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Have suggestions, criticism or praise for the GreenCine community? Post them here. Please maintain a sense of decorum here.
1063

VOD Column in movie listings?
Topic by: jsailor
Posted: September 12, 2003 - 11:08 AM PDT
Last Reply: November 8, 2003 - 11:52 PM PST

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author topic: VOD Column in movie listings?
dpowers
post #41  on September 18, 2003 - 1:47 PM PDT  
hey can you put up a DivX sample clip, too? one without DRM? a few seconds would fall under fair use, right...?

lots of people have said "americans" have poor visual training. i've noticed sometimes people can't tell where analog ends and digital starts when looking at video (not talking about anybody here, right now). okay so it doesn't sound unreasonable the digital seams would be invisible, but, who here can't tell the difference between a vinyl platter scratch and a CD hiccup?

me, if there are pixels, i see them, and i think many people are like that but don't say so. part of the push for digital projection is to beat people like me down with a stick. "think you can see the pixels of the digital effects? ha! we're going to make the entire image look lousy! now try to see the compositing!"

(made me a little upset to read a philosophical something about matrix, inc that excitedly cited the different colors used to distinguish the different "realities" of the movie.

sure, colors have meaning, but tinting was and is used because digital effects are cheaper and seams are easier to hide when a scene is monochromatic and, as the silent filmmakers discovered, tinting tricks people into thinking about color all over the place, especially when the tinting "makes sense", e.g., day/night, heaven/hell, real/dream.)
dpowers
post #42  on September 18, 2003 - 2:24 PM PDT  
please to pretend that last one was not so stuck up, thank you.

(greencine VoD release page)
snafu
post #43  on September 18, 2003 - 7:29 PM PDT  
Having seen a movie now I can say the quality of the movies are a lot higher than that clip. 534 megs for 1:22 minutes had pretty good quality on my 19' monitor at full screen. I have about 512 megs of memory and while watching it was using about 240 of that. The CPU utilization was also pretty high at 50-70% of 1.4Ghz AMD chip. I think a lot will also depend on your video card in my case it was an nVidia Gforce2 MX200. Overall it was an acceptable viewing experience I still prefer to watch DVDs on my projector though ;)


It might be useful to base your comments on the actual films featured here rather than past experience.


dpowers
post #44  on September 18, 2003 - 7:36 PM PDT  
a DivX movie, then, right? which one did you watch?
dpowers
post #45  on September 18, 2003 - 8:02 PM PDT  
an interview with j.(mar)low.

what the @*&$# is the problem with the windows media sample file?
there are two problems. first, for the sample, i picked a section of a title that was slightly ugly. i was so impressed with the encoding quality, i was impressed that it could recreate the entire image with such precision that our rip showed the analog problems with the film stock in full digital glory. it turns out i'm the only person in north america who can tell a film's age by looking at how the color elements have degraded over time or wants to bask in a hi-fi, lo-fi experience.

the second problem is that our sample is a low bitrate stream. we had meant, and had wanted, the stream to switch itself based on the user's connection speed but the first sample file didn't do that. no, i wouldn't want to show a 200kbps movie on a widescreen monitor either. you don't have to do that with any of the real streams, and you won't have to do that with the new sample we're putting up, either.

what bitrates are going to be available for the windows media streams?
there are many people out there with fairly slow broadband connections. generally, whatever the speed someone's connection, we want to have a stream that looks as good as possible at that speed. like i said, though, if your DSL or cable connection is below 512kbps, that's probably not enough bandwidth for a video stream that will look good projected on a wall.

what's with the movie selection?
it will expand, now that people know we're for real.

you were for real before.
we're the first rental company that's offering video-on-demand. we had to show that we could do it.

must have been great, get it up and running, and immediately everybody on the boards is complaining about something.
hard to believe it looking at the boards but there are a lot of people who join greencine just to rent movies. incredible, huh.

you know... i think the forums are a great resource, for greencine. it's like we're an open source project. real customers, avid users, giving us feedback, giving us ideas how to make our service better, and of course, we take it all in. we like having that kind of comfortable relationship with our users.

anything else you want to say.
yeah. you, in particular, stop pestering me! i just finished getting this big project together and suddenly you're stalking me in the forums, calling me on my home telephone, hanging around my neighborhood, stealing my mail. i'm ready to call the cops, you hear me?

what? that wasn't me! i don't know what you're talking about!
sure you don't. i've got pictures of you out there, i know exactly what you look like. i will not let you hurt a hair on my family's head. don't call me again.

i...
you just take care. you don't want to mess with me.

aside from that, you totally owe me a beer for making all this crap up from just a short conversation.
no problemo.

our thanks for being such a hard working, charitable man with a heart of gold and unimaginable depth of knowledge and experience.
one beer, buddy. that's it.
snafu
post #46  on September 18, 2003 - 8:44 PM PDT  
Oh yeah that would have helpe. Yeah it was Divx, I watched F**K the disabled.

