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Microsoft's Corona codec HD demo on T2 Extreme Edition? Let's discuss! (1 Viewer)

Dan Hitchman

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As some have been discussing over at AVS Forum, there is a strong possibility that at least the T2 Extreme Edition will feature a demo of low bitrate Corona HD compression in the form of Terminator 2's theatrical cut w/ 5.1 audio.

Obviously, since there are no red laser HD players on the market this will be packed as a Windows Media Player 9 file and reportedly either 720p or 1080p resolution. It will take a fairly fast Pentium (in the 2 Gigahertz range) or equivalent processor and a lot of RAM in order for the film's file to work properly. The 5.1 audio is also PC-only too.

Now, my question is this: do you guys/gals feel that this is to test the water for a low bitrate HD disc solution (using Microsoft's Corona codec), or do you think this is just a cool extra and that nothing should be read into this demo?

Some people have stated that the small HD clips from Microsoft showing the ability of WM9 to present super-compressed HD movies at around 6 Megabits/sec were "not all that and a bag of potato chips," and showed heavy pixelization and other compression anomalies.

If this is really a sly way of some of the DVD Forum members to gauge the response of consumers to low bitrate HD-DVD using Corona (vs. MPEG-4), then wouldn't those less than stellar clips of Microsoft's turn people off, or do you think they think we wouldn't really care just so long as the two buzz words "High Definition" were attached to it?

I'd still rather see what either Blu-Ray or the other blue disc format can offer in terms of superior 1080p video and audiophile-like multichannel audio. Why put down an investment in yet another interim red laser solution (with unproven HD performance and only DTS or Dolby Digital audio again), when we could be getting something much better?

Hope this can be a lively discussion.

Dan
 

Will_B

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I can't claim to understand much of any of the above or below, however on the topic of compression, from what I understand there is competition over who will be able to stream movies down to people's computers (Microsoft wanting to become in essence your cable tv provider/video-rental-store replacement), and a range of other applications. From one of the father figures in the industry, whose identity is shrouded in mystery, there was this incredible post about the NAB show. It's a big quote but he's so sincerely excited I just had to share it:

Sony will show a product line that will probably be so historic it will probably be given an award for "best-of-show" (if there is such a silly prize)..

Sony will demo a whole series of products based on a DVD disc that uses a blue laser, recording to a (now get this, my little feather merchants) DVD disc that has Phase Change Erasability. The 12cm disc is in a cartridge, and will RECORD IN A PROFESSIONALLY PRICED CAMERA Professional quality MPEG-2 compressed signals... (at up to 50 megabits per second). That will be full broadcast quality and editable. THIS IS A PARADIGM SHIFTING EVENT IN VIDEO HISTORY.

The support products are editing decks and computerized systems to automate the newsrooms of the big networks. Even more exciting is that as the camcorder records to this disc, which will store 27 gigabytes (or 90 minutes of broadcast quality source material), it will also record a very HIGHLY compressed signal that could then transmit this just recorded content, at 50 TIMEs the normat transfer speed. That is, some war correspondence puke can shoot: "the shooting of Sadman", rush to his satellite uplink and send almost an hour of video back to the command headquarters (NYC) in less than a minute, for them to begin the editing choices... Since you have random access to data on a DVD disc, then the Newsroom producer could choose only those segments that have to be subseqently sent back for broadcast. This feature set has obviously been designed with a LOT of input from the networks and CNN types. It means that TAPE IS NOT YET DEAD, but certainly on Intensive Care Unit's life support. And I am here to pull the plug when it comes time to end that bit of history.

What I am trying to explain is that this NAB is the first A-Bomb in the war against magnetic TAPE recording by the leading supplier of Professional Video equipment. It is based on well established standards of compression (which are well understood by SNIC), records onto a disc that is HeadPhaseChanging erasable, and then permits a whole, new-brand of computerized information automation at the front end of video networks, with massive storage systems based on these discs, and provides the ability to put a dozen hours of absolutely wonderful quality video into a FedEx envelope for world-wide random distribution. Digital copies can then be made with perfect fidelity and passed on to other uses. All is made possible by a blue colored laser burning on media that I worked on 28 years go, in the Central Research Labs of 3M... I have Finally lived long enough to see the commercial introduction of what my career has been all about. Gots to tell ya folks, its a good feeling, even though I am not the execu- puke at Sony who is about to take all the credit. Moses has seen the promised land, and it is enough for him, if his people can cross over to drink the milk and honey.

