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Will future DVD/HDD recorders use MPEG4 ?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by HMHB, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. HMHB

    HMHB
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    Mpeg4 is the latest thing to come to computers - supposedly offering better quality and smaller file sizes. I wonder if this technology will find it's way soon onto consumer recorders ?
     
  2. NeoBlade

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    I don't know everything there is about MPEG4, but I do know that it takes up a lot more CPU power to genreate a decent playback. I think MPEG4 works by analysing the present scene for movement. If it detects movement then that region will be updated. However if a region is static (i.e. the background) then the image is basically frozen until movement is detected.

    Feel free to correct me on this ^_^

    As for it coming to the DVD recorder format, it would make sense but everyone would have to agree to a standard format of compression, otherwise it would be like the current battle of DVD recorders - DVD-RAM or DVD-R...
     
  3. Squirrel God

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    Well, MPEG-4 was designed specifically for multimedia applications, particularly those which over wired and wireless computer networks (including mobile). MPEG-2 was designed specifically for digital television and DVD.

    So, while we may see MPEG-4 used for interactive DVD applications, e.g. interactive movies, we probably won't see it for standard movies on DVD. However, for portable digital video, I think it is a good possibility, seeing as this is one of its intended prime audiences.

    Of course, MPEG-4 can be used in whatever way the market decides, so we can't rule it out entirely and there is no reason why it can't be used. However, at this time, it just appears unlikely.

    Perhaps more seriously, there are patent issues involved with MPEG-4, which were not a problem for MPEG-1 and MPEG-2. Therefore, use will probably not be "free" as we originally thought it would be! You can read about this here: http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2002/03/06/mpeg/index.html

    MPEG-4 has a lot in common with the MPEG-2 encoding process, but adds and expands upon it considerably. It is difficult to explain the entire process in just a few lines - MPEG-4 is a very complex and large standard (much more complex and larger than MPEG-1 and -2).... However, to briefly explain one part of it, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 analyse motion by looking to match a block of pixels in two locations (where one location is in one frame and the other location is in another frame - these frames can be before/after the current frame). The movement of the block can then be encoded as a motion vector, which means that the block doesn't have to be encoded again between frames. In practice, there will be differences between the matching blocks (e.g. due to shadows) such that an error term must also be stored (wihch records the difference between the two blocks). Of course, there is much more to MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 than this.... MPEG-4 uses the same sort of approach, but applies it within an object-based framework. This means that individual video objects (e.g. an actor, a background, a stool) can be encoded separately, enabling them to be played back and positioned dynamically (e.g. according to user interaction).

    An excellent site to find out about all MPEG technology in detail is www.mpeg.org

    The DVD recording formats cause problems in this sense because of the way that they store and interpret information on the DVD. It is not the same thing as with MPEG-4. The beauty of all MPEG standards is that they specify the encoding framework without specifying precisely any algorithms or techniques for achieving this. This means that differences and improvements to the encoding process can be accommodated within the same framework. Therefore, they do not need to agree on a standard format for compression, they just need to obey the MPEG-4 standard (the framework) and can tweak and improve within that context. As I have already said, the patent issue is more of the problem here.
     
  4. NeoBlade

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    Cheers for that Squirrel God. Man my PC knowledge has gone downhill.. I blame the AV stuff ^_^ I tend to focus on one topic too much while disregarding others (like PCs - hardware and software, consoles, etc etc). Ah well... Right now I'm focusing on my lovely bills >_<

    The MPEG 4 patents though are an ongoing thing. DivX shares more or less the same technology, but there are plenty of codecs out there.. Some legal, some hacked. Hell its all rather annoying since some of my MPEGs/AVIs won't even play >_<

    Anyways I'll leave that rant since its well off topic. Now I have to figure out how to make a karaoke CD for a friend. Such fun.
     
  5. Squirrel God

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    I know what you mean. The whole thing moves so fast as well, it's so difficult to keep up! :(

    I don't know much about how DivX encoding works (although I use the player). I'd like to learn more about it though - do you know of any sites where I can read about it in detail?

    Good luck with the karaoke CD ;)
     
  6. HMHB

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    Thanks for the replies chaps - it's not as straight forward as it should be is it !! I work in the computer industry and it baffles me !
    One reason I was hoping this would take off is that I'd like to get a dvd recorder to replace my old VHS recorder but am put off by the low recording times on DVD. For me to take this up I'd need to see 3 hours recording at good quality. If this is already possible would someone please let me know and then I don't have any excuses not to buy one !
     
