Best possible Netflix streaming device - Page 25 - AVS Forum
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post #721 of 1305 Old 12-22-2011, 07:44 AM
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I'd start in your player model's main thread. Most Sonys are the same DLNA-wise and can stream about anything from Serviio (a free DLNA server) just as well as xbox or PS3.
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post #722 of 1305 Old 12-27-2011, 10:06 AM
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My parents say the Panasonic DMP-BDT210 I got them periodically has a 1 second (or so) blip in the stream where the screen goes black. Is this the player re-adjusting the quality of the stream or is something else going on?

I know the PS3 just switches seamlessly but I'm not sure if the Panny does that or not, or if the blip is something else happening.
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post #723 of 1305 Old 12-27-2011, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mproper View Post

My parents say the Panasonic DMP-BDT210 I got them periodically has a 1 second (or so) blip in the stream where the screen goes black. Is this the player re-adjusting the quality of the stream or is something else going on?

I know the PS3 just switches seamlessly but I'm not sure if the Panny does that or not, or if the blip is something else happening.

It is the Panny adjusting quality, a common complaint for the x10 series and Netflix.
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post #724 of 1305 Old 12-30-2011, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moxie1617 View Post

It is the Panny adjusting quality, a common complaint for the x10 series and Netflix.

Thanks.

Is there an updated list of current 1080p/5.1 players somewhere? I am assuming there are more now besides the PS3 and Roku 2....

I am thinking of replacing my PS3 as a Blu-ray player since it's developing some fan noise issues that are starting to become distracting and I'm not sure I want a BD player/streamer (if there is a decent one) or a BD player and a Roku.
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post #725 of 1305 Old 12-30-2011, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mproper View Post

Is there an updated list of current 1080p/5.1 players somewhere? I am assuming there are more now besides the PS3 and Roku 2....

See "When is 1080P Netflix coming to my device?" at techofthehub.com (AVS Forum member RangerOne's blog) for some information on that. He's been updating it as new information rolls in.

Note that you wouldn't necessarily see the infamous "black flashes" problem on a BDTx10. If you always get a rock solid connection to Netflix's servers (which never dips below the 5 Mbps that needs for 720p streams) you probably will never or rarely see it. (Other things may also cause it, such as overloaded Netflix servers--that factor may cause many more people to experience it over the holidays). I enjoy my Roku 2, but if the BDT110 could display the 1080p streams, it'd be my favorite Netflix player. I like its UI tons more than Roku's.

If you're worried about it, buy one from Amazon, try it and if you see the problem and it bothers you, box it up and return it no charge; you can legitimately claim that it's unacceptably buggy so they'll pay return post . It's otherwise one of the very best 3D BD players on the market: hometheaterhifi.com gave it a glowing recommendation.

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post #726 of 1305 Old 12-31-2011, 06:51 AM
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I'm not worried about the buffering since my connection is fine (25+ on Fios) but can't go back to 720p after using the 1080p streams.

Thanks for the link. Looks like I'm out of luck for a Blu-ray player that does it at the moment.
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post #727 of 1305 Old 01-02-2012, 04:36 PM
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Just became a member recently so have been doing a lot of browsing this site. I've had a Roku now for about a year, and am pretty pleased with it. I'm also a member of the Roku forum (http://forums.roku.com/viewforum.php?f=28). One of the things I see there are the moderators constnatly telling folks to not compare the streaming from their other devics to what they get via the Roku because each device is being routed to its own CDN. If that is true then the first four or five pages of this thread are almost irrelevant. I have to admit, I've bought into this since I also have a wii and the streaming of netflix on it is always flawless, whereas from the Roku I get occassional rebuffering, both devices wirelessly connected to the same network over a cable connection of 15mbps.
Can anyone here verify that the CDN info is coded into each device? This may have been covered somewhere in this thread but I wasn't patient enough to read through all pages/posts.

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post #728 of 1305 Old 01-02-2012, 05:01 PM
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I would disregard that advice from Roku, at least in terms of choosing which device to buy. Ultimately, it doesn't matter if the hardware is at fault or the CDN that the hardware has to connect to. People on technicals forums like this enjoy discussing the intricacies. But in the end we are all stuck with the hardware/CDN combos that are on the market. In other words, the comparison is perfectly valid.

