H.264 = a "sign" for bigger machines??

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
reading lots of regrets concerning the encoding into the new H.264 codec (even BigMacs needs hours for a few minutes of video), I "feel" that maybe this is a sign?- you grab the territory for a new standard? and deliver the hardware later.-



in the "year of HD", H.264 is important - but useless, if even the pros cannot encode within lifespan



what are you're experiences??



//not to mention playback, the demos at apple.com are nice, but?//
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    While Steve didn't tell anyone about the power needed it was well known that AVC was going to require a lot more power. I read a lot of complaints but the information about h.264 has been on the internet for some time including encoding/decoding needs.



    The results are worth it. In every shootout I've seen AVC takes the checkered flag. I expect encoding to improve slightly but I'm not expecting any miracles here.
  • Reply 2 of 47
    ebbyebby Posts: 3,110member
    I saw a lot of Hardware H.264 encoders at NAB. I think that will temporarily replace software for professionals until CPU speeds rise again. It may trickle down like MP3's, where some sound cards included hardware MP3 encoding.



    My $0.02
  • Reply 3 of 47
    neutrino23neutrino23 Posts: 1,529member
    It is a little odd. It was widely reported some time back that H.264 required a lot more horsepower. Why would Apple trumpet this if they knew most users could use it?
  • Reply 4 of 47
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,590member
    It is like k_munic said, Apple wanted to mark their territory instead of waiting this one out. I would geuss that is about the go of it, even if they don't have the mythical quadra on the horizon. Sometimes you have to get your product out to the public in order to sell the idea FIRST, even if the use is akward.







    Quote:

    Originally posted by neutrino23

    Why would Apple trumpet this if they knew most users could use it?



  • Reply 5 of 47
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,219member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by neutrino23

    It is a little odd. It was widely reported some time back that H.264 required a lot more horsepower. Why would Apple trumpet this if they knew most users could use it?



    You are assuming that all H.264 should be displayed at the highest resolution. To the contrary, H.264 is highly scalable. A 320 x 240 clip will be a much smaller file as the expense of acceptable increases in processor requirements compared to older formats like MPEG-1. There comes a time when we must all leave the past behind and walk courageously into the future.
  • Reply 6 of 47
    In addition, Apple has trumpeted h.264 as a way for the end-user (viewer) to get quality video at reasonable bandwidth ... those folks don't particularly care how long it took to render the clip ... they just like to be able to view it in a large window without waiting for a one-hour download
  • Reply 7 of 47
    k_munick_munic Posts: 357member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by KingOfSomewhereHot

    ... those folks don't particularly care how long it took to render the clip ...?



    especially these folks care for every second how long they have to wait! to get rendering times short is the only reason for socalled render-parks



    but, I forgot - as Ebby mentioned - the designated Hardware "accelerators"/hardeware encoders doing that job? so, maybe Apple offers a production bundle with a mac, the software and some third party "black box" doing the encoding?



  • Reply 8 of 47
    neutrino23neutrino23 Posts: 1,529member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Mr. Me

    You are assuming that all H.264 should be displayed at the highest resolution. To the contrary, H.264 is highly scalable. A 320 x 240 clip will be a much smaller file as the expense of acceptable increases in processor requirements compared to older formats like MPEG-1. There comes a time when we must all leave the past behind and walk courageously into the future.



    That makes a lot of sense. I can see where full blown HD would be difficult whereas more reasonable sizes (like the MWSF keynote) would run on most Macs.
  • Reply 9 of 47
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by k_munic



    //not to mention playback, the demos at apple.com are nice, but?//




    But what? If they play on the almost two-year-old Power Mac 2.0, I think they're doing pretty well. And this will most likely get more and more efficient.
  • Reply 10 of 47
    k_munick_munic Posts: 357member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Placebo

    But what? If they play on the almost two-year-old Power Mac 2.0, I think they're doing pretty well. And this will most likely get more and more efficient.



    the small resolutions doing pretty well (the scaleabilty of H264 is beyond doubt great!)? have you "dared" to use a high-def resolution? some "real" HD?? 1080p?? say farewell to your PowerMac
  • Reply 11 of 47
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    You're right, it seems that h.264 is being confused with "high-def" by a lot of typical users. I've seen this already from a number of aquaintances, only some of which are mac users.



    Interestingly enough, on current hardware, it perhaps isn't the best standard for HD playback today, given that most computers can't play it at full frame rate. Not that this is a flaw in the standard. Apple is smart to be endoursing a standard which trades playback efficiency for better file size. Our hardware should grow into the requirements quite nicely.



    I see h.264 as immediately more useful for standard-def content or web-casting. However, with apple's HD sample clips being some of the only h.264 available, it seems to be confusing the public.



    h.264 does not equal high-def!
  • Reply 12 of 47
    mattyjmattyj Posts: 898member
    My PowerBook (check sig) runs 720p HD at about 15fps. Not too bad, but not good enough obviously.



