Why Hd Movie Downloads Are A Big Lie!

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by AFP1, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. Jun 6, 2007 #121 of 189
    Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Does the picture look good or does it not look good? Well- if you were doing that with USDA grades, then you'd have to have rooms full of taste testers for each side of beef for each cow. The USDA doesn't use an ITU-R approach. Why should visual quality be graded differently?

    Let's step back and understand first what grading labels do. Uniform grade identification provides a standardized way of communicating values between buyers and sellers and signaling consumer preferences back through marketing channels to the producer.

    It has to be practical to apply or it is useless to the market it is designed to strengthen.

    So first off, such grading labels for food do not guarantee percieved pleasure. USDA prime does not mean the standard is saying that you will think the USDA prime ribeye is as juicy as the USDA prime flank steak. Just because the USDA allows a producer to call something chili doesn't not mean you are going to like it. A cut of meat either does or doesn't have a specified amount of fat marbling. A video either bursts up to 19Mbps in an action scene or it doesn't. In such a scene, it either does use 16 pixel blocks for motion estimation or it doesn't.

    Secondly- I challenge the hidden premise of some posters that a standard is meaningless if there are possibilities for distortions. "SAT scores are meaningless", "Passing the board certification test is meaningless!" Sure, there are flaws. Is a measure meaningful or isn't it? To some, it is not "meaningful" unless it has the highest accuracy possible using an impractical ultimate measurement technique. Unquestionably, the ultimate would be to have a room full of testers judging the Picture Quality of each and every encoding of each and every movie.

    But we aren't talking about ultimates. The goal is to provide a few labels that are simply "more meaningful" than the current system.

    Which is nothing.

    The question is, is it possible to create a grading system that is more meaningful than the system today where there is no standardized way for consumers to understand the differences in quality between HD content?

    Analogous to the USDA guidelines, we can get into disagreements about whether it is legal to say a patty is 100% beef if it contains any partially defatted beef fatty tissue (which all of us informed consumers knows by the acronym PDBFT). But at the end of the day, some a grading system that more often than not tracks quality is better than no grading system.

    Do you think that a classification system for HD video is not possible?

    If so, I have to admit that I would be skeptical of such a claim. We are familiar with the endless debates on AVSforum.com about codecs and PQ, and it is true that everyone seems to have very strongly felt opinions. But while we may not agree on the details of the following trial balloon proposal, I think all that needs to be shown is that a grading system is possible that is more meaningful than no grading system.

    Now for one trial balloon proposal. I would start with the simple and move to complex as driven my industry input. Meaning- at first only measure the rough differences and surface those to the user. EG- 100% beef patty means no mule meat mixed in. In response to further games, you go further- prohibiting PDBFT.

    The factors are:
    1. The volume of data delivered
    2. The density of the data delivered
    3. The density of the content when the file is displayed.

    #1 corresponds to the bitrate.
    #2 factors the techical strength of the encoding job to concetrate the visual information. It's not just the encoder name, but let's start there. For example, the vendor may be restricted to MPEG2 main profile high level. What this factor is will be highly debated. Is H.264 Part 6 three times as dense as MPEG2 high level main or is it more like four? What's the number? Is chili still chili if it has less than 20% meat?, or does it have to be 30%? Well, there is an explosion of compression techniques and options to play with on each one. A best estimate is made, and may be revised as industry proof is submitted that their technique and hand coding should have a stronger density factor. Maybe their encoder bursts up to very high datarates accurately as needed and has a really great motion estimator. Say Amazon Unbox can show using an industry accepted metric of frame differences complexity, that their algorithms plus their third pass hand tunings provides fewer distortions as measured by an industry accepted measure of artifacts per second. What are those metrics? Let industry produce them. If there is sufficient concensus and science behind a metric, then the determination of the density factor may be based on it. A competitor can come in and say that the FIOS's density factor for onDemand videos unfairly favors them, because FIOS has been lazy with their encodings and are using a single pass hardware encoder device that has been shown in tests as doing a much poorer job than Fios's density factor indicates.
    #3 This factor considers how complex the picture is that is to be compressed. Obviously, if nothing is happening in the picture, then you could pretty much transmit a still photo and not transmit anything more until something changed in the picture. That is, a Hidef surveillance video of a room with no camera movement and no one in the room could realistically be transmitted in a very small file and be the "Best" HD picture possible, even compared to the same picture stored at bitrates possible on a bluray disk. I would defer indefinately on making an estimation of this portion and instead drop the value labels. For example, there might be a yellow HD logo, blue HD logo, purple HD logo. Consumer knows from experience that they like the purple HD logo for sports, but yellow HD logo is just fine for Oprah or talking heads.

