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MPEG-4


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#1 OFFLINE   hr20manray

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 08:45 AM

I understand that MPEG-4 is an audio-visual compression standard. And that DirecTV will be using this technology with future D* broadcasts. As has been stated many times in this forum, when D* goes to the MPEG-4 standard, other dvr's or receivers will not be able to encode/decode that technology. Why is that? Does DirecTV have a patent on MPEG-4?

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#2 OFFLINE   oldschoolecw

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 08:51 AM

They have a licensing agreement with the team that created MPEG4, from what I understand.

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#3 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 08:56 AM

D* is using MPEG-4 now because they have the hardware decoding chip installed in the H/HR-20.
I would guess others will use the same as MPEG-4 is a "big deal" for HD content providers where bandwidth is an economic concern.
A.K.A VOS

#4 OFFLINE   hr20manray

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:00 AM

They have a licensing agreement with the team that created MPEG4, from what I understand.


An exclusive agreement?

#5 OFFLINE   say-what

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:00 AM

They are using mpeg-4 for its compression capabilities. mpeg-4 uses considerably less bandwidth than mpeg-2, thereby increasing their ability to deliver more HD content.

#6 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:05 AM

Two Reasons:

-) The MPEG decoding be it v1.x (the SD compression, is not "exactly MPEG-2), MPEG-2 (HD), MPEG-4 (HD) - Is decoded by hardware, not software.

There is no software solution, that could run on the "limited" hardware platforms on the DVRs, that could decode the MPEG-4 codec in real time while still doing everything else it has.

-) The Transmision SATs.... The "MPEG-4" content is going to come from the two new KA sats at 99/103. First, the tuners in the "other" DVRs are not setup to "see" those two slots. But their tuner hardware, is not capable of tuning in the KA bands that are going to be used.


Yes... DirecTV has a license with the MPEG-4 group. It is not exclusive.

The "3rd" level of it, is that the data stream is encoded.
So unless DirecTV license their "decoding" to another party, another DVR can not be create to see the data stream.
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#7 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:06 AM

An exclusive agreement?


No, not exclusive with regard to MPEG4 only. However I think what you are really asking is whether or not other equipment will work with DirecTV with MPEG4, and the answer is no. That is not because of MPEG4, that is due to signal encryption that DirecTV does (with both MPEG2 and MPEG4).

At this point in time, and for the predictable future (the next couple of years), DirecTV will be using both MPEG2 and MPEG4. New hi-def programming will be in MPEG4. Most SD will remain in MPEG2. Existing HD will eventually transition from MPEG2 to MPEG4, but no timetable has been set (that anyone is aware of anyway).

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#8 OFFLINE   D*HR-20

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:09 AM

This isn't exclusive it won't work in older receivers and DVRs simply because they don't have MPEG-4 decoders in them. I mean DISH uses MPEG-4 too and just like DirecTV the MPEG-4 channels will only work on recievers/DVRs that have the MPEG-4 decoders in them.

#9 OFFLINE   hilmar2k

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:22 AM

Some light reading on the matter....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mpeg-4

#10 OFFLINE   bonscott87

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 11:55 AM

I understand that MPEG-4 is an audio-visual compression standard. And that DirecTV will be using this technology with future D* broadcasts. As has been stated many times in this forum, when D* goes to the MPEG-4 standard, other dvr's or receivers will not be able to encode/decode that technology. Why is that? Does DirecTV have a patent on MPEG-4?


Simply...because older receivers (anything but an H20 or HR20) don't have the ability to decode MPEG4, it's not in the hardware. Remember it's only for HD, not SD.

Dish Network is also moving all their HD to MPEG4 which means you need an MPEG4 cabable receiver from them as well. And actually this is the 2nd time Dish has moved to a new compression scheme.

Cable is going to be going thru the same thing. As they moved to Switched Video technology people will need to get new cable boxes that have the hardware to decode it.

#11 OFFLINE   hr20manray

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 12:14 PM

Simply...because older receivers (anything but an H20 or HR20) don't have the ability to decode MPEG4, it's not in the hardware. Remember it's only for HD, not SD.

Dish Network is also moving all their HD to MPEG4 which means you need an MPEG4 cabable receiver from them as well. And actually this is the 2nd time Dish has moved to a new compression scheme.