Granted, I don't think each device gets it own CDN. There are only a few different types of streams. Some devices though are dependent on servers run by the manufacturer, but only for some of the browsing experience. As far as I know, all streams are served from netflix contracted CDNs.
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post #729 of 1305 Old 01-02-2012, 05:42 PM
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By different CDN, are you talking Akamai versus Amazon or Limelight, etc? I'm pretty sure that Netflix is only using Amazon CloudFront now.

What I can believe is that the various different sets of encodings are located on different servers which may be in different locations.
As I just stated in another thread there have been four different sets of encodings maintained simultaneously: one for the PC, one that was being used by only the Xbox and TiVo AFAICT, one used by the PS3 and a small but growing number of other devices and one used by everything else. I believe that they're slowly migrating everything to the set introduced with the installed PS3 player; those feature separated video and sound, available 5.1 DD Plus audio*, closed captions/soft subs* (* = for some titles) and 1080p encodings (not all devices using it can play 1080p yet). I think that the PC is using that set and Xbox just switched with the recent dashboard update. So, if you have one device that uses one set and another device which uses a different set, I can see where you might not be able to accurately compare the service that they get.

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post #730 of 1305 Old 01-03-2012, 06:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

See "When is 1080P Netflix coming to my device?" at techofthehub.com (AVS Forum member RangerOne's blog) for some information on that. He's been updating it as new information rolls in.

Thanks for this link.

In retrospect, I'm sure glad I didn't buy the Oppo brp-93 I was considering on Page 1 since reportedly they have no intention of upgrading to receive the 1080p streams. Still hoping for the new Apple TV3 one day...
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post #731 of 1305 Old 01-03-2012, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

... So, if you have one device that uses one set and another device which uses a different set, I can see where you might not be able to accurately compare the service that they get.

We should probably clarify this so that it makes sense to both streaming technology geeks and normal people.

If trying to analyze a narrow portion of the chain of technology that delivers a stream, different CDNs complicate those specific comparisons. If devices rely on different CDNs, then more lengthy testing is needed to ensure a fair comparison is made. One CDN could be performing badly at any given moment, but on average it could be a more reliable CDN.

However I would still consider it a valid comparison, likely even the most useful comparison possible for average consumers. Granted, it is necessary to make sure the tests are run enough times to provide meaningful results. In the end, most people are concerned with whether a device will stream video reliably and if it looks and sounds good. It doesn't matter if problems are related to a CDN, a video codec, or hardware. All that matters is that something in the chain is resulting in a poor experience.

Meanwhile, sites like AVS or Roku's support forum are also good places to dig into the specifics for those that would like to know more. That's exactly why many of us are subscribed to this thread.

I suspect that Roku's support personnel make such comments in the context of the latter type of discussion, one that is attempting to discern where performance differences originate.
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post #732 of 1305 Old 01-03-2012, 07:19 AM
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Thanks to all that replied to my post.
What seems to be the single most frustrating comment from the technical advisors over at the Roku forum is that, when told that netflix streams fine on any other device, that the roku uses a different cdn, and that the DNS that you're using may help. Here is one such exchange pulled from the Roku Netflix thread:
visitor200 wrote:PS: Whenever I cannot load a movie, I can always load the movie if I use my computer to connect directly to Netflix bypassing Roku.



This is immaterial, as the computer connects to different CDNs than the Roku does.


As far as I've been able to research amazon's contract cdn's, the closest one to me in western Montana, would be Seattle. My primary DNS is my ISPs, which is located, physically, in Missoula. Suffice to say that my Wii uses whatever dns my router has, but it NEVER rebuffers when watching netflix.
Anyway, wanted to throw these comments into the mix to hear your technical responces.

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post #733 of 1305 Old 01-03-2012, 07:50 AM
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Realize that your Wii is only SD and therefore only needs about 3Mbps. Your Roku may be trying to stream HD which needs 2 or 3 times that rate depending on the model. Have you done a speed test to confirm you can sustain that rate from your ISP and through your wireless? Even though you've subscribed to 15Mbps service, there may be a network problem keeping you from getting that full sustained rate. Do you have QOS enabled on your router that could be limiting the rate to your Roku?

