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VP3, Open Source Video at 200kbs 219

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the lower-bitrate-pr0n dept.
Honest Man noted that intel is hyping VP3 as the first low bitrate open source video codec. 200kbs for VHS quality video sounds good to me, especially when I can apt-get it. But is DivX already to entrenched in this niche?
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VP3, Open Source Video at 200kbs

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  • For Christmas this year I was really hoping for yet another video codec to bring my live video to a cell phone that I don't have and couldn't use if I did.
  • This sounds like a dangerous piece of software for Intel to allow, dangerous to the MPAA at least. Do you suppose they will allow this, to make their movies even easier to pirate? I bet they sue Intel over this.


    So quick, apt-get it before it gets banned!

  • Wiht @Home in Doubt (Score:2, Interesting)

    by puppetman (131489)

    A low-bandwidth codec might have more success than DiVX (which, while lighter than mpeg-2, is still 800 meg for 90-100 minutes at decent quality).
    • Hmmm, but how does DivX weigh in for 90-100 mins at VHS quality?
    • by weeeee (196575)
      Your comparison is incorrect. DivX at 800 megs for 90-100 minutes entails using a high bitrate. The only application that would require such high bitrates is high quality video. A better comparison would be to use DivX at the 200kbps and the new one at 200kbps and compare the results.
  • .... so does this mean that I can watch pr0n now without having to use Windows Media Player or Real Media?
    • Re:Ohhh.... (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by TheAwfulTruth (325623)
      There are dozens of media players FGS, some free, some for pay. I use the ATI media player, clean and simple and I don't even have an ATI video card! It plays all properly installed video codecs on windows, windowed and full screen, no hassle. (Note that this does not include quicktime or real as they keep their codecs tied to their players). Annoyingly the Divx installer SAYS you HAVE to use their player (Playa) abd forces you to install it, but once installed, any VFW media player can playback Divx files (including the ati player I mentioned)
  • by CmdrPaco (531189) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @03:28PM (#2666532) Homepage Journal
    warning: not a troll, just an observation: Is this just a cheap ploy to sell P4's? This seems like Intel is just tooting their own horns about this technology, and claiming it's only for P4's.
    • Of course! I mean, without Intel Pentium IV's how could we "enjoy the wonders of the Internet at faster than light speeds...", and I'm sitting here like a sucker missing out on the special features that one gets by using a P4 to surf the Internet.
    • Is this just a cheap ploy to sell P4's?

      It might be, but it's a wasted effort - I just ran a 300Kbit stream through a P2-233. Pretty good piece of code this, should be fun to pull apart.

      Dave
  • Quick Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theantix (466036) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @03:28PM (#2666535) Journal
    Is DivX ;) entrenched in the market? Well, how many non-technical people have heard of it? How many PCs is it bundled with? It has a reputation for being primarily used for pirated video (regardless of the truth). So, the answer is a resounding "no, it isn't entrenched".
    • Re:Quick Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jvj24601 (178471) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @03:37PM (#2666621)

      It has a reputation for being primarily used for pirated video

      So did MP3. Sometimes being first is more important than being better.

      • Major differences (Score:2, Interesting)

        by theantix (466036)
        With MP3, joe sixpack could copy his CD collection onto his hard drive without additional equipment, and the alternatives were all closed and proprietary. Plus, MP3 files could be simply downloaded via Napster even with a regular dial-up modem.

        With DivX, if you want to copy your video collection, your hard drive is likely too small, plus you need special equipment to record. The alternatives are open as the linked article demonstrates. Via KazaA (or Gnutella, or whatever), Video files (even a 22 minute Simpsons episode) take a long time to download via cable modem, and is not realistic for the majority of people who use dial-up connections.

        Don't get me wrong, DivX ;) is great, just as MP3 is. All I'm saying is that the differences are big enough to prevent DivX from being entrenched at this stage of the game.

