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Ogg Vorbis Gaining Industry Support

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the chicken-or-the-ogg dept.

Music 235

An anonymous reader writes "While Ogg Vorbis format has not gained much adoption in music sales and portable players, it is not an unsupported format in the industry. Toy manufacturers (e.g. speaking dolls), voice warning systems, and reactive audio devices exploit Ogg Vorbis for its good quality at small bit-rates. As a sign of this, VLSI Solution Oy has just announced VS1000, the first 16 bits DSP device for playing Ogg Vorbis on low-power and high-volume products. Earlier Ogg Vorbis chips use 32 bits for decoding, which consumes more energy than a 16-bit device does. See the Xiph wiki page for a list of Ogg Vorbis chips."

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235 comments

Informal poll (4, Funny)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17914790)

Ogg Vorbis is:

o An invading species
o The best audio format
o Can be bought at Ikea

Re:Informal poll (0, Troll)

heauxmeaux (869966) | more than 7 years ago | (#17914808)

none of the above

WMP11
Fuck all y'all dirty nerd bitches

WTF (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17915670)

What moron modded that insightful?

Windows Media Player is a media player, ogg vorbis is an audio codec. You can play ogg files with WMP11 if you install the codec.

Re:Informal poll (5, Funny)

cepler (21753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17914826)

An invading species of audio format sold by Ikea!

No wonder it's not used in many audio players!

Run away! Run away!!!! :-P

Re:Informal poll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17914868)

You missed one:

- Cowboy Neal's pet octopus.

Re:Informal poll (0, Redundant)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 7 years ago | (#17914954)

I used to think Ogg Vorbis was a character from the popular Mortal Kombat series of video games.

Re:Informal poll (3, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915684)

Actually, that was "Noob Saibot".

Backwards, it spelled the name of two developers: Boon and Tobias.

As a note, he make his first appearance as a super-hard hidden fight. You had to fight 50 times in 2-player on Mortal Kombat 2, and then you fought the Noob.

The noob looked like Scorpion with the ninja garb, but completely black. He was just a "shadow". he also could kick your ass super-quick.

Re:Informal poll (5, Funny)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915760)

The noob looked like Scorpion with the ninja garb, but completely black.
Actually, he looked more like Sub-Zero with the completely black ninja garb.

Re:Informal poll (3, Insightful)

delire (809063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915038)

While the name is memorable, it does pose problems where 'branding' is concerned. I've heard people refer to it as "Ogg", "Egg", "Vorbis" and "Egg Vorbis".

IMHO they should drop the 'Vorbis' (clearly the despotic leader of the gentle Ogg race) and just go for 'Ogg'. This would also tie it neatly into the .ogg extension, which is of course the primary contact people have with the format itself.

The maddening problem of Ogg Theora having a .ogg extension also is, of course, another conversation altogether..

Branding: "Ogg" vs. "Vorbis" (5, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915346)

Well, the problem is that you don't understand what "Ogg" and "Vorbis" (and "Theora") actually are. There's actually two different things here: codecs and container formats. "Ogg" refers to the container format; it's comparable to Quicktime, AVI, or Matroska. "Vorbis" and "Theora" refer to codecs (audio and video respectively); Vorbis is comparable to MPEG 1 layer 3 (aka MP3) or Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) and Theora is comparable to MPEG 2, DivX or H.264.

So, when people say "Ogg Vorbis" what they're actually referring to is a Vorbis audio stream inside an Ogg container. Presumably, it's possible to have a file with a raw Vorbis bitstream (without the Ogg container), and it's certainly possible to have an Ogg container without a Vorbis bitstream. This is also why Ogg Theora files have an .ogg extension; they're actually files with a Theora video stream and (probably) Vorbis audio stream, inside an Ogg container.

Re:Branding: "Ogg" vs. "Vorbis" (2, Insightful)

karnal (22275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915534)

And this explanation above is exactly why the common consumer could give a shit about .ogg

When someone talks about YouTube at work, I know they don't care about the codec or container. That's why ogg needs to be simpler name-wise.

Seriously though, I understand that it has it's uses, but for the "present time", mp3 is where it's at. Hopefully this chip makes a dent, but I'd bet money that mp3 will remain the name of the game for music for the masses for years to come.

Re:Branding: "Ogg" vs. "Vorbis" (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915824)

Seriously though, I understand that it has it's uses, but for the "present time", mp3 is where it's at.
If by "the present time" you mean 1995, then maybe. :)

Re:Branding: "Ogg" vs. "Vorbis" (3, Insightful)

toleraen (831634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915886)

Can you name a portable music player (generally referred to as an "mp3 player") that doesn't play mp3s? Even if it isn't superior in every way, it is where it's at. And that's the problem.

