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Old 2008-01-12, 20:18   Link #1
Ryoujin
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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Age: 30
MKV and AVI

I'm not sure if this is the place to ask ^_^

I've been wondering this for a while. I know that AVI is usually more popular than MKV because it's easier to play (on any computer), but that aside, which one is best quality?

Lately I've noticed that some series make MKV files which weight almost the same as AVI ones but they are bigger. I read in a subber site that their MKV files were not just a "zoomed" version, but it was higher quality; what would that mean? That most MKV files are just zoomed for some random reason?

Which one would be recommended to get? I usually don't have real issues with either file format, unless the MKV has been soft-subbed in some weird reason and text shows up one above another (making it un-readable, but that randomly happens on series).

BTW, I use a Mac as well.
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Old 2008-01-12, 20:26   Link #2
Jinto
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Fürth (GER)
Age: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryoujin View Post
I'm not sure if this is the place to ask ^_^

I've been wondering this for a while. I know that AVI is usually more popular than MKV because it's easier to play (on any computer), but that aside, which one is best quality?

Lately I've noticed that some series make MKV files which weight almost the same as AVI ones but they are bigger. I read in a subber site that their MKV files were not just a "zoomed" version, but it was higher quality; what would that mean? That most MKV files are just zoomed for some random reason?

Which one would be recommended to get? I usually don't have real issues with either file format, unless the MKV has been soft-subbed in some weird reason and text shows up one above another (making it un-readable, but that randomly happens on series).

BTW, I use a Mac as well.
Both are containers. They do not really impact quality. Though the avi interpretation of MS is a little restrictive forcing codec builders to do unusual non standard stuff, that might affect quality. There was a thread concerning the containers... (actually there are many)

http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=35340
(just an example)
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Old 2008-01-12, 22:23   Link #3
Ledgem
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Age: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryoujin View Post
I've been wondering this for a while. I know that AVI is usually more popular than MKV because it's easier to play (on any computer), but that aside, which one is best quality?
I don't know, in my experience AVI was the easier format to play, but that was only because it was more widely adopted. MKV is quickly becoming the format of choice, so it's no longer some weird thing to get support for anymore.

Quote:
Lately I've noticed that some series make MKV files which weight almost the same as AVI ones but they are bigger. I read in a subber site that their MKV files were not just a "zoomed" version, but it was higher quality; what would that mean? That most MKV files are just zoomed for some random reason?
My guess is that when they're talking about "zoom" and all, they're referring to the resolution. The resolution is the size of the video. In the past, all fansubs used a resolution of 640x480 (DVD resolution). In the past few years, high-definition video has become more readily available.

For example, take a look at Conclave-Mendoi's subbing of Gundam 00. They release multiple versions. One of the versions is said to be at 1280x720, and the other version is at 704x400. The 1280x720 version wasn't made by "zooming" or upscaling the 704 version - that would result in lower quality. Rather, the 1280 version is natively at that resolution, and there is no quality loss at that version. I'd imagine that to get the 704 version they scaled the size down, actually.

Is a larger resolution a higher quality version? I'd say it generally is. You're most likely aware that DVD is going to be succeeded by either HD-DVD or Blu-ray; both of these are HD (high-definition) formats. The video that they contain is of a higher resolution than that contained on DVD. At the same time, everyone wants to have HD televisions, which are usually in the 40"+ range I believe. The larger the screen and the greater the resolution, the more you could see, overall I suppose.

What's the reason for offering files at a smaller resolution? There are two, only one of which is really pertinent to most people. A video at a larger resolution is more demanding on your computer. Some people would struggle massively to play the 1280 version, if they could play it at all. And if your monitor resolution is 1024x768, why would you really want the 1280 version anyway - your system would be scaling it down and you wouldn't be able to view the full resolution anyhow. The 704 version is less demanding on your computer. The second reason is that the 704 version will be smaller in filesize.

Quote:
Which one would be recommended to get? I usually don't have real issues with either file format, unless the MKV has been soft-subbed in some weird reason and text shows up one above another (making it un-readable, but that randomly happens on series).
I recommend the MKVs. In addition to the resolution issue that I described above, there's an issue of codecs. As Jinto Lin mentioned, MKV and AVI are just containers - you put video source into them. They do affect what types of features can be put into them, but other than that you could take the video from an AVI and place it into an MKV and you wouldn't notice a difference.

