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HDV vs AVCHD

by JonTitor / March 6, 2009 9:11 AM PST

So I was looking into buying an affordable HD camcorder, I am deciding between which format to get. AVCHD looks more advanced with H.264 encoding and being able to write on digital media like SDHC cards are nice, but one reason I was considering HDV is because of the Mpeg2 encoding, obviously I'll be using HD for myself either way, but if I'm going to share the videos, it would be on DVD-Video, so my question is, is it noticeably faster to downsample HDV to DVD-Video since they both use Mpeg2, as opposed to AVCHD?

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Just to clarify...
by whizkid454 / March 6, 2009 10:32 AM PST
In reply to: HDV vs AVCHD

AVCHD is the MPEG2 variant. HDV is its own kind, usually audio video interleave (avi) once on the computer. Both will take a certain amount of time to downsample depending on your computer.

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not sure where you got your information
by JonTitor / March 6, 2009 1:21 PM PST
In reply to: Just to clarify...

I'm pretty sure AVCHD is based on H.264 and HDV on Mpeg2, besides logically it wouldn't make sense the other way around, HDV uses tapes and you can't record H.264/MPeg4 in a linear fashion. Anyway, obviously it would take a certain amount of time, but I'm asking if HDV is faster, because otherwise I'd go with AVCHD

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yeah
by chickenorfish / March 6, 2009 10:50 PM PST

yeah, hdv is mpeg2 and avchd is h264. typically, hdv is easier to work with and will take less time to encode

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Some thoughts.
by whizkid454 / March 7, 2009 5:01 AM PST
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AVCHD#Overview

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDV#Specifications

Since you were talking about what happens once the video is on the computer and ready to prepare for DVD, I used the idea that if you imported HDV into any video editing program, it would (usually) be imported into an audio/video interleave file. After importing AVCHD (which records using H.264), one (usually) outputs that video to an MPEG2 file. Of course, people can choose which formats they like, but depending on what you already have laid out, conversion times can be mixed.

Sorry to get you confused.
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does hd-dvd use mpeg2?
by chickenorfish / March 7, 2009 7:35 AM PST
In reply to: Some thoughts.

does hd-dvd use mpeg2 for the encoding? if it does, it would seem that the hdv format would be ideal as you wont have to convert to a different format for it to be burned to a hd-dvd

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I wouldn't worry too much about HD-DVD.
by whizkid454 / March 7, 2009 10:50 AM PST
In reply to: does hd-dvd use mpeg2?

We'll be seeing hardly any of it in a year or two. But, those HD discs can be very finicky with what it can tolerate due to all of the DRM and other restrictions. So it really depends. I do not have the information to support or deny that MPEG2 is used by high def DVDs.

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HD-DVD
by Johnny Mac 7 / November 20, 2009 6:26 PM PST
In reply to: does hd-dvd use mpeg2?

I have a Canon AVCHD camcorder and I use Pinnacle Studio 11 Plus for video editing on a slow Intel Core 2 Duo computer. I've burnt AVCHD and HD-DVD on standard DVDs in HD quality. A 43 minute video took over 7 hours to process and burn in AVCHD format. The same video took about 2 hours to process and burn in HD-DVD format and it looked better. It was recorded at the XP+ setting which is the best quality at 1440 x 1080 resolution. My computer can't do 1920 x 1080 resolution. While my BD player will play the AVCHD disk it doesn't recognize disc menus or chapters. My HD-DVD player does, so for now all my Canon video files will become HD-DVDs. By the way, since I have both BD & HD-DVD, the superior format lost the war.

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And to answer the question...
by whizkid454 / March 7, 2009 5:03 AM PST

AVCHD does require more processing power than HDV. But again, it depends on your starting format and your end result (and everything in between.) A weaker processor may have an easier time with HDV, whereas a stronger processor may be just fine for AVCHD.

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HDV vs AVCHD from my professional prespective
by hackinsat / January 16, 2010 11:23 AM PST

I am a video professional, and use both AVCHD formats as well as HDV.
I have Sony HDV cameras, and a JVC AVCHD.
First the technical specs.
HDV is a 1080i format, that encodes at a resolution of 1440x1080.
The compression is MPG2 IPB frame with a color space 4:2:0
The data rate is fixed @ 25mbit.