Re:Branding: "Ogg" vs. "Vorbis" (3, Funny)

maeglin (23145) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916038)

> generally referred to as an "mp3 player"

MP3 player? What's that? Is that like an iPod or something?

Other MP3 Players (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17916286)

{Rant}
My company uses iPods for music on Hold for the phone systems we install. We used the iPod Shuffle until they changed the form factor to disallow their use for that purpose. (We have to have the power supply supplying power at the SAME TIME that the music is playing.)

We tried an MP3 player from Creative (the Sound Blaster people) and found it to be dismal and unworkable. It loaded Terabytes of ad-ware onto the PC and even changed the home page for the web browser. And even though the USB (power input) is separate from the audio out, they do not both work at the same time. So it's back to the iPod, seeking out old-style Shuffles until they run out, when we may have to switch to the Nano (more $$$).

What we would like is a memory stick-like device which just plays what we've loaded into it. No subscription; no sign-up; no software to load; no mucking (that an M) around with my settings or Registry. Maybe a text file config.ini which has things like Order=Random and Repeat=Yes. Is that too much to ask? Apparently, YES.
{/Rant}
parl

AVI does the same thing. (4, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916154)

AVI is a container format; you can have any number of codecs stored within an AVI file. Same thing for WAV.

Why is this a problem for Ogg but not AVI?

Re:Branding: "Ogg" vs. "Vorbis" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17916288)

And this explanation above is exactly why the common consumer could give a shit about .ogg

You mean couldn't give a shit, don't you? And a simple name already exists: Vorbis. It's annoying lazy people who want one syllable instead of two that insist on calling Vorbis files "Ogg" and confusing the matter. Yes, there's more details behind it, but the same is true of MP3. As long as you have an unambiguous name, it doesn't matter. Ogg is ambiguous. Vorbis is not. Call it Vorbis.

PS: Who are these people who supposedly understand "Ogg" as "Egg"? Or, to put it more directly: which of these is more probable?

  • there are people in the world too stupid to understand the syllable that you get when you open your mouth and grunt, or
  • the original poster "stretched the truth" (i.e. lied) to make his point.

Re:Branding: "Ogg" vs. "Vorbis" (4, Insightful)

iabervon (1971) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915688)

The real issue is that people use extensions based on the container format, which is totally irrelevant to anything. Why would you ever care that your file uses the Ogg container, but not care what codec it uses or even what sort of media is encoded in it? I give all of my Ogg Vorbis files the extension ".audio", same as my mp3 files. Any software that's likely to be able to play them is going to be able to tell from the file contents what container format it uses. But it's useful to me to know whether I should be playing a file with a music player or a video player.

Of course, I think most people would be more comfortable giving their Ogg Vorbis files the extension ".mp3", since that's commonly and unambiguously used for files containing only audio.

Re:Branding: "Ogg" vs. "Vorbis" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17915748)

wow, clear as mud.

What's with the 3 letter extension? (1)

charlieman (972526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915920)

I think it would be better if they where .music, .video extensions, straight to the point. End users just need to know that.

Re:What's with the 3 letter extension? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916046)

In a perfect world, that would be true. However, the world is not perfect and has not yet settled on standardized media formats (a situation Xiph.org, the makers of Ogg, Vorbis, Theora, FLAC, etc. are trying to fix). Therefore, end users need to know what format their media is in so they know which program to use to play it, whether their portable media player or set-top box supports it, etc.

Besides, .audio and .video either wouldn't be fully descriptive enough, or would be too descriptive. What if the file has other types of streams, such as a subtitles track or a MIDI (which is really more like musical notation, not sound) track or an animated vector graphics track or a virtual reality track? It seems to me that we'd need .subtitles, .notes (or .midi), .animation, .vr, etc. Either that, or just stick everything into a .media file and let the software parse the container format to figure out what kind of media it is, anyway.

call it og3 (2, Insightful)

chrwei (771689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916062)

.avi and .mpg have the same problem. avi and mpeg are also the containers that can contain many different codecs; like XViD, DivX, raw DV, MPEG version 1, 2, and 4, motion JPEG and many others; some are somewhat compatible like XViD, DivX, and Mpeg4, some not. the containers have their own ways of allowing a player to know what codec is in the file so that it can be played.

Hell, .mp3 is an mpeg as well, they(0) just gave it a different extension so as to not confuse people. Why not do the same thing with ogg vorbis? Call it .og3, the masses might even think it's a new version of mp3 and take to it very quickly.