What does impact video quality and file size is the codec used to make the video. In the past, XviD became the codec of choice for fansubbers. As MKV became more established, so did the H.264 codec. H.264 is a more efficient codec - you can get better quality video for the same or less file space. There is a trade off, of course - H.264 is slightly more demanding than XviD for a computer to play back. So when fansub groups release two versions, they're probably doing it for people with very old computers, and perhaps just for those people who are afraid of something new.

In general, always choose the H.264 versions if there are any available. You'll be getting better quality, even if the filesize is the same.

Since you said you're on a Mac, make note that while you can get an XviD codec for Quicktime, it'll have issues playing back MKVs. You can either use the Mac version of MPlayer (a stand-alone media player), or if you like using Quicktime, you can get Perian, a free utility that'll allow Quicktime to play back a wide array of file formats and codecs. Just note that as of Quicktime 7.3, even with Perian 1.0 you won't be able to play back MKVs that use AAC-encoded sound (which almost all do). Perian 1.1 is currently in beta, and fixes this issue.
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Old 2008-01-12, 22:29   Link #4
jpwong
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryoujin View Post
I'm not sure if this is the place to ask ^_^
Lately I've noticed that some series make MKV files which weight almost the same as AVI ones but they are bigger. I read in a subber site that their MKV files were not just a "zoomed" version, but it was higher quality; what would that mean? That most MKV files are just zoomed for some random reason?
They probably mean that it's an HD source, some HD files are just upscales rather than true HD meaning that the broadcaster, encoder, ripper, whoever just increased the base screensize from an SD source to an HD size. That's probably where that came from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryoujin View Post
Which one would be recommended to get? I usually don't have real issues with either file format, unless the MKV has been soft-subbed in some weird reason and text shows up one above another (making it un-readable, but that randomly happens on series).
Being that MKV and AVI are just containers and don't impact the video (think of AVI and MKV as a bag and a box. If you have a picture and put it in each one, the outside is different, but they can both hold exactly the same thing), just go with the one that has the content you want. A lot of groups use the avi as the SD release and the MKV/MP4 as their HD format.

Different groups use MKV differently (if at all), so group to group you might decide one or the other.
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Old 2008-01-13, 05:16   Link #5
Liddo-kun
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryoujin View Post
I'm not sure if this is the place to ask ^_^

I've been wondering this for a while. I know that AVI is usually more popular than MKV because it's easier to play (on any computer), but that aside, which one is best quality?
AVI files are easier to burn into CD's, in case you wanted to watch the anime on a widescreen TV.

Based on my experience, I found it practically impossible to burn an MKV file into discs which can be played by my DVD player.
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Old 2008-01-13, 09:44   Link #6
GHDpro
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Join Date: Jan 2001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -boiledliddo- View Post
AVI files are easier to burn into CD's, in case you wanted to watch the anime on a widescreen TV.

Based on my experience, I found it practically impossible to burn an MKV file into discs which can be played by my DVD player.
Or you just hook up your PC to your TV using VGA/DVI/HDMI connection and then file formats no longer matter. Based on my experience, DivX DVD players are not the way to go for anime, due to overscan (which makes the subtitles hard/impossible to read in certain fansubs).

Last edited by GHDpro; 2008-01-13 at 12:09. Reason: clarification of what I meant (PC to TV)
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Old 2008-01-13, 11:27   Link #7
Daiz
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by GHDpro View Post
Or you just hook up your TV using VGA/DVI/HDMI connection and then file formats no longer matter. Based on my experience, DivX DVD players are not the way to go for anime, due to overscan (which makes the subtitles hard/impossible to read in certain fansubs).
This.

Seriously, people need to stop using DivX DVD players to watch anime. Overscan is a horrible thing, and even if your file is XviD, there's no guarantee that it would play properly. I used to do this for a while but I got fed up with overscan and all the "sorry, can't play this due to too high resolution or some other limitation" problems.

Some time ago I had the change to hook up my computer to a 32" HD ready TV, so I did and watched some 720p anime episodes in it. All I can say that it was amazing. Simply amazing. The quality is simply incredible when compared to XviD encodes of the same thing being played in DivX DVD Player on the same TV.

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