        • actually joe sixpack couldnt do that, and still cant. its become easiey, definately, but most people dont encode music, most people copy/download other peoples music. which they downloaded from someone else. occasionally i do meet someone that encodes cds, but its no the joe sixpack
        • I dont think you have looked at divx encoding much recently. Or perhaps computer specs. Firstly you say "your hard drive is likely too small" but at the moment the smallest drives you can buy are 20Gig, and the standard is about 30GB, it only takes 4-7GB temp space for encoding. IF you do it that way that is. With programs like FlaskMpeg and some addon's you can do the whole job in one turn ripping directly from the DVD. And on your average P4 chip it only takes 3 hours or so for an average movie.

          I doubt it will be long either before downloading divx's becomes even more common than it already is, it doesnt take a CompSci student to relise that on his Cable modem Kazaa can download XYZMovie-divx.avi in only a few hours (taking a 650MB movie).

          Think of all the trouble so many 'average-joes' would goto to copy a VHS in the past. Eg. Buying two VCR's!
    • Re:Quick Answer (Score:3, Informative)

      by triple_c (458836)
      Is DivX ;) entrenched in the market? Well, how many non-technical people have heard of it? How many PCs is it bundled with? It has a reputation for being primarily used for pirated video (regardless of the truth). So, the answer is a resounding "no, it isn't entrenched".

      I encouraged my Digital Video Professor here at the University of South Florida to institute divx as the codec standard for all of our projects. He tried it out and now he swears by it. I am pretty positive that divx will be used as the class standard for a while now..
      • by theantix (466036)
        As I tried to indicate with (regardless of the truth) I realize that is not an accurate perception. However, it is a perception, and it is a barrier to acceptance amongst the corporate types.
      • Re:Quick Answer (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rho (6063)

        Interesting... I assume you mean it's the standard for final output on projects? You don't edit in DivX, do you?

        Will you also archive your projects in DivX? If so, I'm glad I didn't attend U of South FL. I prefer my demo reel to be on something other people can look at easily, such as one of the established tape formats, not some unknown codec inappropriate for broadcast and not available on most desktops.

    • Re:Quick Answer (Score:2, Insightful)

      by IntlHarvester (11985)
      Check http://www.archive.org/ [archive.org] -- a legitimate site that uses DivX 3.
    • Not to mention... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by _avs_007 (459738)
      For the most part, isn't DiVX illegal, in that it is based on Microsoft Intellectual Property... Namely, their proposal to MPEG-4, which was not accepted? Isn't the DiVX 3.11 codec, just a hack of the MS Codec? I believe 3.11 is just the older version of the Codec that allowed encoding to non .ASF formats or something like that.

      This new Codec developed by intel, is open, so there is no immediate legal issues pertaining to its use, unlike DiVX. Also, this may open the doors to commercialization. I mean... How many vendors do you think would want to release something called DiVX ;) ? In addition, its hard to defend DiVX in a court battle. I mean, how many teleconferencing apps do you know run DiVX? I'm sure Intel will be able to show that the main purpose of this codec has nothing to do with pirating movies, even though it could be a good use of it ;)

      I think it would have better market value knowing it was a codec developed by a real company, not a hack of someone else's work.

      Besides, isn't the bitrate of DiVX like 910 kb/sec in most applications? I think 200kb/sec for the same quality is awesome.
      Key difference being: WMA supposedly offers better/equal quality to MP3 at a lower bitrate, but nobody wants to be sucked into a proprietary format. Likewise Windows Media8 supposedly offers DVD quality video at like 500 kb/sec, but again, who wants to be sucked into a proprietary format? This new codec from Intel on the other hand is open.

      Just my two bits...
      • I believe Divx4 was rewitten from scratch. I can't find verification of that at Divx.com [divx.com], but this Virtudub doc on codecs [virtualdub.org] agrees:
        DivX 4.0 isn't really related to 3.11a. It's a new codec that has been ramped up partly from scratch and partly from the MuMoSys reference code. ...

        Also, from personal experience, at 500 kbps, I get good quality Divx4 video. I'd say it's better than VHS at that rate, except for some problems with very low contrast settings.

