Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Upgrades Graphics News

Theora 1.1 (Thusnelda) Is Released 184

Posted by Soulskill
from the prettier-pictures dept.
SD-Arcadia writes to tell us that Theora 1.1 has officially been released. It features improved encoding, providing better video quality for a given file size, a faster decoder, bitrate controls to help with streaming, and two-pass encoding. "The new rate control module hits its target much more accurately and obeys strict buffer constraints, including dropping frames if necessary. The latter is needed to enable live streaming without disconnecting users or pausing to buffer during sudden motion. Obeying these constraints can yield substantially worse quality than the 1.0 encoder, whose rate control did not obey any such constraints, and often landed only in the vague neighborhood of the desired rate target. The new --soft-target option can relax a few of these constraints, but the new two-pass rate control mode gives quality approaching full 'constant quality' mode with a predictable output size. This should be the preferred encoding method when not doing live streaming. Two-pass may also be used with finite buffer constraints, for non-live streaming." A detailed writeup on the new release has been posted at Mozilla.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Theora 1.1 (Thusnelda) Is Released

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 26, 2009 @01:30PM (#29549193)

    Maybe now Google will use Theora instead of the patent-encumbered H.264 in their new HTML5 Youtube.

    That is if the issues have been addressed.

    • by koxkoxkox (879667) on Saturday September 26, 2009 @01:35PM (#29549213)

      This page seems to say they have been addressed : http://people.xiph.org/~greg/video/ytcompare/comparison.html [xiph.org]

      • by beelsebob (529313)

        Except that you tube uses a rather failtastic h264 encoder. This comparison [saintdevelopment.com] seems to suggest that they really haven't been addressed. In fact, that 1.1 is worse than 1.0!

        The version of x264 used here is even rather out of date, and misses a couple of major improvements.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by makomk (752139)

          The version of Theora used in that comparison is also rather out of date. Nearly a year out of date, in fact - it's an SVN snapshot dating from 2008-11-25, not the released version 1.1. I think the experimental Thusnelda encoder was known to have regressed slightly on video taken from Touhou games back then.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by beelsebob (529313)

        Also of note, the comparison you said, actually doesn't say what you claim... It says that it beats the h263 youtube version at a lower bit rate. Read the conclusions - they admit that the h264 version on youtube is better quality.

      • by sam0737 (648914)

        Even at ~500k, the Youtube version is clearly more blur on details.
        And I thought I would need to download yet another codec to play the Theora video, but surprise to learn that my Firefox 3.5 does support it natively!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by beelsebob (529313)

      A look at this comparison [saintdevelopment.com] seems to suggest to me that 1.1 is actually worse than 1.0. Certainly it's no where near as good as x264 produced h264.

    • by node 3 (115640)

      Maybe now Google will use Theora instead of the patent-encumbered H.264 in their new HTML5 Youtube.

      "Encumbered" implies some sort of difficulty. H.264 decoding is available, for free (and, if you must, for free as in freedom, as well), on every OS, including Linux.

      So, where's the encumbering?

      It seems to me that requiring only open standards, when *they* are not the norm and require going out of one's way is more encumbering than going with something like h.264. Not to mention being encumbered with a format that offers inferior quality.

      Freedom is cool and all, and I'm supremely grateful for Theora's exist

    • I find it intriguing that in every discussion I see on tech sites like /., it is always the patents that seem to be what people focus on.

      What about the built in hardware support for h.264 is millions upon millions of existing general computing and embedded devices? It seems like Google would want YouTube accessible on these devices, and on many it is. Being able to bring that support to phones, satellite boxes, cable boxes, TV, etc. etc. etc. that already have h.264 is probably a bigger motivator than the

  • Q. What is Theora? (Score:5, Informative)

    by onionman (975962) on Saturday September 26, 2009 @01:32PM (#29549199)

    From the FAQ on the website:

    Theora is an open video codec being developed by the Xiph.org Foundation as part of their Ogg project (It is a project that aims to integrate On2's VP3 video codec, Ogg Vorbis audio codec and Ogg multimedia container formats into a multimedia solution that can compete with MPEG-4 format).
    Theora is derived directly from On2's VP3 codec; currently the two are nearly identical, varying only in framing headers, but Theora will diverge and improve from the main VP3 development lineage as time progresses.

    • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Saturday September 26, 2009 @01:37PM (#29549235) Journal
      Moreover, Theora is the only decent video codec which complies with the W3C's patent policy. There is no question or threat of demands for patent royalties or license payments for any use of the codec.
      • Dirac isn't shabby (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Saturday September 26, 2009 @02:04PM (#29549373) Homepage

        Dirac [diracvideo.org] strikes me as another codec worth following. It's available to all developers, high-quality, and in production use by the BBC during the Olympics (they said so in their Dirac promotional video [bbc.co.uk]). VLC has support for playing back Dirac streams. I'd guessing other players do as well.

