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  1. Member
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    A thought just popped into my head about this.

    TV manufacturers who sell Blu-Ray players don't want compete with their own products.

    The movie studios (looking at you Sony), really don't want you to be able to play anything but their official releases and pressure the TV manufacturers to limit the compatibility.

    For TVs with Roku built in really want you to stream only. Evidenced by the limited external playback options of their standalone devices. They can't make any money from the streaming services if you do this.

    They're cheap! I suspect this may be the main reason. Why go with 95% compatibility at an extra cost (which mutlples at retail) when most people won't complain about 75%.

    What are your thoughts?
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  2. Hardware cost versus processing power available at the time of production (technology progress).
    One might also ask why the industry developed so many video formats, audio formats, subtitle formats and containers which support or reject certain combinations of video, audio and subtitle streams. Weak standards with too many options perhaps - do we need all of these?
    Strong standards are DVD and Blu-ray on Discs which play on certified HW players. The rest is pretty much "may or may not ...." and "it depends ....".
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  3. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    They're cheap! I suspect this may be the main reason. Why go with 95% compatibility at an extra cost (which mutlples at retail) when most people won't complain about 75%.
    I believe all the reasons you give are contributing factors, but I think this is the main one. For a TV manufacturer the built in media player is just a bullet item in their marketing. It's only there to prevent losing a sale to a competitor. With standalone media players playing media files is their primary reason for existence so the manufacturers are much more motivated to handle a wide variety of containers and codecs.
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  4. Originally Posted by Sharc View Post
    One might also ask why the industry developed so many video formats, audio formats, subtitle formats and containers
    I don't think much of the blame for this goes to either the companies that make up various segments of the consumer electronics industry, nor does it go to the standards committees. Instead, the problem is that the technology evolved much faster than the ability of companies and committees to adopt any given standard. In addition, there was a huge demand for sharing media over the (at the time) relatively slow connections available on the fledgling Internet, most of this driven by people who wanted to flaunt the law and steal and share copyrighted media.

    As a result, with audio, we got MP3 which was quickly adopted by those who wanted to illegally share music. MP3 descended from the academic community, supported by the Fraunhofer Institute, not from a standards committee or any group of companies.

    On the video side, if you look at the history of various formats, some of them started out as the brainchild of a particular company, but then got modified by the hacker community to support, once again, the sharing of pirated video content. DivX is a good example of this. It has dozens of variations, and it can be found in all sorts of container formats.

    So the real culprit are the hackers and those who wanted to get something for nothing by stealing and sharing audio and video, and were willing to use hacked technology to do that. This is one of the many unfortunate legacies of that wanton lawlessness.
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    There is some blame to be laid on companies like Microsoft, Apple and Real who developed their propriety formats, .wmv, .qt and .rm/.ra in part to force customers to use their software, hardware and licensing.
    Last edited by lingyi; 3rd Aug 2019 at 12:13.
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  6. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    There is some blame to be laid on companies like Microsoft, Apple and Real who developed their propriety formats, .wmv, .qt and .rm/.ra in part to force customers to use their software, hardware and licensing.
    But wasn't this a good thing? What else were they supposed to do? Perhaps you are suggesting that they should have not done anything and waited for a standards committee to develop something.

    That is usually a very long wait.

    Standards groups are both good and bad. The good is that once a standard is adopted, every company and consumer who uses the standard gets a uniform, predictable result. The bad is that the standard is almost always a "least common denominator" which doesn't excel at any one thing.

    Technology developed by industry standards groups are usually several years behind what can be done with current technology. This results from the fact that any "design by committee" approach always takes a long time, because you have to have "buy in" from everyone in the group. More importantly, the engineers working at standards groups are often not top-tier. When it comes to programming, the "first string" goes to work where they can make money, or where they can create a name for themselves: corporations for those who want money; the hacker community for those who want to have influence.
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  7. Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    Standards groups are both good and bad.
    True. Imagine mobile phone communication or TV broadcast without manufacturers adhering to standards. Standards are not innovative, but they put innovation on solid grounds to pave the way for the broad promulgation of a technology. An innovator always takes the risk of developing something great which may later fail as a business because it is not compliant with a forthcoming industry standard, published years later, unless he is strong enough to influence the standard or create a de-facto standard.
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    I'm not saying it wasn't a good thing, especially since it helped advance the development of other better codecs. However, like any non-standardized, accepted codec, it added to the field of formats that were popular for their time, but have fallen by the wayside as better performing formats came along. Yes, standardized formats take time, but IMO, better to be late and good, than early and poor.