  • More info... (Score:2, Informative)

    by kaptkudzoo (235385)
    More info here at http://www.on2.com

    Yah, its open source for development but it costs $395 to license? You do the work, but we'll take the profits.
    • On the bottom, there is this link to the official site at www.vp3.com. The code's under a slightly modified MPL license- if you want much of anything in the way of support, you'll be paying them $395 for the "certified" version. Otherwise, it's as free and open as Mozilla is right now without the GPL license on some parts of it.
  • Some real info (Score:2, Informative)

    by BigDaddy (28409)
    The page linked in the article is notably lacking in any resembling information on this codec. For more info try: On2's website [vp3.com]
  • The page says datarate as low as 200kb, but what's the average datarate and what's the worst case scenario datarate?
    • It appears to handle a QCIF sized feed over a 56kbps link and it does do VHS quality feeds in 200-500kbps feeds.

      RealNetworks licensed the technology and Neww.com appears to be using the codec which is managing a better than VHS feed at about 200kbs with a framerate around 16-18fps.
  • Open Source??? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Dr. Blue (63477)
    Their press release says "open source", but what exactly backs that up??? If you follow the download link you get to something called "VP3 for Windows". Hmmmm.... seems binary-only (no source), and only for Windows, and it costs $395!

    Am I missing something here????
    • Re:Open Source??? (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by BigDaddy (28409)
      More over, note this line from their page:

      The power of this codec has been validated by the fact that it has been licensed by both RealNetworks and Apple for their internet video players.

      Anyone want to tell me why Apple and RealNetworks would license something that is OpenSource.

      In case you're wondering their license is based upon the Mozilla Public License 1.1 (MPL 1.1). I understand this license, it should allow Apple and others to use it freely without licensing fees.

      • Are you OK? The Mozilla Public Licence is obviously a LICENCE isn't it? Therefore, if Apple or Real make use of VP3 under the terms of that licence they can be said to have LICENCED it. I think you need to get some sleep, buddy.
    • Re:Open Source??? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by _Marvin_ (114749)
      From the vp3.com website:
      "With VP3, there are no platform limitations and developers are not required to pay the restrictive license fees that other open source codecs make mandatory."
      restrictive license fees for open source...? They seem to have a very strange concept of the term "open source".
    • Re:Open Source??? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      > Am I missing something here????

      It uses a modified Mozilla license, and I just downloaded source for free (reg. required) from here:

      http://www.vp3.com/
    • by Svartalf (2997)
      http://www.vp3.com has the real goods- Had you looked at the link on the bottom of On2's website, you'd have seen the link for the Open Source release of VP3. Open Source doesn't mean that they can't still be selling the versions of the codec that are "certified" (as in supported- they're offering limited support for the open source release...).
    • Re:Open Source??? (Score:2, Informative)

      by ndogg (158021)
      Uhh, yeah, it's pretty open source [vp3.com], in spite of what you may believe. Whoever modded this up obviously did about as much research as the poster.
  • by jmoffitt (100733) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @03:33PM (#2666580) Homepage
    There are patents on the technology, which means it is of no more use to the open source community than True Type font hinting and MP3.

    I hope that they address the patent issues, and not just brush them aside like the DivX guys have done.

    There's a reason the Xiph.org project is trying to develop a video codec too :)
    • On2 owns the patents for VP3. They're granting rights to anyone that wants to use the source and produce a codec for their platform. They're granting the rights to the patents for people that make improvements to the system so long as they don't break stream compatibility with the open source code in their CVS repository.
    • There are patents on the technology, which means it is of no more use to the open source community than True Type font hinting and MP3.

      You mean the US open source community, right?

      Sorry to nitpick, but I feel that it's important to fight the idea that software patents are universal (since it tends to evolve into the idea that they are a natural right).