FWIW, I have pretty solid 30Mbps service but still rebuffer occasionally due to issues apparently on Netflix's end. I never use the Wii because SD doesn't look so good on my big screen.
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post #734 of 1305 Old 01-03-2012, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Realize that your Wii is only SD and therefore only needs about 3Mbps. Your Roku may be trying to stream HD which needs 2 or 3 times that rate depending on the model. Have you done a speed test to confirm you can sustain that rate from your ISP and through your wireless? Even though you've subscribed to 15Mbps service, there may be a network problem keeping you from getting that full sustained rate. Do you have QOS enabled on your router that could be limiting the rate to your Roku?

FWIW, I have pretty solid 30Mbps service but still rebuffer occasionally due to issues apparently on Netflix's end. I never use the Wii because SD doesn't look so good on my big screen.

That makes total sense. Thanks.
As far as ISP and bandwidth, I've tested and worked with them on resolving some issues and it's gotten better, but not enough to stop the Netflix rebuffering. Watching episodes of Deadliest Catch will rebuffer almost everytime a minute or so into it. Why did I feel bad saying that? My wife likes the show......

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post #735 of 1305 Old 01-03-2012, 12:42 PM
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My understanding of the term "CDN" (Content Delivery Network) is that it refers to a service, like Amazon's, Akamai's and Limelight's. Each of these companies has server facilities (Points of Presence) around the nation (Akamai and Limelight are global). So when the guy says that it's on "another CDN" it implies to me that (for instance) instead Amazon CloudFront CDN it's on Akamai's CDN or something. Of course, I may be confused .

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post #736 of 1305 Old 01-06-2012, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

My understanding of the term "CDN" (Content Delivery Network) is that it refers to a service, like Amazon's, Akamai's and Limelight's. Each of these companies has server facilities (Points of Presence) around the nation (Akamai and Limelight are global). So when the guy says that it's on "another CDN" it implies to me that (for instance) instead Amazon CloudFront CDN it's on Akamai's CDN or something. Of course, I may be confused .

I just pulled this support comment off of the roku forum:
"...the fact you can stream on the ps3 is meaningless to the Roku's performance, they use different streams usually from different locations.

The CND your ISP is choosing could become congested at times. One thing to try is changing the DNS in your router to Google DNS ( 8.8.8.8 ) or OpenDNS ( 208.67.222.222 ) or Verizon/GTE ( 4.2.2.2 ) That improves a lot of folk's performance."


Isn't this implying that a different device could route to a different location for content? Also, I'd like other's opinion on the DNS changes. I happen to know that the primary DNS I'm using is located in the clsest town to me, by tracking it's IP. Wouldn't that be optimum (no pun, as that is my provider).

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post #737 of 1305 Old 01-18-2012, 05:25 AM
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I have to say I am somewhat disappointed by the specs I read at the Dolby website regarding the Dolby Digital Plus.

Although the data rate for Dolby Digital Plus is a very healthy 768 kbps–1.5 Mbps for HD optical discs such as HD-DVD or Blu-ray, it is a mere 256 kbps for broadcast and online. So I am assuming the Netflix DD+ is limited to 256 Kbps which is lower than standard DVDs.

Can anyone tell me if I am wrong about this??
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post #738 of 1305 Old 01-18-2012, 06:03 AM
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Dobly Digital Plus is a scalable codec. The bit rate can be whatever people want it to be. It is up to each licensee to decided how to use it, with some stipulations from Dolby of course. I don't think one of those stipulations is a limiting of bit rate for streaming services. Their literature appears merely to list a couple examples of what bit rates would be currently suitable for different uses. It is typically other bodies, such as the DVD Forum, that mandate how these technologies are used. I am not aware of anything like that for streaming services.

You are correct that netflix doesn't use the max 6Mbps DD+ for it's streams. If it is any consolation, note that it is a newer and more aggressive codec than is used on DVDs. This means that a lower bit rate can achieve the same sound quality. If I remember correctly (wikipedia is down today), DD/AC-3 on DVDs is 448 Kbps. How that compares to a different codec at 256 Kbps, is rather subjective. Personally, I found it to be a massive improvement over netflix's previous audio streams. I no longer find myself wishing the sound were better.
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post #739 of 1305 Old 01-18-2012, 01:25 PM
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DD+ in Netflix streams is 384 Kbps (exactly twice the maximum 192 Mbps for stereo). From this Netflix blog entry:
Quote:


The "Best" setting will use any of the video/audio rates available. Our highest quality files are 4800 kbps (for 1080p HD video) and 384 kbps audio (for 5.1 audio).