Cable is going to be going thru the same thing. As they moved to Switched Video technology people will need to get new cable boxes that have the hardware to decode it.


I am trying to understand the whole picture.
The trick play. It is not new technology. Any VHS, dvd player, cd, or dvd can do it better than the hr20, at the present time. I'm sure D* will get it working properly some time. Thay have to. What exactly could be the problem that they are having such a time with to do this? The HD content, the D.R.M. scheme? The MPEG-4?

#12 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 12:17 PM

I am trying to understand the whole picture.
The trick play. It is not new technology. Any VHS, dvd player, cd, or dvd can do it better than the hr20, at the present time. I'm sure D* will get it working properly some time. Thay have to. What exactly could be the problem that they are having such a time with to do this? The HD content, the D.R.M. scheme? The MPEG-4?

As I am with "the problem with trick play".
I use >|, >>, <<, |<, ||, and they seem to work for me, even with RF.
A.K.A VOS

#13 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 12:20 PM

I am trying to understand the whole picture.
The trick play. It is not new technology. Any VHS, dvd player, cd, or dvd can do it better than the hr20, at the present time. I'm sure D* will get it working properly some time. Thay have to. What exactly could be the problem that they are having such a time with to do this? The HD content, the D.R.M. scheme? The MPEG-4?


It most likely has to do with the MPEG-4 encoding.

With a VHS - That is an analog recorder, you have all the content for the frame right their on the tape... So "trickplaying" to a point, playback just reads all the pieces.

Similar for a CD.

DVD's are are higher bitrates, so their frames are more complete. But depending on the player and the DVD... you will still see "jagged" trickplay motion.

The MPEG... the way it works... You have I-Frames, and then in between I-Frames you have the differences between I-Frames.

So at one given "point" in the datafile, you don't have all the pieces to draw a screen. So during Trickplay... the system has to identify the I-Frame, and the differences... and do that very quickly.

And with the "tight" compression of the MPEG-4, thus meaning less I-Frames, and more difference frames...

MPEG-2 has been around and implemented for a very long time, so a lot of those limitations existed in early forms... but they have found methods and improvements to the encoding, to reduce it (and in some cases, almost eliminated it)..

MPEG-4 is just entering the main stream. Even though there are a lot of applications/products using it... MPEG-4 on this level is just at it's beginning.
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#14 OFFLINE   hr20manray

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 12:20 PM

As I am with "the problem with trick play".
I use >|, >>, <<, |<, ||, and they seem to work for me, even with RF.


Good for you.
I am happy for you.
However, I am having problems with it and I am trying to understand why.

#15 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 12:22 PM

Good for you.
I am happy for you.
However, I am having problems with it and I am trying to understand why.

me too. [as in why you are having problems].
A.K.A VOS

#16 OFFLINE   hr20manray

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 12:44 PM

It most likely has to do with the MPEG-4 encoding.

With a VHS - That is an analog recorder, you have all the content for the frame right their on the tape... So "trickplaying" to a point, playback just reads all the pieces.

Similar for a CD.

DVD's are are higher bitrates, so their frames are more complete. But depending on the player and the DVD... you will still see "jagged" trickplay motion.

The MPEG... the way it works... You have I-Frames, and then in between I-Frames you have the differences between I-Frames.

So at one given "point" in the datafile, you don't have all the pieces to draw a screen. So during Trickplay... the system has to identify the I-Frame, and the differences... and do that very quickly.

And with the "tight" compression of the MPEG-4, thus meaning less I-Frames, and more difference frames...

MPEG-2 has been around and implemented for a very long time, so a lot of those limitations existed in early forms... but they have found methods and improvements to the encoding, to reduce it (and in some cases, almost eliminated it)..

MPEG-4 is just entering the main stream. Even though there are a lot of applications/products using it... MPEG-4 on this level is just at it's beginning.



As with most of the posters here, and/or purchasers of the HR20, I am in the software business. (I'll refrain from saying how long I've been in it or how smart I am, so please bear with me.) I do know that persons that develop technical applications sometimes get lost in the technical aspects and have a strong tendency to lose sight of the end user and what the application is really for. For example, while developing software for a data entry application, our technical staff became enamored with all the high-tech possibilities the new package had, and rightly so. It did much much more than the old software.