  • I didn't see anything about linux support. Intel's website really pushes the pentium 4's sse and windows xp (for some reason) for the vp3 codec.


    and the codec itself is from some company called on2 technologies. They have the vp3 player for windows, a plugin for quicktime 5, but i didn't see a linux player. There is a tarball that is "for all operating systems", but it looks like it might be the quicktime addon. They make you regester to get the binaries and source. On2's website is also pushing their commecial vp4 codec, which they claim delivers full screen 60fps mpeg-2 quality video at around 750kbit...


    sigh... i don't want better compression... i just want fiber at my house.

  • by bani (467531) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @03:35PM (#2666602)
    The real open source VP3 site [vp3.com]

    The VP3 open source license [vp3.com]

    The VP3 license claims to be MPL derived. Would be interesting to see if it still fits the open source criteria.
    • Not free software (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oddityfds (138457) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @04:48PM (#2666939)
      I'd say it is non-free software. This is cited from what they added:
      [2.1] (e) Notwithstanding Sections 2.1 (a), (b), and (c) above, no license is granted to You, under any intellectual property rights including patent rights, to modify the code in such a way as to create or accept data that is incompatible with data produced or accepted by the Original Code.
      and
      [2.2] e) Notwithstanding Sections 2.2 (a), (b), and (c) above, no license may be granted to You by Contributor, under any intellectual property rights including patent rights, to modify the code in such a way as to create or accept data that is incompatible with data produced or accepted by the Original Code.
      It is not GPL-compatible, anyway.
  • well (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vectus (193351)
    if my experience helping my friends install various codecs is any indication, people will gladly download whichever codec they need, as long as it is clear where to download it, and there isn't much of a hassle to download it.


    Having to fill out any registration forms will push people away, and not being able to find the codec online will obviously throw people off. The easiest way to get around this would be to encode a bunch of movies, or tv shows.. in the name of the file put the URL to download the codec, and message everyone who is trying to download it, telling them where to download the codec.


    With a bit of support from its users, this could easily take over as the common standard. With mp3's, people were only used to hearing about one specific codec (mp3). With video, people already know there are multiple kinds, each with different qualities. They know of real video, mpeg, divx, quicktime, and a few other formats. Throwing another one in the mix won't be surprising to them.


    Also, after someone has downloaded a 600Mb file, they are more likely to go out on a limb and install a codec, than if they just downloaded a 3Mb mp3.

    • Re:well (Score:5, Informative)

      by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @03:52PM (#2666741) Homepage
      I went to the VP3 site to watch some movie trailers they have. When I started playing the trailer, QuickTime Player told me I didn't have the VP3 codec and offered to install it for me. I clicked OK a few times and the trailer started playing. It couldn't have been easier. It even installed the encoder, so I can encode VP3 from any QuickTime app.
      • not everyone has quicktime, though. I'm sure that a lot of people do, but a great number of people I've seen, whether they be in computer science or commerce, lack everything but windows media player. It's funny watching them try to play .rm on windows media player, and watch them bitch about how it isn't working, but it does present these VP3 people with a significant problem. (along with apple, real, and virtually every other company trying to sell some kind of media product)
    • by jjeff (80578)
      CVS doesnt require username/password.

      cvs -d :pserver:anonymous@cvs.vp3.com:/on2 login

      password: anonymous

      then just co vp32

  • by Lawmeister (201552) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @03:38PM (#2666633) Homepage
    it may be open source, but it sure isn't cheap...

    Intel's link takes you to on2.com's website where they have this to say:

    With the VP3 for Windows codec, you can encode VP3 video and play it back through the Windows Media Player! The VP3 for Windows codec allows you to encode VP3 video using any Video for Windows compatible encoding application (such as Adobe Premiere and Virtual Dub) and play it back through the Windows Media Player. This version comes with limited email support. $395 USD"

    The free open source versions can be found at www.vp3.com, but it looks like Intel is promoting them the big bucks version.
  • You idiot! We're trying to sell processors here!
    • You idiot! We're trying to sell processors here!


