Archive for the ‘Revision3’ Category

Apple Quicktime vs. Theora vs. Xvid

For all you super geeks I need pre-face this with “No this isn’t a benchmark shoot out!”. Sorry. Basically it’s just me expounding on a subject that I have some knowledge of and born of a conversation with a buddy who can’t give me a good reason why he thinks Quicktime sucks. He has his opinion and he is entitled to it. I’ve simply decided to lay my thinking on the subject out on the table.

I like Quicktime. It has a very sharp, even at low res and high compression, image quality. It streams nicely and the associate player/software is very well done. Simple to use and mostly non-invasive(ok some windows startup stuff). It’s free to use for playback and you gotta pay for encoding etc. Most of the non-free stuff is enforced just through the player and not via the codec so there is a free version called Quicktime Alternative that has stripped the codec out and paired it with Media Player Classic for windows as a player and the codec can be used by other players. I also own a Mac personally which comes with Quicktime kind of integrated and it works flawlessly. Quicktime Pro is not all that expensive at like $30 so if you just can’t deal on the free end it isn’t exactly going to break the bank to go Pro. For me this is the way to go. Multi-Platform, sharp, high quality, and free options if need be.

Xvid is the next most popular codec but only because it is free and has been picked up and fostered by the pirate community. It makes video look darn good and compress down small which is ideal for shuttleing around those free’d hollywood films. It doesn’t have a specific player packaged with it and is a stand alone codec. One thing that I’m sure some have managed to make it do but that is not done widely is to make it stream. There is no easy straight forward process to do that. This seems to be it’s biggest downfall. Well, that and it’s user base. Don’t get me wrong I love to catch a flick before it comes out but that isn’t going to make this the first place I go when I need to put some legal media on the internet. I guess the main up side to this is that there are open source implimentations which makes this better for the Linux community to impliment but that doesn’t help the rest of us a whole lot if some one doesnt figure out how to move it in to a more professional easier to use framework.

Last but not least Theora. Theora is the Ogg implimentation for video. To be honest I’m not sure why this doesn’t see more wide spread use. Ogg offers higher quality audio at lower bit rate/compressions and I’ve seen Theora make some small files come out looking great. So what’s the deal? The website has cross platform binaries available and the project is open source. So why is this stuck in a similar situation as Xvid? It suffers from the same short comings as Xvid in that it is not widely used despite being free. It came about shortly after Xvid and I think that has detracted a lot of attention from it. I think it comes down to marketing. They have to drop this in to a single drop and go player package for all platforms and then advertise the crap out of it by making version submission posts to slashdot etc.

So there it is. Lack of streaming along with a lack of a ‘just works’ sort of package from Xvid and Theora are the things that really make those two fall short for me. Xvid is good but I’m sure that Theora can best Xvid in quality. Now if only it were in more wide spread use.

Brain Scatter

So today my brain is all over the place. I’m having trouble staying focused. This is pretty typical when I get immersed in such things as Zelda Twilight Princess, Mario Paper and Rampage: Total Destruction. I don’t know to many people who focus particularly well when sleep deprived. Is this a bad thing, I’m not sure. It does mean that I read a lot about many different things and so I’m left with a lot of little chunks of info to share.

The first thing is Linux/Geek related. just featured an article on the project. It’s based on BSD so you know it’s solid. It’s released under the BSD license so it’s free and the best part is that it’s small and fast. I just happened uppon a couple of router boards recently and had been looking at an NSLU2 from linksys. Now I don’t have to pick one up and my NAS can go wireless with easy. I’m sure I’ll post some info on how that project comes together.

Thanks to the InDigital video podcast that pointed me to what will probably become a focal point for my future media center if the Sling doesn’t work out so well. A company named TAVI makes this portable media player that looks a lot like a Gameboy Advance SP but is slightly larger and does a heck of a lot more. The new revision 030 is set to replace the 020 which looks like it all ready does the same thing. I’m sure there is some significant difference I missed but either way these things will play back almost anything and they will do it even at high def resolutions on your TV. Throw in 6 hours of video playback(thats 2.5-3 movies) and the thing isn’t to shabby on the road. How sweet is that?

As if I don’t have enough to play to keep me up nights there are still the likes of Call of Duty 3, Wario Ware Smooth Moves and I’ll probably try something different eventually like Trauma Center. Don’t get me started on DS games or PC games. What’s a guy to do? Oh thats right! Look to the future. Xbox 360 revision 2 is on the way with a new lower price, cooler running and DVI built in. Oh what fun! At the very least I’ll wait till Halo 3 comes out. We’ll see how long I can hold out once that happens. MS is also working on sweetening the deal with IP TV and tivo like features. Jinkys!

Well thats part of the jumble. Unfortunately I don’t have time to sort any other thoughts. I’ll try to come back in later and link things up real nice. Till then Google is your best friend. Peace!