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Old 2007-11-16, 11:30   Link #1
Daiz
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Post Why are people still sticking to old and outdated technology?

Even today we continue to see XviD and H.264 releases of anime that are pretty much the same size and quality when it comes to anime airing in SD (so we are not talking about HD anime here).

The question is, why? H.264 gives us a lot better quality/compression-ratio that XviD could only have wet dreams about, but people don't take use of it when they release their episodes.

Just yesterday I made a test. I took a normal hardsubbed XviD+MP3 in AVI -release and encoded it to H.264+AAC with MediaCoder, and then muxed it to MKV. Here are the files:



As you can see, the H.264 is less than half the filesize of the XviD.
And here is what it looks like:






As you can see from the screenshots, the visual quality is pretty much exactly same, and the audio quality doesn't really sound noticeably different than in the AVI.

Also, as this was done from the XviD encode, you could probably get even better quality from the original source. I don't know though, since I'm not really an experienced encoder at all.

I chose the target filesize to be ~85MB, since with that size, you could fit 52 episodes of MQ anime on one single-layer DVD.

But what it comes down to is that we can fit the same level of quality in a lot smaller space. But for some obscure reasons, fansubbers don't take use of this, and we end up seeing H.264 releases with the same kind of filesizes with pretty much no difference in visual quality (sure, bigger bitrates in H.264 looks better than the same bitrate in XviD, but if the original source was never better than what it would be with XviD, having high bitrate in H.264 is a waste of space).

And it's not only the people with better computers who could enjoy the benefits of H.264, since you could play this kind of encode even on older computers easily with CCCP+MPC and even more easily when we add CoreAVC to the combination. So in the end, having H.264+AAC inside MKV would be better solution than XviD+MP3 in AVI for everyone.

People are still sticking with AVI for basically three reasons:
1. They fear new things, and since H.264 doesn't seem to provide them more than installing new codecs, they stick to AVI. These are the lazy kind of people who wouldn't do anything unless forced to, even if it was for their own benefit. And installing CCCP isn't really that hard.
2. People who watch XviD AVIs on their DVD players/convert+burn their AVIs to DVDs. These kind of people should just honestly hook up their PCs to their TVs already. That way, you could get better quality and be able to watch any kind of format on your TV, with no hassling with specific codecs or converting. Besides, if you have a HDTV, watching stuff from your PC is pretty much the only choice if you don't want your stuff to look like pure shit.
3. People with supposedly "insufficient" hardware to play H.264, thus they stick with XviD. These people are just wrong. Probably about 90% of these people would be able to play MQ H.264 like the one I made easily with CCCP+CoreAVC+MPC. And in my opinion, if they find it "hard" to get all these, it's their own problem for wanting to watch modern media files on old hardware to begin with. H.264 is here to stay, so it's better to get used to it early.

Sticking to inferior technology for the sake of lazy-ass people is not good for anyone on the long run. For example, it's sad to see that Conclave-Mendoi started doing a THIRD release of Gundam 00 in XviD because people whined about the MQ H.264 release that they wouldn't actually have problems with if they actually bothered to think for a moment.

So fansub encoders, I suggest that you all start showing people what H.264 is truly capable of with your SD releases. Maybe this way we will eventually have more leechers for H.264 releases than for the XviD ones. Or even better, stop doing XviD releases completely, just release a MQ H.264 release and a HQ H.264 release in case the anime airs in HD. This would make it faster to get rid of old and outdated technology such as AVI.

I'm also interested in how good 720p HD material you could fit into 170MB, and I think I'm going to do some encoding tests this weekend.

Also, discuss.
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Old 2007-11-16, 12:11   Link #2
jfs
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Maybe try the same experiment with an encode that isn't already over-smoothed.

Also, I predict that this will very soon be merged into one of the other threads where this discussion has already been beaten to death time over time before.
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Old 2007-11-16, 12:14   Link #3
TheFluff
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o hay it's one of those threads again

tl;dr really but from the 1/4th of the post I did read, the answer is: those who know what they're doing are already using H.264 as God meant it to be used. Those who don't won't get any more clues from threads like this because either they're not paying attention or they will just get offended and start clueless flamewars.


Also you picked an extraordinarily bad example for your test encode. Not only does it look like utter shit already, it also has pretty much zero details so it's not like compressing it to death will make it look a lot worse. HE-AAC at 80kbps also tends to make ears bleed. That being said, some shows are perfectly viable at 85MB per ep. Most aren't.
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Old 2007-11-16, 12:48   Link #4
Daiz
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TheFluff, but even if something is doable in 85MB, why do people still encode them in H.264 around 170MB? It's just a waste of space. Besides, you could for example crank the audio quality up to 120 Kbps, and the filesize wouldn't grow too much.

