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MPEG-4

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by hr20manray, Mar 27, 2007.

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  1. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    According to CEA, the people who put on CES:
    VCR 1970
    Laserdisc player 1974

    And lots of other cool dates.

    Tom
     
  2. lguvenoz

    lguvenoz Icon

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    I think the bashing was getting a little out of hand. I think it's much more fun to discuss antiquated technologies that we all pine for... :lovenote:

    At least until the next fervent discussion gets going.
     
  3. hr20manray

    hr20manray Guest

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    A very good post.
    But I have a different opinion on a few issues. (A surprise?)

    First the issue was “Produce that paper where DirecTV admits it has trick play problems.” This fact has to be stipulated in order to move the discussion forward. But I will go one further. Any poster who thinks DirecTV is not aware, can log into DirecTV, find the appropriate email contact, and send them an email asking “Are you aware you are having trick play problems with the HR20?” It will only take 30 seconds and they will respond within 48 hours. Then we can all have a response, in writing, from DirecTV where they acknowledge they are having problems, and we now have a starting point.

    Comparing the problems that D*has with the trick play of the HR20, to the problems that VCR's had with their startup and the trick play function forty years ago, is not accurate and is misleading. Before the introduction of the VCR to the homeowner (or should I say consumer), the consumer had nothing tv-video- wise previously produced for home use, to compare or contrast it to. The VCR itself was brand new, along with any of its functions.

    Now its 2007, forty years later, and the public has had, and used, many different home components that play, fast forward, fast reverse, etc. That concept (ff, rev) is not new. And the public has frames of reference regarding how accurate a product with these features should be. Forty years of reference. This is the difference. Most of the consumers that shell out big bucks for a product like this rightfully expect it to start and stop accurately. At least as well as their cheapest component that has those features.
     
  4. lguvenoz

    lguvenoz Icon

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    I think people are losing sight of the issues that trickplay poses. I do agree that comparing the HR20 to early VCRs is not a really good analogy, but for a different reason.

    A VCR records 100% of all video and audio content for all frames in the signal. Nothing D* does has ever done that.

    As Earl stated early on in this thread MPEG2 and MPEG4 both use I-Frames that have a full picture with incremental changes that get applied to create motion (some of the infamous "MPEG4 Blocking" is a result of this).

    Now comparing to 1st generation MPEG2 DVR units is fair, and the HR20 is not that far off from the performance of those early units when they first came out (you can't look at an old unit that's been in service all these years as it has had lots of updates to make it work better) based on my own experience with early ReplayTV, UltimateTV and DirecTivo units. The fact is the developers had to develop lots of tricks (they basically read ahead in the data stream) to make FF and RW look good and stop well.

    MPEG4 has even less I-Frames than MPEG2, and poses more challenges. The D* developers have tried some of the old tricks and we are seeing the mixed results. It will get better I am certain (HD is higher bandwidth, MPEG4 requires further read aheads due to less I-Frames, and the HR20 is not dealing with it well).

    In terms of public perception, it's a perpetual problem for any consumer electronics company. As things evolve they theoretically should always offer more capabilities with better reliability, but sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. I think the HR20 has been a disappointment for a lot of folks, including D* people, but I also think it has a lot of potential to be a rock-solid unit.

    They've been willing to open themselves up and let us, the lowly users, play with advance releases so that we can explain what works and what doesn't. Frankly I think the improvements to the HR20 have been amazing since they opened up to let us beta test the intermediate releases, and I can only hope it's something they continue.
     
  5. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

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    Actually shouldnt it be considered a second generation HD DVR, and for that matter a 1st generation MPEG4 capable HD DVR?

    None of the HD DVRs from anyone are even close to perfect yet. So some of you really need to quit trying to play that card....
     
  6. lguvenoz

    lguvenoz Icon

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    I agree completely with this statement. This is not something that has been done a lot before.
     
  7. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    Counting generations is very tough. Replay and Tivo were gen. 1 in 1999. Ultimate might have been gen. 2? (and seems to have set the bar very high.)
    Series II on both D* and stand alone is my gen. 3, but I'm willing to slide that back to 2 if someone has a better set of criteria.
    HR10 is then gen 4 (and gen. 1 HD.)
    HR20 becomes gen. 5, gen. 2 HD, and gen. 1 MPEG4 (but not the very first MPEG4, VIP622 beat it by 6 months.)

    This might be leaving off lots of details and is only partially researched. Not one google search nor one wikipedia reference review. :) So if anyone wants to correct me with better details and reference links, I'll gladly listen and very likely agree. :D

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  8. mr1213

    mr1213 AllStar

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    For MPEG-4 broadcasts, which I think are only for some local satellite channels at present, is the picture quality as good as we are used to with MPEG-2, or better? Will rapid motion be full of artifacts, or have they really improved with this MPEG version?
     
  9. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    Thank you.
    Analogies and examples from history rarely duplicate the complexities of the current situation. Otherwise they tend to be just as complex as the current reality :)
    Yes, the bar is now much higher than 1970. We have 4 different FF/REW speeds, instant jumpback, 30 skip/slip, FF correction (found on VCRs too), autocorrection, etc. And the HR20 isn't missing as badly as it once did nor as badly as a 1970 vcr did. But D* is not done with it so the HR20 will continue to get better.

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  10. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    These are not questions that one can give simple answers.
    Are they as good? My eyes tell me that MEPG4 transcoding of the OTA feeds is not quite as good, especially on high motion sports scenes. But for most content its good enough.

    It helps to remember that D* is often getting the feed OTA, just like I am. If the station is stealing bits from the HD feed to have non-HD subchannels, that is where many of the motion artifacts occur. D* can't fix that, they can just send it on, alas.

    When we get to MPEG4 of the national cable channels, things will get interesting. Will the cable channels originate in MPEG4 so D* won't have to transcode? That will help. (And save the cable channels some bandwidth too.)

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  11. bonscott87

    bonscott87 Cutting Edge: ECHELON '07

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    Sigh....I don't understand the big deal surrounding "is DirecTV aware"?

    I think that's pretty obvious.

    1) Anything posted in the issue thread for each release is read by the DirecTV dev team. So they are aware (so long as people report it).

    2) Nearly every release included "trick play enhancements".

    I don't think there is any need to continue to harp on this point.
     
  12. mhayes70

    mhayes70 New Member

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    I am with you all the way there. I think there are some people that just want to complain about D* and/or Earl and will not like anything they do.

    For me I am very happy with the HR20 and the trick play. It is getting better with every new software upgrade. I am just happy we have a place like this were D* listens to it's customers and improves there product based on our feedback. Good Job D*!!
     
  13. katesguy

    katesguy Legend

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    When my wife thinks this box is a good as her old TIVO they will have finally gotten to where the REAL consumer wants to be.
     
  14. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    The 70's are kind of a blur for me. Got divorced. Got remarried, got separated, played a lot of softball, lots of women, probably no time for watching TV. Guess I missed the beginning. Was an awfully interesting decade though.

    Rich
     
  15. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I agree with everything you say in the above posting. But, the unit should have been "rock solid" right from the first unit sold. Every TiVo I have bought (many) has worked correctly out of the box. "Rock Solid". Even the Ultimate TVs worked right out of the box in the correct manner. And I am not comparing the TiVo to the HR20, just the business aspect.
     
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