Linked by Preston5 on Sat 27th Mar 2010 11:46 UTC
Multimedia, AV In January, we had read the various arguments regarding Mozilla's decision not to get an H.264 license. This has generated a lot of discussion about the future of video on the web. With Youtube, Dailymotion, Hulu and Vimeo having adopted H.264 for HD video, Mozilla and Opera should use the codecs installed on a user's system to determine what the browser can play, rather than force other vendors to adopt Ogg. Refusing to support a superior codec would be a disservice to your users in years to come. Why hold back the majority of your users because 2% of your users are on niche OSes?
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J. M.
Member since:
2005-07-24

But that is not my point. My point was that if you have a good result, neither the format not the encoder can be bad.

My point is that with a better format and encoder, you can get an even better result. Possibly much better.

Actually, it does. I used a professionally-made source video. If even professionals cannot get h.264 decent, compared to the efforts of novices (namely, me), then h.264 can't be a good format.

You probably don't now too much about H.264. Professionals could simply do what they could given the restrictions they had to work with. H.264 has many profiles. When you're encoding H.264 video for Blu-ray players, for example, you can only use a subset of the H.264 features. When you want it to be playable in QuickTime (and the Avatar trailer is a good example, as trailers are traditionally made for QuickTime), you may have to use an even smaller subset of features, as the H.264 support in QuickTime is atrocious. So you have to use crippled H.264 with inferior quality/size ratio. When you want the H.264 video to be playable on mobile devices, you have to throw away basically everything that makes H.264 worthwhile. So the compression ratio will be very sub-par, even if it was "made by professionals". This, again, does not say anything about the quality of the H.264 format.

"Professionally-made" video is simply an empty phrase, just like "digital quality" etc. It does not say anything about the quality at all.

1. Lossy codecs do NOT "clean up" original videos.


Yes, they do. They reduce spatial and temporal details, which is basically what spatio-temporal denoisers do. People use spatio-temporal denoisers as pre-processing to increase compressibility when they're encoding videos. Video with reduced spatial and temporal details (especially temporal, because of P and B frames) is more compressible.

2. It is the easiest part of compression to throw data away. What ever h2.6 threw away could still have been used by the original encode, but this data was no available to Theora in my test.

That's why the test is bogus.

The test that I did penalised Theora (as the SECOND lossy codec applied to the video) and not h.264.

The test penalised anyone who would like to know anything. The test simply does not say anything. I could perhaps agree with you that it says Theora is not extremely bad. But that's pretty much the only thing it can say.

Well that is true, but I didn't have any uncompressed source, but anyway such a test would only give more advantage to Theora than my test gave it.

This is highly questionable, for many reasons. But until someone makes a real, serious test, then any further discussion is useless.

Edited 2010-03-28 09:54 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 7

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

When you're encoding H.264 video for Blu-ray players, for example, you can only use a subset of the H.264 features. When you want it to be playable in QuickTime (and the Avatar trailer is a good example, as trailers are traditionally made for QuickTime), you may have to use an even smaller subset of features, as the H.264 support in QuickTime is atrocious. So you have to use crippled H.264 with inferior quality/size ratio. When you want the H.264 video to be playable on mobile devices, you have to throw away basically everything that makes H.264 worthwhile. So the compression ratio will be very sub-par, even if it was "made by professionals". This, again, does not say anything about the quality of the H.264 format.


It does however say something about the suitability of h.264 for use as a codec for video on the web. No-one is saying that Theora should be used in Blu-ray players. Theora should, however, be used as the video codec for the public access web, because in that role it performs as well as h.264, and unlike h.264, Theora actually IS public access (in that anyone may use Theora without restriction).

This is the point that you studiously ignore.

Reply Parent Score: 2

J. M. Member since:
2005-07-24

It does not say too much about the suitability of H.264 for video on the web, and it certainly does not say Theora in that role performs as well. When you're encoding H.264 video for the web, you don't have to limit the features as much as you would if you targetted a specific device for example. Because software decoders/players are usually more advanced than hardware players. So you can take advantage of the powerful features H.264 offers. And this is not specific to H.264 - the same thing applies to DVD players: again, they can only play MPEG-2 video that conforms to a limited set of features. MP3 players may not support the advanced features available in software MP3 players. Hardware MPEG-4 ASP players cannot play video with all advanced features that software codecs like DivX Pro Codec or Xvid offer, and so on. When you're encoding for software players, the quality/size ratio can usually be better. I can't see why this could not apply to Theora, too. It's a general thing. This, BTW, also explains why audio/video encoded by "amateurs" is is often better than audio/video encoded by "professionals". Amateurs have the full arsenal at their disposal. The best encoders, and the best encoding features.

Yes, you may still have to take QuickTime into account, as H.264 playback on a Mac is still handled by QuickTime. But QuickTime can improve, too. Or you can just ignore QuickTime. And yes, when you want it to be playable on a less powerful (mobile) device that does not even have a hardware H.264 decoder, it cannot be some state-of-the art quality either. But HD video encoded in Theora may require a powerful CPU, too. Yes, Theora may be less CPU intensive than full-featured H.264. But then, more and more new devices come with hardware H.264 decoders built-in. Plus, sites like YouTube already offer several different versions of the H.264 videos.

Edited 2010-03-29 05:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Okay Lemur, I'm going to be very blunt here - because you seriously bore the tits off of me with your repetitive regurgitated hyperbole. Theora MIGHT be a good codec, BUT,, and this is key so bare with me, NOT in an OGG container. It doesn't matter how many million hours you bash on about Theora, until we lose OGG as the container it is wholly NOT, NOT, NOT suitable for use in any kind of streaming. End of story. Please move on to a topic WORTH advocating - i.e. a different container format. Otherwise it is the same tedious argument over and over again.

Reply Parent Score: 2