(0) - you know, they, those people that do things.

that breaks file extension association (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916118)

Not all audio players can handle video. Not all video players are any good for audio.

If the user clicks on something.ogg, should they get an audio player or a video player?

What kind of icon should the file get? Does it get an audio icon, or a video icon?

If the user does "file - open" in an audio app, should they see the *.ogg files? Some may be video, which makes them unsuitable choices.

Ogg Theora is stillborn of course, so this question is moot. The *.ogg files are audio.

Re:that breaks file extension association (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916218)

Well, if the application can handle Ogg files at all, then it can figure out what kinds of streams exist in the file and open the ones it understands while ignoring the rest.

Re:Branding: "Ogg" vs. "Vorbis" (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916336)

So, when people say "Ogg Vorbis" what they're actually referring to is a Vorbis audio stream inside an Ogg container. Presumably, it's possible to have a file with a raw Vorbis bitstream (without the Ogg container), and it's certainly possible to have an Ogg container without a Vorbis bitstream. This is also why Ogg Theora files have an .ogg extension; they're actually files with a Theora video stream and (probably) Vorbis audio stream, inside an Ogg container.
So is the only difference between an Ogg Theora and a .OGM file that .OGM doesn't use Theora for its video streams? Why is the extension different when they're both Ogg containers?

Re:Informal poll (1)

Hiween (1057790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915354)

OGG is the container, Vorbis is the compression codec. It's like AVI, AVI is just a container, it can have a video compressed with Xvid or DivX.

Re:Informal poll (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915388)

And most people call them AVI files, not Xvid. Hence, we should call them "ogg" files.

quod ego dico.

Re:Informal poll (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915432)

Hence, we should call them "ogg" files.

...when we're talking about the file format, that is. In this case, however, we're talking about chips designed specifically to decode the Vorbis audio stream, so "Vorbis" (without Ogg, unless the chip is capable of understanding the container format too) is the appropriate name to use in this thread.

"MPEG chip" that understands the container (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915582)

so "Vorbis" (without Ogg, unless the chip is capable of understanding the container format too) is the appropriate name to use in this thread.

A lot of dedicated "MPEG chips" used in portable audio and video players are capable of understanding both the MPEG container and the MP3 codec.

Re:Informal poll (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915374)

The maddening problem of Ogg Theora having a .ogg extension also is, of course, another conversation altogether..
OK, I'll bite... Vorbis is the name of the actual codec [vorbis.com] , Ogg is the name of the file container. Microsoft do the same thing with ASF, and Apple with Quicktime files. AVI and MP4 are some more examples of codec-independent container files too.

Re:Informal poll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17915310)

A Vogon Poet.

MP3 License (5, Interesting)

Agent_Eight (237857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17914876)

If you look at the price list for this chip it states that "Prices include MP3 license of Thomson Multimedia."

Wasn't the point of Ogg Vorbis to have a codec free of licensing?

Re:MP3 License (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17914958)

Perhaps the chip can decode both Vorbis and MP3.

Re:MP3 License (5, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915238)

I think this is the whole reason. If someone is looking for a chip that does Ogg, they can choose this one. If they are looking for a chip that does MP3, they can choose this one.

Business wise, which is better? Selling an MP3 decoder chip for $0.10 each (just a guess), or selling an MP3/Ogg decoder chip for $0.10 each? Since there are no patents, adding Ogg support is free, but adds value. Lots of people may want chips that can play MP3s (GPS, Cell Phones, MP3 players, calculators, EVERYTHING plays MP3s), but how many would buy a chip that only did Ogg? I doubt that market is nearly as large. Added value.

That's my guess. Your product (possibly with a little bit of extra programming) could even use both. MP3 for things you want at a higher quality, Ogg for things less important. Maybe you are upgrading your old product. You can keep all the old samples MP3 and just add the new samples as Ogg. Who knows.

Re:MP3 License (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915300)

MP3 for things you want at a higher quality, Ogg for things less important.

You've got that backwards. Vorbis is a better codec (in terms of sound quality at a given level of compression) than MP3.

Re:MP3 License (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915316)

I was wondering about that. I've never used it.

Perhaps Ogg for all internal sounds to a device, and the MP3 capability for sounds the user wants to add so they don't have to use a "weird custom proprietary" format (despite the the fact it's not).

Re:MP3 License (4, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915408)

I was wondering about that. I've never used it.

Unless I'm mistaken, just about everything (e.g. Windows Media Audio, AAC, Vorbis) is better than MP3. What's debatable is how the former three compare to each other.

Perhaps Ogg for all internal sounds to a device, and the MP3 capability for sounds the user wants to add so they don't have to use a "weird custom proprietary" format (despite the the fact it's not).