Also, still the problem with AVI exists. AVI is simply old and outdated and pales in comparison to MKV. XviD+MP3 encodes would benefit if they were stored inside MKV instead of AVI.

Oh and jfs, I intend to do some more tests with encoding during this weekend.
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Old 2007-11-16, 13:00   Link #5
martino
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daiz View Post
TheFluff, but even if something is doable in 85MB, why do people still encode them in H.264 around 170MB? It's just a waste of space. Besides, you could for example crank the audio quality up to 120 Kbps, and the filesize wouldn't grow too much.
There's a bit of a difference between "doable" and "preserving detail". One of the shows that I'm encoding can be encoded using very low bitrates, however I don't go too low (less than 400kbps for example) because it just doesn't preserve all the fine details at such a low bitrate even if the quantizers are still ridiculously low. And another side of the spectrum, some other anime which doesn't look very good when the bitrate is ~650kbps so I opted for 170MB as a final release size there. It's not just straight like "h264 owz and can encode better at low bitrates so we shall always use that no matter what the circumstances". So it usually isn't a waste of space. And try to encode a test sample yourself. You will find out that 650kbps might not be close at all to 800kbps for example in terms of how the frame looks, of course this is very source dependant.
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Old 2007-11-16, 13:11   Link #6
Daiz
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martino, yes, I understand that 85MB is simply not just good for every show. I'm doing some test encodes at the moment, might take some time though, since my processor isn't the fastest one out there... I intend to do a 170MB XviD, one 85MB H.264 cram and another H.264 somewhere around 100-150MB that would have the same kind of quality than the XviD, or at least no notable differences.

Also, when I said "doable" I meant something that doesn't really look worse than the ordinary XviD encodes. Of course pretty much any kind of file size is doable if you want, but there's no point if it's completely unwatchable due to horrible quality.

Oh, and question, how many passes do you usually do when encoding with x264? I'm going to go with Two-Pass with my x264 encodes in this test.
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Old 2007-11-16, 13:18   Link #7
TheFluff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daiz View Post
TheFluff, but even if something is doable in 85MB, why do people still encode them in H.264 around 170MB?
Because, surprise surprise, only like one show in ten actually looks good there. The rest tend to reach quant 16-18 somewhere between 120 and 200 MB (including 120-140kbps audio).
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Old 2007-11-16, 13:39   Link #8
Daiz
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Where's my 120MB H.264 releases then? Haven't seen them around for SD series...

120MB is still 50MB lower than 170MB, so it's quite notable difference. Even if it was bigger than 120MB, in any case, you should always be able to produce the same kind of quality with H.264 than with XviD but in smaller filesize. It's still notably smaller even if the difference would be only 10MB.
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Old 2007-11-16, 13:52   Link #9
foux
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comp vs household tech.
too soon to do x264 only yet.
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Old 2007-11-16, 14:02   Link #10
Daiz
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foux, if by "household tech" you mean DivX-capable DVD players, then uhh, yeah, that's one device where you can play one kind of encodes with a limited maximum resolution. What a great deal.

Nowadays using HTPCs is becoming more and more usual, which in turns means that "only comp" won't limit you to your computer screen. And for example, PS3 supports H.264+AAC in MP4 naturally. Portable players are also moving towards H.264, PSP and Apple products come in mind first.

And with HTPCs, you can pretty much play any kind of media file, so instead of supporting only one format with limitations like DivX DVD players, you could pretty much play any kind of encode under the sun and watch it from your TV.

In my opinion, it's a good time to start getting people used to H.264, since it's obviously here to stay. Besides, since jumping on the better bandwagon doesn't even cost people anything, the only thing that keeps them from doing it is pretty much laziness.
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Old 2007-11-16, 14:04   Link #11
martino
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foux View Post
too soon to do x264 only yet.
Not actually true IMHO. My 500MHz P3 plays 704x400 23.976fps h264 fine, and I doubt that people still have that kind of systems at home... If that's what you meant. If you meant hardware players then that's the corporations' fault because they are missing out on a big part of the market that is still growing bigger day by day and still will.
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Old 2007-11-16, 15:10   Link #12
shinjipierre
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.... What a dumbass ....

Nothing more to say
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Old 2007-11-16, 15:51   Link #13
Koroku
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Because the XviD gets about 2X as many downloads as the h264. At least.