> On September 18, 2003 - 7:36 PM PDT dpowers wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> a DivX movie, then, right? which one did you watch?
> ---------------------------------

dpowers
post #47  on September 18, 2003 - 10:56 PM PDT  
how was it, i saw a preview for it a few months ago, it looked like the only movie you need to see this summer or something.
Gradalis
post #48  on September 19, 2003 - 12:23 AM PDT  
an interview with j.(mar)low
I guess I deserved that. Despite the severe paraphrase here and there (particularly in regards to the WM9 demo), I enjoyed your impression of me. Maybe two beers but I draw the line there.
dpowers
post #49  on September 19, 2003 - 7:05 AM PDT  
you came off looking better than i did. at least you're a professional, i'm just clinging to you..........

i have to say the thing that is most exciting about the streaming video project is it's more personal. it isn't the elephantine shopping effort that being a video store usually entails, it's the people behind the movies right there in the catalog looking at me saying, are you going to watch what we made? are you interested? what kind of relationship do we have through the work and the click-and-watch thing?

the news is full of people taking and suing digital bits, but rights are being negotiated for proper payment in a very different way from how DVDs are sold over the counter. it has forced a regrowth.
traam
post #50  on September 19, 2003 - 10:17 AM PDT  
Why divx when svcd mpegs are so much the better and can be played on many dvd players.
dpowers
post #51  on September 19, 2003 - 1:02 PM PDT  
how is SVCD better? resolution is lower, file size is bigger, and "many" isn't nearly "all." it's a really hot sharing format right now but i don't get why.


ps. Despite the severe paraphrase here and there... severe? that's it? i was aiming for cruel and unusual.
underdog
post #52  on September 19, 2003 - 5:11 PM PDT  
> On September 19, 2003 - 10:17 AM PDT traam wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Why divx when svcd mpegs are so much the better and can be played on many dvd players.
> ---------------------------------

Are ya sure you're not thinking of the old, other kind of divx, not DivX? (The name, as a previous poster mentioned, was originally intended as a parody of the crappy old divx, but for some reason stuck.)

Anyway, what dpowers said.
Gradalis
post #53  on September 19, 2003 - 5:42 PM PDT  
http://www.greencine.com/vodSample

For your viewing pleasure, a new (free) sample. Let the punishment begin.

To clarify a few things in advance -- we (BVandemark and myself) attempted to find a sequence that briefly displayed the range of WM9 and our encoding process. Therein, there's a fair amount of movement in these forty-seconds. Yes, we're aware that the sample is in Polish. I'm sure, after such an exciting scene, you'll be compelled to watch the whole movie (with subtitles).

In the days ahead, we'll probably add another sample. I will definitely let you know when it surfaces.
traam
post #54  on September 19, 2003 - 11:24 PM PDT  
> On September 19, 2003 - 1:02 PM PDT dpowers wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> how is SVCD better? resolution is lower, file size is bigger, and "many" isn't nearly "all." it's a really hot sharing format right now but i don't get why.
>
>
> ps. Despite the severe paraphrase here and there... severe? that's it? i was aiming for cruel and unusual.
> ---------------------------------


Divx isnt playable on dvd players and there are far a si know 50 or more codecs for it while svcd is standered and is great quality and only requires one codec (and most i chat with is the preferred format for video trading if you have the bw). And is burnable to cd to play in a dvd player. The key wor dis Burnable to a cd to play in some dvd playerz os you can watch it on the tv. Plus you dont have to hunt down a new codec every time.
traam
post #55  on September 19, 2003 - 11:26 PM PDT  
> On September 19, 2003 - 5:42 PM PDT Gradalis wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> http://www.greencine.com/vodSample
>
> For your viewing pleasure, a new (free) sample. Let the punishment begin.
>
> To clarify a few things in advance -- we (BVandemark and myself) attempted to find a sequence that briefly displayed the range of WM9 and our encoding process. Therein, there's a fair amount of movement in these forty-seconds. Yes, we're aware that the sample is in Polish. I'm sure, after such an exciting scene, you'll be compelled to watch the whole movie (with subtitles).
>
> In the days ahead, we'll probably add another sample. I will definitely let you know when it surfaces.
> ---------------------------------

WM9 anmd anythign that windoes/microsoft has come out with in past experinces stinks and crashes or freezes up or just plain doesnt work right.
hamano
post #56  on September 20, 2003 - 9:17 AM PDT  
I think GreenCine should negotiate with Apple and make the films exclusively available as a Mac download. Look at the success they've had with the iTunes music store!
snafu
post #57  on September 20, 2003 - 1:13 PM PDT  
I doubt the majority of us have Macs. While Macs have some features their price really isn't justified.