      I know you were kidding but think about it. The more complex the compression algorythm, the smaller the file size. Complex algorythms require equally complex calculations to decompress. And if you want to be able to do it at 30 fps maybe you need a faster processor...

      I remember the days of waiting for those pesky .GIF files to render on my Amiga 500 ;)

  • Right... (Score:1, Informative)

    by GroovBird (209391)
    SO

    - I registered at the web site (www.vp3.com) in order to receive the source and binaries for VfW and QuickTime.
    - I downloaded and started the installation.
    - I was welcomed by an EULA agreement ("in consideration of your payment of $39.95").

    My Question

    Is this safe?

    Dave
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2001 @03:42PM (#2666675)
    Consider this pice:

    (e) Notwithstanding Sections 2.1 (a), (b), and (c) above, no license is granted to You, under any intellectual property rights including patent
    rights, to modify the code in such a way as to create or accept data that is incompatible with data produced or accepted by the Original Code.

    Yeah, that's real fucking useful -- we can view the code, but we can't improve it (incompatibly).

    This is the problem with the "Open Source" movement -- it's become such a buzzword that morons like VP3 think they can make up licenses like these.
    • by cruelworld (21187) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @04:03PM (#2666834)
      You can improve the code, as long as your improved codec's datastream can still be decoded by a cvs co unmodified decoder.

      This is smart, and contrary to what you believe you can improve the encoder without breaking compatibility with the decoder. The datastream format is what cannot change.

    • Yeah, that's real fucking useful -- we can view the code, but we can't improve it (incompatibly).


      That sounds like the MS Shared Source concept, except it'd read "we can view the code if you pay a buttload of money, but we can't improve it..."


      Bah...

    • "By way of example but not limitation, a Modification that adds support for other compression data such as MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 would be permissible, but only if the resulting Larger Work continues to support playback of VP3.2 data."

      Seems pretty clear to me they mean that it still has to _support_ the original format. The phrasing is strange though, but given the included example in the license your post is incorrect.

    • If that's the only restriction, I don't see a problem and would still consider it a very useful open source release. The company and end users both have an interest in keeping the format standardized. You still have great latitude in improving the code, like speeding it up or porting it.

      I think the rest of the license needs to be reviewed carefully to see whether this is truly an open source release or whether you need to pay money if you actually want to use the code for encoding/decoding video.

      Even then, however, I would still consider it preferable to Sorenson and other proprietary CODECs: if you can get the source code, at least your content will never become inaccessible even if the company goes out of business.

    • As I underdtand it, the license requires you to maintain backward compatible format, so as long as you don't make changes that prevent the playback or creation of content that is unplayable in other versions of the software you can make changes.

      This means that changes you make must only improve the quality of encoding, or playback with things like image filters, or by creating extra streams that can be ignored by the other players.
  • "Open Source"? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slashmenot (534112) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @03:45PM (#2666705)
    Where, pray tell, is the link to download the source?
  • by Mr_Ust (61641)
    On2 could have been there first, but they squandered their chances by charging money for a codec while everyone else and his mother were giving it away for free.

    Their technology was slightly better than the latest mpeg at the time, but marketting ruined another .bomb

    Disclaimer: I used to have money invested in this company.

    For informational purposes relating to the on2 codec, check out http://www.duck.com
  • Blatantly ripped from the blipvert on the page:

    Enables VP3 technology to deliver full-screen, full-motion, online and on-demand TV-quality video.

    And divx does near DVD quality at low to mid data tates. Hummm.

    Helps VP3 Video Player to implement more complex coding for higher quality at lower bitrates.

    Another video player? {mumph, snorket...hehehee} I'm thrilled, and I'm sure my p200 will be happy too. Propritary codec, right?

    Has SSE2 instruction set with real-time video filters for enhanced quality and experience.

    Dang, reads like they are embedding hardware into software/codecs, does it not?

    And they almost said it makes the internet 'supafast (tm)'...

    Intel says:MP3 finally has a video counterpart - a file-compression algorithm that makes it possible to send large multimedia files over the Internet on demand.