That makes sense, since even if the user has heard of Vorbis he doesn't necessarily want to re-encode (and certainly doesn't want to transcode, as the resulting file would sound worse because the previous encoding to MP3 would have thrown away information that Vorbis would need).

Re:MP3 License (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17915862)

"""You've got that backwards. Vorbis is a better codec (in terms of sound quality at a given level of compression) than MP3."""

Which is precisely why one might choose to use .OGG for lower bitrate applications. Same audio quality as .MP3 (which is the standard--no real market push to surpass it in terms of audio quality) but lower bitrates.

Same levels of audio quality, coupled with lower bitreates (which equates to lower battery usage) + lesser memory/storage requirements = a possible niche for your new .OGG playing product.

Re:MP3 License (2, Informative)

maeka (518272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915928)

Repeated double-blind listening tests performed at/by HydrogenAudio show that Vorbis and MP3 achieve [i]transparency[/i] at about the same bitrate.
Vorbis and AAC are both superior formats when compared to MP3 on their technical merits. LAME, however, is the leveler.

Never underestimate the impact of a mature encoder when it comes to lossy codecs.

Re:MP3 License (1)

Vulva R. Thompson, P (1060828) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915330)

Datasheets aren't perfect but for an item as big as this, you'd expect some mention. Only Ogg is mentioned in section 7.5 of the datasheet (see the VLSI site). Perhaps there's a firmware upgrade in the future that marketing didn't catch in the revision.

Nevertheless, it's sampled around 48KHz so the device is certainly applicable to both high and low end audio applications. Lower end applications are definitely in the target market:

"Sample rates above 46875 Hz are played back at 46875 Hz. There are no sample rate restrictions for lower sample
rates: non-standard sample rates can be played back without a performance penalty."

Re:MP3 License (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915412)

I sure hope that it does downsampling. Can you imagine 96kHz audio played back at 46.875. :-)

max sample rate. (1)

lithis (5679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915650)

in section 3.2, footnote 3 (page 4), it mentions that the sample rate can be higher than 46.875 KHz. if you don't use usb (see footnote 2), it can decode up to 50.78125 KHz.

Re:MP3 License (1)

lithis (5679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915590)

it says in section 7.4.2 of the datasheet (page 17) "The default player application only decodes Ogg Vorbis files".

note that the price list does not list the vs1000.

Re:MP3 License (1)

Omega Hacker (6676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915212)

If you look at the price list, you'll see that this chip is simply not listed at all (yet, I assume). Therefore the notice that the MP3 license is included in the price does not apply to this chip.

Re:MP3 License (2, Informative)

Myopic (18616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915488)

That price list is for lots and lots of different chips and packages. Presumably, some of them (maybe many or most, I don't know the company, I just looked at the price list because of your comment) have MP3 capability. Also presumably, from what I know of Ogg Vorbis, the license cost would not apply to the Ogg-only chip(s).

Re:MP3 License (2, Informative)

Rufus211 (221883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915522)

If you look at the price list for this chip it states that "Prices include MP3 license of Thomson Multimedia."
If you actually read the price list, you'll see that the VS1000 isn't included on there. All the other chips they produce are MP3 playback, so have to pay the MP3 license. Presumably when they update the price list to include the VS1000, they'll modify the wording.

Interesting reversal of technology (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17914888)

Toys are a bit of a climb down from the vastly profitable market they were looking at. Still a few quid there though.

Legal Reversal. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916116)

Toys are a bit of a climb down from the vastly profitable market they were looking at.

Thanks to a small legal reversal [theregister.co.uk] Ogg may get in more than toys. We shall see if the total M$ industry screw the recent change in DRM scheme will bring OGG to the prominence it deserves.

OGG is the Game Industry's Favorite Format (5, Interesting)

StaticEngine (135635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17914910)

OGG Vorbis is used all over the place in the Video Game Industry, since it's free, well documented, sounds great, and has source code available. I think MP3 is only in the forefront of people's minds because the news media coopted the name of that format to encompass all lossy compressed audio schemes, the way "Kleenex" is used by some people to refer to generic facial tissues.

That said, I've used Vorbis playback in an audio library I wrote, and thought it was probably the easiest part of the whole project.

Re:OGG is the Game Industry's Favorite Format (4, Interesting)

acidrain (35064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915018)

I mentioned ogg to the lead sound programmer at the last games company I worked at and they started using it at their generic format. It still had to be converted to a console specific format for the runtime, because the hardware was designed to handle certain types of streams, and audio isn't cheap to transform cpu-wise. Of course that was ps2/xbox/gc and I'm under the impression that they were able to do a lot more runtime processing of the audio on the "next gen" consoles, but I don't know what role ogg played. Certainly the memory bandwidth savings off ogg in the runtime may outweigh the cpu costs, but again, that's probably something most companies are still working out and I don't know from experience.