> On September 20, 2003 - 9:17 AM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I think GreenCine should negotiate with Apple and make the films exclusively available as a Mac download. Look at the success they've had with the iTunes music store!
> ---------------------------------

snafu
post #58  on September 20, 2003 - 1:15 PM PDT  
This is a rental not a buy, the point of using wmp9 or Divx is that after 10 days you will no longer be able to view the movie something you can't do with a svcd. As for the codec www.divx.com has the only codec you need to play the GC movies so there really isn't any hunting required for watching them.

>
> Divx isnt playable on dvd players and there are far a si know 50 or more codecs for it while svcd is standered and is great quality and only requires one codec (and most i chat with is the preferred format for video trading if you have the bw). And is burnable to cd to play in a dvd player. The key wor dis Burnable to a cd to play in some dvd playerz os you can watch it on the tv. Plus you dont have to hunt down a new codec every time.
>
> ---------------------------------

dpowers
post #59  on September 20, 2003 - 2:39 PM PDT  
yeah, to fit the bill, the software has to turn the movie into a pumpkin at midnight.

windows media 9, divx, and quicktime can all do this, the difference being that only quicktime can currently make pumpkins on both windows boxes and macs. emphasis on currently because WM9 will definitely come to the mac; de-emphasis on "can" because of weird vague vaporish behavior observed by long-time students of apple's video-rights technology.

and what's the deal with the divx player? are they going to provide a mac client or what? the new macs are hot, there are going to be more of them out there.
BVandemark
post #60  on September 23, 2003 - 12:43 PM PDT  
Hello, I am the person who has been encoding most of the recent films for Greencine's WM9 VoD service. I wanted to wanted to provide some suggestions that viewers can consider to get the viewing experience they deserve for their money. I also wanted to pass on some info about these first few steps into our service and where it might be going.

The viewing quality of the downloaded DivX movie is going to better in every case unless you have a cable modem, T1, or faster connection. This is because the WM9 stream quality is only comparable to downloaded DivX if you can play the highest WM9 stream, which right now is varying between 700kbps and 900kbps, depending on the specific movie. If you have a slower connection (including network overhead, 768kbps DSL might not be fast enough!) then the WM9 server will drop you down to a lower quality stream automatically to maintain steady playback. Right now our lower quality streams are ranging from 400kbps-500kbps and these, quite frankly, look like crap.

Based upon this info you might want to just download the DivX. But the nature of the WM9 video, being truly "on-demand" is something of value that we recognize and we would like to deliver at near-VHS or better quality. So we are spending a lot of time experimenting and adjusting the settings of encoding to improve the quality of the WM9. One thing we had to consider was the ability to include multiple streams, where the media server would detect the viewers connection and adjust by providing the best possible stream. At first we used settings that prioritized availability over quality, by encoding the video into 4-stream files with video bitrates at 100kbps, 200kbps, 300kbps, and 500kbps in the same file. This made the WM9 files viewable by just about everyone with a broadband connection, even those with 192kbps DSLs, but all of the streams looked like crap. The lowest stream (100kbps video) looked even worse than crap. After seeing how bad they looked and reading feedback from people who complained about the quality, we decided to prioritize quality over availability. We don't want anyone to pay for such a low-quality experience. So now we are experimenting with two-stream files with the higher stream ranging from 700-900kbps and the lower stream ranging from 400-500kbps. The higher stream is in most cases near-VHS quality. But the lower quality stream still appears kinda cruddy compared to VHS. The intention is to include the 400-500kbps not really for those who have 512kbps DSLs, rather to provide a lower-end stream to fall-back on when a cable-modem viewer is watching the 900kbps stream and experiences temporary network traffic. This keeps the movie playing smoothly to the end under busy net conditions.

We are working toward improving the quality of these streams, but it really depends a lot on bandwidth. We want to approach a more cinematic experience with our VoD service and we want you to have one too, so down the road we will be experimenting with higher and higher bitrates. You will need a lot of bandwidth to enjoy this quality. I just got a new Comcast cable modem at my home that runs at 2.5mbps. Soon more people will have similar connections and could support the delivery of near-DVD quality streams.

So for now to keep it real I would recommend downloading DivX if you have a DSL. If you really have the serious bandwidth then go for the WM9.

bvandy
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