H.264 vs. VC-1

The Black Rock

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Does anyone have any information as to how they stack up against one another?

I know that H.264 can generally get you the same resolution as MPEG-2 at around half the size, but I don't know how Microsoft's codec handles. Anyone have a clue?

Are they the same? Is one better than the other?
 

daveL

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The Black Rock said:
Does anyone have any information as to how they stack up against one another?

I know that H.264 can generally get you the same resolution as MPEG-2 at around half the size, but I don't know how Microsoft's codec handles. Anyone have a clue?

Are they the same? Is one better than the other?
H.264 is an open standard, while the other isn't.
 
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MisterMe

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Jul 17, 2002
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The Black Rock said:
Does anyone have any information as to how they stack up against one another?

I know that H.264 can generally get you the same resolution as MPEG-2 at around half the size, but I don't know how Microsoft's codec handles. Anyone have a clue?

Are they the same? Is one better than the other?
This link may help you.
 
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The Black Rock

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Thanks for the link MisterMe, although it didn't have any numbers on it, it provided some useful information.

From the little research I've been able to do on the codec I've found from Microsoft's website:
The sample clips have data rates between 6,384 Kbps and 10,440 Kbps.
And from Apple's H.264 page:
HD MPEG-2 content at 1920x1080 traditionally runs at 12-20 Mbps, while H.264 can deliver 1920x1080 content at 7-8 Mbps at the same or better quality.
So it seems that H.264 is the better codec, but that's from their website. I want to try and find a non-partisan site that'll confirm or contradict that.

I'm sure we all know that the H.264 codec is supposed to be "open", but what does that mean? And why is this an advantage?
 
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daveL

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The Black Rock said:
I'm sure we all know that the H.264 codec is supposed to be "open", but what does that mean? And why is this an advantage?
It means you're not locked into a proprietary MS solution. It also means you have a number of companies competing to provide the best H.264 codec possible. Personally, I never make choices that lock me in to a single vendor, if I can help it.
 
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rendezvouscp

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Aug 20, 2003
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daveL said:
It means you're not locked into a proprietary MS solution. It also means you have a number of companies competing to provide the best H.264 codec possible. Personally, I never make choices that lock me in to a single vendor, if I can help it.
While I agree with the first bit, I don't think companies are really competing to provide the best H.264 codec. From my understanding, the ITU and MPEG members work together to create a solution. Other people are allowed to review the encoding strategies and then they can make improvements to H.264, making it the better codec.
-Chase
 
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daveL

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rendezvouscp said:
While I agree with the first bit, I don't think companies are really competing to provide the best H.264 codec. From my understanding, the ITU and MPEG members work together to create a solution. Other people are allowed to review the encoding strategies and then they can make improvements to H.264, making it the better codec.
-Chase
H.264 is a specification, not an implementation. Many different companies will implement H.264 for a variety of applications. H.264 for surveillance will not be implemented the same way as H.264 for HD satellite broadcasting. There will be software codecs for general purpose computers, i.e. PC and Mac. There will also be implementations using DSPs and ASICS.

Anyway, if it has MS on it, I avoid it like the plague.
 
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The Black Rock

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An interesting thing I found while researching this stuff, is that technically the PC I'm using to write all of this out, isn't powerful enought run VC-1 stuff. I'm using a 1.8 Ghz P4 with 512MB of RAM.

I hear that H.264 is even more demanding on my system, does that mean I won't be able to handle it when it makes it's jump to Windows in Quicktime 7? All Apple's said on the topic is that it will work on "currently shipping" computers :( :confused: :(
 
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wrldwzrd89

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Jun 6, 2003
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The Black Rock said:
An interesting thing I found while researching this stuff, is that technically the PC I'm using to write all of this out, isn't powerful enought run VC-1 stuff. I'm using a 1.8 Ghz P4 with 512MB of RAM.

I hear that H.264 is even more demanding on my system, does that mean I won't be able to handle it when it makes it's jump to Windows in Quicktime 7? All Apple's said on the topic is that it will work on "currently shipping" computers :( :confused: :(
Does that mean my iMac G4 won't be able to handle H.264 either? If so, that's a shame. What makes H.264/VC-1 so demanding anyway? Anyone know?
 
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Darwin

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Jun 2, 2003
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wrldwzrd89 said:
Does that mean my iMac G4 won't be able to handle H.264 either? If so, that's a shame. What makes H.264/VC-1 so demanding anyway? Anyone know?
I'm sure Apple will make sure that it runs well enough on older slower systems, if they don't then thats most of the computers in the market out of the picture
 
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daveL

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It will take a very potent machine to encode broadcast quality SD video in either VC-1 or H.264 in real-time; lesser systems will be able to encode, it will just take a while (> real-time). Real-time decode is obviously a can/can't thing; if you can't decode in real-time, your out of lucking trying to play content. Remember that Apple has talked about H.264 mostly in terms of improved iCharAV, which is considerably less than broadcast quality SD (720x480), so the system specs will be a lot lower.
 
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The Black Rock

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wrldwzrd89 said:
Does that mean my iMac G4 won't be able to handle H.264 either? If so, that's a shame. What makes H.264/VC-1 so demanding anyway? Anyone know?
If it makes you feel any better, I dowloaded one of the sample videos from Microsoft's page, and it played for me. There was a very obvious slowdown and halting when I started it, but it played out fine from that point on.