Re:OGG is the Game Industry's Favorite Format (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17915146)

Another advantage with ogg over mp3 is that it supports more than 2 channels. The video game industry, especially those doing dev on next-gen consoles, are quite aware of this.

Re:OGG is the Game Industry's Favorite Format (5, Informative)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915256)

Consoles have hardware-accelerated ADPCM compression for normal sfx, but audio streams can certainly be compressed with Vorbis. All the commercial audio libraries support it at this point, or else it's easy enough to add the support yourself. The next-gen engines have plenty of horsepower to spare for vorbis decoders - it's really not that expensive as long as you don't go too crazy with simultaneous decodes.

Our company is switching from mp3 to vorbis for our upcoming projects - it's definitely a better format for a closed system such as games. As is oft-mentioned here, it's a better-sounding codec at lower bitrates, which is important for MMOs, since occasional updates are expected - and saving bandwidth wherever possible certainly matters. And, it has a few technical benefits such as sample-accurate decoding (MP3 decodes in blocks, so you have to write additional kludges to get around this), which is helpful for loops.

It's nice to hear the format is picking up a bit of steam. I've had my eye on it for a long time, and have been impressed with the steady progress that has been made.

Re:OGG is the Game Industry's Favorite Format (1)

pbaer (833011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915548)

As is oft-mentioned here, it's a better-sounding codec at lower bitrates, which is important for MMOs, since occasional updates are expected - and saving bandwidth wherever possible certainly matters.

If you were making an MMO wouldn't it make more sense to store the sound files on the client's computer, as you would only need to transfer a command telling it to "play the sound file for being hit" instead of transferring the actual file for being hit?

Re:OGG is the Game Industry's Favorite Format (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915806)

Umm reread what the GP said. Sounds to me like that's what they're doing, but...
When they tweak the world users have to download any corresponding sounds,
maps, artwork, etc.

Re:OGG is the Game Industry's Favorite Format (4, Interesting)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915202)

Also, Ogg Vorbis is much more predictable.

Apparently, you can't take apart an MP3 in a deterministic way. That is, if you hand a compressed block to the MP3 decoder, you could get back an uncompressed block of any size, and it's not possible to determine this size ahead of time. You can partially decode blocks ("Decompress in to this buffer up to a maximum of N bytes,"), but then you can't restart the decoder from exactly where you left off. This means you have to either re-decode the entire block and throw away what you've already used, or blindly move on to the next block and hope no one notices the pop. This sort of sloppiness is generally frowned upon in game programming circles.

Vorbis apparently doesn't suffer from these shortcomings. And it sounds better.

This imparted to me by an experienced console game programmer, as relayed through my highly imperfect memory.

Schwab

Re:OGG is the Game Industry's Favorite Format (5, Informative)

CryoPenguin (242131) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915418)

There's no problem with decoding MP3 in a fixed buffer size. Each frame contains exactly 1152 audio samples.

The MP3 problem you might be thinking of is the bit reservoir: Constant bitrate MP3 only pretends to be constant bitrate. If you look at the spacing between MP3 frame headers it looks like each frame is exactly the same size. But they're really not: frames can borrow bits from nearby frames, so the compressed data at one place in the stream doesn't necessarily decode to the decompressed samples that nominally correspond with that frame. Thus it's tricky to determine where you have to start decoding if you want to seek to a given sample number, and the naive seeking method could be off by about +/- 0.25 seconds.

That problem is specific to MP3; I don't know of any other audio format that suffers from it. All Vorbis had to do to fix it was be logical and put each bit in the frame it's supposed to be in, not in some random other frame.

Re:OGG is the Game Industry's Favorite Format (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915758)

"That is, if you hand a compressed block to the MP3 decoder, you could get back an uncompressed block of any size, "

What he said was correct. You just went on to babble about how what he said was correct. I guess it could depend on what he meant by 'block', did he mean frame, or did he mean chunk of x bytes? I think you know and I know that he meant chunk of x bytes.

Re:OGG is the Game Industry's Favorite Format (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17916010)

I think you know and I know that he meant chunk of x bytes.
If that is what he meant his post is even less deserving of the "Insightful" moderation.
You don't feed a MPEG decoder chunks of bytes - you feed it frames, and the problems created by the bit reservoir are no more complicated than the usage of B frames in MPEG video.