This very pricy sea-change from the gods of Video, means that all the other proponents of Blu-ray optical recording including Philips and Matsushita, must now start their competitive responses. Sony's Professional video profits will cover the high start up costs of introducing this next generation of optical recording. Sony will also make good on their promise to introduce a HOME Blu-ray Phase Change recorder of the High Definition broadcasts that the FCC is getting very anxious to see happen now that we have millions of plasma panel, LCD, and projector displays to play back HD at home at reasonable prices. The combined factory demand of all of the above will pay for the development of manufacturing capacity of blue laser diodes in volume, and that will make it possible to have a cheap drive in systems that can author DVDs. (are you getting to see the picture here?)

Remember, it was Sony that fell in love with the efforts of Sonic, and from my personal experiences at 3M and working for Sony, once they go to bed with someone, they usually hang around to pay for breakfast and even talk about a ring and a date. Sonic has software that already demonstrated that it could be used for authoring DVDs at High Definition resolutions. So, as I see it, unless somebody screws up super bad, Sonic has a clear path to a 10 year future of growth and technological innovation. NO, it won't be easy or cheap, but there is NO single competitor that is better positioned to leverage its last 10 years of R&D and market development for success for the next 10 years.

None of the above is inside SNIC information, it is totally obvious to those who have been working in this "field-of-dreams" for a quarter of a century... You pukes should be proud that you stumbled into the future of FUSION powered communications... For those who do not remember the new definition of "fusion" it is the energy and profit output that comes from forcing together the RF broadcasting world, with the Internet transactional world, and onto the Optical Disc Recording world, and pushing them into a single unified communication format. The three constituent elements will ultimately disappear, and a single new reality will result that is lighter and more stable than those original constituents. If your investments are done intelligently, then you will benefit from the creative energy outpouring that will happen as a result of this fusion (not celestial "convervence") of technologies.

Wishing you all good thoughts in these most fearful times, and solicit your prayers for my continued success going down this road to KA-Tikrit.

Shalom, Salam, Peace... If an old man can say it, you youngsters of the investment community can too... "Be not Afraid".... (said first by a man who had real balls).

Annonomous

 

Ricardo C

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I believe they are indeed testing the waters. If the demo is included in the package, I'll be picking it up in order to evaluate it for myself. I have little faith in the concept of low-bitrate HD, but it's worth taking a look. I'll test it on my PC, and on a friend's projector.
 

Adam Barratt

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I don't know whether we should read anything into it, but it's certainly an interesting experiment if it comes to fruition. I am very interested to see it, but I suspect the number of enthusiasts with the equipment necessary to exploit the technology is very small (especially the audio component).

At the very least it should give us some sort of idea of what is possible with low bit-rate/high compression HD media on DVD. What sort of copy protection does WM9 use? I imagine it's quite robust if Artisan are willing to sell (possibly) a 1080P version of one of their crown jewels.

I'm also curious how this material will be presented. Even heavily compressed the film would still require a DVD9. Are Artisan including this disc as standard? If they are, I imagine 99% will end up as coasters and there will be the same percentage of annoyed customers with discs they can't use for anything.

If this rumour is true, Artisan would be a logical source considering they were the first to exploit both DVD9 and DVD18. It may be a marketing gimmick, but at least it's a genuinely intriguing one!

Adam
 

Dan Hitchman

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I just hope this isn't the future, especially if the PQ is only average.

Whatever happens to pre-recorded HD content, I'd want it to at least meet D-Theater qualities, and at best beat the crap out of it. However, it's gotta be true 1080p in a variety of frame rates (24, 30, 60, etc.) for whatever source they use (film or video based). I understand D-Theater can do at least 1080p/24 recording and playback if it has a 1080p source.

A high quality, efficient video codec coupled with MLP PCM at 24/96 resolution with at the very least 6.1 channel discrete capabilities, and at best 8 or more discrete channels on Blu-Ray or other high capacity disc medium would be ideal.

Dan
 

Jay Sylvester

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I downloaded the "Stepping Into Liquid" 5mbps 720p demo from Microsoft's web site this weekend (sorry, don't have the link now), and on my 21" PC monitor it looked suspect. The resolution was nice, but the artifacting was noticeable even on such a small display.

Since I also have a Sharp Z10000 DLP projector (1280x720, perfect for testing a 720p recording) hooked up to a PC in my living room, I tried it out on that as well. My screen size is 92" diagonal. Compared to the HD material I'm seeing on HBO and Showtime via Comcast cable, the MS demo looked awful. Lots of MPEG blocking and dancing pixels.

I think the relatively quick introduction of BluRay by Sony will prompt other manufacturers to follow suit. Hopefully enough hardware will get out there to convince the studios that BluRay is the new standard, whether they want it to be or not.
 

Dan Hitchman

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That sure doesn't sound promising. Heck even MPEG-2 doesn't look that bad at 5 Mbps. Granted, that's only 480i, but still...

Dan
 

wally

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Just on principle, I’d rather not see Microsoft hegemony in television. My computer is enough.
 