  7. Xeonic

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    According to the spec sheet, the new philips 890 does 150min (2.5 hrs) at 4Mbps and full frame (720x576). This is the closest I've seen to long time, high quality from a standalone player. Most of the others sneekily reduce the frame size over 2hrs!
     
  8. encaser

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    Format scenario/wars/media pricing aside, the problems for Philips as yet appear to be getting more reliable machines and sorting out the double encoding in/out if you use the things receiver.

    SG, have you not looked at the main divx.com site which has oppurtunities to partake in development should you forget there is a world out there?! Quite an extensive forum exists too.
     
  9. NeoBlade

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    As Encaser pointed out, divx.com is a good source of information about the topic Squirrel God. Sadly I lost most of my links but I still have this one - http://www.divx-digest.com/articles/index.html which mainly covers information on how to make DivX files, how to convert files to different formats, etc etc.

    There are plenty of other sites as well but since I haven't looked into the scene for some time, I can't remember the URLs right now ^_^

    I'm going to settle on a DVD recorder once there is a standard format and indeed once its worth doing so. I am in no rush so I'll let the companies battle it out.
     
  10. Sinzer

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  11. Squirrel God

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    Thanks Encaser and Neo. I was actually after a technical article (maybe a white paper) which described in detail the algorithms and compression techniques underlying the Divx encoding process. Last time I checked the Divx site they never had anything like that (admittedly it was many months ago though!). I guess they might not put one up because it's proprietary but I'll check out those links anyway in case things have changed. Thanks again :)
     
  12. NeoBlade

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    Sinzer, yeah I saw that review a while ago. They do look pretty sweet ^_^ I would like to see more mobo options though and I don't think it has an AGP slot... Once those issues are sorted out and the PSU as you said, then it could be worth a look.

    Squirrel God, as for a white paper I don't they've released any since I'm sure they would want to keep the technology all wrapped up. I can remember reading an article a long time ago when DivX first came out, talking about the technology behind it but it wasn't in mega depth... Mainly because I understood most of it at the time <g> I'll have a lookout anyway and if anything happens I'll PM you the URL.
     
  13. Squirrel God

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    Thanks mate. :D

    Apple have released articles regarding QuickTime (though not on everything of course) - I kinda hoped Divx would want to be similarly open ;)
     
  14. HMHB

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    Re mini PC's
    There are articles on the Nvidia & Shuttle web sites with some exciting news. They are working together to produce one of the little shuttle cases with an NForce 2 motherboard. That means it will have GeForce4MX on board with an AGP slot for later upgrading. I will certainly buy one of these when they come out.

    http://www.shuttleonline.com/nvidia.htm
     
  15. NeoBlade

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    JohnG, very interesting news indeed. I like the technology behind the nForce mobos, not just because of its GPU and audio chip, but its hypertransport thing. It allows plenty of bandwidth alright which means one less bottleneck. I'm still not a huge fan of onboard graphics cards, esp if its an MX one. I'll just sit tight and let things flow for now, mainly because I'm strapped for cash! ^_^
     
  16. HMHB

    HMHB
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    I don't care much for the MX based cards either - but it would suffice until the next round of Geforce cards come out - Geforce 5 for a guess ! Then I would either stick in a top of the range Geforce 4 or a Geforce 5 depending on price versus performance
     
  17. Sinzer

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    Or even the new ATi 9000 series.... they look mighty sweet, although this is going off topic :)

    As far as Mpeg 4 goes, there are also now Hardware decoder cards, so it looks like it could easily go the path of being incorporated in some DVD Drives, although I suspect it would be a feature rather than a standard.
     
  18. NeoBlade

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    As with anything though, if the masses demand to have it, it could become standard. I'm in no rush for a DVD recoder anyway since there isn't anything on to record in the first place. Which begs the queston... Why did I spend £250 on a VCR... >_<
     
  19. Squirrel God

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    Habit? Or maybe because the AV cabinet looks a bit bare without one? ;) :p
     
  20. NeoBlade

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    lol nice answers. Whats more annoying though that I bought it before the SVHS stuff was out, so I've paid a lot for... Well not a lot in terms of quality >_< Ah well, at least it looks the part while it gathers dust.
     

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