Might be everyone's favorite if it were not for M$ (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916090)

The Janus, "Plays for Sure" DRM license forbade OGG [theregister.co.uk] and that is a big reason there are not more players on the market. As newer players on the market show, the technical arguments given were pure bullshit and PR on M$'s part. They are fighting free software every dirty way they can.

Re:OGG is the Game Industry's Favorite Format (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916168)

Naah, it's not a media conspiracy. MP3 software was everywhere when OGG started up. Many people didn't want to convert from one lossy format to another, or have a media library of mixed formats, or both. Those "many people" turned out to be "most people", and so MP3 stayed, and OGG slipped off into the realm of those distributing playing software with the OGGs, such as the game developers you speak of. Everyone has an mp3 player. Everyone has had one on their computer since the late 90s. I still don't have an OGG player.

Storage vs processing vs quality (4, Informative)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17914938)

There will always be some sort of trade off between cost effectiveness of storage vs processing and cost effectiveness. There are no obvious winners, and the best solution will change as the memory vs micro prices change.

Many voice mail systems only use 32kbps sampling and achieve fine results for that purpose, and the algorithms are easy enough to render on a 8-bit micro costing 50c.

When it comes to medium quality sound then there are basically two routes you can take: 8 bit micro (or even some dumb logic)running less fancy algorithms and a bit more flash/rom to store more verbose sound data; or more compressed sound and a flashier micro to run a heavier algorithm. You can now get 32-bit ARM micros for less than $1 making the second option reasonably feasible at low cost.

However flash is very cheap. NAND flash only costs approx 2c per MB (for multi-MB chips, so small chips are going to cost more per MB). You can fit a lot of "mama" phrases in a couple of MB. As a result you don't want to spend too much money on micros to save on flash.

Re:Storage vs processing vs quality (2, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915024)

Many voice mail systems only use 32kbps sampling and achieve fine results for that purpose, and the algorithms are easy enough to render on a 8-bit micro costing 50c.

I'm not sure exactly how lightweight the algorithm is, but Speex [speex.org] would be more appropriate for that than a general-purpose audio codec, and has the same "no license fees" advantage as Vorbis. I wonder how Speex is doing in "the industry?"

Speex works excellently. (2, Interesting)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915598)

Quite well as far as I'm concerned; Speex is useful with Asterisk [asterisk.org] (a popular and extensible open source telephone system), I use it to make high-quality low-bandwidth encodings of talk shows I work with, and a lot of players play it (including VideoLAN Client [videolan.org] which works on many operating systems). I never have to worry about patent hassles, proprietary software hassles, or losing control of my audio to digital restrictions management.

Re:Speex works excellently. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915664)

Oh, I'm sure Speex is technologically great; I was just wondering how successful it's been in terms of hardware support (by dedicated encoder/decoder chips, not general-purpose FPGAs or CPUs).

The cost of licenses can't be ignored (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17915294)

The only reason I would make an embedded product using mp3 is if I had to be able to play random mp3s supplied by someone else. If I had control of the source audio, I would never use it. For a lot of applications Ogg even seems like overkill.

If I wanted to go really cheap (making a product that only has a couple of sounds for instance) I might well select pulse width modulation. It needs no codec and you could even use a pic to play it back. As the parent points out all you need is a bit of cheap memory. The other advantage is that you don't need a linear amplifier; you can use class 'D'. That's a real advantage if you're using battery power.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse-width_modulatio n [wikipedia.org]

money talks (4, Insightful)

joe_bruin (266648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17914942)

Ogg Vorbis is gaining popularity mostly because of the price per unit. When you make millions of dolls a year and you have to pay a $0.10 licensing fee per unit if it plays voice prompts in MP3 format, that starts to get pretty expensive. If WMA, AAC, MP3, or any other codec was cheaper and did not require significanly more flash memory to store, they'd be using that instead.

Re:money talks (5, Insightful)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915084)

It is no longer a dime anymore. The IC prices are not listed online, but the per device prices are for hardware items.

http://www.mp3licensing.com/royalty/hardware.html [mp3licensing.com]

At the bottom of the page is tha item that unless you buy chips with the license, the minimum for doing it yourself is $15,000 USD. If you are making a limited quanity of an item, the minimum can be a showstopper unless you buy chips from someone else, which may also be a little expensive. Dropping MP3 can save a chunk of change since a free alternative exists.

It's the PNG/GIF thing all over again.

No, Worse because M$ Squished it. (4, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916032)

It's the PNG/GIF thing all over again.