Chris Purvis

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Step Into Liquid is encoded at 5.5 and also at 6.9 Mbps. The 6.9 Mbps version is a slight improvement, but still has very heavy artifacting and is not what I would consider an improvement over a well-encoded MPEG-2 dvd. I have a CRT front projector and I've been using the Step Into Liquid trailer as my projector warmup material for a couple of months now (MP9 will loop it indefinately which is why I use it). A scaled-up but originally great looking DVD (extended LOTR, Blade II) is definately better looking video than these examples are, even though they are natively 1280x720.

Anyhow, the demos are definately not bad, but if this is what HD-DVD becomes it would be unacceptable to just about everyone. A caveat I should note is that lots of people use WM9 to archive broadcast HDTV with very good results, however at what bitrate they use is not exactly clear. Either way I don't see how this T2 file can be much more than about 8-9Mbps and still fit on one disc.

Here's a link to microsoft's download page. You must have Media Player 9 installed to view these. And you must do the multichannel audio decoding inside your PC to get back more than 2 channels of audio.

http://windowsmedia.com/9series/Demo...p=VideoQuality
 

Dan Hitchman

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If that's one of the codecs the DVD Forum is considering handing to consumers for HD content, they've got some screws loose.

HD with heavy compression artifacts is going to look no better (if not worse) than MPEG-2 for 480i! Disappointing to say the least.

If people buy into HD-DVD and it looks like what I just saw, my faith in savvy home theater consumers will have eroded.

Dan
 

Mark_TS

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Quote:
"Just on principle, I'd rather not see Microsoft hegemony in television. My computer is enough."
-----
agreed, plus who would want to deal with their now standard once-a-week PC virus/security flaw/technical updates on your future Video system...
 

Jay Sylvester

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Politics and money will keep Microsoft out of the running for HD-DVD codecs. No studio or hardware manufacturer wants to be associated with or dependent upon Microsoft for their software and hardware to work properly, nor will they want to pay MS the royalties for using their codec.

The Toshiba/NEC blue laser format or the Sony BluRay format will most likely be the standard. Sony is already out of the gate with their first HD-DVD recorder, bypassing the playback-only "rule" for new optical media decks. It won't be long before Sony starts releasing Columbia/TriStar titles to the format (Superbit HD-DVD anyone?). Warner might be stubborn and push their own red laser format so they can avoid retooling their factories, but if they're the only studio behind it, not even their considerable back catalog of titles will be enough to get manufacturers on board.

The DVD Forum was supposed to make a final decision last month, but did they? They're making themselves irrelevant by delaying. Time and technology both march on whether the Forum approves of equipment or not.
 

Dave F

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plus who would want to deal with their now standard once-a-week PC virus/security flaw/technical updates on your future Video system...
Would you rather that they not release security updates? The issue is moot as it pertains to HT anyway.

-Dave
 

Chris Purvis

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I think Microsoft's real motivation behind Corona is its use as an efficient codec for PC-based PVR for HDTV. Microsoft has had a long-term goal of moving the PC out of the home office and into the living room as a set-top box - they've stated this many times in the past. For that purpose it seems quite capable. Have you seen Windows XP Media Center edition yet? It's exactly the kind of thing that OS is geared for.
 

Travis Hedger

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Some people have stated that the small HD clips from Microsoft showing the ability of WM9 to present super-compressed HD movies at around 6 Megabits/sec were "not all that and a bag of potato chips," and showed heavy pixelization and other compression anomalies.
Holy CRAP!

These people must either have crappy machines, or didn't download the right files.

I have an XP 2400 @ 2.0Ghz, half a GB of DDR Ram and a Radeon 9700, and those MS HD Clips look absolutely STUPENDOUS!!! I never thought that video could look so good on a computer monitor. Now on a projector on the otherhand, I dunno, as I don't have one, I can only give judgement on the equipment I have available to me.
 

GregoryP

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Doesn't "Standing In the Shadows of Motown" also have the DVD-ROM Corona HD version of the film? Are there any reviews of that yet?

I'm in the "cool extra" camp I guess. I kind of like the idea of getting the HD version of a film today. :D
 

Jeff Kleist

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I'm in the "cool extra" camp I guess. I kind of like the idea of getting the HD version of a film today.
You can have it right now. Pick up a DVHS deck.

Don['t forget that Radeon cards have all kinds of filtering. I have tons of VCDs that look acceptible on my monitor but look like crap on my TV
 

Declan

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it seems that this HD T2 demo would/could only be for people with high-end front projectors able to connect to the (high spec PC's). Because could you really see the extra resolution on a normal PC screen. Could you see a difference between the HD T2 and the normal MPEG-2 version?
 

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