well, that HDX pic with the Primes looked absolutely terrible (ton of compression artifacts and macroblocking), at least compared to bluray. But then I looked at other action pics and found out that they were equally bad... Is it just HDX, or is it something else?
I had some sort of issue that caused my PSN download to be limited to exactly 2048MB, i.e. the first 43:06 of the film. So I didn't actually get to watch the stupid thing (and videos are limited to one download).
PSN HD download (1080p): 5606MB = 44848Mbits / (1:58:30 = 7110s) = 6.31Mbps total
Details: 6.0Mbps AVC + 256kbps AAC
Blu-ray shots from HighDefDiscNews
Vudu HDX preview on PS3 (one frame each from Theatrical and Extended, respectively)
Vudu 10 Minute Preview download on PS3: 636.0MB = 5088Mbits / (9:40 = 580s) = 8.77Mbps total (1.78:1 AR, cropped)
The colors on the PSN copy are icky, and the Vudu versions of the movie itself are badly aliased as if some joker decided to apply a deinterlacing filter to it.
Weirdly, PSN shots 8, 9 and 10 have an extra line or two on the bottom compared to the Blu-ray but the rest don't.
My desire to compare things must be balanced with my wallet. You're probably not interested in this one since I actually found out about it thanks to your post where you mentioned checking them out.
For anyone else, Sony Pictures is offering the first 9 eps for free on all these services until January 5 as a way to boost interest before it starts airing again. It's also free on CinemaNow, which I can't access so I'm unsure whether it's in HD there.
Amazon .wmv: 2,119,655,287 bytes / 44:09 = 6.40Mbps total
Vudu HDX on PS3: 2.88GB = 23040Mbits / (44:03 = 2653s) = 8.68Mbps total
Zune 1-minute preview stream (one shot)
I'm really disappointed that these services can't get the color consistently correct across all of their content. It's not as if these are going through an analog tape step where they have to set the levels.
Mind explaining why amazon's download service has worse quality than it's 2.5 mbps streaming service? Is it because .wmv sucks?
The encoder implementation and settings are always more important than the actual format. There are terrible-quality H.264 encoders, for example.
I can only speculate of course but to me it looks like Amazon cranks up the deblocking too high. That's just one factor.
Originally Posted by michaeltscott
The downloaded files from Amazon are encoded as VC-1 (according to MediaInfo for files which I own).
That's interesting. I didn't think that MediaInfo could peer into encrypted files, but I see that it also confirms the maximum bitrate being in the 9000kbps range (when audio is subtracted).
msgohan, what's you source of information that Amazon streams are encoded in AVC? If they use VC-1 for the downloads, it's surprising that they'd use AVC for streams.
It's currently possible to download the streams on Windows using some pretty arcane software. Once obtained, the files are unprotected and can be inspected with MediaInfo, etc. The bitrates precisely match what the Rokus' debug mode reports for their highest quality 720p streams, and I also made sure they visually matched. I think I posted a screenshot of the Doctor Who preview to illustrate that.
I believe they would have to use Silverlight instead of Flash in order to utilize VC-1 for the PC streaming?
I had no idea you could even download tv shows in 1080p on some services. Hopefully Amazon and itunes will start to offer them as well?
Has any of these companies ever publicly said what software they use to encode these? If you've ever used x264, you know that you can get some pretty transparent encodes with high quality settings. I don't really feel like itunes and amazon encodes look all that great in comparison to the 1080p hdx encodes. itunes has too many compression artifacts, and amazon, while having a higher bitrate, seems to lack fine detail in comparison to the others. If you look at the faces on the Amazon downloads, you can't make out as much detail compared to the others, and it has a slightly blurry or smeared look.
My ISP does offer faster plans but they would be 4-5 times more expensive. When I first signed up with them this was their second-fastest option and they were offering it for a ridiculously low price for a year. For some reason they decided to extend it another year, so I don't have any intention of switching yet.
Vudu HDX download on PS3: 662.6MB / 10:04 = 8.78Mbps Zune Marketplace HD download on Xbox 360: 762.17MB / 10:16 = 9.90Mbps (1080p with 5.1) Zune preview stream (5 shots) Blu-ray shot from DoBlu
Videos on the Xbox 360 are currently washed out when the UI is output at correct levels. I included histograms to see whether using RGB Expanded output is a decent workaround for Zune videos (with a "display" that expects 16-235 input).
Somewhere there were blog posts noting what format the Zune videos are in. Anyone remember?