However when we presented it to the data entry clerk, he said, "But it's five seconds slower than the old software?" For that clerk, (for whom the software was actually written), in his mind the new application was not an upgrade, it was a downgrade. Data entry software has to be fast. I then suggest for the average user of the HR20, he is not going to be very sympathetic to the fact his new state-of-the-art dvr won’t stop or reverse accurately. No matter what’s inside it.

#17 OFFLINE   Tom Robertson

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 12:57 PM

One of the key selling points of higher end VCRs was the ability to FF without the screen turning into a complete mess of snow. The best could do a FF with only a couple of very fine lines on the screen, allowing us to really see what was going on. That technology took years to fine tune and develop.

Likewise, MPEG4 is still just being fine tuned for this usage. Other uses are very well known and debugged (VOIP, webcams, video conferences, etc.)

And D* has been focussed on the most important things first: stability and reliability. Now they can start focussing on many things in parallel: new features and fine tuning/polishing.

Cheers,
Tom

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#18 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 01:00 PM

I am trying to understand the whole picture.
The trick play. It is not new technology. Any VHS, dvd player, cd, or dvd can do it better than the hr20, at the present time. I'm sure D* will get it working properly some time. Thay have to. What exactly could be the problem that they are having such a time with to do this? The HD content, the D.R.M. scheme? The MPEG-4?


However, I am having problems with it and I am trying to understand why.


As with most of the posters here, and/or purchasers of the HR20, I am in the software business. (I'll refrain from saying how long I've been in it or how smart I am, so please bear with me.) I do know that persons that develop technical applications sometimes get lost in the technical aspects and have a strong tendency to lose sight of the end user and what the application is really for. For example, while developing software for a data entry application, our technical staff became enamored with all the high-tech possibilities the new package had, and rightly so. It did much much more than the old software.

However when we presented it to the data entry clerk, he said, "But it's five seconds slower than the old software?" For that clerk, (for whom the software was actually written), in his mind the new application was not an upgrade, it was a downgrade. Data entry software has to be fast. I then suggest for the average user of the HR20, he is not going to be very sympathetic to the fact his new state-of-the-art dvr won’t stop or reverse accurately. No matter what’s inside it.


:confused:

So which is it? You want to know how it was working on the inside?
Or you just care about what the effect on the outside is?

You are right... there are some consumers that are going to care...
But there are going to be those that don't even notice, and those that don't care enough to really impact their viewing.

There are going to be some that are cloud nine, because they can record their shows in HD and watch at their own pace. Others, are going to climb to the top of the mountain and scream that it the world is comming to an end, because they had to watch 20s of commercials.

You have the entire gambit.

But I would think even the average consumer... if they came looking for the answer. And got a reason... and the reason explained in a way they they understood what is going on... Most would react... "Okay... don't like it, but at least I understand why".

While yes... technical people at time can and do lose a "connection" with those they are building things for... nature of the beast.
But there are also times that non-technical people, lose a "connection" with the fact that not everything is going to be EXACTLY the way they want it to be... especially in a product that is ment for more then one person... (in this case of the HR20 the possibility of MILLIONS of users)
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#19 OFFLINE   bonscott87

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 01:01 PM

I can see things just fine when FFW 1-4. Is that what this is about? I can certainly see enough to see when a commercial is over anyway. I want smooth video when I *play* a show, I could care less about FFW, it's content I don't want to see, just enough to know when the content I want to see starts again.

Maybe some want perfectly smooth FFW but I would still not classify that as a top "must have" thing. But again, maybe that's just me.

#20 OFFLINE   hr20manray

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 01:03 PM

One of the key selling points of higher end VCRs was the ability to FF without the screen turning into a complete mess of snow. The best could do a FF with only a couple of very fine lines on the screen, allowing us to really see what was going on. That technology took years to fine tune and develop.

Likewise, MPEG4 is still just being fine tuned for this usage. Other uses are very well known and debugged (VOIP, webcams, video conferences, etc.)

And D* has been focussed on the most important things first: stability and reliability. Now they can start focussing on many things in parallel: new features and fine tuning/polishing.

Cheers,
Tom


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