    One quick question, does Quicktime use the velocity engine to help play H.264?
  • Reply 13 of 47
    curufinwecurufinwe Posts: 104member
    ARg!!!. . . .



    We are confusing HD and H264, (or maybe you all are talking about the same thing, and I missed the day we agreed on what HD means) HD is not a codec!



    My understanding is:



    H264 = AVC = Mpeg 4 part 10 = hot new codec



    HD = hot new series of large resolution display standards, either 1280 by 720 pixels OR 1920 by 1080 pixels across. Also either interlaced (720i for example) or progressive (720p for example.) Progressive means you are redrawing the whole picture in each frame. Interlaced means you are redrawing just every other line.





    However, in the USA HD does not = H264. Instead HD = Mpeg2





    In the USA, HD (Hi-definition) either 720i/720p or 1080i/1080p will likely be broadcast using the older Mpeg2 codec used on DVDs. This will require more bandwidth, but less processing power (still a bunch tho' cause of the large resolution).



    In Europe they are going with the hot new codec H264/AVC/Mpeg4 part 10 for their HD broadcasts. This means they will use less bandwith (still a bunch tho'), but you will need a brawnier decoder hardware box at the endpoints.



    What is muddling the distinction between the terms is that the new DVD formats HD-DVD or BlueRay will probably be using AVC (H264) video rather than Mpeg2 like older DVDs. People see HD and think "New codec!" which it might be in some cases, or it might just be a larger resolution picture.



    Internet sources for HD use various codecs. If they are paying a bandwidth bill, they probably will want to use AVC as it becomes available to the end users. Apple falls into this category with their quicktime 7 trailers showcase.



    I assume you all are talking about AVC when you say HD, but I really have no way of judging. If you start ranting about HD being hard to decode on a G5, at least announce what continent you're on!
  • Reply 14 of 47
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    Good synopsis but there is no 720i here. And soon you won't be able to find my sets that support 720p in the set itself. 1080i/1080p will eventually dominate the landscape.



    However I'm waiting for Ultra HiDef 4k :P
  • Reply 15 of 47
    k_munick_munic Posts: 357member
    yepp, good summary, Curufinwe!

    concerning If you start ranting about HD being hard to decode on a G5, at least announce what continent you're on! ? have a look to left, under my nick: Germany is in Europe.

    Your location is? empty
  • Reply 16 of 47
    mattyjmattyj Posts: 898member
    Theoretically any format can be used to create high definition video, but that's beside the point. H.264 is the only codec that can realistically bring HD to the masses isn't it? I thought it was also confirmed that HD DVDs will use H.264???



    It is seen as the brand spanking new codec that kicks every other one to the kerb... HD is the future and H.264 is seen as the future as well. The two will probably go hand in hand in a few years.
  • Reply 17 of 47
    mattyjmattyj Posts: 898member
    Update:



    Ok this is sweet. I checked the software update, and found the

    "Apple Intermediate Codec" (1.0.1)



    So I thought ok, just install it, only 700k. Then I decided to see if there was the slightest chance it could play H.264 any better. I ran the latest HD Batman trailer from Apple's website (720p res) from my external HD (check sig for specs).



    Usually I only manage 12 fps on my humble little Powerbook, now it plays this trailer at it's full fps! Even with Limewire and MSN Messenger running it managed 20 constant fps. A very nice update.



    Need a G5?? Perhaps not.
  • Reply 18 of 47
    k_munick_munic Posts: 357member
    that's good news!



    but the OP concerns about the en-coding, not the decoding.



    so, only solution still I do see for pros is hardware accelaration/black box H264 decoding?
  • Reply 19 of 47
    estebanesteban Posts: 83member
    Just converted a few old avi (windows) movies to QT using H264 for the web. They look as good as the originals, but won't play using QT for Windows. Anyone know when QT 7 is going to be released to the dark side?
  • Reply 20 of 47
    sunilramansunilraman Posts: 8,133member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by k_munic

    especially these folks care for every second how long they have to wait! to get rendering times short is the only reason for socalled render-parks



    but, I forgot - as Ebby mentioned - the designated Hardware "accelerators"/hardeware encoders doing that job? so, maybe Apple offers a production bundle with a mac, the software and some third party "black box" doing the encoding?




    yup a number of third party 'black box's have been announced



    eg. for broadcasters that are now going to deliver HDTV through h.264 instead of mpeg2 as they do now. on the decoding side, this would be more for people with the set-top-box-type hardware decoder.....



    so yeah apple is getting it's foot in the door, people can decide if they can let it render farm / render park (dvd studio pro latest allows distributed encoding) or if they want to get a hardware based solution.



    see in some cases getting a bunch of powermacs is more future-proof and affordable than getting some big racks of "hardware based solutions" encoding cards, if that makes sense...



    this is what apple is betting on to keep it's pro line going, for the video market.... the graphic and web design market is slowly eaten away by PCs or by iMac g5s
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