    So the are admitting they are enabeling piracy!
    Get the BSA and Get the MPAA on the phone...
    (rings triangle dinner bell) "Come and get it!".

    Sigh, if only.

    .
  • what about audio (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Splork (13498) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @03:56PM (#2666776) Homepage
    200kbit/sec for video? so what. double that if you want VHS quality sound along with it!
    • by Svartalf (2997)
      Standard VHS quality audio is encodable in something like 40-60kbps. It's nowhere near hi-fidelity. Now, stereo hi-fi stuff would probably require something like 300-400kbps for the video and audio as it'd need an MP3-like audio stream present.
      • i have to disagree on the 40-60kbit/sec point, a store bought vhs tape of your favorite recent movie has very good sounding audio. I have never heard a 64kbit/sec mp3 of a song that would sound very good on a home stereo. vhs sound does.
    • VHS has several quality modes. VHS in its purest form is mono-EP. Low sound quality, low video quality, lots of stuff fit on a tape. Now there's Hi-Fi VHS, stereo-SP. High(ish) sound quality, high(again,ish) video quality, not so much fits on a tape. So which is VP3? Probably the former.
  • 200 kbps... (Score:3, Informative)

    by chhamilton (264664) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @03:57PM (#2666777)

    Is that video *and* audio? Or is that video only? Either way, it seems too good to be true. Typically, 128kbps is the considered the bottom end for near CD quality for MP3 audio... at 200kbps for this VP3, if they have decent stereo sound encapsulated, that doesn't leave a lot of room for the video!

    Even if that figure is for video data only, that seems way too good... 200kbps is barely enough to describe audio, let alone a decent representation of video! Don't forget, DivX takes about 10Mbyte/min or 1365kbps for audio and video at decent quality...

    I wonder what the quality and resolution are truly like...

    • Let's not forget that the 128/200kbps for audio you talk about are for audio with no or very few audible artifacts. Nobody claimed VHS has no or very few visible/audible artifacts.
    • Re:200 kbps... (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you try out the VP4 version you'll be amazed how good it is. There is VIDEO and SOUND. I watch one of there demo movies full screen, it was almost DVD. Way better then VHS. On a cable modem ON a Celeron 600
  • Maybe this can be used to kick start Ogg Tarkin [ogg.org]. It'd be nice if they had a working implementation sooner than later so developers had a reason to start supporting it which will only help more when they come up with their own nifty codec.
    • Possibly... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Svartalf (2997) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @04:56PM (#2666991) Homepage
      There was some discussion on the developer lists about getting them to allow us to release an OGG video stream using their codec. Right now, they're supposedly looking at re-working their license to make it where something like that might happen.

      Otherwise, the best you can do with the current license is make a VP3 player/stream codec for Linux (Which wouldn't be a bad thing- I've seen the technology in action with RealPlayer 8 on Linux, playing some unbelievable streams from news.com.).
  • by sam@caveman.org (13833) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @03:57PM (#2666786) Homepage
    MP3 finally has a video counterpart - a file-compression algorithm that makes it possible to send large multimedia files over the Internet on demand. VP3 is the first open-source video codec to truly support VHS-quality video at bandwidths as low as 200 kbps.

    isn't MP3 a patented, non-free algorithm? isn't that why Ogg Vorbis [ogg.org] exists? so the only reason Intel is comparing VP3 to MP3 is marketing crap, right?

    either that, or they are hoping people will compress millions of DVDs into VP3 and set up giant file-swapping services, that would be a video counterpart to MP3.

    in other news, are there any side-by-side comparisons of VP3 and DivX? and how does Ogg Tarkin fit into all of this, now that there is an 'open source' codec?

    -sam
    • and how does Ogg Tarkin fit into all of this, now that there is an 'open source' codec?

      Well, Ogg Tarkin codec (at code or even specification level) doesn't seem to exist as of yet. =( Last time I checked, they had debate on which "technologies" to use.