Edit: All I did was answer the thread title *is killed anyways apparently*
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Last edited by Koroku; 2007-11-16 at 16:49.
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Old 2007-11-16, 15:52   Link #14
jfs
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I've said this several times before:
Why not use quality-based encoding for video? How many people *really* care about exactly fitting everything onto a DVD or stuff like that? If you like archiving fansubs for whatever reason harddisks are dirt cheap today already, and IMO much more reliable.
No, let's see some quality-factor based encoding and get sensible file sizes for everything. Let episodes that need low bitrate get low bitrate and those that need high bitrate get that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JKaizer View Post
Because the XviD gets about 2X as many downloads as the h264. At least.
And why is that? Actually that's exactly what everyone (well, most...?) people posting in this thread want to change, and backing it up with (more or less sound) arguments.
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Last edited by jfs; 2007-11-16 at 15:55. Reason: Reply to new post written while I replied
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Old 2007-11-16, 15:59   Link #15
X10A_Freedom
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The .mkv releases I have are 170+mb in each. The most annoying thing is that I can't scroll through the video unless I max out the CPU. I also see no big difference in quality versus .avi. On the other hand, I can play .avi with no issues with my CPU semi-underclocked. I just don't like the laptop fan making a racket.

I have watched several episodes of Clannad and Geass on both formats, since my source has inconsistant formats episode-by-episode.

On the other hand, I have 42mb Otoboku episodes at 512x288 mp4 file format. It is low-res I know but I find the 42mb filesize staggeringly small for the decent-ish quality. It makes me think .mp4s would be able to produce good quality 720x resolution at 100mb or less.


Edit: In reply to to Jfs' post.

I would much prefer DVDs to harddrives because they are far more portable and easy to use. Harddrives may be far smaller per GB of data stored but are less versatile when it comes to portability. I don't have a sedentary lifestyle and move every few years. Drop a DVD case and the DVD's likely to be safe. Drop a portable HDD and the result is likely to be ugly. Thus, I wish I could fit 26 episodes into a single DVD. I even resort to WinRARing my least fav episodes if I'm over by 10-20mb.
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Old 2007-11-16, 16:00   Link #16
False Dawn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKaizer View Post
Because the XviD gets about 2X as many downloads as the h264. At least.


*assassinates JKaizer*


That's loser talk


Quote:
The .mkv releases I have are 170+mb in each. The most annoying thing is that I can't scroll through the video unless I max out the CPU. I also see no big difference in quality versus .avi. On the other hand, I can play .avi with no issues with my CPU semi-underclocked. I just don't like the laptop fan making a racket.

Wow, you need to upgrade, seriously. Either that, or use MPC if you aren't already. I bought a cheap, low-end-of-the-market two years ago, and it works fine with mkvs (can't handle high res though -__-)

Last edited by False Dawn; 2007-11-16 at 16:11.
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Old 2007-11-16, 16:20   Link #17
Daiz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X10A_Freedom View Post
On the other hand, I have 42mb Otoboku episodes at 512x288 mp4 file format. It is low-res I know but I find the 42mb filesize staggeringly small for the decent-ish quality. It makes me think .mp4s would be able to produce good quality 720x resolution at 100mb or less.
MP4 is a container format like MKV. You could pack the exact same content that you have in that MP4 in a MKV. And the files are most likely encoded in H.264, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by X10A_Freedom View Post
Thus, I wish I could fit 26 episodes into a single DVD.
If every ep was 170MB you could fit exactly 26 episodes on one DVD. Having a whole series take a few MBs more than what the DVD can take is seriously a huge pain in the ass for me too.

Also, Freedom, I suggest that you get CoreAVC. Boosts H.264 decoding quite a bit.

Oh and shinjipierre, nice job calling someone a dumbass with no reason at all. Is this something you usually do, go around telling people they are dumbasses for no reason at all?
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Old 2007-11-16, 18:26   Link #18
Ichihara Asako
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A few things come to mind with this.

Firstly, in general, a 170Mb 264 encode is most likely going to be higher quality than an equiv divx/xvid (henceforth referred to simply as AVI for simplicity). Thus you get more for the same. So while you can make the 264 encode look the same as an AVI at a smaller size, retaining the same size yields greater quality, so is worth using. Of course, depending on the source used. Some sources just aren't worth it.

Secondly, quite a lot of people use third party devices to watch anime. I have a few friends that watch anime on their mobile phones and other portable devices, and the programs they use to convert to these 'portable' formats only take AVI input. While they -could- convert mp4 and mkv, it's a lot more effort that general plebs can't or don't want to go through. The same goes for set top players. So quite a lot of people stick to AVI in that regard.

Third, there are also a staggeringly large amount of people out there with crappy computers. While this is more aimed at HD encodes, there are people out there who can't readily play SD 264 either. While yes, it can play on low end machines in the right players, with the right setups, you have to consider a lot of people are, as mentioned above, plebs. They use bloated stuff like Windows Media Player, and have 456 other programs running hogging memory and CPU which doesn't allow for smooth playback, even on machines up around the 1Ghz mark (which you'll find are still surprisingly common.)