        I expect Theora and Dirac to be of interest to all who want high-quality free video codecs.

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday September 26, 2009 @02:33PM (#29549549) Journal
          Worth following? Yes. Especially as a profile of Dirac is in process of adoption as VC-2 and so will be used a lot for digital masters. Worth deploying? Not so much. A decent (Core 2 or better) laptop can probably play back Dirac without dropping frames, but it will be at a very high CPU load. A handheld has no chance. There are a couple of GPU-based decoders which may be ported to run on OpenGL ES 2.0 hardware in a modern handheld and there is a hardware decoder under development that may help too (especially if it's licensed as an IP core for integration into ARM SoCs).

          That said, most handhelds can handle Theora, so providing both Theora and Dirac should cover most clients. Not the iPhone, of course, but if people will buy into a closed platform then they can't expect things to always work...

          VLC has support for playing back Dirac streams.

          The OS X builds prior to 1.0 had Dirac support, but 1.0 didn't and neither have any of the subsequent ones. No word on whether this is intentional or not from the VLC team, but playing a Dirac file now pops up an error saying 'dirac' is an unrecognised CODEC ID.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday September 26, 2009 @01:50PM (#29549295) Homepage

      And the real A:

      It's an outdated video codec that loses to H.264 in pretty much every codec shootout, and is in general ignored in HD media (H.264/VC-1), HD broadcasts (H.264/MPEG2), set top boxes, mobile players and so on. It's also pretty much completely ignored by the pirate community, preferring mkv/H.264. While possibly FUD, not everyone is willing to ship this codec because they fear submarine patents meaning it's lost its only real shot at relevance as the default codec for HTML5 video, which now also seems to be a mix probably dominated by H.264. The end result is that it might be used by a few geeks and internally in video games and such that provide their own player, but it'll likely have as much impact as vorbis had on the mp3/aac format. That is, none.

      • by WiiVault (1039946)
        Sadly I agree. But the vorbis mp3 example is too kind. Ogg Vorbis was significantly better than mp3 at a given bitrate, and it still didn't get much traction. Theora on the other hand, like you said, doesn't compare to modern proprietary codecs. It's too bad, but it's true.
        • by beelsebob (529313)

          Yes, but vorbis is somewhat inferior to AAC (Advanced audio codec, hint, it goes with Advanced video codec, aka h264), which was also highlighted by the parent.

          • Not enough to make a difference. Try a blind listening test sometime. The only reason why AAC "won" (though MP3 is the real winner here) was because of Apple.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A few clarifications:

        > outdated video codec
        An arbitrary definition which, could very well apply equally well to H.264 in comparison to almost any other codec.

        > loses to H.264 in pretty much every codec shootout
        But not usually by very much; and in any case, countless codecs beat H.264 in pretty much every respect in turn - but since the issue is not some theoretical perfect codec but a cost/bandwidth/quality/encode-cpu-time/decode-cpu-time/features/etc tradeoff, this might still result in a net benefit

        • by Virak (897071) on Saturday September 26, 2009 @03:50PM (#29549931) Homepage

          A moot point, given that people who are misappropriating unpaid-for content choosing to use a misappropriated unpaid-for format is hardly surprising.

          Seriously? Do you work for the MPAA or some other group like that? People who pirate stuff aren't comic book villains who break laws just for the sake of breaking laws. They don't think "oh hey while I'm violating copyright I'll violate patents too, just because I can!" H.264 is more popular because it is better, not because the people who encode stuff get hard at the thought of breaking laws in a way nobody particularly cares about and they're never ever going to get in trouble for.

          The AC above me covers the rest of your points quite nicely, so I'm not going to write something that would be much the same as his. Your post is utter nonsense, and you and the people who actually looked at your post and not only managed to not laugh, but modded you up need to pull your heads out of the GNU/sand and admit that Theora is simply inferior. If you think not having any patent problems is a big enough issue to prefer a technologically inferior codec, that's fine. But don't twist the facts and outright lie just so you can try to pretend Theora is otherwise a match for modern codecs, because it is not.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            They don't think "oh hey while I'm violating copyright I'll violate patents too, just because I can!"

            No, but if they don't particularly care about violating copyright, they won't care much about violating patents, either.