AVCHD is encoded as H.264, which is MPG4
Most AVCHD cameras will claim full 1080, and some will claim 1080p output. They are all recording as a 1080i frame, and converting to 1080p when using the hdmi output. (My HDV equipment does the same, sends it to the tv as a 1080p signal over hdmi) The resolution is 1920x1080, so technically this would be a slightly sharper picture than the 1440x1080 that HDV records.
My JVC camera has 4 compression settings. 5meg, 12 meg, 15 meg and a whopping 24 meg.
The 3 lower bit rates are directly compatable with the AVCHD standard for optical disks, so disks made can directly be played on bluray players. The 24 meg format is over the spec for AVCHD, and can only be burned to real BDR disks, or transcoded to a lower bitrate for recording on conventional DVD-R media with compatability with blu ray players.

Most editing software these days will handle both HDV and AVCHD formats.
When I have done side by side tests comparing my AVCHD camera to my HDV cameras, I am hard pressed to see any real difference. They are very good. When it comes to editing, the AVC format is moch more finicky to work with. If is it a single camera personal video, then I may shoot it on my flash memory camera just because it is convient. If I am shooting anything 2 camera, or any commercial shoots that I know I am going to need to edit, then I shoot HDV, and leave the AVC camera at home. Why? The editing process for HDV is no different than for shooting DV. I plug the player into my old tired work station, and fire up Adobe Premiere pro, and capture my clips no differently than working with DV. In the background Cineform is making I frame versions of the IPB stream. Now I have frame accurate files that I can edit, in real time just like working with standard definition.
It is fast, accurate and has an unbeatable picture.

All of the consumer editing programs I have tried for AVCHD are so bloody limited that someone with my background has a real hard time figuring our how to so the simplest things. Once the project is edited I can output in whatever format I want. I can send it back to HDV which is whet I archive my material in, and I can also output an SD version for DVD distribution and AVCHD version for distribution on conventional DVDs that play i9n HD on bluray players.
@ 10 megs 60 minutes will go on a 4.7g disk. 2 hours will fit nicely on a dual layer disk.
Rendering takes about 3 hours for a 60 minute production shot and edited in HDV.
Now, if I had 60 minutes shot on AVCHD, take that time and multiply it by 3 and you get an idea how long it takes to render out from MPG4.
Basic cuts takes less time, but if there are transitions and effects, this really drags the system down to a crawl.

Another thing, I just happen to like tape. It is cheap, and you always have a reliable backup.
I keep all my master tapes just incase I ever need to go back and rework something, or need a shot that I know I have. Digital media is far too expensive to store (SD cards) and DVD's and hard drives are not reliable for long time storage. DVDs are easily damages by exposure to light, hard drives, lets not go there. Tape is reliable. I have tapes I recorded in the early 80's and they all play fine.

I also forgot to point out that due to the compression, h.264 video tends to degrade quickly with multi pass editing, or re-encoding
HDV since the compression is much lower stands up much better during the editing process.

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AVCHD vs. HDV transcoding speeds
by BarefootMedia / March 9, 2009 9:20 AM PDT
In reply to: HDV vs AVCHD

The HDV recording captured to your computer hard drive is essentially an MPG2 recording. The H.264 compression isn't that much different from MPG2 compression. But to answer your question about transcoding from High Definition video into standard video, the source format matters less than the software you choose to use. And the speed of transcoding is also determined by the quality of the output. It takes hardly any time to transcode into a format for your phone. But if you want the best image on your family's DVD player (isn't that image quality why you bought the HD gear in the first place?) then you'll get your best compression using a slow, at least a two pass compression codec.

But one thing AVCHD has over HDV and MPG2 is a much better quality image at a greater definition. So when you start making the DVD for your family, you'll start with a better image using AVCHD going to flash memory than HDV going to videotape. And I can't stress too much that software is the determining factor here. And the software varies with the output quality you set.

So good luck with your choice.

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Some confusion here
by Predrag Vasic / April 30, 2009 8:08 AM PDT

..."But if you want the best image on your family's DVD player (isn't that image quality why you bought the HD gear in the first place?) then you'll get your best compression using a slow, at least a two pass compression codec."

HD gear would be wasted on a standard-definition DVD. If you want to see your footage in HD, you have to burn it in Blu-ray format. Otherwise, no point in getting AVCHD, nor HDV.