Except in this case M$ gave music player makers a choice: our way or the highway. The Janus DRM license actually forbade the use of ogg. Though this was shot down by the EU [theregister.co.uk] , you might imagine the pressure is still there. Well, it was until M$ hosed every one of them over by dumping the former "Plays for Sure" for whatever their new "service" is. You would think they would revolt given they can't win in the M$ world.

Only on Slashdot (0, Troll)

winkydink (650484) | more than 7 years ago | (#17914956)

would you find a talking doll listed as the first application.

"And her name is
P-I-N-K-Y
P-I-N, no lie
K-Y, me-oh-my
She's $69.95
Give her a try"

Worthless for hobbyists (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17914962)

No DIP/PDIP version of the chip. So great if you're a consumer electronics giant who wants to maximize profits, not so hot if you want to build yourself a totally free player (as in, one can post the schematics in sf.net and anyone who can use an iron can build one). This is a triumph for big business, not open source.

Yes, I know about hacking reflow using a toaster oven, a meat thermostat and a stopwatch. It's not my idea of fun.

Re:Worthless for hobbyists (2, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915198)

a toaster oven, a meat thermostat and a stopwatch.

Interesting...and I think I can picture it...but is it really any better than a midget, a trapeze and a running start?

Re:Worthless for hobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17915266)

You could, of course, just learn to use a regular soldering iron like everyone else. I solder fine pitch stuff all the time with an iron. You use flux and solder wick. Does a perfect job. And board layouts for parts that aren't through hole are a hell of a lot easier than dip.

and of actual usefulness... (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915096)

See the Xiph wiki page for a list of Ogg Vorbis chips."

Also see the page for a list of consumer products supporting the Ogg format. :)

Openness == Interoperability (3, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915144)

This highlights the reasoning that large corporations such as IBM, Novell, and Sun have adopted open source methods: it lowers their bottom line. They pay programmers to work on open-source projects and they more than recoup the costs through savings in other areas such as interoperability. Open-source breeds open-standards and when basic infrastructure such as audio support is basically "free" then costs are lowered more by using common-infrastructure between manufacturers vs. constantly reinventing-the-wheel or developing your own library of common code/components. Reiterating simply, it's cheaper to pay programmers to develop free infrastructure code and give it away to reap higher profits from reduced costs in other areas such as interoperability.

Read the specs, it is more than for toys (2, Informative)

markdavis (642305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915150)

The "article" (actually the spec page) shows the device is much more that just a chip for toys. Otherwise, they would not have tone controls, stereo output, customizable firmware, "spacial processing", and most especially a FULL SPEED USB interface!

The unit looks like something that is much more useful as something like an iPod shuffle (since there is no display controller). And in reasonable quantity- the sucker only costs $4! Add a several more dollars of flash, battery, case, connectors, and buttons, and "ta da", you have a reasonable, cheap, portable audio stereo device.

"Full Speed" means slow, but not slowest. (1)

ClayJar (126217) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915498)

To quote Vizzini, "You fell victim to one of the classic blunders..."

When speaking of USB (2.0), "Full-Speed" means 12 Mbit/s, while "Hi-Speed" means 480 Mbit/s.

Re:"Full Speed" means slow, but not slowest. (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916146)

UG! Don't you *HATE* marketing crappola???

Guess that does put a dent in it being a really useful portable media device and relegates it to kind of a toy player :(

One has to wonder why for all the other features, then.

"Prices include MP3 license...." (1)

mungewell (149275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915164)

It's rather ammusing (as we're emphasizing the 'zero license fee' for Ogg Vorbis) that when you go to the price list it actually states "Prices include MP3 license of Thomson Multimedia".

Wonder if you can actually by them without an MP3 license?
Simon.

Reasons for adoption (1)

kronix2 (802708) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915218)

"[They] exploit Ogg Vorbis for its good quality at small bit-rates." That and there aren't any licensing fees to pay.

And I was recently just dissing the nephew's Elmo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17915226)

...with a dismissive "But does it play ogg?" Little tike was crushed.

Better check that list. Might owe the little fucker an apology.

DemocracyNow! (-1, Offtopic)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915234)

The place where I use Ogg is at DemocracyNow! which includes this format along with realplay, cd and mp3. http://www.democracynow.org/streampage.pl [democracynow.org] . This show tends to cover problems with voting machines, corporate control of media and net neutrality that are also covered on slashdot, as well as other issues.
--
One person one solar power system! http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Change the name (1, Insightful)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915680)

Not to be trite, but the very name of the format is a hindrance to adoption. The pronunciation is not immediately obvious, it's hard to spell correctly unless you stare at it for a while, and it doesn't seem to be related to audio, music, compression, or any other earthly topic.