    So factor one (Volume) times factor two (Density) equals an HD picture information number, and the number falls into a non value label that corresponds roughly to the highest practical quality possible (on bluray or HD-DVD) versus the lowest possible while still being perceptively better than an upscaled SD video. (Say 6Mbps for Mpeg2).

    We can quibble on the aspects of this. The important question to consider is- what evidence is there that it is impossible to practically apply picture data standards that are intelligible enough to aid consumers in better discerning between HD content products?
     
  2. Jun 6, 2007 #122 of 189
    btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

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    It wasn't hidden when I said it. If a marketing department can distord a grading scheme in some manner, it becomes pretty worthless. There needs to be some third party verification of this sort of thing.
    The problem here is your factor 2. There needs to be a standard for it. You aren't proposing such a standard, you're giving the paramters of such a standard. Its going to have to be hashed out by someone. You seem to be setting aside the only standard which does exist.
     
  3. Jun 6, 2007 #123 of 189
    Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Sorry. What standard would that be that this would set aside?

    Is an SAT score worthless because it is possible to distort it by going to SAT classes that describe how to use the process of elimination to guess answers rather than a proper measure, which would be to have the student calculate and print the answer?

    I don't understand your point about "the problem" you see. If producer A supplied a bitrate of 6Mbps at Mpeg2 main profile high, they would qualify for yellow grade. If producer B provided an H.264 part 6 at 2Mbps, they qualify for yellow.

    Producer B can come back with metrics that DT_DC outlines to show that they qualify for blue, just as the USDA responds to complains about shenanigans played with competitor Beef patties containing PDBFT.

    I was describing a dynamic system using an adversarial process that makes appeals to industry accepted standards.

    Perhaps you disagree with the fairness of the starting point determination- what I referred to as the "best estimate"?
     
  4. Jun 7, 2007 #124 of 189
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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  5. Jun 7, 2007 #125 of 189
    btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

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    Your comment:
    If you're not saying the existing standard is unsuitable for this, what are you saying?
     
  6. Jun 7, 2007 #126 of 189
    Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    The ITU-R scheme that DT cited measures picture quality. This proposal does not set aside that standard because it's goal is no more to measure picture quality than the USDA measures Taste Quality with its labels.

    You want to sell something and call something Chili, it has to have 30% meat. The USDA doesn't taste test the chili and tell you if they think it realizes all the meaty taste that such 30% meat content could theoretically achieve in the hands of skilled cooks.

    An HD label doesn't tell you that you will have better Picture Quality. It just states the techical parameters of what it is. Similarly, the proposed yellow, blue and purple grades simply gives consumers an idea how much data muscle is being pumped into the home for a given show.
     
  7. Jun 8, 2007 #127 of 189
    btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

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    But how are these arrived at? The ITU stuff is the only game in town at the moment.

    You also just seemed to say the grades are not about how good the video is. If so what are they about? I would hope that if you bought a blue video it had roughly the same visual quality as any other blue video, if not what is it doing?

    I also wonder if video quality scales in the way you propose. You propose bandwidth*scale factor as your metric. Does perceived video quality scale with bandwidth like that? I'm not sure it does.
     