      I'm not an expert on Ogg things, but I was under the impression Ogg stream format could be used to contain mostly any data, not just Vorbis-encoded audio. (there's some overviews [xiph.org] of it...) VP3 for video and Vorbis for sound wrapped into Ogg stream, anyone?

      (Not sure how VFW or Qt codec-encoded data can be fitted to the Ogg world...)

  • Ok, folks - since so many people seem to be having trouble with the concept, we'll go over it again. I'm no expert (feel free to flame me if I'm wrong - oh, you would have anyway...), but Open Source is not the same as free software. Open source merely means that your customer can obtain the source after purchasing the product. Free Software is (as its name implies) free. There are many great products that are open source, but not free. Similarly there are many free software packages that are not open source. It just so happens that a lot of software for Linux/BSD/whatever happens to be both.

    Ok, back to my lurking.
  • Quality comparison? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dschuetz (10924) <.slash. .at. .david.dasnet.org.> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @04:04PM (#2666841) Homepage
    With all the talk lately about various Codecs (divx, sorenson, and now VP3, as well as the "mpeg-4" stuff we've heard about (that may or may not be a codec :) )), I've been wondering...

    ...has anyone put together a good test suite to compare the various codecs at various bit rates? I'm thinking something that'd have some fixed-images (test patterns), some high- and medium-intensity moving images, lots of colors, simple and complex sounds, etc. Then put that file through all the various systems, at various rates, and compare the quality somehow...

    Not that it'll really make much difference to me, as an end-user, since I'll just watch whatever someone has already encoded, but I'd be curious to see something a little more substantial and quantitative than just "sorenson's cool" sort of postings...
    • by dschuetz (10924) <.slash. .at. .david.dasnet.org.> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:15PM (#2667146) Homepage
      (yes, I suppose I should have spent a couple minutes searching on google before I posted my question).

      I just found two comparisons:

      Extreme Tech [extremetech.com] from June 18, 2001, compares Windows Media Video 3, 7 and 8, Real 8, MPEG-4, Sorenson MPEG-4, and QuickTime (Sorenson V3 and V2). Hard to get clear results, though it looks like they liked WMV and Real about the best.

      Also, Digital Video.com [dv.com] (looks like it's from november) compares WMV8, Real 8, QT 5, Sorenson 3, H.263, VP3, and ZyGoVideo. Like many magazine articles, he declines to pick a "best", since it's so usage-dependant. He thought you needed to get to at least 800 kbps for VP3, didn't like ZyGo, liked Sorenson V3 better than H.263 (which he liked better than SV2), but thought WMV8 was better. Also RV8 wasn't as good, in his opinion, as WMV8.

      Anyway, they might be worth a read...
    • by rho (6063)

      The big problem with this is that perception is individualistic. Similar to how "golden ears" can perceive compression artifacts in MP3, "golden eyes" can perceive artifacts in compressed video.

      For example, DVD compression drives me into a blind rage everytime I see those fat pixels in the shadows of dramatically lit masterpieces [imdb.com], I have to supress an urge to go on a murderous rampage across the desks of hundreds of idiots who thought that MPEG-2 would be "good enough".

      Now, I am forced to rent a DVD before I'll consent to purchase it, just to see if I'm going to be irritated by compression artifacts. I'm not gonna blow some $20 on a screwed up compression job.

      • by BrookHarty (9119)
        Same thing pisses me off about digital cable and satellite. They use higher mpeg2 rate for football games and ppv movies, but they lower it for my favorite tv shows. They only have so much bandwidth (they say) so the big money makers get the better quality.

        This also happens with live tv, watch a football being passed, no mpeg2 artifacts. Watch a late night kungfu movie, and you can see artifacts. Older movies are stored on tape at lower quality, they should really start re-encoding those older movies for broadcast.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Most people don't have fast enough connections to download DivX movies like they download .mp3's. Any DivX small enough for a modem user to download is probably small enough in .mpg, .mov, .avi, or any other codec you should chose. There's still room to compete. My guess is that the window of opportunity before DivX becomes entrenched is 6-12 months.

