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Re: The Best Codec

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  • Steve Watkins
    YOu expressed surprise as to why the Real format hadnt won the format war, I see the comments from people about the negative sides of real as being the reasons
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 1, 2006
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      YOu expressed surprise as to why the Real format hadnt won the format
      war, I see the comments from people about the negative sides of real
      as being the reasons why it shouldnt be surprising.

      Factors that influence videoblogging codec choices include:

      Image quality/filesize
      Encoding time
      Cost/availability of encoder & its integration into existing (& free)
      video editing apps
      Advice in various videoblogging guides
      What percentage of net users have the required player software &
      whether it sucks
      Compatibility with hardware eg ipod

      Additional reasons why Real is very far behind, indeed a minority
      format for videoblogging, include:

      The already mentioned evils of the player, really puts people off
      People associate it with its roots, streaming & protected content on
      large media sites
      Lack of support for loading/editing/converting real files in quite a
      few apps
      Generally an unpopular container format, avi on windows and mov on mac
      remain prevalent due to historical use, with a movement towards wmv
      (also quite unpopular container) and mp4.

      I dont really undersatnd why you'd be a fan of real if you are againt
      monopolyware. Real is jsut as bad. Why not embrace a format like .mp4
      container with mpeg4 video, as it isnt controlled by any one company.
      Choice of encoder, choice of player. Just because Aple is doing a lot
      of the visible stuff with promoting .mp4, doesnt mean they control it,
      eg realplayer can play mpeg4 too if you tell it too.

      I guess its probably really the filesize/quality issue that has won
      you over? Thats fair enough, just cant avoid the fact that other
      people may balance factors differently and so thats why real isnt used
      much, it scores poorly on other fronts.

      What bitrate etc are you using to achieve the quality/filesize that
      you are happy with in real? I would like to compare it to a few
      things, as I am also very much influenced by quality factors.

      Cheers

      Steve of Elbows

      --- In videoblogging@yahoogroups.com, Michael MARZIO
      <marzio-school@w...> wrote:
      >
      > Andreas, Happy New Year to you,
      > I know that the real PLAYER sucks - I said as much myself in the
      part of my message you snipped out. But if you embed your real media
      on your web pages, then you don't get any of the crap, and you also
      get the most efficient codec. Pop-up blockers limit the damage if you
      use their player as a stand-alone. I am not defending these guys, they
      really do suck, but I much prefer uploading a small RM file of good
      quality than a mov file taking up much more disk space, of the same
      video with same quality. And WMV - well, there is a war going on, and
      I still prefer alternatives to Windows monopolyware. Also, Apple is
      not an innocent by-stander. They do their best to steal the file
      associations too, and also insist that their player remains ON TOP
      when playing, one thing that the sucky real player people do NOT do.
      >
      > Also, if you're using Windows, there are great free tools to get the
      real player completely out of the registry in seconds.
      > All my users get a tinyurl shortcut directly to the final step for
      download page of the sucky free real player. Makes it very easy to find.
      >
      > There are no ideal solutions, are there?
      > I just went to your site and see that you embed MOVs. Well, if you
      EMBED RMs, the result is exactly the same. All the crap you bring up
      in your reply only occurs when you use the real player as a standalone.
      >
      > Mike Marzio
      > www.real-english.com
      >
      >
      >
      > Date: Sun, 01 Jan 2006 14:34:34 +0100
      > From: "Andreas Haugstrup" <solitude@s...>
      > Subject: Re: The Best Codec
      > On Sun, 01 Jan 2006 12:03:05 +0100, Michael MARZIO
      > <marzio-school@w...> wrote:
      > > My conclusion is that RM files are absolutely the best hands down,
      and I
      > > just don't understand why Real Networks or Real Media or whatever
      > > they're called, haven't won the codec war already.
      > [SNIP]
      > > I'm sure others are interested in keeping file sizes down and
      quality
      > > up. Why do I seem to be the only one who has reached this
      conclusion in
      > > favor of RM?
      > In case you haven't noticed it the Real Player sucks. It's
      impossible to
      > find the free player on their website, it's a real drag on slower
      > computers, it installs all kinds of crap and hijacks half the file
      types
      > on the computer. Even when you think you've uninstalled the player
      you get
      > these pop-ups above the system tray notifying you of "great offers"
      and
      > the likes.
      > They can have the best codec in the world, but until they make a
      player
      > that works *with* the users instead of against the users no one is
      going
      > to watch those videos.
      > - Andreas
      > --
      > <URL: http://www.solitude.dk/ >
      > Commentary on media, communication, culture and technology.
      >
    • Michael Marzio
      Hi Steve of Elbows, ... I recently got the $30 QuickTime Pro 7 player/encoder for converting my raw clips to MP4. I bought it only with the idea of comparing
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 2, 2006
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        Hi Steve of Elbows,

        Your reply was really useful. Thanks for taking the time. I'd like to reply/ask about 3 issues:

        > Why not embrace a format like .mp4
        > container with
        mpeg4 video, as it isnt controlled by any one company.
        > Choice of
        encoder, choice of player. Just because Aple is doing a lot
        > of the
        visible stuff with promoting .mp4, doesnt mean they control it,
        > eg
        realplayer can play mpeg4 too if you tell it too.