  8. Jun 8, 2007 #128 of 189
    rodalpho

    rodalpho New Member

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    While all of the grading stuff is interesting, I think we've lost the point of the thread, which is that the OP feels that HD movie downloads are overcompressed and cruddy looking. Seeing as the only legal source of HD movies is the xbox360, and they're 4.5Mbps wmv9 (and thus not overcompressed) it's clear that's simply not true.

    ABC's downloads may or may not look cruddy. Nobody has seen one yet to judge. Properly tuned h.264 can do some magical stuff.
     
  9. Jun 8, 2007 #129 of 189
    nhaigh

    nhaigh Member

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    I think what I understand HD downloads to be are a way off yet. The Sony online store carries movie trailers in what they label as 1080P (mp4), HD and SD formats. To me 1080P is HD!!! I downloaded the trailer for Transformers the movie and it was 145Mb in 1080P. The trailer is but a few minutes long. Even an hour long TV program will be impossibly large for download purposes. The quality of the trailer is fantastic though.
     
  10. Jun 8, 2007 #130 of 189
    Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    The difference here is that you have a label like 1080p that you can use. You pick up a can, it says chili on it. If they want to put just 10% meat into it, what stops them from calling it chili? The USDA.

    When you buy an HD movie, what stops a vendor from putting one fourth or one eigth the visual data in it?

    Nothing. Absolutely nothing. If their frame dimensions are 1080i or 720p, they are HD.

    Consumers cannot compare between HD DirecTv movie broadcast in MPEG4 with an HD movie broadcast in a different bitrate in MPEG2, versus a hypothetical HD movie downloaded from Unbox, versus an HD movie on an HD DVD but hardly using a fourth of the disk?

    That's what the big lie is in HD movie distribution, whether it is online, on disk, or off coax from your satco or cableco.

    btwyx- It was my intention from the start to assert that an analog of the USDA system would eschew determination of percieved picture quality, just as the USDA eschews telling you whether they think one chili has better taste quality than another.

    An analog of the USDA system would be useful if all it did was what I proposed- If it restricted itself to measuring how much information is being transmited, normalized against the compression technique used. I gave an example of this, and suggested a mechanism for disputing the fairness of these factors.

    This would allow comparisons to be made by technically naive consumers that would assist them in understanding what to expect between very different versions of the same show labelled as HD from DirecTv, Comcast, Unbox etc etc.
     
  11. MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

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    Is it really impossibly large?

    assuming the above trailer is just 2 minutes long. That's 72.5 Mb per min. So 60 minutes is 4.35 Gb and 120 minutes is 8.7Gb.

    While it might not be impossible with dialup and difficult with DSL, high speed cable or fiber could easily deal with that as a download. It might not be supper common but a sizable number of people have those fast connections.


    To be honest I get all futzed up with mega BYTES and mega BITS but worst cast you should be able to download such a movie overnight if you have one of these newer high speed connections- no?

    My cable provider's BASIC speed is 10Mbps - and for 20 dollars more I can get 20 Mbps. So assuming basic speed of 10MB per second and your trailer above that's 72.5 Mb per MINUTE- my connectiong should be THEORETCIALLY able to handle that in faster than real time. 60 seconds per minute means I should get 600Mb per minute and I only need 72.5 for the "fantastic" quality of that trailer. (again I get messed up with the bits and bytes but isn't my THEORETICAL speed about 8 times faster then need be? or is it just fast enough for realtime becasue of the bits/bytes?)

    I know real world is likely not going to match that theoretically over the course of 2 hours. But it's not unrealistic to think I could download that overnight is it? VOD or PPV might not be realistic at this point but scheduled downloads dont seem all that nutty.
     
  12. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    I know this thread is long and goes in several direction, but the question really isn't if individuals have enough band width at their end but if the Internets back bone has enough band width for millions of people to be regularly downloading large HD video files.

    Thanks,
     
  13. MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

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    I'm sure that if everyone started today to download 100 gigs a day it would be a problem.

    But the reality is right now only a small portion have so fast connections and only a small portion of them would avail themselves of HD downloads. So I would assume (I know I know- LOL) that today the backbone would be just fine to handle it.

