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HD DVD Coming Very Soon 594

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the pretty-pictures dept.
x mani x writes "While the DVD Forum continues quibbling over a new blue-laser based HD-DVD standard, it looks like Microsoft has been busy developing a new video compression method that can show high quality HD video at bitrates similar to current DVD's (between 5-8mbps). Proof, you say? Check out some stunning samples of this cutting edge technology. Myself and many others have watched it and most of us feel this is significantly better looking than MPEG-4/DivX HD video of the same bitrate. This technology is causing some excitement, as the T2: Extreme Edition DVD package will include a DVD containing T2 in HD, compressed with this technology. Anyone with a fast PC will be able to watch T2 in high def, no pricey blue laser player required."
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HD DVD Coming Very Soon

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  • Re:What's the point? (Score:5, Informative)

    by luzrek (570886) on Friday April 11, 2003 @05:43AM (#5709045) Journal
    While DVDs are effectively the "mature" version of the laserdisk technology, they did offer consumers a substantial benefit over the VHS tapes which they replaced. Namely, you got all the DVD extras for not too much more money than the VHS tape. They also offered substantially better quality than VHS tapes, and longer shelf lives, and smaller storage areas, etc. While Laserdisks offered many of the same content extras as DVDs, they were prohibitively expensive and aquard to store and use. DVDs also came out at a time when the main use of the VCR was to watch prerecorded movies from the rental store. Laserdisks came out when the main use of the VCR was to record and watch television (early time-shifting).

    That said, whatever is going to replace DVDs is going to have a couple of fairly high hurdles. First, there is already a huge base of DVD players out there, many of which aren't compatable with DVD-R,DVD-RW,DVD+R, and DVD+RW (one of the things holding off widespread acceptance of DVD-burning drives). It will have to be backwards compatable with existing technology, or offer substantially greater value so that everyone replaces their DVD players. I don't think that simply offering higher resolution without additional changes will be enough to get everyone to go out and buy a new DVD player. Maybe it would if everyone had televisions which displayed pictures in greater detail than DVDs support, and routinely watched broadcasts in said higher resolution.

  • by inaeldi (623679) on Friday April 11, 2003 @05:56AM (#5709087)
    I don't know if these are static or not, but they seem to work.

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/b/d/2/bd2ef 814-9577-4d2e-a79e-35615ac7b13f/liquid_1.exe http://download.microsoft.com/download/b/d/2/bd2ef 814-9577-4d2e-a79e-35615ac7b13f/liquid_2.exe http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/1/a/31a2e 752-a74c-4935-a85b-3f3143cb53af/indy.exe http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/1/a/31a2e 752-a74c-4935-a85b-3f3143cb53af/pinball.exe http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/1/a/31a2e 752-a74c-4935-a85b-3f3143cb53af/snowboard.exe

  • by inaeldi (623679) on Friday April 11, 2003 @06:05AM (#5709123)
    Oh, ok, the urls do work. For some reason when I posted them, it put a space in the path. You just have to get rid of the space.
  • That's misleading. (Score:3, Informative)

    by tolan-b (230077) on Friday April 11, 2003 @06:22AM (#5709158)
    It is being ported, but the company that are doing it seem unlikely to release it as a consumer product. They already make LinDVD (the Linux version of WinDVD suprisingly). LinDVD is available to consumers as a standalone, it's only marketed to integrators making Linux appliances, and it's looking like the WMP port will be the same.
  • Just downloaded it.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by sivann (322011) on Friday April 11, 2003 @06:25AM (#5709166) Homepage
    I just got the video playing. I have a 1.7Ghz P4, the cpu goes to 100% and the frame rate is below 1 frame/3 seconds in wmplayer9/win2k. Besides that, the quality is very good, but there is nothing astonishing with it. The video is at 6MBps, and if you consider that most mpeg-4 and divx content is encoded at 900Kbits then I don't see the breakthrough. BTW video size is said by researchers in most video conferences in the field that is going to be reduced at most 100% in the next 10 years. So don't expect much from the future. As for the HD-DVD, 1080i is still low (but close) compared to 35mm film.

    Spiros Ioannou
    --
    Image Video & Multimedia Systems Lab.
    Department of Electrical & Computer Eng.
    National Technical University of Athens
  • Well, everything's compiled from source [gentoo.org]
    and personally I've looked through and fixed
    All of the USB core [linux-usb.org] in the kernel, the ADSL driver [sourceforge.net] for my modem, povray [povray.org].
    I've partly gone through Arson
    and looked at lots of other source (including postgres)

    So, I'm sure the ADSL software is spyware free the USB core looks ok too(if a bit badly documented and buggy)
    and I've never found anything bad in povray.

  • Well... (Score:2, Informative)

    by BJH (11355) on Friday April 11, 2003 @07:00AM (#5709258)
    The fact that the page pointed to is inaccessible from anything other than IE doesn't make me confident that this technology will be an open standard.

    Ah well, I suppose if people want to sell their freedom for a T2 DVD, there's nothing I can do to stop them...
  • by James_Duncan8181 (588316) on Friday April 11, 2003 @07:26AM (#5709344) Homepage
    Download the PrefBar at http://www.xulplanet.com/downloads/prefbar/ [xulplanet.com].

