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257 comments

Is this for YouTube? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20303253)

So is this the corresponding software support behind YouTube's earlier announcement that they'll be serving H.264?

Re:Is this for YouTube? (3, Insightful)

JeremyBanks (1036532) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303321)

I figured that as well, but even if they take advantage of that, they'll need to check what version the user has and serve content accordingly, because obviously this update won't be everywhere at once.

Re:Is this for YouTube? (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303687)

So is this the corresponding software support behind YouTube's earlier announcement that they'll be serving H.264?

Speaking of YouTube and H.264, I've been trying to get a grasp on this new Flash movie player thing (ala YouTube) vs. using the old 'plug-in' style of WMA or QuickTime. What's the best format to be using for website video these days? I read that it's H.264 because YouTube is doing it, but I cannot seem to find an explanation for different formats and how they're used on the web. What's the old way of doing it vs the new way?

Cheers,
Fozzy

Re:Is this for YouTube? (4, Informative)

holysin (549880) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303905)

Really it depends on your goals. h.264 could (in theory at least) produce smaller files for the same quality video, so the server would send less data. Always a plus if you're paying for your pipe. But as other posters have pointed out, how long will it take for most people to upgrade flash versions? My guess, if youtube starts using only the latest version of flash, and "suggests" that the users do so too, well, then the users will do so.

So, in a nutshell, I'd say use h.264 and ask whatever users you have that aren't youtube addicts to upgrade nicely. You might save some money (and heck, if they have pay for play connections, the users will too ;-) )

(Note that this advice assumes you're not serving up HD content.)

Re:Is this for YouTube? (2, Informative)

holysin (549880) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303941)

Erm, also the above advice assumes you aren't going to be posting video until the release comes out. It can be a bit rude to ask your users to use beta software ;-)

Linux (4, Interesting)

Trip Ericson (864747) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303255)

Now let's just hope it doesn't take an additional 6 months for this to make its way into the Linux version. Flash Player 9 for Linux came out some months after Flash Player 9 for Windows/Mac did.

Re:Linux (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20303351)

Beta 1 of this version is already out for linux. Let's hope beta 2 will too.

Re:Linux (2, Interesting)

J0nne (924579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303391)

Did you notice any stability improvements aswell? Flash still causes Firefox to crash way too much with the latest non-free 'stable' version...

Re:Linux (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303529)

So that happens in Linux too? I thought it was just a bug in the Linux compatibility layer in FreeBSD.

Re:Linux (1)

J0nne (924579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304229)

It happens to me regularely, especially when watching flv video's, especially if you close a tab while the video's still playing. I've installed flashblock which helps a bit as now only video's that I *really want* get loaded.

Re:Linux (1)

toad3k (882007) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304273)

I was having this problem too and updated to the latest experimental linux versions. I had thought the problem was persisting but I haven't had a single freezup for weeks, so it must have worked or at least dramatically lowered occurances.

Re:Linux (1)

j79zlr (930600) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304425)

I've noticed that flash on my amd64 box using the nspluginwrapper is quite unstable compared to my other box with is running a P4 and doesn't need the wrapper.

Who cares? (1)

*weasel (174362) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303519)

Once sites like metacafe and youtube start offering their content via h.264 streams we can ditch flash for video altogether.

Re:Who cares? (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304351)

I really don't see why this pure hatred of flash. With sure the official versions are not open source. But all in all it is better then what we had before. If you don't remember back in the days of IE 4 and Netscape 4 Every website that wanted to do something a little more advanced then showing a couple of animated gifs, usually had or made their own plug in that worked only for Windows, or sometimes in a rare occurrence there was a plug in that would work on different OS's. Now with flash this isn't the case anymore if you have 1 plugin Flash then you are good to go. It is fast to load and to play even on slow systems. Adobe is rather good about making it available to multiple platforms Windows, Mac, Linux, those are the main OS's which you would expect people to be viewing these type of pages. The player is Free as in Beer (Development tools cost a lot though... But for you flash haters it is a good thing becaue that makes sure that flash use is more limited to people who are professional or aspire to be professional, not just some kid who wants to make an ugly flash to 1337 their friends).

