Apple, AVCHD and BluRay

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
You walk into your local electronics / AV store and look around at all the pretty TVs. Peruse the new camcorder range over in the corner. See the nice shiny DVD players all laid out in rows. What has the majority of all this new tech got in common?



High Definition, thats what. Full HD to be precise. BluRay and AVCHD are the buzz words of the moment.



HD is certainly taking off in a big way this year. What with certain satellite TV companies slashing the cost of a new HD install, tech magazines shouting "Full HD!" from every page and camcorder/ digicam manufacturers pushing ever more compact AVCHD cameras down consumer's throats. Hell, even Toshiba has finally come over from the HD-DVD dark side and embraced BluRay.



So, given that high definition for the masses is the future and prices for the technology are falling rapidly, why exactly is Apple dragging its ass when it comes to AVCHD and BluRay support?



I would like to buy a new AVCHD camcorder, capture all those precious moments in high def and stick it all on a convenient BluRay disk to watch on my HD plasma and share with family and friends. Problem is Apple do not support AVCHD natively and do not offer BluRay on their machines. So, I buy that camcorder and take lots of nice HD footage with it. What exactly am I supposed to do with it? How do I store it all (in full HD quality) cheaply and conveniently?



Maybe Apple don't want to offer support for this technology because of licensing expenses or maybe because their current hardware offerings are just not up to the task?. Maybe Apple think that the tech is just too expensive? I remember when the Superdrive first came out. Now that was expensive but it was revolutionary. I bought one of the first iMac G4 with Superdrive which at the time cost an arm and a leg but it was worth the investment because I have lots of really nice DVDs with many nice memories. Anyway, Apple cannot ignore this technology any longer. Workarounds and lesser quality formats just don't cut it. What's with all this dithering around AVCHD and BluRay?



"Bag of hurt"? Crap. Get with the program!



Waddya think?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,208moderator
    They seem to support AVCHD in Final Cut 6:



    http://support.apple.com/kb/TA24840



    The Blu-Ray issue I'm not sure about. They added HDCP/DRM compliance already:



    http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/1...hdcp-comp.html



    It appears that Apple's problem is over Blu-Ray licensing alone and they're not the only ones who have commented on the complexity and costs. It may be resolved in the near term though:



    http://www.slashgear.com/blu-ray-fou...ocess-2535725/



    Apple may decide to add support to Snow Leopard alone as they have done things like this in the past.
  • Reply 2 of 4
    mimacmimac Posts: 871member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    They seem to support AVCHD in Final Cut 6:



    I would love to agree with you Marvin but Final Cut 6 support for AVCHD is severely limited.



    Minor problems...



    Intel only - Not much of a problem as the Mac faithful will eventually abandon those PowerPC machines and move to intel at some time or another.

    No FireWire support (USB only) - The HiDef camcorder market is leaning towards flash based storage so all that is needed is a card reader.

    DVD based AVCHD footage not supported - See above.



    Major problems...



    Standard Def AVCHD not properly supported.

    Preview of AVCHD video/scrubbing limitations.

    AVCHD footage transcoded to Apple ProRes 422 codec or Intermediate Codec.

    Audio mixed to stereo only.



    The list goes on... Now that is hardly 'support' for the format? Sounds more like a hastily knocked up workaround. Anyway, what most consumers want is iMovie support for the format without being forced to buy an expensive software package like Final Cut (OK maybe a new Final Cut Express would do for now).



    Quote:

    The Blu-Ray issue I'm not sure about. They added HDCP/DRM compliance already:



    That maybe just their way of protecting their commercial interests ala iTunes movies and AppleTV. Might they think that to fully implement and support BluRay would damage their current business model?



    Quote:

    It appears that Apple's problem is over Blu-Ray licensing alone and they're not the only ones who have commented on the complexity and costs. It may be resolved in the near term though:



    Very true about the cost and complexity of licensing though this will have to be resolved quickly and to everyone's satisfaction, manufacturer and consumer alike, so that this boat doesn't sail leaving an unlucky few behind.



    Quote:

    Apple may decide to add support to Snow Leopard alone as they have done things like this in the past.



    Apple should not limit support for these Hi Def standards simply because these are technologies that have/are developed with the full backing of the major consumer electronics players and will be around for quite some time. Realistically there is not a lot else on the horizon to supplant this tech it seems.
  • Reply 3 of 4
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,208moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MiMac View Post


    AVCHD footage transcoded to Apple ProRes 422 codec or Intermediate Codec.



