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Video quality - does it have to be awful?

(hope this doesn't show up twice - the forum seems to be having problems again).
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I know there is this lowest-common denominator mentality with most sites that focus on video content. CNET's on cnettv.com is an example of this with the flash player. And Youtube?? Blech.

It seems as though there is a market niche to be filled out there by people who:

A) Have fast broadband
B) Have fast computers
C) Have the software (e.g. Quicktime) to play movies saved in formats with much higher quality (e.g. the H.264 codec)

I understand the cost to the video provider - they pay for data being pulled from their site. Maybe they even have to pay a license fee per video to use an H.264 codec. But I would love for some site to give me the option of HIGH QUALITY content. Maybe I'd have to pay a monthly subscription for it. But I think I'd do it if it means clear, high quality videos.

I can download an entire two and a half minute trailer that is 1920 x 1080 (HD) resolution and only 188 MB using the h.264 codec. You can't tell me that CNET's little 1 minute videos at 320 x 240 wouldn't be a fraction of a fraction of that size and with crystal clear clarity (say that 10 times real fast). Plus, I would have the ability to stop play while it loads and to fast forward or rewind or hop to any section I want. If Apple will allow millions to download 188 MB files at 1920 x 1080, surely CNET and youtube and other sites could charge a nominal fee to let me download H.264 compressed 320 x 240 beauties.

-Kevin

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Collapse -
Whats the point?

In reply to: Video quality - does it have to be awful?

Why do you want more detail in a product review?

Collapse -
I'd like to see detail on the product being reviewed

In reply to: Whats the point?

Figured that was obvious. First of all, the movies are pretty small. But if the quality were higher, I'd at least be able to see some detail better. Check out the Motorola Q video on the cnettv.com, for example. The reviewer talks about the style of the buttons being preferable to the Treo. I've seen a Treo and touched a Treo and know what that's like but from the crappy video quality of the Q review, I can't see any difference. That's just an example.

Regardless, I don't really need that to explain why I'd rather just see clear video. It's my preference and would be willing to pay a reasonable price for it. I imagine you prefer the nice crisp 1440x900 of your laptop to running it at 640 x480 (or whatever the lower res equivalent is on the widescreens). If it can be done without adding a whole lot more bandwidth or cost, it should be offered.

-Kevin

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of Compatability, Compression, and Connection

In reply to: Video quality - does it have to be awful?

(that's alliteration, folks!)

What is the compression factor for flash video? I bet its not that great, but it's pretty compatable with most systems, is that why its used?

I'm personally not a big fan of quicktime. For me its way more hardware intensive (maybe because its got awesome compression) than something like, say Divx (which would be my preference for codec). The best codec probably has the best balance between compression ammount and friendliness to the 'average' hardware.

Finally, connection has to be an issue. Everyone I know has some kind of broadband, but my understanding is that most people still use dialup (just like the HDTV debate). Some sites offer different versions of their video for faster and slower connections. Maybe this would be a better solution than a compromise that's too much for dialup, and not sexy enough for broadband?

Collapse -
Options - yes

In reply to: of Compatability, Compression, and Connection

That's what I'm talkin' about. In fact, I wouldn't mind if, when you logged in and were a "paying customer" it would automatically route you to the version of the site that has the high quality versions of the movies. Or, probably easier just to have the low-res button and the high res button on the same content.

I won't get us into the whole Quicktime versus DiVX versus WMV debate again. That was done to death many months ago. I just threw the H.264 thing out there because it looks amazing and is highly efficient. I have no idea if it is a Quicktime-only codec. Regardless of the format, I just want a higher quality option that shows better detail. But more importantly, I just WANT it to look good whether I need to see detail or not. Can you fault a guy for that? Happy

-Kevin

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Yep

In reply to: of Compatability, Compression, and Connection

I really dislike Quicktime, the standalone version is really annoying, and the browser integration is terrible, a flash based video player is more compatable and i can see why people whould prefer it.

As for HDTV, I see no need for it with most on-line video, you have to provide for the dialup users as well.

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