Is it just because because it is Not Open Source?
Is it that you are annoyed because it doesn't work on your obscure OS / hardware, or server hardware which you probably needed to hack just to get a display on it?
Is it just because your a purist for sake of being a purist not caring about the benefit, only focusing on the flash adds?
Or are you just jelious that you didn't make it yourself. And you spent so much time learning how to program Java Applets that you feel ripped off.

Re:Who cares? (5, Insightful)

Paradox (13555) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304603)

On the subject of Flash Hating, I can tell you the deep fear lurking in every web developer's heart. One day, in a bleak and post-apocalyptic future, Adobe could own the web and web design the way they utterly own print media. They're already on the verge of this, since the vast majority of professionally designed websites use Illustrator and a bit of Photoshop to create their images. Adobe gets to charge $300-$1200 to every graphic designer who expects to be taken seriously.

Imagine if the web became that way, as well. Dark times.

But the H.264 issue is different. Basically Adobe has said, "We are adopting a not-awful codec for our video playing, seeing as how flash video is popular but large distributors of video (YouTube) have shown that they will leave the format to hit the mobile and embedded space if need be.

So now Apple, Adobe, Google, Sony and Toshiba have standardized on QuickTime enclosures (mp4) with H.264 video and AAC audio (when compressed, HD discs can use much less lossy encoding when they want to). How long do WMV and WMF have to live? Now that Flash can play high-quality HD video (and extremely-small-file-size SD video), and preparing with one codec can prepare for everything from phones to HD televisions, what appeal does Microsoft's codecs and containers have? Surely no one can suggest that Windows Media Player has better deployment than Adobe's Flash?

Re:Who cares? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304965)

VC1 has significantly lower CPU usage for HD content unless you have a card like the Nvidia 8(5-6)00 series cards with H.264 acceleration.

Re:Linux (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303523)

Is there no existing free (modulo patent hassle) program to play H.264 videos?

Re:Linux (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303637)

VideoLan and MPlayer. I think xine might support H.264, too, but I'm not sure.

Re:Linux (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304199)

So... when YouTube switches to H.264, does that mean that the Flash player will no longer be necessary? Will MPlayer, for example, be able to play videos straight from the site?

Re:Linux (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20304277)

You can already do this with youtube-dl [arrakis.es]. Mplayer plays the downloaded .flv file just fine on my Linux PowerPC box ( = no binary codecs needed).

I wonder why YouTube (and all the copies) don't provide a direct link to the .flv file.

Re:Linux (1)

archen (447353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303593)

You mean the "32bit" Linux version. I couldn't care less since (as a 64bit user) I've never HAD a Linux version. If Adobe isn't careful then Microsoft sprinkle (or whatever it's called) may actually take root.

Re:Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20304125)

Aren't they working on a method to make it so it doesn't matter whether it is 32 bit or 64 bit on a 64 bit system using some "XEmbed" thing so that become a non-issue in the future? (Sorry, I don't remember the specifics, I just remember reading about it somewhere.)

Re:Linux (1)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303703)

Now let's just hope it doesn't take an additional 6 months for this to make its way into the Linux version. Flash Player 9 for Linux came out some months after Flash Player 9 for Windows/Mac did.

Or, to say nothing of Flash for Linux/PPC, which still hasn't been released. The open-source version is OK, but quite a few sites have a hard-check for version of Flash before giving you anything, and will balk even if you have something "compatible".

Re:Linux (1)

Rhapsody Scarlet (1139063) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304415)

With Gnash [gnashdev.org] now supporting YouTube, and Silverlight on the horizon, Adobe Flash is under serious threat of becoming irrelevant. Frankly, I want to see that day happen. It may finally spur Adobe to try and get the support of the users by giving us proper 64-bit support or (God forbid) just open-sourcing Flash.

i'm a loser (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20303261)

omg first?

