Broadcast HDTV needs to dump MPEG-2 and move to WM HD!

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Dan Hitchman, Mar 14, 2004.

  1. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Having just watched the HD clips from the Microsoft WM9 website, I've got to say this is far and away better than any broadcast HD I've ever seen! 1080p to boot!

    Although everything was not totally perfect compression-wise I think at 17 Megabits/sec and choices of 24, 30, and 60 fps depending on the source, and the rest for at least 1.5 Megabits/sec DTS audio we could have some STUNNING TV shows. Although, knowing that cable and satellite like to compress the hell out of everything they get their hands on even the clips at 8 Megabits/sec had fewer compression nasties than MPEG-2 at 15 or so.

    MPEG-2 is too long in the tooth and should be dumped for both broadcast and pre-recorded media. Wavelet compression, such as Microsoft's Corona (WM HD), is the better technology right now until storage capacities are great enough that lossless video encoding could be included.

    Too bad the broadcasters and the FCC weren't forward thinking enough to create HD mastering and encode/decode equipment that could be upgraded to newer and better codecs (like Hollywood post-production houses that have more flexibility to try other technologies). There's probably no way in hell now that they would switch gears for another 60 years the way they're going.

    Perhaps the only option for better video and audio we'll have for some time is HD-DVD whenever that is released (reports are coming in that they're looking at one high rez. audio track being lossless).

    Dan
     
  2. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    When did Microsoft make a realtime WMV-HD encoder?
     
  3. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Wayne,

    They're trying to do just that by getting the underlying WM HD codec approved by the SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers).

    Let's face it, there are a few minor glitches to be ironed out with WM HD, but on the whole it looks a hell of a lot better than MPEG-2 given the same bitrates.

    Dan
     
  4. Richard Paul

    Richard Paul Stunt Coordinator

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    Dan, though Corona(WM codec) is a lot better than MPEG-2 it is also true that future codecs' will be better than Corona. In other words there will always be something better and after the billions spent on MPEG-2 the FCC would be insane to change it. Not only would changing to Corona obsolete billions in encoding/decoding equipment it would also make people wonder how long any FCC approved equipment would last. Any video codec will look outdated 20 years from now even if it is Corona. The only practical way to have any broadcasting standard is to make one and keep it for 40-50 years. Broadcasting standards will always end up outdated since they need to be kept cheap, stable, and very long lived.
     
  5. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    I don't know if MPEG2 will be kept around for 50 years but it will be a while before there's movement to replace it, and it definitely won't happen while the rollout is still underway.

    But here is something to ponder: the FCC standard for digital TV allows additional data to be transmitted. The only requirement is that a broadcast DTV signal include at least one program stream that is free to the public, has quality at least as good as analog TV, and uses MPEG2 for video and AC3 for audio. The standard does not prevent the transmission of additional video using another codec.

    There's your opportunity. All you have to do is convince manufacturers to make realtime Corona encoders for the broadcasters, convince the broadcasters to buy them and transmit the signals (shortchanging the emerging HDTV system in the process), convince the manufacturers to make Corona STBs for the consumers, convince the retailers to stock them and sell them, and convince the consumers to buy them. Oh, and I guess we also need displays to advance another generation so that all of them will display 1080p.

    Then, don't be surprised if just about the time the ball starts rolling and people really start buying into it, somebody else declares it long in the tooth and wants to replace it with something newer.
     

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