If you do need to downsample your HD stuff to standard-def, it really won't matter if the source is AVCHD or HDV; the tame it takes to encode the video into the Standard-def MPEG-2 will be the same.

AVCHD has established itself as the format of the future. HDV is dying and it is hard to find more than one single token HDV model among consumer camcorder manufacturers. Vast majority are now AVCHD for a reason.

As for the two compression technologies, MPEG-2 (HDV) is old and proven, easy to edit, but is inefficient and takes up more bandwidth. AVCHD is new, modern, ultra-efficient codec, but requires a lot of computer processing muscle even for decoding (i.e. playback). There's plenty of software out there that can edit both of these.

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some debate...
by boya84 / May 1, 2009 6:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Some confusion here
HD gear would be wasted on a standard-definition DVD. If you want to see your footage in HD, you have to burn it in Blu-ray format. Otherwise, no point in getting AVCHD, nor HDV.
Disagree. The high definition downsampled to standard definition burned to a regular DVD playable in a regular DVD player looks a lot sharper than if the video was originally standard definition. BluRay "burning" is not required. AVCHD (h.264) data files can be burned to regular single layer or double layer non-BluRay DVD blanks and played back on BluRay capable players (including PS3s). As well, one can skip discs entirely (as I am doing) and have the high definition video file on a computer or "media center" device (like an AppleTV) for storage and playback on a HDTV - in high definition.

If you do need to downsample your HD stuff to standard-def, it really won't matter if the source is AVCHD or HDV; the tame it takes to encode the video into the Standard-def MPEG-2 will be the same.
Agree.

AVCHD has established itself as the format of the future. HDV is dying and it is hard to find more than one single token HDV model among consumer camcorder manufacturers. Vast majority are now AVCHD for a reason.
Disagree. AVCHD *may* be the future when the compression problems are dealt with and the process flow issues for storing video is resolved, but when THAT happens, it will be a different AVCHD. The current AVCHD implementation is immature. The BIGGEST reason AVCHD has overtaken the consumer camcorder market is because it is cheaper to make the cameras so the manufacturers get better margins. That too many consumers are satisfied with "good enough" video quality from AVCHD based camcorders and a misconception that hard disc drive and flash memory camcorders are somehow "more digital" than miniDV tape will help kill the currently better technology. If the technology were indeed better, the professional side of the equation would have jumped first. They have not. There are some Panasonic pro cams that use AVCHD - but they are not at the anemic consumer 17mbps data rate - they are at a 24 mbps data rate. The target is HDV's 25mbps (or better). At that point, just skip AVCHD and use HDV. There are some other Panasonic cams that do that - like the P2 card flash memory units (HVX200, etc).

AVCHD is a fine compression for the LAST step of the process (when rendering the final project). As the first step - as with consumer standard definition DVD camcorders recording to VOB files - it is a bad idea if video quality and access for editing is important.

As for the two compression technologies, MPEG-2 (HDV) is old and proven, easy to edit, but is inefficient and takes up more bandwidth. AVCHD is new, modern, ultra-efficient codec, but requires a lot of computer processing muscle even for decoding (i.e. playback). There's plenty of software out there that can edit both of these.
Agree, Disagree, Agree, Disagree. HDV is indeed proven and continues to be the choice for those who want "best available video quality". There is *some* software out there - not a lot. For regular consumers looking for cheap, the tendency is to use that which is bundled. Apple's iMovie '08 or newer can deal with the MTS files - Microsoft MovieMaker cannot. Beyond that, the normal suspects fall in line - Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas, Apple FinalCut and a few others. The number of video editor titles that can deal with whichever format is irrelevant - the QUALITY of the video editors available to deal with the MTS (or HDV) format matters. Most video editors (including certain Vista/MovieMaker configurations) can deal with HDV. The hardware configuration (for both AVCHD and HDV) of the computer is very important (as you have noted). Fast CPU, lots of RAM and tons of available hard disc space are keys to effectively editing either video file type.
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Please Help
by Esw88 / May 3, 2009 6:17 AM PDT
In reply to: some debate...

I am sorry guys but I guess I have allowed some of the new technology regarding camcorders and video to pass me by. As a result I have difficulty understanding what you are talking about.

So, if you respond and I hope you do, please use newbie terms.