    As more and more people get into more intensive use then the backbone would ramp up over time.

    Could the internet backbone of 1995 when everyone had pay per minute dialup deal with the file sharing, streaming, VOIP, mobile use, etc, etc that we have today? I wouldn't think so?

    So as use increases so too does the backbone- no?

    So If all of a sudden tons of people started downloading HD movies at night it would choke things- but is it realistic to think that would happen anytime soon?

    My provider sales the upgrade to 20Mbps - I'm sure if 20 people on my block tried to max that out at the same time TODAY that the cable company would choke- but just 3 years ago I'm sure they would choke if 20 of us tried 1Mbps and today I'm thinking they could handle that.

    I guess the guestion is this:

    Can the internet scale up over time at a rate sufficient to keep up with the increased demands of HD downloads?

    How many S3's, HD Media Center PC's, and HD xboxes are there deployed- and how many people are really using them to download to at the present?

    I haven't seen anything that says in x years the current system tops out and collapses from overuse. I HAVE heard about new IPv6 or something and "internet 2" - are those sort of things required to keep the current system from collapsing? Or can the current system continue to scale over time?


    (forgive my ignorance if I'm completely off and sorry for all the questions- I'd truly like to learn)
     
  14. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion you are asking the right questions unfortunately I do not have the answers. Part of what this thread was about was if the Internet could replace HD content from other sources (HD DVDs, OTA HD, Cable & Satellite HD, etc.), anytime soon. We also got into the quality issue and that dominated the thread.

    Thanks,
     
  15. MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

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    anyone see that skyangel is dumping DBS delivery and going to IPTV?

    (I'm thinking DISH is providing the cash to make the change since they petitioned the FCC to be bale to buy the skyangel transponders)

    http://sev.prnewswire.com/computer-electronics/20070608/CLF04908062007-1.html

    so apparently they at least think you can stream tv over the net- IN SD.

    Will be interesting to see how that pans out. HD is only like what- 6 or 10 times more bits then SD- it's not like orders of magnitude more.

    I also wonder if they wouldn't work out a deal with tivo maybe so it works on tivo. Not sure if tivocast can be fixed to work for streaming- but maybe they would just put their whole schedule up online and you could set up season passes to download their shows?
     
  16. morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

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    I'm not sure if that is really an issue. While I've heard of individual web sites being brought down by too much traffic, I've never once heard of the Internet going down because of too much traffic.

    According to this article 24 major cities are only using 7 to 8% of their total network capacity (total amount of lit fiber-cables). The lit fiber cables made up only 3 to 4% of the total number of cables available (meaning 96 to 97% of the cables were dark fiber). This means that only 0.21 to 0.32% of the total available bandwidth is actually in use. The article also claims that Internet growth is actually slowing down.

    Here's a quote:
     
  17. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    morac, - Good article, I actually find the last 2 paragraphs interesting:

    It also mentions video phones as something that could use up large amounts of band width and may require investment in new backbone tech.

    Thanks,
     
  18. TiVo Troll

    TiVo Troll Registered Troll

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    Ultimately though, do current trends hint that in perhaps less time than expected the virtual superhighway will ultimately get bogged down and require a continuing flow of infrastructure investment greater than the amount required to realize a return on the investment? :eek:
     
  19. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    I know the term "Net Neutrality" doesn't have an exact meaning and depending on who you are talking too can have fairly different meanings, but I haven't seen a definition that has price controls built in and/or that would prevent future investment and pricing that would allow for a return on the investment.

    thanks,
     
  20. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    When they puit in most of that fiber, they didn't have the technology to enable the fiber to carry as much data as they do now. If they knew the capacity per pair was going to increase so rapidly they would have never installed so much. The company I used to work for back then eventually went under. They dealt with alot of outside cable plant installations. They went from 750 million gross revenue to 250 million in one year. Then went into bankruptcy and finally got broken up by the banks that owned them from the bankruptcy.
     

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