Seeing as H.264 stuff is generally going to be smaller (if not always smaller for the same size videos) I feel confident in being able to play it back with little to no problems.
 
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wrldwzrd89

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Jun 6, 2003
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The Black Rock said:
If it makes you feel any better, I dowloaded one of the sample videos from Microsoft's page, and it played for me. There was a very obvious slowdown and halting when I started it, but it played out fine from that point on.

Seeing as H.264 stuff is generally going to be smaller (if not always smaller for the same size videos) I feel confident in being able to play it back with little to no problems.
Your profile doesn't say what computer you have, and you didn't mention it in your post. I'd feel much more confident if I knew that your computer was the same as or at least comparable to my own.
 
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The Black Rock

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wrldwzrd89 said:
Your profile doesn't say what computer you have, and you didn't mention it in your post. I'd feel much more confident if I knew that your computer was the same as or at least comparable to my own.
Refer to post #9 of this thread.

In case you don't want to scroll up I wrote: "I'm using a 1.8 Ghz P4 with 512MB of RAM." To be more exact though it's a Sony Vaio desktop purcahsed in 2001, Windows XP Home Edition, 64 MB VRAM GPU.
 
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The Black Rock

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You on the other hand wrldwzrd89 will be fine for at least VC-1 with your "PC: PowerSpec P4 w/HT - 3.2 GHz - 1.0 GB RAM - 200 GB HD - Windows XP SP2" From Microsoft's website:
Minimum Configuration
(to play 720p video)
# Windows XP
# Windows Media Player 9 Series
# 2.4 GHz processor or equivalent
# 384 MB of RAM
# 64 MB video card
# 1024 x 768 screen resolution
# 16-bit sound card
# Speakers
Optimum Configuration
(to play 1080p video with 5.1 surround sound)
# Windows XP
# Windows Media Player 10
# DirectX 9.0
# 3.0 GHz processor or equivalent
# 512 MB of RAM
# 128 MB video card
# 1920 x 1440 screen resolution
# 24-bit 96 kHz multichannel sound card
# 5.1 surround sound speaker system
So I guess it just depends on your display now.
 
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wrldwzrd89

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The Black Rock said:
You on the other hand wrldwzrd89 will be fine for at least VC-1 with your "PC: PowerSpec P4 w/HT - 3.2 GHz - 1.0 GB RAM - 200 GB HD - Windows XP SP2" From Microsoft's website:So I guess it just depends on your display now.
I KNOW I'm not capable of 1920 x 1440. I can do 1024 x 768 easily. It doesn't matter, though, since VC-1 is of zero interest to me.
 
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The Black Rock

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That's one of the odd things though. Later on as H.264 takes off, and the flow of HD clips are everywhere, VC-1 will probably become ubiquitous. You won't be able to avoid it really, just as we can't avoid WMV today.

And just like WMV is today, it will be everywhere. So be glad you can play the best out there, probably no matter what you use. If H.264 really takes off in the way I suspect it will, then Microsoft will have to respond. They'll start forcing people to use only their format.

If rumors are to be believed the Big HD race begins this Friday.

I assume that all of the things Apple has right now on it's website will be reripped into H.264/QT7, to give early content. Eventually movie trailers. Microsoft will begin cutting deals with Amazon and a lot of news sites.
 
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daveL

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The Black Rock said:
That's one of the odd things though. Later on as H.264 takes off, and the flow of HD clips are everywhere, VC-1 will probably become ubiquitous. You won't be able to avoid it really, just as we can't avoid WMV today.

And just like WMV is today, it will be everywhere. So be glad you can play the best out there, probably no matter what you use. If H.264 really takes off in the way I suspect it will, then Microsoft will have to respond. They'll start forcing people to use only their format.

If rumors are to be believed the Big HD race begins this Friday.

I assume that all of the things Apple has right now on it's website will be reripped into H.264/QT7, to give early content. Eventually movie trailers. Microsoft will begin cutting deals with Amazon and a lot of news sites.
Interesting, I manage never to use WMV. If you can't post your content cross-platform (and WMV for Mac doesn't cut it), I won't watch it.
 
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wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,107
75
Solon, OH
The Black Rock said:
That's one of the odd things though. Later on as H.264 takes off, and the flow of HD clips are everywhere, VC-1 will probably become ubiquitous. You won't be able to avoid it really, just as we can't avoid WMV today.

And just like WMV is today, it will be everywhere. So be glad you can play the best out there, probably no matter what you use. If H.264 really takes off in the way I suspect it will, then Microsoft will have to respond. They'll start forcing people to use only their format.

If rumors are to be believed the Big HD race begins this Friday.

I assume that all of the things Apple has right now on it's website will be reripped into H.264/QT7, to give early content. Eventually movie trailers. Microsoft will begin cutting deals with Amazon and a lot of news sites.
I do much the same thing as daveL - I try to avoid WMV content. If there's something that isn't a stream that I really want to watch that's only available as a WMV, I'll send it over to my Windows PC and watch it there. I'd rather not do that unless I have to.
 
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