Why I think BluRay may be the future for CD-based music and HD video content...

Discussion in 'Music' started by Lee Scoggins, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    According to Sony, they have envisioned using DSD data streams since early days of development so at least we are good on Super Audio. Seems we could have both DSD and DVDA included in the final spec so universal players are possible.
     
  2. Michael St. Clair

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    Um, Stacey is a man. And I'm not sure if he hangs out here.
     
  3. Jesper

    Jesper Stunt Coordinator

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    WSR has a story (link) about PIXAR might join Warner; if that's true and Warner is voting for HD-DVD.. then I think HD-DVD has another advantage.. [​IMG]
     
  4. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Lee says:


    In response to the first question, why do I want to settle for very high quality when better than that is available? The answer is simple, I don't.

    In response to the second question, bandwidth is always an issue. I'm wondering if you've done the calculations. That's 50 base 10 GBs, and all my calculations are done based on that factor. You have 400 billion bits available for storage.

    Your maximum data rate is 36 million bits/second. At 3 hours and 5 minutes, you're out of space on the 50GB disc. You can't store any of the extended versions of Lord of the Rings on this.

    So, let's back it down to 24 million bits/second. This is the same as D-VHS, which is "very very good" quality. Clearly this is an improvement over HDTV, which is a nice starting point. This gives us about 4.5 hours of storage time, which is good. I've read, but have not confirmed that Blu-Ray is limited to 24 Megabits/second for video.

    On the other hand, we have HD-DVD, which is limited to about 20 Megabits/second. At first glance, this seems like a tremendous disadvantage. True, if MPEG-2 encoding is used. However, HD-DVD has "mandatory" codecs of MPEG-2, MPEG-4/H.264 and WM-9/VC-9. It could be that either or both of the advanced codecs get pulled from the spec based on what the licensing costs will be. Mandatory in this sense means that players must support all these codecs, and that content providers must use one of these codecs.

    Everything I've read, and everyone I've talked to about the topic indicate that both of the latter codecs have better performance than MPEG-2. Stacey is one, but he's biased, since he works for Microsoft.

    Perry Sun has seen the demos, he too has indicated in WSR that WM-9 had demonstrably better performance. I don't know if he's seen MPEG-4 vs. MPEG-2.

    I have not seen both on the same material, so I can't comment personally on head to head comparisons. I have seen WM-9 material, and the one thing I remember most was the lack of mosquito noise. I find mosquito noise quite distracting.

    So to me, the backwards compability is addressed by HD-DVDs inclusion of MPEG-2 as a "mandatory" codec.

    Then there's the manufacturing infrastructure for media, and clearly HD-DVD has the edge here since it can use the existing DVD infrastructure where Blu-Ray cannot.

    As I said before, if Blu-Ray had the wisdom to choose one (or both) of the more advanced codecs then I would be supporting it as opposed to HD-DVD. But they didn't.

    Cheers,
     
  5. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    But do we know it was a fair test? Who sponsored it?

    So it seems you are saying that you don't know for sure that MPEG4 is an improvement over MPEG2 at high-def resolutions since you have not seen the test.

    This still supports my view that MPEG2 could still present a great picture at high resolution.

    Why can't that be "good enough" in video as many here claim that redbook is "good enough" for the public?

    It seems a major contradiction to say that redbook is fine but high-def MPEG2 is not.

    Believe me that if BluRay manages to continue to have the lead, then even a possibly (?) better MPEG4 (which I still have not seen conclusive proof even after surfing the AVS Forum for an hour) may lose just since the majors involved have chosen BluRay.

    It also appears that BluRay may have a big advantage in data storage launch based on my ZD Net reading. It may prove easier to "extend" the brand as the BluRay players come out later this year.

    I am just searching for answers, but I think there is logic to my original post--there are some very big companies lined up behind BluRay. As a consumer I want the best but after the hirez music experience I see great value in promoting one standard and NOT having another format war that confuses the customer thereby slowing adoption.

    I would like to learn more about the video codecs. If anyone works in the industry and has some good links, please provide them for the forum. Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  6. Michael St. Clair

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    If Blu-Ray is superior to HD-DVD, Sony would fund some tests to demonstrate it, then rub the rest of the industry's collective noses in it.

    Video quality is far less subjective to compare than audio quality. Consecutive screenshots of demanding material, compared to the original source, reveal the answer with no need for the blind tests that are needed for meaningful audio comparisons.

    I predict that objective tests will surface, and MPEG-2 at D-Theater/Blu-Ray (identical) bitrates will lose handily.
     
  7. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Uh, they already have done so. They demonstrated the BluRay transfers to several major studio execs and their response was very positive according to The Wall Street Journal.

    It seems logical that a new generation video codec would outperform an older one, but there are two problems here...

    1. Most of the major CE and PC firms have already aligned behind BluRay. Why would they do that if the technology was not good enough?

    2. No one can point to any screen shots or technical background that shows a reasonable comparison between the two formats. Not even the MP4 web site has anything I could find.
     
  8. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    We all know better technology does not always win out in subjects like this. You yourself have mentioned Beta vs. VHS. There is your answer.