Obviously it's not equal to the best DD+ can do at typical video disc bit rates, but it's pretty damn good considering. (My current standard for testing it is the Lost pilot. A few minutes in Jack stumbles out of the jungle into post-plane-crash chaos on the beach; it's a fairly rich soundscape).

They could stream 1.5 Mbps DD+, but the higher the bit rate requirement, the fewer customers can benefit. I'm sure that bit rates for both audio and video will rise as common home Internet service rates do.

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post #740 of 1305 Old 01-18-2012, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

You are correct that netflix doesn't use the max 6Mbps DD+ for it's streams. If it is any consolation, note that it is a newer and more aggressive codec than is used on DVDs. This means that a lower bit rate can achieve the same sound quality. If I remember correctly (wikipedia is down today), DD/AC-3 on DVDs is 448 Kbps. How that compares to a different codec at 256 Kbps, is rather subjective. Personally, I found it to be a massive improvement over netflix's previous audio streams. I no longer find myself wishing the sound were better.


Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

DD+ in Netflix streams is 384 Kbps (exactly twice the maximum 192 Mbps for stereo). From this Netflix blog entry:
Obviously it's not equal to the best DD+ can do at typical video disc bit rates, but it's pretty damn good considering. (My current standard for testing it is the Lost pilot. A few minutes in Jack stumbles out of the jungle into post-plane-crash chaos on the beach; it's a fairly rich soundscape).

They could stream 1.5 Mbps DD+, but the higher the bit rate requirement, the fewer customers can benefit. I'm sure that bit rates for both audio and video will rise as common home Internet service rates do.


Its good to hear that the DD+ streamed at 384 Kbps, is a marked improvement over the original 2.0. But how does it compare to the DVD 5.1 sound(448 Kbps)?? Is it an improvement over that as well?? If the answer is not a clear YES then in my opinion DD+ on Netflix is nothing more than a Marketing ploy.
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post #741 of 1305 Old 01-18-2012, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Stockton View Post

Its good to hear that the DD+ streamed at 384 Kbps, is a marked improvement over the original 2.0. But how does it compare to the DVD 5.1 sound(448 Kbps)?? Is it an improvement over that as well?? If the answer is not a clear YES then in my opinion DD+ on Netflix is nothing more than a Marketing ploy.

DD+ is a newer more efficient encoding which should exceed the quality of 448 Kbps basic DD at 384 Mbps.

DD+ is increasingly used by streaming services as they add 5.1 sound--VUDU is using it and HBO will be using it for HBO GO. Dolby Labs has been pushing its use in streaming applications. (Amazon went with basic DD for their titles which have 5.1 sound). I don't believe that anyone is claiming that it's superior to DD on DVDs, just that it will yield superior results in bandwidth-limited streaming applications--more bang for the bit than legacy DD 5.1. Also it's 7.1 channel capable, which I think that VUDU is offering on a few titles now.

The only problem with Netflix's use of DD+ (and its not really their problem) is that Roku doesn't decode either DD or DD+ and many older AVRs don't either. (Roku doesn't decode Dolby because it eliminates the need to pay per-unit licensing fees for it). My 5 y/o HDMI switching Onkyo AVR couldn't handle it, prompting me to upgrade.

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post #742 of 1305 Old 01-19-2012, 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

DD+ is a newer more efficient encoding which should exceed the quality of 448 Kbps basic DD at 384 Mbps.

I hate to be persistent, but what worries me is the use of the word should and not will. Have you or anyone else done an AB comparison using the same film, to be absolutely sure that 384 Kbps DD+ is superior??
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post #743 of 1305 Old 01-19-2012, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Stockton View Post

I hate to be persistent, but what worries me is the use of the word should and not will. Have you or anyone else done an AB comparison using the same film, to be absolutely sure that 384 Kbps DD+ is superior??

