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Theora 1.1 alpha 1 released
jensend
post Mar 29 2009, 00:06
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Xiph.org has released Theora 1.1 alpha 1. This is the first release to include the rewritten and much improved "Thusnelda" encoder. See Xiph's press release for details; this mailing list post links to binaries.
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HotshotGG
post Apr 1 2009, 13:25
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QUOTE
Tusnelda might be much improved compared to the original (vp3-based?) encoder but the quality is still way below MPEG-4 (SP, ASP, AVC). Xiph really missed the boat on this one. In 2002 they got an agreement with On2 and it took Xiph foundation until the end of 2008 to get a 1.0 release. Six long years and no significant quality improvement. I have the greatest respect for the Xiph coders but in my opinion Theora is a huge failure and to be honest I don't even know why they bother with this severely outdated codec... I know I won't, maybe someone else will?


SP and ASP? Those are still a joke to me. It might be below AVC in terms of being able to scale to HD. Monty did a side by side comparison with H.264 and Thusnelda looked somewhat improved in terms of overall picture quality. I don't know that much about video so I really can't say I know for sure what was improved in the source code. I just know that macro block artifacts are nasty and not very pleasant on the eyes. The problem is only Monty is working on Theora with a small team of independent developers. I am not going to speculate on what Theora can fully achieve or what can be squeezed out the codec. It's not exactly a "huge failure". If it was Mozilla wouldn't be wasting $100,000 to fund development efforts for it.

http://web.mit.edu/xiphmont/Public/theora/demo.html

Monty mentions a "better" alternative similiar to what he had planned to do with Tarkin, but it would require breaking the specs.

This post has been edited by HotshotGG: Apr 1 2009, 13:33


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Kef
post Apr 1 2009, 13:46
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QUOTE (HotshotGG @ Apr 1 2009, 14:25) *
QUOTE
Tusnelda might be much improved compared to the original (vp3-based?) encoder but the quality is still way below MPEG-4 (SP, ASP, AVC). Xiph really missed the boat on this one. In 2002 they got an agreement with On2 and it took Xiph foundation until the end of 2008 to get a 1.0 release. Six long years and no significant quality improvement. I have the greatest respect for the Xiph coders but in my opinion Theora is a huge failure and to be honest I don't even know why they bother with this severely outdated codec... I know I won't, maybe someone else will?


SP and ASP? Those are still a joke to me. It might be below AVC in terms of being able to scale to HD. Monty did a side by side comparison with H.264 and Thusnelda looked somewhat improved in terms of overall picture quality. I don't know that much about video so I really can't say I know for sure what was improved in the source code. I just know that macro block artifacts are nasty and not very pleasant on the eyes. The problem is only Monty is working on Theora with a small team of independent developers. I am not going to speculate on what Theora can fully achieve or what can be squeezed out the codec. It's not exactly a "huge failure". If it was Mozilla wouldn't be wasting $100,000 to fund development efforts for it.

http://web.mit.edu/xiphmont/Public/theora/demo.html

Monty mentions a "better" alternative similiar to what he had planned to do with Tarkin, but it would require breaking the specs.


As we all know, quality is subjective. I based my judgement on my own tests. Did you try out the new Tusnelda encoder? I did some testing and compared with both xvid and H.264. Needless to say, I got so depressed by the poor quality (even at really high bit-rates!) that I just stopped testing after 3-4 different video clips.

I've seen Monty's blog and progress reports and I was really looking forward to this release. I absolutely wish Theora would become an alternative to other codecs because I believe in open source, but from what I've seen it will probably never get there..

I know the small team hurts and not having any funding (besides some smaller donations here and there) is of course not good. I ask myself, where are all the Linux distributors? Where are Ubuntu, Novell & Red Hat? Where are all the companies who would benefit from a kick ass patent-free open source codec???
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NullC
post Apr 3 2009, 16:43
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QUOTE (Kef @ Apr 1 2009, 04:46) *
As we all know, quality is subjective. I based my judgement on my own tests. Did you try out the new Tusnelda encoder? I did some testing and compared with both xvid and H.264. Needless to say, I got so depressed by the poor quality (even at really high bit-rates!) that I just stopped testing after 3-4 different video clips.


"You're doing it wrong."

It sounds like you should be testing Dirac rather than Theora. Dirac is optimized for visually lossless operation at high bitrates.

At higher bitrates the 1.1 alpha has quality limits from using the old non-uniform quantizer matrices even at the higher bitrates and from the leaky forward DCT. Both of these should be resolved in the 1.1 release, but since they don't have much impact on 'webcasting bitrates' and they are tunings rather than infrastructure they've taken a lower priority. Even with these issues fixed, however, Theora has an upper limit which comes from the minimum quantizer step size in the format.

When speaking of quality for lossy video codecs you really do the world a disservice when you don't discuss bitrate in the same breath. Perhaps that should be a HA forum rule. If you don't care about bitrate, then use dirac in lossless mode and never worry about quality again.

The quality/bitrate curve isn't linear for any codec… some codecs work better at low rates, some at high rates, etc. A 40mbit/sec MPEG2 stream is going to look better than Theora (due to the above mentioned quantizer limitations and fDCT) ... but at 400kbit/sec Theora should be blowing away MPEG2. Theora is designed primarily for low bitrates, … the perfectly acceptable talking head/presentation at 150kbit/sec… general web video at a couple hundred kbit/sec. Decent, but not perfect quality at a megabit or two. If you're looking for something transparent, something archive grade... look to Dirac, as I mentioned. (And before you ask… Dirac does pretty poorly at low rates, clearly worse than Theora).