    This was the same with HDV as the support was poor but these codecs aren't really editing formats so I don't mind the transcoding during capture for serious work. Obviously this becomes an issue when you are just quickly taking the clips off a card though and a lot of the time editing can be done just fine with these codecs at the expense of performance. There's really no excuse for Apple in the position it has in the media industry to fall behind on these developments so consistently.



    It certainly seems in these cases that they want to coerce media pros into not editing in AVCHD but in their own codecs like ProRes. Although they would have good technical reasons for it, vendor lock-in is one of the most common tactics by companies to stay in the business and they all do it: AVID, Sony, Apple, Microsoft and they all try to find ways to make their competitors pay for it.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MiMac View Post


    That maybe just their way of protecting their commercial interests ala iTunes movies and AppleTV. Might they think that to fully implement and support BluRay would damage their current business model?



    I don't think it damages it any more than DVDs, it seems their hang-up is the licensing but also the cost of the slot-loading drives hasn't been too good. I actually really hope there is a plan to externalize the optical units altogether though by somehow offering a replacement distribution format like SD. I know opticals are standard but they use up so much space inside a machine.



    I don't believe there is a point in offering Blu-Ray movies or drives for laptops. The 17" model has plenty of room and 1920 x 1200 display so it can stay on that one but I'd rather see the 13" and 15" drop in price, get a bit lighter and thinner and maybe offer more battery life instead.



    It takes about 15 minutes to copy a DVD to your HDD so it's easy to store a set of movies for travelling using an external USB drive. A significant amount of software is downloaded vs installed from a disc.
  • Reply 4 of 4
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MiMac View Post


    I would love to agree with you Marvin but Final Cut 6 support for AVCHD is severely limited.



    Minor problems...



    Intel only - Not much of a problem as the Mac faithful will eventually abandon those PowerPC machines and move to intel at some time or another.



    Maybe they felt the work to optimize AVCHD on PPC wasn't worth it? As it is, PPC is going away. The Mac/Intel machine is already into its fourth year right now. I can see this being a complaint two years ago, but in my opinion, a pro should have already upgraded their hardware by now.



    Quote:

    No FireWire support (USB only) - The HiDef camcorder market is leaning towards flash based storage so all that is needed is a card reader.



    I don't have a FW reader to test that, but I really don't see why FW wouldn't work. The importer (sorry, I forget the dialog name) seems to just read drives. The importer dialogue doesn't seem to mind whether my card is in a USB reader or a USB camcorder, telling me there isn't any secret controller sauce that a FW reader wouldn't work. I don't know if there are any AVCHD camcorders with Firewire ports, maybe, but the consumer camcorder industry seems to be dropping Firewire whenever and wherever it can.



    Quote:

    DVD based AVCHD footage not supported - See above.



    Have you tried it? I don't have such a camcorder, but it seems like it should work just fine.



    Quote:

    Major problems...



    Standard Def AVCHD not properly supported.





    Kind of amusing that SD AVCHD is a concern. Yeah, it probably should be supported if it isn't, but still amusing. A pro shouldn't be relying on a consumer SD camcorder for very much footage. Sometimes there's no helping it though, which is why it should be supported if it exists.



    Quote:

    Preview of AVCHD video/scrubbing limitations.



    What, specifically? That the preview window is small? Decoding AVCHD, because it's a processor intensive long GOP format, you're going to get some scrubbing issues. I haven't tried that in a while.



    Quote:

    AVCHD footage transcoded to Apple ProRes 422 codec or Intermediate Codec.



    That's because native editing of a long GOP format really isn't a good idea. You'll probably spend a lot spend less time rendering and get better output results if you used an editing codec.



    Quote:

    Audio mixed to stereo only.



    Is there an AVCHD camcorder that offers good quality 5.1 recording? I doubt the on-board mics have acceptable audio quality. This is 98% consumer format, with only three pro camcorders that support it, and even those three models are stereo only.



    Quote:

    The list goes on... Now that is hardly 'support' for the format? Sounds more like a hastily knocked up workaround. Anyway, what most consumers want is iMovie support for the format without being forced to buy an expensive software package like Final Cut (OK maybe a new Final Cut Express would do for now).



    I think iMovie's AVCHD support works fine. You're not doing a very good job of explaining it here. I doubt most consumers would care to go beyond iMovie.
Sign In or Register to comment.