I went looking for a camcorder yesterday at J&R. Salesperson showed me a standard def Sony and a High Def Sony. Of course she suggested the HD, even though the optical zoom was much better on the SD.

Today reading the fine print in a Sony print ad, I believe it said that HD camcorders record in AVCHD format and they cannot be played in regular DVD players, only Blue Ray or Playstation, or PCs with certain software.
I do not have a Blue Ray and I want to be able to make copies of the DVDs I burn to give them to family to be played on regular DVD players.

Of course the salesperson failed to mention this. Any advice, Thanks

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Same thing I'm looking for
by skeeterbug69 / May 3, 2009 6:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Please Help

This is the exact thing I am trying to find out. How to burn them so I can watch them on my regular DVD player or share them with others.

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dvd recording
by JonTitor / May 3, 2009 9:10 AM PDT

best way in terms of quality is probably using some software on the computer but fastest and easiest from what I see is using a DVD recorder, one advantage of a lot of HDV camcorder's I've seen is that they have iLink which a lot of DVD recorders also have, and many of these camcorders seem to be able to output SD through iLink as well, what I'm wondering is if it using the iLink is any faster than recording realtime with the s-video or other cables, of if it's just a quality matter

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The salesperson at J&R
by boya84 / May 3, 2009 11:31 AM PDT
In reply to: Please Help

was correct...

"Today reading the fine print in a Sony print ad, I believe it said that HD camcorders record in AVCHD format and they cannot be played in regular DVD players, only Blue Ray or Playstation, or PCs with certain software.
I do not have a Blue Ray and I want to be able to make copies of the DVDs I burn to give them to family to be played on regular DVD players."


For the most part ALL consumer hard disc drive (HDD) and flash memory high definition camcorders use AVCHD compression.

When you import the AVCHD/MTS file to your video editor, the first step is to decompress that video so the editor can deal with it - the same happens with HDV. After you finish editing you have more than one rendering step - depending on the playback method and mechanism.

1) If you are outputting to a blank DVD you can save as an AVCHD - h.264 data file and burn that to a single layer, double layer or BluRay blank disc - which you use depends on what your computer is capable of burning to... Burning this type of data file can only be played back using a BluRay player - or your computer.

2) If you use a DVD authoring tool (like WinDVD or iDVD) it will downsample the video to standard definition playable in a regular DVD. The DVD authoring tool will create the required VOB video format that regular DVD players can deal with.

3) If you render a "standard definition data file" from your computer to a computer readable file (MOV or AVI), it is downsampled - and not readable in a regular DVD, but computer-readable - this can be AVI, WMV, MOV or MP4 format - among others.

4) If you render to a high definition data file, similar to #3, it cannot be read by the regular DVD player, but uploading to YouTube or Vimeo will allow high definition playback online. h.264 (MOV or AVI) is common.

Yes, BluRay readable AVCHD/MTS files can also be played on a PS3.

Optical zoom has little to do with a camcorder's "video quality".

You do not need a BluRay burner and you do not need a BluRay Player - unless you are wanting to NOT edit and merely copy AVCHD/MTS files from the camcorder source hard drive to a blank (soon to be) data DVD... OR if the video segments are too long to fit on a single layer (4.7 gig) or double layer (8.5 gig blank. BluRay blanks star at 25 gig. High definition video is about 4x more than standard definition video.

While we're at it, the software included in the box with any camcorder is useless and should not be installed... it is unnecessary. Windows MovieMaker cannot deal with AVCHD; only under certain conditions can deal with HDV... Apple iMovie '08 or newer is required to deal with AVCHD running on an Intel Mac. In the Windows/Vista environment, Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere float to the top - with Macintosh, iMovie '08 or newer or the current versions of FinalCut make the grade for AVCHD - iMovie and Final Cut have been dealing with HDV for years.

Due to lowest $/gig, long archive shelf life, and MANY other reasons, I suggest you skip hard drive camcorders... miniDV tape continues to be king - whether you want it to or not and the process flow for HDD and flash memory continues to be challenging - no matter what the manufacturers want you to think.

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RE: JR Salesperson
by Esw88 / May 3, 2009 11:29 PM PDT
In reply to: The salesperson at J&R

You said: "If you use a DVD authoring tool (like WinDVD or iDVD) it will downsample the video to standard definition playable in a regular DVD. The DVD authoring tool will create the required VOB video format that regular DVD players can deal with."