And also, lets be realistic: Theora is not going to beat MPEG-4 AVC, a more recent, more computationally expensive codec, which incorporates new features that cover the few things that Theora has over prior MPEG codecs (for example, in loop deblocking)… and AVC has non-trivial licensing costs. Perhaps the licensing doesn't matter to you, since you'll only be using video for private archival or such… but do recognize that if you discount the licensing you're discounting the principle advantage of Theora according to its maintainers, so you shouldn't be shocked if you find the format lacking.

Joe-random isn't as sensitive to quality as hydrogen audio users. There are list postings where people are declaring the new Theora to be a match for H.264. These people are nuts but they are also representative of the general public. Theora doesn't need to achieve the same bitrate/quality trade-off as H.264 for the licensing advantages to end up being more important… at least to people whom aren't audio/videophiles. It just needs to not completely suck… and thats a lot of what 1.1 is about.

If you think that it's regretful that people will tolerate less than perfect video quality… then please join in and aid the development of unencumbered audio/video codecs. As it stands today most of the public effort in codec development is going to projects like x264; propping up the quality of codecs owned by others.

QUOTE
I've seen Monty's blog and progress reports

I know the small team hurts and not having any funding (besides some smaller donations here and there) is of course not good. I ask myself, where are all the Linux distributors? Where are Ubuntu, Novell & Red Hat? Where are all the companies who would benefit from a kick ass patent-free open source codec???


Redhat employs Monty to work on this stuff. (Though RedHat has had him off on another project for the last few months, but he is working on Theora (and other Xiph projects) again now)

This post has been edited by NullC: Apr 3 2009, 16:45
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Posts in this topic
- jensend   Theora 1.1 alpha 1 released   Mar 29 2009, 00:06
- - smok3   QUOTE (jensend @ Mar 29 2009, 00:06) Xiph...   Mar 29 2009, 20:50
|- - IgorC   QUOTE (smok3 @ Mar 29 2009, 16:50) i can ...   Apr 2 2009, 23:50
|- - NullC   QUOTE (IgorC @ Apr 2 2009, 14:50) QUOTE (...   Apr 3 2009, 23:39
- - Kef   Tusnelda might be much improved compared to the or...   Apr 1 2009, 13:12
- - HotshotGG   QUOTE Tusnelda might be much improved compared to ...   Apr 1 2009, 13:25
|- - Kef   QUOTE (HotshotGG @ Apr 1 2009, 14:25) QUO...   Apr 1 2009, 13:46
|- - bawjaws   QUOTE (Kef @ Apr 1 2009, 04:46) As we all...   Apr 3 2009, 14:33
||- - IgorC   QUOTE (bawjaws @ Apr 3 2009, 10:33) I...   Apr 3 2009, 19:15
||- - NullC   QUOTE (IgorC @ Apr 3 2009, 10:15) Now tal...   Apr 3 2009, 22:31
||- - smok3   QUOTE (IgorC @ Apr 3 2009, 19:15) but it ...   Apr 4 2009, 08:09
||- - bawjaws   QUOTE (IgorC @ Apr 3 2009, 10:15) QUOTE (...   Apr 4 2009, 12:50
||- - DOS386   QUOTE (jensend @ Mar 28 2009, 17:06) Xiph...   Apr 7 2009, 02:11
||- - vlada   QUOTE (IgorC @ Apr 3 2009, 19:15) In two ...   Apr 9 2009, 14:23
|- - NullC   QUOTE (Kef @ Apr 1 2009, 04:46) As we all...   Apr 3 2009, 16:43
- - HotshotGG   QUOTE As we all know, quality is subjective. I bas...   Apr 1 2009, 16:12
- - smok3   it's not the goal to beat AVC, it just have to...   Apr 1 2009, 21:20
- - smok3   QUOTE (NullC @ Apr 3 2009, 23:39) What wa...   Apr 4 2009, 07:40
|- - NullC   QUOTE (smok3 @ Apr 3 2009, 22:40) QUOTE (...   Apr 4 2009, 08:54
- - smok3   QUOTE (IgorC @ Apr 2 2009, 23:50) QUOTE (...   Apr 4 2009, 08:04
- - smok3   if it looks like streaming and behaves like stream...   Apr 4 2009, 09:31
- - IgorC   The standards like MPEG ASP, H.263/+/++, H.264 are...   Apr 4 2009, 22:42
- - smok3   the only experience with dirac i have is with two ...   Apr 9 2009, 11:40
- - IgorC   1. not 4. Up to 6 (1920*1080)/(720*480). 2. Intra ...   Apr 10 2009, 00:10
- - jensend   LWN has a good writeup on the subject: http://lwn...   Apr 11 2009, 16:44
- - jetpower   Theora needs Adaptive Quantization - ask Dark Shik...   Apr 11 2009, 17:35
- - smok3   jensend: i would certainly prefer some (best of th...   Apr 11 2009, 20:06
- - fpi   There is another status update with recent improve...   May 13 2009, 09:57
- - smok3   why would one plot psnr graphs and then negate the...   May 13 2009, 20:29
|- - bawjaws   QUOTE (smok3 @ May 13 2009, 11:29) why wo...   May 14 2009, 16:17
|- - fpi   Theora 1.1 alpha 2 was also released: libtheora 1....   May 27 2009, 11:44
- - smok3   firefox 3.5 released. http://firefox.com/   Jul 16 2009, 00:58
- - 2E7AH   Theora 1.1.0 released http://lists.xiph.org/piperm...   Sep 25 2009, 16:11


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