        I recently got the $30 QuickTime Pro 7 player/encoder for converting my raw clips to MP4. I bought it only with the idea of comparing file size/quality to the results of the other codecs. BTW, I joined this group just a few days ago, and I think I understand the way you're all using the term "container".
        So, ***are you saying that Windows XP & Mac users can read MP4 files in the player of their choice without having to make special efforts in  downloading a player codec for MP4?***  If this is the case, I'm going to start re-encoding my raw library of video into mp4, because the results look really good, even if the the filesize/quality issue is inferior to the real codec.

        > I guess its
        probably really the filesize/quality issue that has won
        > you over?
        Yes, absolutely. I want good quality streaming faster than you can say "real".

        > Thats fair enough, just cant avoid the fact that
        other
        > people may balance factors differently and so thats why real isnt
        used
        > much, it scores poorly on other fronts.

        Can't agree more. And what a waste! The Real Media company seems to have absolute geniuses in charge of technical codec issues, & the worst people in the video world in charge of distribution and marketing.

        > What bitrate etc are you using
        to achieve the quality/filesize that
        > you are happy with in real? I would
        like to compare it to a few
        > things, as I am also very much influenced by
        quality factors.

        These are my typical encoding specs below, although I change them now and then to see if any users tell me that the quality and "speed of stream start" isn't as good as my standard one:
        First of all, I only do single audience encoding (which helps explain why my video file sizes are so small), despite the fact that the Real Producer 10 Plus can encode for a couple dozen audiences at the same time. I figure there's simply no reason to encode for 56K modem users anymore, and why bother to encode for those with extremely fast DSL or T1 or T2? They are rare, lucky people, who will see good results anyway with these lowish DSL rates (Next year this might change drastically, which is why I keep my raw video files on a couple 400GB hard disks with DVD data backups so as to re-encode in the future for future average rates).
        **Source: half of the video in the clip below was shot in 1994 with a single chip Hi-8, and half was shot very recently with a new cheap 3-chip Panasonic
        **Encoding after capture and editing in Raw Intel Indeo:
        Total Video+Audio Bit Rate: 225 Kbps
        Size: 320x240
        Frame Rate: 25 fps (I live in France and shoot in PAL when I'm in the States)
        Video Bit Rate only: 193 Kbps
        Audio Bit Rate only: 32 Kbps, mono, at 22 Mhz
         
        Example: I am not trying to promote my site here, honest (and you don't have to learn English as a Second Language anyway!), it's just really easy to see the subjective result by going to www.real-english.com and click on "Sample Video" which should begin streaming in 2 seconds at the most in average conditions of general traffic, for low to average DSL/cable users. This "What have you got" clip was encoded exactly as described above. This one is 9 minutes long and takes up less than 15 megs on my hard disk!
        Thanks again for your input,
        Mike Marzio


         
      • WWWhatsup
        I ve actually used pretty much the same spec of real for the last 5 years on punkcast, for much the same reasons that you mention. I give the link for the BBC
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 2, 2006
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          I've actually used pretty much the same spec of real for
          the last 5 years on punkcast, for much the same reasons that
          you mention. I give the link for the BBC download page, which
          gives a pretty junk-free free install.
          http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/audiohelp_install.shtml

          I'm not interested in embedded video, however, I'm looking for the
          lean-back experience, for streaming or download.

          Particularly, for non qt-pro owning i-mac users, real was the
          most practical free way of giving them full screen video bar M$,
          I have experienced problems over the years playing back QT on
          weaker PC's. - stuttering etc,

          The increasing use of broadband and introduction of the VLC player
          has changed things in recent times, making mpg or DIVX delivered via
          bittorrent a high-quality alternative.

          The advent of the video iPod, and the podcasting method, has created
          a new standard, which is mp4 running around 600kbps, downloaded for
          later play. Which codec to use is a matter of choice. I've seen very good
          results using Xvid but I use h.264@480kps w/AAC at 128kbps audio.

          Your question of 'Best Codec' really should be qualified with a purpose,
          - if you've been following the discussion here on google video, you'll
          see that the general consensus is that for embedded streaming it's
          very possibly flv in flash, but that's not much good for offline play.

          I'd suggest you do, as I do, for continuity and backwards compatibility,
          continue to offer real on your site, and offer a podcast of higher quality mp4
          for those that are up to speed.

          A feedburner page offers an easy link to such content, see
          http://feeds.feedburner.com/punkcastpodcast

          joly





          >**Encoding after capture and editing in Raw Intel Indeo:
          >Total Video+Audio Bit Rate: 225 Kbps
          >Size: 320x240
          >Frame Rate: 25 fps (I live in France and shoot in PAL when I'm in the States)
          >Video Bit Rate only: 193 Kbps
          >Audio Bit Rate only: 32 Kbps, mono, at 22 Mhz
          >
          >Mike Marzio



          >
          >----------

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