Ads (5, Funny)

QuantumPion (805098) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303285)

Sweet, now we can be annoyed by advertisements in HD, at 100x the bandwidth!

Re:Ads (4, Insightful)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303299)

People bitching about Flash because of ads is like people bitching about C because of viruses.

Re:Ads (2, Interesting)

ewl1217 (922107) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303985)

Right... because we have to put up with viruses on every web page we go to...

If you're going to make an analogy, you should come up with a better one. Sure, viruses may use C, but (if you're smart) you'll never run into one. Annoying Flash ads, on the other hand, are commonplace on many legitimate sites. Now before somebody screams "Adblock!", just remember that ads should be useful and relevant, not resource-intensive and obtrusive.

Re:Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20304113)

yes, and the world should be a better place.

Re:Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20304093)

Actually bitching about C because of viruses would be rather more valid and I'm always surprised more people haven't got annoyed about it yet. Many, many security exploits stem from buffer overflow errors that are an intrinsic hazard to the way C works. Viruses in later languages, like Java or C# say, are much rarer and tend to be exploiting facets of the environment that were written in C. So the current viral nightmare that many of us have to deal with one way or another day after day could all be avoided if we hadn't got stuck with the wrong high language to do systems development on.

Re:Ads (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303313)

actually, this would require less bandwidth then before given the higher compression of h.264

what you can look forward to however, is the same ads in HD consuming your memory and cpu like never before as your pc attempts to cope with a multitude of h.264 video.

T minus... (5, Insightful)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303293)

Linux support coming in 1,000,000... 999,999... 999,998...

Actually, a million seconds is less than two weeks, that's far too quick!

Re:T minus... (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303591)

1,000,000 bottles of beer on the wall? It'll take a while to sing *THAT* song...

Re:T minus... (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303827)

A million bottles of beer? Don't give Macrom^H^H^H^H^H^H Adobe's coders any more ideas...! ;)

Re:T minus... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304137)

If Flash came with a million bottles of beer, I'd download it. Unless it was American macrobrewery beer...

Meanwhile... (3, Interesting)

phrasebook (740834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303295)

Various choices I've recently made (like using amd64, and dumping Firefox for Konqueror) mean that I've not been using a Flash player at all. So far, I've missed out on things like:

* The BMW website
* Countless links to clips on Youtube
* Advertising banners
* Homestar runner

Some of these things might have been mildly useful, but I can't say I really miss any of it. I'm not sure having the Flash player installed is worth the annoyance and distraction it usually ends up driving me to. If I'm honest, Flash player has seen the most use when I've been bored, depressed, procrastinating or similar.

I'm quite enjoying being Flash-free.

You can use Flash on AMD64 Firefox (5, Informative)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303349)

You just need nspluginwrapper.

It's a 64 bit plugin, that spawns a 32 bit shell running the Flash plugin.

Re:You can use Flash on AMD64 Firefox (0)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303891)

You can't use a 64 bit browser with nspluginwrapper. Sorry, doesn't cut it.

Re:You can use Flash on AMD64 Firefox (2, Informative)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304003)

Seems to be working fine in my 64-bit Firefox (Gentoo, AMD64). AND Konqueror.

Re:You can use Flash on AMD64 Firefox (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304149)

O RLY? Seems to work OK with my AMD64 Ubuntu installation.

Re:You can use Flash on AMD64 Firefox (0)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304467)

Your ubuntu installation can't really be called AMD64 if one of your primary pieces of software, firefox, has been compiled for 32 bit. Flash doesn't work with 64 bit firefox. Do I need to say it again?

