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MPEG-4 on MPEG-2 receivers? (Not so much)


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54 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:26 AM

EchoStar's new MPEG-4 compression algorithm to be compatible with MPEG-2 receivers.

In remarks made recently to an industry group, EchoStar's Director of Engineering said that MPEG-4 AVC, the company's soon-to-be-deployed compression algorithm will be "reverse-compatible' with DishNetwork's existing installed base of MPEG-2 receivers.

It was said that DishNetwork will launch a new product line with MPEG-4 capability and MPEG-2 reverse compatibility, with both HD and SD outputs. He said that Dish will introduce new HD content in MPEG-4 and will launch more local city digital broadcasts in MPEG-4, Dish will also migrate SD content to MPEG-4.

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#2 OFFLINE   LtMunst

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:31 AM

EchoStar's new MPEG-4 compression algorithm to be compatible with MPEG-2 receivers.

In remarks made recently to an industry group, EchoStar's Director of Engineering said that MPEG-4 AVC, the company's soon-to-be-deployed compression algorithm will be "reverse-compatible' with DishNetwork's existing installed base of MPEG-2 receivers.

It was said that DishNetwork will launch a new product line with MPEG-4 capability and MPEG-2 reverse compatibility, with both HD and SD outputs. He said that Dish will introduce new HD content in MPEG-4 and will launch more local city digital broadcasts in MPEG-4, Dish will also migrate SD content to MPEG-4.



How would that work??? If MPEG-2 receivers can process this MPEG-4, what would be the point of MPEG-4 receivers? This does not make sense unless they found a way to software decode MPEG-4 on existing receivers.

#3 OFFLINE   Mikey

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:35 AM

Source?

#4 OFFLINE   David_Levin

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:48 AM

Nick,

You're 2nd paragraph doesn't jive with the first. We would need some direct quotes (the source could easily be confused).
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#5 OFFLINE   BillJ

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:54 AM

Interesting. I've been wondering how they planned to handle the transisition. Seems really complicated. If you bring out MPEG4 receivers before content, who would buy them. If you bring out MPEG4 content without backward compatability, who could watch it.

Aside from that, I've been excited about getting local HDTV, since I'm in the Chicago market, which will be one of the first, I susupect. Then I got to thinking about it. Our local cable has Chicago HD locals for ABC and NBC. They haven't been able to get permission to carry Chicago FOX in HD and they don't have Chicago CBS in HD either because they can't get permission or because WBBM is still broadcasting a weak signal on channel 3 that gets interference from other Chicago channels. So maybe DISH won't really be able to offer Chicago locals in HD afterall.

#6 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:56 AM

Source?

From the lips of the director of engineering himself. I personally viewed (watched) his presentation as broadcast on HDNET and recorded it to my new Scientific-Atlanta HD DVR.

I'd like to believe it, but I'm having a REALLY hard time envisioning how it could work. Sounds like another marketing guy promising the moon. I think it's more likely that he means the new (MPEG-4) product line will be backward-compatible with the old MPEG-2 signals.

I understand your skepticism, Mikey, but you must admit, you wouldn't believe "good news" from Dish if it jumped up and bit you on the ass! :D

First, the information I have posted comes directly from E*'s director of engineering, not exactly some "marketing guy", as you say. Secondly, I'm passing on what I consider to be "big news" to Dish subs. Whether you choose to believe or not is irrevalent, and whether the compatibility of M-4 with M-2, or vice versa, will work is unrelated to your ability to understand the concept. If the top engineer of E* says it works, how much more of an expert are you to say it won't just because you're admittedly having a "hard time envisioning" how it works?

Edit: Vidcap from the PP presentation added:

Attached Thumbnails

  • Dishmpeg4.jpg

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#7 OFFLINE   Mikey

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 09:03 AM

I'd like to believe it, but I'm having a REALLY hard time envisioning how it could work. Sounds like another marketing guy promising the moon.

I think it's more likely that he means the new (MPEG-4) product line will be backward-compatible with the old MPEG-2 signals.

#8 OFFLINE   juan ellitinez

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 09:16 AM

I think they mean that mpeg 2 programing can be seen on a mpeg 4 receiver

#9 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 09:25 AM

I think they mean that mpeg 2 programing can be seen on a mpeg 4 receiver

I tend to agree ... although that is referered to as backward compatability, not "reverse".

There is always the possibility that they have come up with something 'not quite MPEG4' that can be done through software on MPEG2 boxes to improve throughput. But true MPEG4 requires a larger upgrade. It looks like they are talking about the 411 etc more than than upgrading on current boxes.

JL

#10 OFFLINE   dave1234

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 09:30 AM

PPT slide clearly states "new product line"..... The words quoted don't jive with the PPT.

#11 OFFLINE   Mikey

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 09:34 AM

From the lips of the director of engineering himself. I personally viewed (watched) his presentation as broadcast on HDNET and recorded it to my new Scientific-Atlanta HD DVR.