Not that I know of, but what does it actually matter? (I'm absolutely certain that Dolby has done test to confirm that it's more efficient before making that claim). If you want to think that Netflix's 5.1 sound is uselessly inferior and a "nothing more than a Marketing ploy" (based on no evidence whatsoever) there's obviously nothing that I can do to affect that opinion.

Either it sounds good to you or it doesn't. Many of us think that it sounds pretty good and are quite happy to have it (for me, surround sound is much more of an immersion factor than 1080p, though I'd rather have both).

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post #744 of 1305 Old 01-20-2012, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Not that I know of, but what does it actually matter? (I'm absolutely certain that Dolby has done test to confirm that it's more efficient before making that claim). If you want to think that Netflix's 5.1 sound is uselessly inferior and a "nothing more than a Marketing ploy" (based on no evidence whatsoever) there's obviously nothing that I can do to affect that opinion.

Either it sounds good to you or it doesn't. Many of us think that it sounds pretty good and are quite happy to have it (for me, surround sound is much more of an immersion factor than 1080p, though I'd rather have both).

Agreed. Dolby Digital Plus definitely sounds better than Dolby Digital from Netflix. And yes, I have done LOTS of A/B testing with different Netflix devices to confirm it.
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post #745 of 1305 Old 01-20-2012, 10:52 AM
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I found a broadcast engineering whitepaper where it was claimed that its 33% more efficient and that its pretty much equivalent to legacy DD 5.1 at half the bit rate. The ATSC has written some specs for its use in broadcast TV, but how many tuners are prepared to deal with it (if any)?

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post #746 of 1305 Old 01-20-2012, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I found a broadcast engineering whitepaper where it was claimed that its 33% more efficient and that its pretty much equivalent to legacy DD 5.1 at half the bit rate. The ATSC has written some specs for its use in broadcast TV, but how many tuners are prepared to deal with it (if any)?

I wonder how they quantify "efficiency" for lossy coders like this which are designed to "hide" there distortion in regions of the audio where the listener is less likely to notice it?

The grading would all have to be based on some model of human hearing perception I imagine.
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post #747 of 1305 Old 01-20-2012, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpauls View Post


I wonder how they quantify "efficiency" for lossy coders like this which are designed to "hide" there distortion in regions of the audio where the listener is less likely to notice it?

The grading would all have to be based on some model of human hearing perception I imagine.

Something like that has been used for many many years. I used MiniDisc in the mid 90's which used ATRAC. It sounded excellent since you could not tell that things were hidden to compress the content.

I know they based their coding on many tests with human hearing.

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post #748 of 1305 Old 01-20-2012, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rpauls View Post

I wonder how they quantify "efficiency" for lossy coders like this which are designed to "hide" there distortion in regions of the audio where the listener is less likely to notice it?

The grading would all have to be based on some model of human hearing perception I imagine.

Often they'll use some bit-rate versus some objective measure of degree-of-distortion in combination with a double blind listener test. I've seen a number of papers comparing MP3 and AAC (years back--it's a dead issue now).

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post #749 of 1305 Old 01-20-2012, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Often they'll use some bit-rate versus some objective measure of degree-of-distortion in combination with a double blind listener test. I've seen a number of papers comparing MP3 and AAC (years back--it's a dead issue now).

Yeah, I know systems exist for quantitative grading of audio. We use the PESQ algorithm here at work to compare speech coder performance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PESQ

But I wasn't sure what had been developed for comparing full spectrum audio. You can not use a distortion metric alone, because it is more important *where* the distortion is rather than how much distortion there is. Probably you already know that.

The lower bit rate codecs will almost certainly have more distortion in the reconstructed waveform, but as in the example you pointed out above for DD+ vs DD 5.1, it can still sound just as good or even better if it is hidden well.
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post #750 of 1305 Old 01-20-2012, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rpauls View Post

The lower bit rate codecs will almost certainly have more distortion in the reconstructed waveform, but as in the example you pointed out above for DD+ vs DD 5.1, it can still sound just as good or even better if it is hidden well.

Hence the listener studies. Doesn't much matter if the error is hidden in frequencies that people can't hear.

I can't find any scholarly studies comparing surround sound formats online. I'd also like to know what methodology they're using for that these days.

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