Re:You can use Flash on AMD64 Firefox (4, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304765)

$ file firefox-bin

firefox-bin: ELF 64-bit LSB executable, x86-64, version 1 (SYSV), for GNU/Linux 2.6.0, dynamically linked (uses shared libs), stripped

I'd say you're wrong, sport.

Re:You can use Flash on AMD64 Firefox (1)

SirTalon42 (751509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304363)

Yes you can. You get the 32bit version of nspluginwrapper and replace the 64bit one in your install. Since nspluginwrapper is run as a separate process and is simply embedded in the Konqueror window it means you shouldn't have any problems watching flash with the 32bit plugin.

Re:You can use Flash on AMD64 Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20304929)

Maybe you can't.. It works great for me. Built 64bit Firefox from source on Gentoo and I use 32bit Flash plugin.

But there should be a native port! (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304309)

Sure, we can use this workaround, but 64-bit is common now. We should have native ports.

Re:You can use Flash on AMD64 Firefox (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20304763)

Sure, assuming the user has bothered to build or install an entire lib32.

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

Delkster (820935) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303689)

I use flashblock [mozdev.org] with Firefox. That mostly gives me the advantages of having Flash without the disadvantages (intrusive flash banners etc.) because I get flash but only when I explicitly request it.

Of course browsing sites that make extensive use of flash, particularly in form of several separate flash objects on the same page, are still a pain to use because you may have to click on every one of them in order to get a usable page. Flashblock allows site whitelisting, though, which makes that more bearable.

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303761)

Various choices I've recently made (like using amd64, and dumping Firefox for Konqueror) mean that I've not been using a Flash player at all. So far, I've missed out on things like:

* The BMW website
* Countless links to clips on Youtube
* Advertising banners
* Homestar runner

I'm running 64-bit Linux, and I have Flash working in Konqueror just fine.

Install NSPluginWrapper, konqueror-nsplugins, and the Flash plugin, then go into the "Plugins" section of Konqueror's preferences, and click "Scan for new Plugins".

Once it's setup, it's trivial to disable it on most sites. Also, Konqueror has a builtin ad-blocker that works a lot better than just turning off Flash.

Some of these things might have been mildly useful, but I can't say I really miss any of it. I'm not sure having the Flash player installed is worth the annoyance and distraction it usually ends up driving me to. If I'm honest, Flash player has seen the most use when I've been bored, depressed, procrastinating or similar.

I agree that the benefit of Flash is questionable, but there's no technical reason you can't use it if you want to.

I'm quite enjoying being Flash-free.

Great, but don't make it sound like software limits are preventing you from using it.

Best of both world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20303783)

As much as I hate 99% of flash content out there, I find Firefox + Flashblock works nicely. I can block all flash, yet allow it to show for Youtube and Home Star Runner, which isprecisely what I've done. If I need to access some flash based element of a page I can, otherwise it can stay off and not bother me.

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

teg (97890) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304649)

No flash doesn't really work anymore - unfortunately. For most of the purposes people are using it, it's just the wrong thing...

But fortunately, with FireFox, you can have your cake and eat it too - install the flash plugin and flashblock. Flashblock is an extension that will show an icon for all flash content, but will allow you to click on it to start the flash app if it's something you need. Sites can be whitelisted too, so that e.g. every youtube link will work, but the annoying commercials everywhere aren't shown.

I`m confused (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303317)

I was under the impression that flash 9 was already using h264. If not, then what were they using before ?

Re:I`m confused (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20303447)

As of flash 8 they were using ON2 VP6, which is pretty good but not an open standard, and also a huge CPU hog. Before that (and it's still supported) they were using Sorenson Squeeze which is a subset of h263.

Re:I`m confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20303729)

VP6 [wikipedia.org].

Still no 64 bit (1)

aim2future (773846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303357)

Maybe I have very old ideas about programming, but... why not fix the fundamental flaws in the software first, before adding features... (I thought it was only the linux 64 bit version missing, but fortunately I was wrong)

Re:Still no 64 bit (1)

jpea (879421) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303441)

because any time that fortune 500 companies are coming to you and asking for other features, those probably take priority over end user needs.