I understand your skepticism, Mikey, but you must admit, you wouldn't believe "good news" from Dish if it jumped up and bit you on the ass! :D

First, the inforation I have posted comes directly from E*'s director of engineering, not exactly some marketing guy

Edit: Vidcap from the PP presentation added:

Thanks, Nick. That's a great slide. But where does it say that the current receivers can decode MPEG-4?

By the way, I'm not an E* basher. I'd love for it to be true. But I doubt that it is.

#12 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 09:38 AM

Back to the top:

In remarks made recently to an industry group, EchoStar's Director of Engineering said that MPEG-4 AVC, the company's soon-to-be-deployed compression algorithm will be "reverse-compatible' with DishNetwork's existing installed base of MPEG-2 receivers.

Makes me think of the Athalon and Celeron processors ... not quite the full processor but some stripped down version that is not as good. Not full MPEG4 but MPEG4 lite.

"MPEG4 AVC alogrithm works on MPEG2 receivers." I hope that part is right.

JL

#13 OFFLINE   logray

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 09:40 AM

DUHHHHH. What do you think E* would do, swap out millions and billions of receivers? At that point we all wouldn't have a choice but to switch to DirectTV.

#14 OFFLINE   Mikey

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 09:42 AM

DUHHHHH. What do you think E* would do, swap out millions and billions of receivers? At that point we all wouldn't have a choice but to switch to DirectTV.

They'll do exactly what D* is doing. Swap out MPEG-2 receivers for MPEG-4, in phases.

#15 OFFLINE   LtMunst

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 10:02 AM

Back to the top:Makes me think of the Athalon and Celeron processors ... not quite the full processor but some stripped down version that is not as good. Not full MPEG4 but MPEG4 lite.

"MPEG4 AVC alogrithm works on MPEG2 receivers." I hope that part is right.

JL



I really hope they don't try some half-baked software decoding that will let MPEG-2 receivers read the MPEG-4, but not at quite the same level of PQ as a true hardware decoder. This would give Dish an excuse for not upgrading us because we can view the added channels (just not quite as sharp).

#16 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 10:03 AM

They'll do exactly what D* is doing. Swap out MPEG-2 receivers for MPEG-4, in phases.

So E* may have smarter engineers who have figured out how to "blend the fuels, rather than change out the engine in which it is used".

It would be immensely more valuable, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, for Dish to figure out a way to imbed a proprietary codec in the M-4 stream so that tens of millions of existing M-2 recevers could decode the signal, rather than to make new M-4 STB hardware "backward" compatible with an obsolete, soon-to-be-abandoned M-2 compression scheme.

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#17 OFFLINE   olgeezer

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 10:19 AM

So E* may have smarter engineers who have figured out how to "blend the fuels, rather than change out the engine in which it is used".

It would be immensely more valuable, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, for Dish to figure out a way to imbed a proprietary codec in the M-4 stream so that tens of millions of existing M-2 recevers could decode the signal, rather than to make new M-4 STB hardware "backward" compatible with an obsolete, soon-to-be-abandoned M-2 compression scheme.


Actually there is a company that did that several years ago. I forwarded the white sheet to dish. It is technically possible for them to add a chip set to current receivers to decode MPEG4 and MPEG2. An example of its use is red laser high definition DVDs. Instead of swapping out 25 million receivers with 25 million receivers they could add chip sets and work on some type of rotation from existing receivers. Any way you look at it, the process is going too cost Dish and Direct a ton of money. But when survival of the industry is at stake, it is a necessary step.

#18 OFFLINE   JohnH

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 10:26 AM

Means the existing receivers won't hiccup when they see Mpeg4 H.264 in the stream, not that the existing receivers will decode it and make a picture.

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 11:06 AM

Means the existing receivers won't hiccup when they see Mpeg4 H.264 in the stream, not that the existing receivers will decode it and make a picture.


That's the crux of what I'm reading.

And Nick, to put the full faith in E* engineering because they are not marketing is foolish at best. Look what E* engineering has been responsible for; 921, 942 and the L280-281 software updates. Look at how the 811 has lived a less than stellar product life. I'm sure you can think of more engineering faux-pas than this.

To date, the 942 is claimed to be the pinnacle of achievement for E* engineers, and yet it is still experiencing major problems.

The existing MPG-2 receivers will not show the MPG-4 program streams. Bank on it.

#20 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 11:09 AM

Actually there is a company that did that several years ago. I forwarded the white sheet to dish. It is technically possible for them to add a chip set to current receivers to decode MPEG4 and MPEG2. An example of its use is red laser high definition DVDs. Instead of swapping out 25 million receivers with 25 million receivers they could add chip sets and work on some type of rotation from existing receivers. Any way you look at it, the process is going too cost Dish and Direct a ton of money. But when survival of the industry is at stake, it is a necessary step.

Precisely. In this presentation, Dish also stated that the chipset required to do this is essentially a miniature silicon computer, which, even if the cost could be reduced to only $10, would still cost E* billions to swap out 25 million receivers.

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