    I remain very skeptical about any firms being aligned with a technology until it actually makes it to market. Until then it is nothing more than marketing hyperbole and vaporware.

    J
     
  9. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Lee asks:


    Data storage is a seperate issue from A/V capability. No one will even argue with you about Blu-Ray being a superior solution for raw data. When you start talking about video encoding/decoding algorithms you are dealing in the arena of very high, lossy compression. Once you start talking in those realms, storage capacity and off the spindle bandwidth take a back seat to image quality through the encode/decode chain.

    In this case, then 20 Mbits/second (max) could well trump 36Mbits/second (max).

    Cheers,
     
  10. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    ....umn, Sony, So-ny, hmnn, wern't those the guyz who wanted to release CD's at 12 bits, oui! Mr. Philips talked 'dem's outta' that.[​IMG]
     
  11. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    John K: are you saying HDTV quality--the HDTV we have right now--is only a starting point?? Such images are amazingly realistic and nearly three dimensional. Gee, how much better do they need to be to allow a person to "properly" enjoy a good movie?

    [​IMG]

    LJ
     
  12. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Lance,

    Have you ever seen a well done D-VHS, like Entrapment or Standing in the Shadows of Motown? If you have, you'll understand my point [​IMG]

    To my eyes, D-VHS is a noticable improvement over HDTV, and I would like to see the same gain (above and beyond D-VHS) from the next generation of pre-recorded media. Since it is technically possible through the utilization of more up to date codecs such as MPEG-4/H.264 and WM9/VC-9 I want that [​IMG] Yes, it's selfish but I'm not too worried about that at this point [​IMG]

    Cheers,
     
  13. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    D-VHS looks great - my local hifi shop has Xmen in that format and it is awesome. But clearly we have moved beyond tape-based formats. [​IMG]
     
  14. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Lee says:


    And clearly you missed my point that D-VHS is what consider the current reference for picture quality. This is what I want better quality than. It is acheivable, with the right choices being made.

    Cheers,
     
  15. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Lee, I haven't moved beyond tape-based formats. With D-VHS I can start recording quickly....no waiting for a disc to format. I think it's rather handy, familar, and easy to use thusly. MOULIN ROUGE is totally awesome on D-VHS. As good as X-MEN 2 is it's a notch below it. Someday may stille be a relatively long time off?
     
  16. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I'm sorry Rachael but as good as the video seems, I think I will avoid any tape based format going forward. It doesn't seem like a good investment with BluRay/HD-DVD being around the corner.



    Nobody has shown any real evidence here that the codec is better. How about some screen shots?
     
  17. Michael St. Clair

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    D-VHS will ultimately be succeeded by recordable disc (hopefully HD-DVD, Blu Ray needs to die).

    It still serves a very important role. You can buy a refurb recorder for $300 or a new recorder for $500. Media is cheap. With this, you can losslessly record all of your broadcast HD today if you have an OTA, satellite, or cable box with firewire out.

    Or you can wait until late 2006, and spend $1000 or more on a disc-based recorder. Disc media will probably cost a good deal more than blank tapes...I remember when blank CDs and DVDs were each more than $10 each.

    Some people want/need to record their HD today, for cheap, not 2.5 years from now for expensive.

    Of course, the majority of HDTV owners are casual enthusiasts and could care less if they have to wait two and a half years to record.

    But D-VHS is a very important niche and should now be summarily dismissed. Those of us who had/have laserdisc understand the value of niche formats.

    I can tell you this; if there is a format war for High-Def on disc, I'm not buying either format until the dust has settled and a victor has emerged.
     
  18. Michael St. Clair

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    You said you trust Greg Rogers. You've also made it pretty clear that you would prefer an inferior format as long as the big CE companies are behind it. I don't think you are going to find a lot of sympathy.

    I've heard indirectly that Joe Kane feels MPEG2 is inferior. On the other hand, nobody other than the manufacturers (who are all about politics and royalties, not quality) has stood up for Blu-Ray. Not officially and not unofficially.

    Why do you predict that Blu-Ray will be a high-res audio format? Only HD-DVD has shown any indication of catering to high-res audio.
     
  19. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Lee, The Nipponese got wide TV quite a bit before us. Right now there's proably a broader audience for the product there. That will change over time of course. I don't think the U.S. is ready for high-def disc recording just yet. All the enthusiasts on there boards might be, but we're a drop in the puddle. Right now D-VHS is handy and I can transfer it to something else sometime if I please. The 16 x 9 480i recordings I've made are impressive. I hope to do 1080i eventually. Look at how poorly D-VHS is doing. It's an indication that high-def is not quite ready to break out, IMO. Remember alot of folks take DVD as hi-def and just got their first DVD/VHS combi player and stille get NTSC cable or satelite. The tipping point isn't quite there yet, IMO. Sumtimes you forget we are the audio-vidiots ahead auf err tyhmes.[​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  20. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Rachael, who cares if the rest of the US buys in immediately? I have seen hi-def and it is awesome in it's level of detail and blacks. By the way, HDTV ready flat panels are taking off like a rocket.

    Do you realize you could have made the same statement about DVD in 1997?
     

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