Whether people want to acknowledge it or not, a lot of people downloading fansubs are kids or otherwise poor people who can't afford their own computers. They'll have old family machines that are seriously up to ten years old. I know more than a few people who still run old PIIs and IIIs, simply because that's all their parents gave them, or they can't afford to upgrade because they're crap at managing money and a new computer simply isn't a priority. Sad, but true. Not everyone watching anime is an otaku or a gamer (games demand better machines, so upgrades are a regular occurrence).

Now, believe it or not, I'm not trying to defend AVI encodes here. I hate them. I wish everybody would switch to modern formats. I adore 264 and mkv/mp4 (especially when the encoders chapter them... still too many who don't *shakes fist*) and will readily move on to newer technologies as they evolve. But I'm aware of people who can't or don't want to, for various reasons, use the newer stuff.

Though, you (the opening poster) seem to be saying size is everything. People should encode to 85Mb because they 'can' (in some rare cases) . . . I don't believe so. Storage is incredibly cheap these days. Size is pretty much a non-issue, save in countries that have data limits on their internet, but then it comes down to the user to regulate their downloads; any serious fan can always manage to save quota for their anime downloads. I say that as somebody with only 36Gb a month following over 30 current series.

Larger sizes, and a competent encoder, means greater quality. On large monitors and HDTVs, quality is paramount. So I readily accept larger encodes (currently following a few HD series with 350Mb encodes, the quality on a 1080p HDTV is vastly superior to a regular SD encode, not getting in to upscaled arguments)

But, basically, I agree with your assessment. I believe all encoders should just stop doing AVI, and force people to merge to the new formats. MOST people will be able to play them, it will just inconvenience them for converting to portable formats, which I think is a non-issue. Not the encoder's issue how people watch their anime on third party devices, fansubs are 'made for PC' more or less. The people who really do have ancient hardware that aren't able to play regular SD 264, will have to go out and spend a couple hundred on a new machine which they clearly need anyway. Win win.

Unfortunately a lot of groups are focused on download counts. And while the better groups all move to superior formats, there will always be shitty ones (anon etc) that speedsub and do avi and such that will go for the download numbers. But I think the real groups should just forget about it. Release in quality, and the real fans will download that quality. Fuck the plebs who stick to old shit.
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Old 2007-11-16, 19:22   Link #19
Daiz
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Ichihara Asako (you just had to pick a username like this, huh?), I couldn't have put it better. Also, I didn't really try to make the filesize the main point, I have lots of HDD space to waste too. I just used it as an example, since filesize is generally a pretty noticeable thing in releases. Also, another point was that MKV is superior to AVI, although I didn't really talk about it.

But in general, your post pretty much sums up my opinion about this subject too. I just can't stand the plebs who are too lazy to do anything unless forced to, even if it was for their own good. That's exactly why we should force those people to do what is good for them in the long run. In the end, everyone would be happier.

Also, one another point, I have a PSP myself. Even though it requires some work, it's actually pretty easy to convert even H.264 MKV releases for it, the only real problem comes from softsubs, since the PSP doesn't really support them properly. I also have watched XviD releases with DivX DVD players. But nowadays when more shows have started airing in higher quality, watching XviD releases feel like going back few years. I just recently had the change to hook my computer up to a 32" LCD HDTV. I watched some Darker than Black from it, and damn, it looked gorgeous. You could NEVER get the same kind of result with XviD and normal DVD players.
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Old 2007-11-16, 20:47   Link #20
Eviltape
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I'm sitting in this corner watching my MKVs with multichannel AAC and h264/AVC, thank you. The only thing my AthlonXP +3000 Media/Storage PC with CoreAVC can't handle is the 1080p BluRay rips + Gundam 00. My power-sapping custom-built Core 2 Duo handles those juicy videos with a long DVI cable to the HDTV. I estimate that my media PC's 720p capability and net worth is $200 US now. (lol at an x700 being in there)

Xvid/MP3 and AVI are for the lazy and inexperienced. MKVs and h264/AAC are for the HD fanatics and experienced encoders & decoders. Space is somewhat of an issue for me, since I only have 30GB of space left. No offense to XviD (my bad, it's Xvid now), but h264 is the future. Limited b-frames support and softsubs are the only things that are stopping h264 from migrating over to AVI, but hey. I'm fine with the MKV.

Am I the only one to notice that mostly only the h264 supporters are using proper grammar and punctuation/capitalization? (Yeah, this is in jest. Don't get angry.)

And for those who are counting, this is a "Screw Xvid, go h264/AVC" post.

Slightly Off-Topic: Does anyone have a good MeGUI profile/x264 option list for converting 199*-2006 Xvid anime to h264? I'd really appreciate it.
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