Re:Still no 64 bit (1)

Nomaxxx (1136289) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303957)

Yes, this is a real problem! I'll be more than happy when i'll be able to see YouTube videos on my 64-bit Linux! ;-) Seriously, some websites rely too much on flash. That's annoying! No 64-bit support is not serious. It wouldn't happen if Flash was an open technology.

Re:Still no 64 bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20305037)

Install nspluginwrapper!! Cake + EAT IT.

Not bloated enough!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20303359)

Any chance you Flash guys can add in a Java machine, some new 3D algorithms, and a salami slicer?

Re:Not bloated enough!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20303475)

That reminds me of the time I was fired for sticking my wang in the salami slicer.

She was fired as well.

Re:Not bloated enough!! (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304573)

It really shouldn't be a fireable offense. Unless of course you don't wash your hands before getting back to food preparation.

What other media players already support H.264? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20303369)

This may be a dumb question, but what other media players already support H.264?

Re:What other media players already support H.264? (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303479)

Just to correct you, Flash is a lot more than a media player.

Re:What other media players already support H.264? (3, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303501)

Videolan, Nero Showtime and Quicktime do to my knowledge. So does the PS3.

The major confusion is that H264 is not just one standard but a loose collection of features bound up in "profiles". A player might support the H264 "main" profile, but not the "high" profile and so on. Then you've got MPEG-4 part 2 which is an earlier but unrelated stanard that DIVX / XVID are implementations of.

It's all quite confusing before even considering DRM and other implementation details. Still, the format is starting to see widespread adoption so the sooner all devices support it the better for everyone.

It will be a pain for people with lots of DIVX content, but this appears to be the way industry is going and no doubt we'll see DVD players with HD H264 support before long. I wonder if there is a mostly lossless way to convert DIVX content into H264, since they may differ but they must share similarities too.

Re:What other media players already support H.264? (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303739)

There isn't much point in converting xvid/divx/3ivx to h.264 (x264/vc) unless you're just aiming for a smaller file size; no, x264/h264 is for preserving the high quality of a video in a relatively low-size file format. Now that the flash player is getting h.264, I'm hoping it'll get something some might consider more important: mkv support and subtitle support. Ah well, here's to dreams.

Re:What other media players already support H.264? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304047)

There isn't much point in converting xvid/divx/3ivx to h.264 (x264/vc) unless you're just aiming for a smaller file size; no, x264/h264 is for preserving the high quality of a video in a relatively low-size file format. Now that the flash player is getting h.264, I'm hoping it'll get something some might consider more important: mkv support and subtitle support. Ah well, here's to dreams.

I want to convert because the industry appears to be ignoring MPEG-4 SP/ASP and the implementations of it. For example my PS3 doesn't not support DiVX. While I could workaround this issue by firing up Linux, I'd prefer if there was a way to almost losslessly convert the format from one to the other. We all know that you could reencode the movie by decoding it one frame at a time and then reencoding it. But I am wondering if there is a way to strip the B/I frames and anything out of the data stream and save them straight into H264. Even if that means changing structures around. Not only would it mean a higher quality conversion, but it would be faster too and ideally suited for transcoding or conversion en masse.

Re:What other media players already support H.264? (4, Informative)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303837)

It will be a pain for people with lots of DIVX content, but this appears to be the way industry is going and no doubt we'll see DVD players with HD H264 support before long.

I would call this "an overly optimistic projection by someone who doesn't follow the industry very deeply". Consider that right now it is very difficult to find DVD players that support even Divx and MPEG-2 playback in HD. Those 2 formats don't take much processing power. Given the extreme needs for processing power for H.264 decoding at 1080 resolutions, I would say that you're going to be waiting a while for this one.

I wonder if there is a mostly lossless way to convert DIVX content into H264, since they may differ but they must share similarities too.

