower.

I would be impressed, but surprised (2, Interesting)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346524)

Apple is not known for choices - its known for making one approach very easy to use.

That said, if they build the engine, we will hack it. I look forward to the linux-on-ipod folks dissecting the next gen player and making it play nice with linux as a desktop OS.

i still owe hugo a sandwich (-1, Offtopic)

Hubert_Shrump (256081) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346545)

this is an interview w/ hugo fiennes, who graciously helped me reflash some firmware on a rio that i inadvertantly fried under linux.

i'll vouch. a stand-up guy. and i still owe him a sandwich for the info: on the nike rio you can get back to the virgin firmware by holding down the up and down volume buttons at the same time as you power it up.

thanks hugo! you rock!

Technical nitpicking (4, Interesting)

mike260 (224212) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346548)

[...] This means that running code that doesn't fit in the internal 96kbyte SRAM of the player is very inefficient, both in terms of CPU cycles and power. MP3 and AAC just about squeeze into the internal memory (one at a time, obviously!), but anything that didn't would result in a big power hit - my guess is 30-40%+.

Surely only code in external RAM would incur this hit. Vorbis decoders spend most of their time doing discrete cosine transforms, which would easily fit into 96K. As would a lot of other performance-critical routines, I'd imagine. So we're talking about a 40% hit on 5% of execution time, which seems pretty trivial, right? Or am I missing something?

title should read: (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346599)

"ipod may not care about ogg's cpu-hungry obscure geek-only format"

Re:title should read: (3, Insightful)

fr0dicus (641320) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346738)

Yeah, or 'trade storage space for battery life? No thanks!'

Or 'seriously, 99% of people don't care',

or 'it's still compressed you fools, so what if it supposedly sounds 1% better',

or 'Rio thinks using ogg will make them cooler than Apple'.

I feel a bit better now. Seriously now though, portable devices are mainly designed to be portable and easy to use. Musical fidelity, albeit important, is really not going to shine through with the crappy little in-ear headphones that people will invariably choose to use. The fidelity is irrelevant and this claim by the Rio chap is more of a drawback of Ogg Vorbis than the iPod in my eyes.

calculations? (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346607)

I think to remember other devices having such problems which were solved by writing decoders using integers instead floating point calculations.
But I might be wrong, it's not something I know much about.

The situation in a nutshell (4, Informative)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346612)

The iPod doesn't rely on its CPU to do the decoding for its mpeg formats. The bulk of that is done by a special coprocessor. Whether this is to cut power use or because the slower clock and coprocessor are cheaper than a faster general purpose CPU, I don't know.

Memory isn't a problem. The full of the iPod's memory is directly addressable, and there are even projects (including iPod Linux) which do Ogg (vorbis, really) decoding, however only at low bitrates. The CPU speed is the strangling factor here. If someone wants to do some hard work, they might be able to raise the bitrate a bit, but owing to people generally relying on VBR encodes, it's going to be difficult to fully enable people's libraries, even when they think they have mostly low-bitrate tunes.

iPod vs. Karma (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346616)

The Rio Karma convinced me to buy one of it's offspring once I found out they supported Ogg. I pre-ordered the Rio Karma about 1 year ago. Now I have 14 of the 20max gigs full with Oggs. That and an account at allofmp3.com gets me tons of music. I also love the way Rio Karma has built in ethernet connectivity. High end features (hey Rio is OWNED by Denon) like Sennheiser headphones and the audio output built in on the cradle made me jump at the chance to own one.

I have read about the mini iPod having the earbud connector get loose and cause distortion. Also I have heard about the iPod's battery going broke. I don't need overpriced Apple hardware, especially when it doesn't support Ogg. There is an open source jihad going on and the bearded hippies now have a way to get ogg vorbis in a portable fashion. I am proud to be a bearded hippie. Not to mention Ogg Vorbis beats all codecs in listening tests. Why buy an iPod when all it is is a overpriced POS. So STFU and RTFM and get a Rio Karma.

Re:iPod vs. Karma (1)

fr0dicus (641320) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346658)

Nope. Quite happy with AAC and a nice user interface thanks.

iTunes is also a pleasure as well, but then I prefer most software that Apple produces to anything anyone else can muster. Mark 2 iPod still going strong :)

Reagan died (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346632)

Reagan died.

Re:Reagan died (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346652)

I will swap u Regan for Bush

Re:Reagan died (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9346683)

i think /. should post a story

Re:Reagan died (-1, Flamebait)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346696)

Reagan died.
You're going down for being off-topic, but I'll try and save you --

How different would the US be if Reagan hadn't been in office? The communists wouldn't have bankrupted themselves in the arms race, and Russia would still be locked and closed. The Russian Internet would be incompatible with and detached from our own. The end result? Fewer Russian porn sites meaning less banner cashflow, cutting the value of the adware included with most closed source MP3 swapping software. If it weren't for Reagan, the iPod might well have been AAC-only.

Fuck. That wasn't very good. Now they're going to moderate us both down.

Ogg (4, Interesting)

Err (21062) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346695)

iPod support for Vorbis would be cool.

What I would truly love would be iPod support for Ogg Speex. I download quite a few audio lectures/interviews, and if the iPod supported Speex, I'd buy one ASAP and go on a campaign to get a few organizations I deal with to put their stuff out in Speex, not just mp3 and wma. For that matter, I'd love to be able to encode my audio books in Speex and have then on the go.

Rio Karma is WONDERFUL (from a GNU/Linux user) (4, Interesting)

donfede (6215) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346710)

Forget the ipod, the Rio Karma is wonderful from a GNU/Linux users perspective!

It plays all my ogg files without problems (a friends iriver could only handle lower bitrate ogg files).

I could upload music to it quickly and easily from my linux desktop using their java gui and connecting to the rio karma across my lan.

As I use this player to drive my car speakers (I only have an amp, no head unit), it was very important that the interface be user friendly. This is where I had seen the ipod shine, and where I was doubtful about getting the rio karma (as I knew no owners of one and had not seen a showroom model). However I (and several passengers) found the rio karma interface to be as friendly, if not more so, than the ipod.

The rio karma was cheaper than the ipod, has more features, and is more cross platform. I have no regrets and strongly recomend it to music fans.

donfede

*Why?* (5, Insightful)

adun (127187) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346714)

Seriously, who cares about Vorbis outside the faction of *nix users with +1 Amulets of OSS Awe?

Apple's primary market are the throngs of not-quite-but-almost-technologically-literate end users out there who see gadgets as tools, not lifestyles. Does this afforementioned throng care about Vorbis? No. Should Apple therefore care about Vorbis? No.

Get the fuck over it, already.

I know I always say this, but (0, Flamebait)

chegosaurus (98703) | more than 9 years ago | (#9346747)

Can't you let this ogg thing go and either:

a) buy a Rio and STFU, or
b) use mp3 and STFU.
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