HD1080i De-mystify HDTV 1080i ::: know why before you buy

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Broadband Video HD - NAB me

Well its time again for the National Ass. of Broadcasters to have a bash in vegas, and this year instead of real broadcasting, its about real broadbanding... Video that is on your desktop converging with your mobile phone and flatpanel in the living area... yikes. No ATSC/HD/wha...? Lots of new cameras and editing stuff, but the buzz is Broadcasters yakking it up about the web? ... while the Apple TV gets another bashing, these guys are rolling out some cool tooling...

I just got some On the Floor news. Silverlight rocks...its a modload to your system to play it, & that is enclosed in a 1 meg download. The floor quote is "It will kill everything else" in response to high quality over-the-web large format video and surround audio. I asked if SilverLight was a VC-1 codec variant, and they said "VC-1 is integration. you must see this yourself, it is crisp clean and seamless."... hmmm i need to know more. I will bet though that it is VC-1 VBR with a tagging layer and some overlay managers with sync tags and stuff for mouse handling. This is interactive publishing for WMVHD that integrates vector art and therefore lets you scale the outcome in pixel-space. This product launch is really speaking to code-sets and markup availability for convergence. Interact - see - buy stuff - user experience mechanisms that are adoptable by any web community developer system on any (?read: except linux ) platform. The Fact that it can do HD nicely is but one part of its feature-set. In my dreams it would let me realtime mashup and track-over 3-d compositing. The Wait and See is something called Expression Blend that adds whatever you have handy and lets you do what havent thought up yet... because it has its own authoring studio... e.g. this is the WPF/E project.
http://microsoft.com/silverlight = the splash date is April 30, MIX07
VC-1 is already very good. Take for example this clip 30 meg download 720p VC-1 CBR (wmv9) of flames, where each frame is selectively different except for blackspace. No Mpeggy blocking. Its kind of a stress test since it really loads up a player to deliver progressive frames cleanly where the next frame has a changing distribution of compressable content, and there is a lot of gradients that degrade into blocking in when the codec is inferior.
Interaction in the Experience. The next evolutionary step.
For Example: we are developing what we call Curious George Elements ... integrated nuggets of visual epiphany in an awestruck moment of insight and discovery... or basically a cool clever message trinket built into a movie. Based on a visual event or maximizing a product placement, a stroke will launch a mini top layer abstraction treatment. Lots of heavy tagging, and creative mindgaming of motion visuals, and showing off a lot., since basically its the showmanship that value-adds the HD interactive experience.
There is Gold in them there frills...
A HUGE amount of all this fresh video action is really based on the Must-Have nature of the wave this is all riding on... or more accurately, wave after wave after wave in a seeming endless near tsunami of video for the sake of video. User contributed video. Everyone is a potential rockstar. High availability of cool is a magnet for the right-now crowd. To fuel this scenario you need, lots of download speed and bandwidth, a computer and a large flatpanel ( the computer could be that laptop, PS3, Xbox, or soon, the flatpanel itself. ) And of course, the next downloadable player format. ( no listing of real.com, they owned the webvideo market and then shot themselves in the feet with bad marketing ploys so many times that they have no legs - proof that its possible to piss-off your users in droves.)
Currently capable of Higher def and TrueHD display downloads are:
  1. Qucktime 7 (beware of iTunes piggyback download)
  2. Windows Media Player 10 ( very nice, easy )
  3. Divx ( possibly the cleanest player chrome out there )
  4. Joost (Beta - this is all custom stuff, excellent )
  5. Neokast (Beta)


In a booth near you at NAB are the next gen Adobe Media Player flavors ( what no fancy name? ) basically the next level of flash player, with video interaction up front. So far my full screen flash HD videos totally clobber the cpu, and die with no grace whatsoever...., so all video there is in smaller windows, 800x600 being a typical size that will play ok. Adobe is acting really big on all this - sporting a partnership with akamai (broadband high bandwidth video streaming service, anyone with the $$ can partner with them, puleeze what? this is your big deal?).
PR on Adobe.com = uhm. yawn? where is my HD?
The current level of player for flash 9 uses a variant of the On2 codec which has less scene-cut block recovery and gradient blocking problems than earlier versions based purely on jpeggy stuff. Its already quite good, bit it hogs cpu horsepower as the flv player code is a hybrid of Active-x and a true video handler. When the next gen FLV format is truely pure and coding is a layer that has access properly, then all manner of advertizement embedding is available. meaning? Enforced intro-outro ad coding, mouseover product placement ad launching, counting clicks. Those of us us in video can do all that now, but its hard to handle and automate, very custom work .. this new stuff has all the toys built right in, so we are told.
There is something i want to set straight though. DO not credit ADOBE for any huge tech value... It was MACROMEDIA and On2 technologies did the heavy lifting that kicked this off, Adobe was just the buyer in all this... none of the savvy work here was Adobe in-house smarts. My guess is that VP7 integration is in this mix.


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