Why would you want to do this? Converting between lossy formats doesn't make anything better. There is nothing to gain by converting Divx to H.264. The best conversion would entail some loss, even if it's difficult to see. If you understand this analogy, what you are suggesting
is kind of like being given a high bit rate MP3 file and then wanting to convert it to Ogg Vorbis in some mistaken belief that doing so will make it "better". Converting to H.264 might result in smaller files and maybe if you do a really good job you can't tell that the quality has dropped, but the video certainly won't be better. Given the lack of standalone H.264 playback devices, I don't know what would be hoped to be gained by this at this time. You'd only end up with a slightly smaller file that is even less likely to be able to be played back on anything but a PC.

Re:What other media players already support H.264? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303991)

I would call this "an overly optimistic projection by someone who doesn't follow the industry very deeply". Consider that right now it is very difficult to find DVD players that support even Divx and MPEG-2 playback in HD. Those 2 formats don't take much processing power. Given the extreme needs for processing power for H.264 decoding at 1080 resolutions, I would say that you're going to be waiting a while for this one.

Any entry level PC can manage HD output at 720p and probably higher. I really don't see the issue with a DVD player offering the same when the chances are it would be hardware assisted. Even a PSP can manage H264/AVC main at SD resolutions. We're already seeing HDMI equipped upscaling DVD players. Players that read and play H264 files cannot be that far behind. If Apple can flog an iTV which is basically an HD H264 playback device then cheaper devices are clearly not far off.

Why would you want to do this? Converting between lossy formats doesn't make anything better. There is nothing to gain by converting Divx to H.264. The best conversion would entail some loss, even if it's difficult to see. If you understand this analogy, what you are suggesting

I want it because because DiVX was a good format but it's becoming obsolete. If it were possible to convert those files while preserving as much as possible of the data , e.g. B & I frames, the quality of the image might be better than completely re-encoding it. It would also be quicker to convert them, possibly even allowing the likes of Nero Home to transcode them on the fly. That is why I wondered aloud if you could produce a mostly lossless conversion.

Re:What other media players already support H.264? (1)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304261)


I want it because because DiVX was a good format but it's becoming obsolete. If it were possible to convert those files while preserving as much as possible of the data , e.g. B & I frames, the quality of the image might be better than completely re-encoding it. It would also be quicker to convert them, possibly even allowing the likes of Nero Home to transcode them on the fly. That is why I wondered aloud if you could produce a mostly lossless conversion.

divx is MPEG-4 no?
There are plenty of codec libraries which can handle that, its hardly going to go the way of the dodo. MPEG-1 is still around, and playable after all and thats from the VCD era; around the early 1990s.

When you transcode from one lossy format, into another there is no way that the quality of the image will be improved whatsoever.
data is thrown away, data that can not be recovered or magically made to appear out of thin air so that the image quality can be better. It would be better to re-encode from the original source where there is more data available for the codec to work on. Some perform better then others after all and may be able to compress more of the data then divx could without throwing some away.

If you want as little data to be lost as possible when transcoding, then re-encode it into a format that is lossless (huffyuv?) or even to straight avi frames. The tradeoff is that the files become much much larger, and you will not gain any more quality then was in the original divx'd version.

Re:What other media players already support H.264? (4, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304791)

divx is MPEG-4 no? There are plenty of codec libraries which can handle that, its hardly going to go the way of the dodo. MPEG-1 is still around, and playable after all and thats from the VCD era; around the early 1990s.

There is no single standard called MPEG-4. DiVX is an implementation of MPEG-4 Level 2 ASP. This is a very specific codec, on top of which DiVX has its own media container format. The container is how the data is stored as a file, and the container might interleave the data with other kinds of data. For example DiVX specifies extensions for subtitles and other things.