    Among other nice options such as killing all flash in a page :) it has a dropdown menu for what browser/OS you want to impersonate. And they must be doing well with it - as far as MS was concerned I was running XP/IE6 so the doors opened...

  • Re:video libraries (Score:2, Informative)

    by Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) on Friday April 11, 2003 @07:45AM (#5709407) Homepage
    One of the things people forget is that the video on DVDs is actually higher resolution than consumer decks are allowed to play back (at least on those that are released with Macrovision). One can already play back HD resolution, with a PC equipped with an X-card or similar component-output capable card, and a simple utility to allow the playback software to disregard the Macrovision and play back at full resolution.

    The results are stunning. Easily as much better than progressive-scan consumer decks than progressive scan decks are from lesser models.

    This is with the SAME DVD you can buy today. With the same HDTV displays that have been availiable for a couple years.

    Don't let them sell you this new "enhanced" DVD content. Make them release current content without the Macrovision nonsense, and I doubt there's any difference in quality at all.
  • Wow, everything you said is basically wrong. raw uncompressed video is a standard today. How did this get modded up to 5.

    Uncompressed video is just that, it contains every pixel, it's location and the color for each one on the screen. No device has to have any intelligence, just turn on the pixel. That's how everything actually talks today after it get's uncompressed, so obviously everybody already knows how to talk uncompressed digital.

    I'm guessing you didn't know that raw HDTV 1080i @60 runs at ~1.5gbs or around 187MB/sec or a TERABYTE for a 2 hour movie. Yup consumers are just ready to decompress from their *proprietary* codecs (interesting dig) and store uncompressed video. You're going to have an extremely difficult time just getting that performance off your PCI buss which normally maxes out at 166MB/sec, not even taking into consideration how many drives you'd need to write 187MB/sec.

    Lastly you do realize that DVI is already in the consumer grade market, I've got one on my video card today. DVI dumps raw video out now, it's not doing any uncompression, etc just throws the bits around and very handily pass raw HDTV resolutions and greater (1600x1200, etc). Many people (enthusiasts) are using DVI inputs already (firewire tops out at 400MB) for digital through and through, all you need is a regular computer with DVI output and a display that has DVI inputs (DLP projector, plasma, LCD, etc). You might be complaining that DVI displays maybe more difficult to find, today they basically on displays that are digital through and through, most displays do analog output and don't have them (though they are out there).
  • by nutshell42 (557890) on Friday April 11, 2003 @08:27AM (#5709561) Journal
    You have to stop your browser from forwarding you from the linked page to that "you don't have our stuff"-page - I could d/l the files with Konqueror which identifies as Konqueror

    The .exe are self-extracting zip-archives and contain wmvs in in Windows Media 9 format - MPlayer can play them with the correct dshow-filter installed (available from the MPlayer-page)

  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@corne[ ]edu ['ll.' in gap]> on Friday April 11, 2003 @08:57AM (#5709695) Homepage
    The video on DVDs is 720x480, interlaced or progressive, no higher.

    The limit imposed on consumer decks is 480p, i.e. 720x480. Consumer progressive-scan decks with the resolution limit are not limited below this resolution - So they do not provide any artificial limits for DVD display.

    The one exception is that a good scaling algorithm can improve the visual quality of a lower-resolution video without increasing its sharpness or detail by smoothing out pixelization. If your TV's internal scaler is crappy or it doesn't even have one, good scaling before component signal generation will benefit you. But it depends on your TV.

    (I believe this is why VCDs don't look too bad in standalone players while they look like utter shite in many PC players - It happens that the standalones do a better job of scaling up 352x480 to 480i than PCs - I was shocked at just how watchable some of my VCDs are, I can't tell the difference between them and analog cable.)
  • .EXE downloads (Score:3, Informative)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@corne[ ]edu ['ll.' in gap]> on Friday April 11, 2003 @09:00AM (#5709721) Homepage
    Many .EXE files that encapsulate media files are self-extracting ZIPs. Under Linux, try "unzip foo.exe".

    Believe it or not this will work on a pretty good percentage of EXEs that are self-extracting archives. (Although that percentage seems to be slowly decreasing.)
  • Innovation my arse. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@corne[ ]edu ['ll.' in gap]> on Friday April 11, 2003 @09:06AM (#5709756) Homepage
    WM9 is nothing more than a hacked-up version of MPEG-4. Its only apparent advantage is that the default WM9 encoder is a bit more flexible/less picky as far as bitrate control than other MPEG-4 implementations (XviD/DivX). Yes, DivX is a bit of a hacked-up version of MPEG-4 itself, but less so and the format is much more open. (See XviD).

    For a while I believed that WM9 was superior to DivX for encoding home movies, although I had a feeling that there was something weird going on as I'd gotten much better results in the past. It turns out that the RC defaults of DivX 5.0.x aren't good for converting homemade DV video shot in low light. Once I started doing two-pass encoding in DivX, I could no longer tell the difference between WM9 and DivX. (Note: two-pass encoding did not benefit at all in WM9.)