            H.264 is more popular because it is better

            Because it's better, or because it's perceived as better -- in terms of quality per bit. But again, anywhere other than the pirate community, patents are likely to be an issue, and an open-but-worse format may be preferred over a closed-but-better format, especially if it's not that much worse.

            admit that Theora is simply inferior.

            I'm pretty sure that's what was meant by this part:

            But not usually by very much; and in any case, countless codecs beat H.264 in pretty much every respect in turn

            In other words, yes, Theora is inferior, but p

            • by Virak (897071)

              No, but if they don't particularly care about violating copyright, they won't care much about violating patents, either.

              Phrasing it as them using "a misappropriated unpaid-for format" is not saying they merely don't care. You really have to read that line very loosely and optimistically to interpret it in a way
              that doesn't make it seem like the author was thinking "damn filthy fucking pirates" when he wrote it.

              Because it's better, or because it's perceived as better -- in terms of quality per bit.

              I don't se

              • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                Phrasing it as them using "a misappropriated unpaid-for format" is not saying they merely don't care.

                Oh? I don't think so, but I'm not the one who phrased it that way.

                You really have to read that line very loosely and optimistically to interpret it in a way
                that doesn't make it seem like the author was thinking "damn filthy fucking pirates" when he wrote it.

                You have to read it with quite a lot of prejudice to come up with "damn filthy fucking pirates".

                I don't see how "in terms of quality per bit" changes anything, as that's the regular definition of "better" when it comes to lossy compression.

                Really? You wouldn't at least consider performance?

                And I do think patents are a valid consideration here -- that is, price.

                anywhere other than commercial uses nobody cares about patents.

                I'm surprised you don't consider "commercial uses" to be significant, especially when "ripping for personal use" often involves some sort of commercial software which had to pay that fee.

            • by SeaFox (739806)

              They don't think "oh hey while I'm violating copyright I'll violate patents too, just because I can!"

              No, but if they don't particularly care about violating copyright, they won't care much about violating patents, either.

              Nobody's saying they aren't violating patents either. That's not the topic here.

              A moot point, given that people who are misappropriating unpaid-for content choosing to use a misappropriated unpaid-for format is hardly surprising.

              You're dismissing the opinion of pirates on their choice of vi

              • You're dismissing the opinion of pirates on their choice of video codec because they're pirating content, implying they're somehow baised towards h264 because it's a patented codec.

                No, I'm not. I'm saying they lack a bias against that codec that would be present in legitimate use, and in evaluating what is the best tool for the job.

                they will choose the tool they believe best for the job.

                Which has often been divx, even when h.264 existed and had decent support. It was only once they started embracing HD video that h.264 saw any adoption, and you still occasionally see a 720p divx.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          When you cut out the wishful thinking you pretty much agree with me that it isn't being used by those that do care about software patents or those that don't care about software patents. The former licenses H.264 or jumps at shadows, the latter uses H.264 without a license. Your futile attempts at counter attack against H.264 failed the save vs reality. Oh by the way, I also forgot one other big thing - modern digicams/video cameras record in AVCHD which is H.264, so unless they edit and transcode it that'l

        • > which now also seems to be a mix probably dominated by H.264. The jury's still out on that one - I think most people expect the W3 to wash their hands of baseline video recommendations entirely (at least until a possible appropriate future format meets the requirements)

          the trouble is, theora does meet the requirements, and it's the only halfway modern codec which does. however the requirements for accepting a video tag for html from apple seem to be that it cannot be a royalty-free codec because that would allow firefox to continue to exist, which would slow market share growth for safari. instead, a patent-encumbered codec will make it impossible for free-software to implement html5 and manufacturers of proprietary software will have another string in their monopoly.

  • by jejones (115979) on Saturday September 26, 2009 @02:22PM (#29549475) Journal

    I hope that this version becomes widely used so that we can eventually read of the triumphs of Thusnelda.

    (Oy vey, oy vey...)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Kingrames (858416)
      It would be more popular as the Legend of Thusnelda.

      It's dangerous to go alone. Take this.
  • by benwaggoner (513209) <(moc.tfosorcim) (ta) (renoggaw.neb)> on Saturday September 26, 2009 @11:28PM (#29553089) Homepage

    I made a few samples using the latest versions of x264, VC-1, and Theora, testing both offline VBR and real-time CBR encoding.

    http://cid-bee3c9ac9541c85b.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/.Public/Theora%5E_1.1 [live.com]

    Theora is defintely improved, but I see a lot of basis pattern throughout these samples. Theora would be well-served by a postprocessing filter. Theora's 1-pass CBR encoding definitely needs a LOT of tuning before it'd be viable for real-world content; I don't think we'll see it used effectively for live encoding this version.

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion

Working...