H264/AVC is MPEG-4 Level 10. It also has some different container formats, but more importantly it's an entirely different codec. Despite that, the two standards will share certain similarities might that allow some data to be preserved during conversion. I am wondering as someone not acquainted with the details if there is any feasibility to this.

But even considering DiVX as MPEG-4 ASP, it does not imply MPEG-4 ASP capable devices can read DiVX because the file format is independent of the encoding. At the very least a tool might be required to strip DiVX content out of it's proprietary container format. There is no guarantee that a device that supports even ASP is going to play DiVX movies.

On top of that MPEG-4 SP & ASP are becoming obsolete. They're stop-gaps who've run their course. Hardware has moved onto H264 yet people are left with ripped content in the old format. Most hardware does not support XVid / DiVX container formats. Sony, MS & Apple seem disinclined to support those formats, probably for accusations that they're supporting piracy, as well as hindering adoption of H264. If you have a device that only supports H264 you need to be able to convert files to H264.

When you transcode from one lossy format, into another there is no way that the quality of the image will be improved whatsoever. data is thrown away, data that can not be recovered or magically made to appear out of thin air so that the image quality can be better. It would be better to re-encode from the original source where there is more data available for the codec to work on. Some perform better then others after all and may be able to compress more of the data then divx could without throwing some away.

No one ever said any different. I'm sure I could reencode all 30 movies I currently have in DiVX, if I have a spare month of time to do it. I'd just prefer not to if at all possible.

If you want as little data to be lost as possible when transcoding, then re-encode it into a format that is lossless (huffyuv?) or even to straight avi frames. The tradeoff is that the files become much much larger, and you will not gain any more quality then was in the original divx'd version.

I want to convert DiVX to H264, not some other format. I want to do this as losslessly as possible. I am wondering aloud if there is a way to convert data that does not involve (as much) encoding. Obviously I could just reencode them but I want to know if any data can be saved, speeding up conversion in the process. This is my question.

Re:What other media players already support H.264? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20304067)

There is nothing to gain by converting Divx to H.264.

Converting to H.264 might result in smaller files
What?

Re:What other media players already support H.264? (1)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304075)

Given the extreme needs for processing power for H.264 decoding at 1080 resolutions, I would say that you're going to be waiting a while for this one.

Given that a little iPod can do the baseline profile at 640x480, I can't think that 1080 would entail a WHOLE LOT more work. OK, admittedly, it's ~4x the resolution, but we are talking about a little device. The specs for the AppleTV device say it will do 1280x1024 of h.264, so I don't think a DVD player with 1080 is out of line.

I wonder if there is a mostly lossless way to convert DIVX content into H264, since they may differ but they must share similarities too.

Why would you want to do this? Converting between lossy formats doesn't make anything better. There is nothing to gain by converting Divx to H.264. The best conversion would entail some loss, even if it's difficult to see.

I think the GP probably has a large collection of CDs of things encoded in DivX, and is just planning ahead to the stage of being able to easily watch those on a set-top box. From the quote, they understand that there MAY be some loss, but are willing to take a little for the convenience of not having to re-encode everything. They're probably hoping that the formats are close enough that there's a simple transform or something (a la XVID/DIVX/MPEG4 being related), but they're much different than that.

Re:What other media players already support H.264? (1)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304621)

There is nothing to gain by converting Divx to H.264

Except for device support. iPods, AppleTV, and anything that supports this in the future as it gets more popular. Nevermind that most of our Divx content is in a craptastic container format (AVI).

Re:What other media players already support H.264? (1)

Karrde712 (125745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304083)

no doubt we'll see DVD players with HD H264 support before long
H.264 is the video standard used by both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray high-definition disc formats. Any HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player already has support for accelerated H.264 playback.

not sure if this is true or not (3, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303471)

Due to a design flaw in ActionScript 3 socket handling, compiled Flash movies are able to scan for open TCP ports on any host reachable from the host running the SWF, bypassing the Flash Player Security Sandbox Model and without the need to rebind DNS.