    So for one-pass encoding, WM9 is superior. For two-pass encoding, WM9 gains nothing and DivX catches up in quality.
  • by MoZ-RedShirt (192423) on Friday April 11, 2003 @09:18AM (#5709825)
    There is already such thing as DVI for Home Audio/Video Equipment: HDMI [hdmi.org]

    The best thing in fact HDMI is DVI. At least on the electrical and protocol level. The only difference is the plug, but there are adapters.

    So if your DVD Player has an HDMI out and your beamer has an DVI input and you have this mechanical converter it just works.
    Only drawback is that HDMI contains hooks for crypting the video signal.

    RedShirt
  • Oops, forgot (Score:3, Informative)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@corne[ ]edu ['ll.' in gap]> on Friday April 11, 2003 @09:34AM (#5709913) Homepage
    Both of those were at 4 Mbits/sec video bitrate. (Approx. 20-22 minutes of video on a 700M CD.)

    At 2 Mbits/sec (Twice the length on the same CD), both start to show artifacting, I'd say about equally.
  • by stalbott972 (569919) on Friday April 11, 2003 @09:49AM (#5709999)
    Have you checked out www.openoffice.org. It doesn't have everything that Microsoft Office has, but it is dang close. My thanks to those who put the sweat and labour into such a product!
  • by ryanwright (450832) on Friday April 11, 2003 @11:33AM (#5710814)
    This just proves that Microsoft are full of shit when they say you must use IE - if all that is required is a differetn user-agent string, then they are simply censoring browsers. Not surprising of course.

    Oh, but it gets worse than that: Way back when most people were using Windows 98, and right around the beginning of the anti-trust trial, I had set my father's PC up with Windows 98 Lite (thus totally stripping Internet Explorer out). The PC had limited system resources and removing IE resulted in a considerable performance increase.

    He bought a new game which required a newer version of DirectX, and it wasn't included on the game CD. So I hopped onto Microsoft's site (with Netscape) to download it.

    No dice. They wouldn't let me have it. Said it required Exploder. I ran home, downloaded it from my spare PC with IE, brought it over on CDR and guess what? No problems. It worked flawlessly. Here was a legitimate customer of theirs who wanted support for the product he had purchased, and the fuckers wouldn't let him have it because he wasn't using their browser. They're like little kids on a playground: "No! You can't play with my toys unless you say you're my best friend and stop being friends with Tommy!"

    I only wish I could have testified during the trial about this - as well as the "We can't remove IE, it's tied to the OS" shit, when everyone and their dog was running Windows 98 with no trace of IE thanks to a 30kb script (98 Lite).

    Microsoft could be a great company if they'd stop all this childish bullshit. Their products are, more often than not, great - other than these unnecessary "features".
  • by Rui del-Negro (531098) on Friday April 11, 2003 @12:23PM (#5711199) Homepage
    The video on (standard) DVDs is always interlaced. It's up to the TV or DVD player to double the scanning frequency and interpolate the source (or do reverse pulldown and lower the frequency) to create non-interlaced output. 720x480 is the resolution for NTSC. PAL is 720x576.

    These clips (the ones at MS's site) are 1280x720. Which is not a lot bigger than 720x576. Yes, it's about twice as many pixels, but as long as you don't watch it on a TV that's twice as big, you won't notice a big difference in detail even if you increase the (relative) compression. And twice the number of pixels does not require twice the bitrate; that's not how MPEG (and similar algorithms) work. You could probably get good quality out of MPEG-2 at this resolution if you used an average of 9 Mb/s for the video (most commercial DVDs average between 5 and 7 Mb/s). Using MPEG-4 or a similar algorithm (and a good compressor - this part is essential!), there's no reason why you can't get great quality at 1280x720 with 6 Mb/s, especially if your source is film or very "clean" video (less grain means lower noise which means compression works much better).

    Now, there's HD and there's HD. Personally, I wouldn't call 1280x720 "HD"; it's more like "AD" (acceptable definition). Current HDTV standards go all the way up to 1920x1080. Which is still not exactly "film quality" (generaly considered as 4096 x H, although some effects are rendered at 2048 x H), but looks quite nice projected on a big screen. And for this you do need higher bitrates, and therefore bigger discs (unless you only want to watch short films).

    But of course, part of the reason to define a new format has nothing to do with increased quality: it's about introducing new copy protection, and forcing people to buy new players.

    What I really hope is that the "next DVD format" is not as strict as the current one. In other words, I hope it lets you make DVDs with any resolution and frame rate you want. And I also hope the menu structure is better than the current one. I'm sure it couldn't possibly be worse (anyone familiar with the standard will probably agree).

    RMN
    ~~~

  • by bcboy (4794) on Friday April 11, 2003 @03:31PM (#5712659) Homepage
    > The video on (standard) DVDs is always interlaced.

    This is completely false. Film source DVDs are generally not interlaced. Between film source DVDs I've rented or own, I've seen exactly one that was interlaced. The others rely on the DVD player to telecine it for viewing on a standard TV.

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