So that means my video is now in SD on a regular DVD?

If that is the case, what is the advantage of using the High Def recorder in the first place? Would it not be the same with a SD camcorder?


What did you mean by "soon to be data DVD?

It was so easy years ago:
Record the video.
Connect the camcorder to the VCR and copy the video to VHS tape.
PLay it on any VCR.
Make multiple copies for friends and family.

I want to be ablke to do that now!!!

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I you have no plans to edit,
by boya84 / May 4, 2009 1:19 AM PDT
In reply to: RE: JR Salesperson

and want merely to copy files to share the here and now - like you did the VHS days, then there is little reason (except perhaps personal consumption) to capture high definition. There are many standard definition camcorders from which to choose.

"So that means my video is now in SD on a regular DVD?"
Yes. That is what will playback on regular DVD players.

DVD blank discs can be used more than one way.
1) As a DVD player readable disc - the standard definition file format is VOB. This is the file format they can understand.

2) As a "data storage" media like a hard drive or USB "thumb drive" or in the earlier days of computers, as a floppy disc. The "data DVD" can hold computer-readable files which won't be usable in a regular DVD player.

So... if you want to be able to follow your stated process flow, you can continue to do that. ALL camcorders come with an AV cable. Connect that to the camcorder's AV port and the VHS AV-in jack. Press record on the VHS deck and press play on the camcorder. Make multiple copies. Play it on any VHS VCR. No computer required. There are also "Direct To DVD" burners that connect similarly (with the AV cable) or with a firewire cable where you can do essentially the same thing. Again, no computer required; multiple copies possible.

It is as simple today as it was before - just more choices.

Personally, I like taking advantage of the available technology and editing... and producing stuff that has fades and wipes and subtitles or credits and music tracks and stuff - even for vacation or other home-shot video.

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Re: Editing or Copying
by Esw88 / May 4, 2009 6:25 AM PDT

Thank you for your response, I finally understood something.
As far as using VHS now, that I dont want to do. I just wanted the same easy type of project.
I want to transfer (burn) the video on the camcorder to a DVD and then make the multiple copies for my family.
After making one copy of a DVD I assume with the right software I could make copies in my computer.
I purchased Roxio Creator 2009 for that purpose, but sadly it is giving me all kinds of trouble.

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Glad to help.
by boya84 / May 4, 2009 6:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Editing or Copying

Yes, in theory, once you make one disc, you can duplicate it.

Do the family members you would be sharing this video with have access to computers? If yes, you *could* provide them links to the video rather than burning discs...

Even YouTube videos have the ability to limit the access only to those you specify - as does Vimeo - with password protection (most of these video sites allow this "privacy"). And most allow high quality or high definition video uploads and playback. This lets you skip the plastic burning mode and stamps and DVD envelops and post office stuff.

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Thank You
by dpulley17 / November 6, 2009 3:44 PM PST
In reply to: The salesperson at J&R

You confirmed, my thought's on alot of things. That's why I'm sticking with my Canon HV30. I love the fact that I have miniDV tapes for recording and archiving my videos. When the hard drive and flash drive SD and HD camcorders started coming out, my only thought was "what are people going to do, when they want to archive thier video. Yeah you can keep burning video data files to DVD's or burn a actual DVD to play on a console player and also buy external hardrives.
That stuff can get costly, even though all of that stuff is getting cheaper and cheaper. With my HDV camera, I can do all of that along with recording any edit video, back to the HDV camcorder to store on tape. Perfect for me,.

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HDV vs AVCHD
by JohnsonDion1 / January 15, 2012 7:12 PM PST
In reply to: HDV vs AVCHD

HDV is clearly better than AVCHD and its also a considerable amount cheaper. The only reason it seems that AVCHD triumphed over HDV was due to the fact that they could be manufactured for less, so therefore you buy them for less. Technically speaking HDV records in a unique recording formant however these formats can be changed without any quality loss by using VLC. Its almost tragic how there are no more consumer HDV's being made any-more, however they can be bought for less online. Remember HDV is still used by professionals today and has been for years so if your having trouble deciding defiantly go for HDV.

Note: This post was edited by a forum moderator to remove email address to prevent abuse by others and spam harvesters on 01/17/2012 at 9:09 AM PT

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