    BlackGriffen
  • Only 200kbps (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    When they can beat DiVX, I'll be impressed.

    Two months ago I was compressing near-VHS quality at just over 250 kbps with DiVX. Could have gone down to 200 kbps if I had the time to tweak it a little more.

    Now, if VP3 can do the tweaking for me, and is faster, then I'll be impressed.
  • missed info (Score:5, Informative)

    by akb (39826) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @04:42PM (#2666902)
    Lots of missed info for a project that whose source was released in early September. Good to see it finally got noticed by /.

    -first source is available on vp3.com [vp3.com]. You must register to download (hrm).

    -Its license [vp3.com] is MPL derived, with some restrictions on IP for their patents. Also derivatives must always be able to play VP3.

    -Its streamable with QT hinting.

    -only currently available for Win and Mac. Port to *nix should be easy since there is code for OS X.

    -Apple and Real will be supporting it in their players
  • by josh crawley (537561) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:20PM (#2667189)
    I found out that the 'downloading' part is register locked. Big deal. guest:guest worked for me :-) I love default passwords...(ahem, root:root)
  • Instruction set (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Doppler00 (534739)
    This new video codec probably utilizes a lot of Intel specific SSE2 instructions. Maybe Intel is making this open source to encourage developers to use more Intel specific instructions. I hope the VP3 codec though doesn't require an Intel processor to work. It should at least have a back up algorithm that utilizes MMX so that those with AMD CPU's and others can use it.

    Often companies say that their product produces "VHS" quality, but that is a bit subjective. For example some say that one codec sounds just as good as another (WMA at 64kbps vs. MP3 at 128kbps) but I can notice the difference immediately. And since this is a product produced by a company, not a standard, it probably won't be very popular.
  • This would be great for the Tivo like software I have been working on. One of the problems with closed systems like Tivo is that when the new technologies do become available, geeks like us cannot get the satisfaction of using them. With my OpenTivo/FreeTivo/CheemaTV project I hope to put together a software package that appeals to geeks.

    Here is what I have so far : http://tv.cheema.com/vcr/ [cheema.com] Its in early stages of development and you may find some problems here and there. I plan to release the source under GPL once I get my employer's approval.

    Warning : The system above is on a slow uplink so some pages may load slowly. At some point I will start using mod_gzip.

  • by Ogerman (136333) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:44PM (#2667425)
    OK, so the source code is available. That's a start. But it's not truly free. It's encumbered by patents and other restrictions.

    So, given a code base for reference (ala reverse engineering), all we need is for somebody outside of the US, where software patents don't apply, to develop a GPL replacement written from the ground up, but which is unofficially 100% compatible with the VP3 format. Ideally, it may even be possible to work around their patents somehow, which would free content producers from having to pay royalty fees (as with MP3).

    Of course, that's assuming that VP3 is really a format worth emulating compared to the patent-free video codec the Ogg Vorbis people are working on. But hey, even they may be able to gain some insight from looking at the VP3 code.
  • ...into browsable directories.

    http://www.on2.com/quicktime/trailers/

    Rather than watching the movies in a tiny window embedded in a web page, visit this page, download them, and watch them in their own player as large as you want. Personally, I'm very impressed.

  • by Port1080 (515567) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @07:29PM (#2668087) Homepage
    And the results - for the same file, at 910 kbps, indistinguishable quality, both had minor artifacting, etc, but looked pretty good full screen, and looked great at default res. The big difference was time to encode - divx took 6 1/2 minutes to encode the clip I selected, VP3 took 11, and size - divx was 20.7 mb, vp3 was 29 mb. All other things were equal, I used Virtual Dub for both, same video clip, and the default encoding parameters for both (Medium for speed/quality in DivX 4.0, Fast Encode for VP3). My computer's a Celeron 566, 256mb RAM, running Windows 2000 SP2.

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