Okay, sure they probably gave it a weird name on purpose, but maybe it's just time to not be weird any more.

Re:Change the name (1)

Mr. Altaco (1051486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915770)

Yes, "Ogg Vorbis" is a bit wordy. and it's a little too sci-fi. I think they should just go with ogg.

Re:Change the name (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916102)

As was said before, Ogg is the name of the container format. Ogg Vorbis is simply a Vorbis stream inside an Ogg container. Calling it Ogg would make it nonsensical.

Nope, ogg is an audio format. (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916324)

We're lucky that Ogg Theora was stillborn, because normal operating systems use file extensions to determine icons and players. If ".ogg" gets an audio icon (it does) and starts an audio player (it does), then it can not also get a video icon and start a video player.

If you really must have the low-quality Theora experience, you can use the ".avi" extension.

BTW, "Vorbis" does not exist. It got renamed. Languages evolve. In the English language, the codec found in *.ogg files is now called "ogg". Deal, OK?

Re:Change the name (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915914)

The pronunciation is not immediately obvious, it's hard to spell correctly unless you stare at it for a while
Not immediately obvious? How much more unambiguous can you get?

Re:Change the name (1)

xilmaril (573709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916230)

ogg vorbis is unpronouncable? It seems obvious to me. Whereas mpeg, wmv, avi all have varied pronounciations. how many ways can you say "ogg"?

True, but chip is useless for portable players (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17915812)

I saw the chip, and contemplated using it in a project once. The problem with the VLSI Solution Oy chips is that they can only really be used in very well controlled embedded sound applications (doll saying "Hi"). They can't be used in a portable music player. Whereas most chips will continue to work after seeing bad data, the VLSI Solution Oy chips will crash hard. Toggling the reset pin won't even help, in some cases. You need to cut power, wait, and bring power back. I'm not kidding; this is a universal problem with their chips: http://www.vlsi.fi/vs1001/faq/faq.shtml#item9 [www.vlsi.fi]

I have no idea why they don't fix this bug -- it seems completely incompetent.

workaround (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916358)

Scan the files as you load them onto the device. Do something appropriate, such as:

a. When the user plays a bad file, substitute a file containing an error message.
b. Automatically delete the bad file.
c. Prevent selection of the bad file.

Ogg crs. AAC? (1)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915816)

Just wondering if anyone knew how Ogg Verbose (and yes I know ogg is the file container, but it's the common term) stacks up against some of the newer AAC codecs, such as AAC+ and AAC2. I realize that the whole "efficiency" and "quality" question is loaded, because they're all different in how the algorithm work, but I recently was told that AAC is now beating verbose in terms of quality/bitrate. The reason I ask is that I have transcoded a lot of music to lower titrates so I can store it on my phone which is limited (at this point) to 8gb storage on an SDHC card. However, a 56k-64k verbose recording seems to sound pretty decent, even comparable to the original mp3, which is often 160k+ bitrate.

Ogg Vorbis (1, Interesting)

Nonillion (266505) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915880)

I have been encoding my music CD collection in (DRM free)Ogg Vorbis for years. The audio quality is noticeably better than mp3 encoded at the same bitrate. When I give a demonstration to my friends they even say it (Ogg Vorbis) is better sounding than mp3 (most notably, the absence of compression artifacts, you know, that fluttery metallic sound in the high frequency content). It's nice to see a superior and free audio format actually making inroads to AAC, WMA and mp3.

Re:Ogg Vorbis (2, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916208)

I haven't heard those artifacts with MP3s since Xing fell into the dust and people started using the LAME encoder. I don't care about formats too much, so I keep my music in MP3. I like to choose my player for my media, not have my media choose my player. iTunes is pretty good.

iPod (1, Insightful)

spacemky (236551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17915966)

This is stupid, but until the iPod can play Ogg Vorbis, it'll never be truly mainstream. It'll stay a geek format forever.

flash support (2, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916106)

It would be really nice if Adobe would support ogg in the next version of flash player. Currently the only audio codec supported is mp3, which helps to make flash a more closed platform.

Sirius Stiletto has ogg support, I believe (2, Informative)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916170)

I was researching mp3 players, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Ogg listed as a format that the Stiletto can use.

Ah yes, Vorbis (2, Interesting)

Trogre (513942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17916250)

Ogg Vorbis is a wonderful format with lots of nifty features. My little Samsung YP-U1 plays my oggs perfectly well, but my Pioneer car stereo won't.

Does anyone here remember back in 2001 when Ogg Vorbis proponents were touting Bitrate Peeling as a big must-have feature? Well it's 2007 and I'm still waiting to see a single workable implementation of it.

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