You can see a proof of concept at the site, and it's quite interesting to watch. This happens inside your firewalled network, just by browsing the internet.

http://hackersblog.itproportal.com/?p=720 [itproportal.com]

What about theora (and dirac)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20303599)

youtube-dl and ffmpeg make the flv container useful, even for those without flash. For those with flash, we'd know they had the theora codec available - so flv/theora becomes a viable delivery method and flash becomes the enabling tech.

What have Adobe got to lose?

Re:What about theora (and dirac)? (1, Flamebait)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304423)

h.264 is a far better codec than Theora will ever be, and it's standardized instead of being a hobbyist toy project.

Yes, but support for other stuff? (1)

drspliff (652992) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303809)

I've been waiting for ages for them to make the realtime voice codec available to anybody for development without reverse engineering their software or paying extortionate fees to a third party company who seems really reluctant to license the codec.

And in the first place, why couldn't they have used an open standard that every already supports, if they had've done you'd see hundereds of Flash based VoIP applications out there already.

I don't mind Macromedia Flash, but it's just not open enough for my liking :\

64bit Linux Version (1)

ihop0 (988608) | more than 6 years ago | (#20303881)

I'd be happier if they'd get up off their asses and finish a 64bit linux flash player.

... and they are dropping support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20304039)

At the same time as doing this they are dropping for older codecs in the new file format that supports H.264 and AAC.

All this this move is the industry moving to freshly patented formats before the patent protection drops on the old stuff. They even admit themselves that the new support isn't intended to offer improved quality, and because of the limited profile it won't.

We should fully expect to see the old FLV format discontinued in a revision or two.

Nothing more to see here. Move along.

Yes, but does it get x64 support? (3, Insightful)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304241)

I'm tired of whining about this one, just ready to write off Flash as some kind of archaic technology, but maybe someone from there will ready this.

WHEN ARE WE GETTING A 64-BIT FLASH PLAYER FOR WINDOWS???? XP x64, or Vista x64. Hell, even a crappy beta would be fine.

It's been four @#$%ing YEARS since Windows XP x64 came out. It's time to quit making excuses. It's time to shit or get off the pot. Maybe it's time for Silverlight instead?

Re:Yes, but does it get x64 support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20305001)

Why do you need a 64-bit version on Windows XP x64? The 32-bit version works just fine, unless you're running a Flash program that needs to address more than 4 gigs of memory.

The mobile world (1)

neglige (641101) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304653)

Although the mentioned release is for the PC, I'd say this has a major impact on another realm: mobile devices. I'd even go so far to speculate that this is one of the main reasons for implementing H.264 (the blog just says "our customers want it").

In most mobile standards (e.g. 3GPP, DVB), and also for IPTV, H.264 is the required video codec. So unless an environment can support it, one way or the other, it is not relevant for implementing services with it. This was a drawback of Flash in the past, I reckon it's now back in the race. With H.264 and AAC capabilities, it is possible to implement mobile (video/TV) clients. And: as Flash is supported on many different devices, you can use it to offer a service that is available on PCs, mobile devices (phone, PDA), set top boxes, ... (a.k.a. converged services)

Took Adobe a while to realize that without H.264 the road will be rocky, no matter how good their supported video codec is, just because it's not in the standards.

Re:The mobile world (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20304985)

Although the mentioned release is for the PC

Do you mean a PC running OS X, a PC running Linux, a PC running Solaris, or a PC running Windows ? If you mean Windows, say Windows. PC is too generic anymore.

Hardware Acceleration (2, Interesting)

tji (74570) | more than 6 years ago | (#20304711)

The article claims that that Adobe said it will use hardware acceleration for H.264.. Are there any more details on this?

Is it Windows-only? Probably.
Does it use DirectX video acceleration APIs (do they handle H.264) or maybe OpenGL shader (GLSL) offload? If it's the second, it would have a chance for Mac and Linux support too.
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