    When I say "There is some blame...", I'm speaking to the fact that instead of working together to help advance the development of better standardized formats, they continued to work separately, even in the light of better future standardized formats in in the works. IIRC, at one point, Real did reach out to Microsoft, Apple and others to co-develop a new format, based on course or their codec platform and carrying the Real name
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  9. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    When I say "There is some blame...", I'm speaking to the fact that instead of working together to help advance the development of better standardized formats, they continued to work separately, even in the light of better future standardized formats in in the works.
    Well, it's called competition in an open market which is more than often the driver of innovation. Some fail, some succeed.
    Anyway, when you mention "bad TV players" I think you don't mean the deinterlacers of modern TV, which are damned good nowadays
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  10. One more thought on why there are so many different video codecs, both those which are standard, and those which are ad-hoc.

    I ran a video conferencing company, long before anyone was using desktop videoconferencing (1992). Many of our developers were from Compression Labs, a well-known (but long-gone) company that specialized in developing video codecs for high-end video applications, like $200,000 room teleconferencing applications. I learned a lot from these engineers about the tradoffs when creating video codecs. One of them has to do with bandwidth: codecs that work well when there are lots of bits don't scale to low-bandwidth situations, and vice versa. In particular, if you have "infinite" bandwidth, such as your hard drive, or even a Blu-Ray disc, there is one codec you want to use for that. However, if you want to compress for streaming, and especially if you want to do this over very limited bandwidth (our equipment used a 14.4 kbps dial-up modem, several years before we had 28.8 or 56k modems) you have to take a completely different approach. Neither the high-end, nor the low-end would scale in the other direction, so you needed both.

    There are other axes to these engineering tradeoffs, and these require additional codecs. For instance, low-res codecs don't scale well to high-res. GOP-based codecs don't work well if you set the GOP to one, and therefore don't make good substitutes for frame-by-frame compression codecs.

    And if you want to re-compress, as you do when editing video, you need a codec that is developed just for that (so-called "intermediate" codecs). Cineform charged thousands of dollars for that technology when it was first developed.

    CPU horsepower is another factor: some codecs require massive amounts of CPU power and are unsuited to devices with puny CPUs. For instance, early smartphones were not able to play videos formatted with complex codecs. The best current example of this is the newest h.265 codecs which, apparently, can achieve more compression and better quality than the various flavors of h.264, but which produces videos that are unplayable on just about any computer out there because most current CPUs (and GPUs) can't keep up.

    So, some of the reason there are many codecs is that to address the different needs requires totally different architectures and technology.
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  11. Member
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    Originally Posted by Sharc View Post
    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    When I say "There is some blame...", I'm speaking to the fact that instead of working together to help advance the development of better standardized formats, they continued to work separately, even in the light of better future standardized formats in in the works.
    Well, it's called competition in an open market which is more than often the driver of innovation. Some fail, some succeed.
    Anyway, when you mention "bad TV players" I think you don't mean the deinterlacers of modern TV, which are damned good nowadays
    I'm just talking about the built in media players which causes several "How to get my video to play on my TV" posts every week.
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  12. Member Krispy Kritter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Originally Posted by Sharc View Post
    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    When I say "There is some blame...", I'm speaking to the fact that instead of working together to help advance the development of better standardized formats, they continued to work separately, even in the light of better future standardized formats in in the works.
    Well, it's called competition in an open market which is more than often the driver of innovation. Some fail, some succeed.
    Anyway, when you mention "bad TV players" I think you don't mean the deinterlacers of modern TV, which are damned good nowadays
    I'm just talking about the built in media players which causes several "How to get my video to play on my TV" posts every week.

    It's often not always just a hardware issue, but the video file itself.

    People see that a player supports "mkv" files and just ASSUME all mkv files will play.
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  13. it is just a move to curb video piracy .. if tvs played these files out of the box.. it would be contradicting
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  14. Yes, nothing changed during last 10 years since it started, firmware/software is intentionally or not badly written, for whatever reason, even priority. Folks have different interests as oppose company interests.

    This is actually very natural process. Sometimes taking a bigger piece of apple pie there even if it means loosing some pie elsewhere. It also could mean even bigger loss, management decisions could be very wrong.

    The other side of spectrum is mandatory laws and establishing standards by force. For a brief moment it works (like Microsoft windows and wmv), but then it tends to freeze things forward on. It might have a 10x worse outcome for a consumer at the end. This could be a problem for young generation now to understand, so not members of this forum of course , they start to like philosophy and theories about all suppose to be "guaranteed" , because they take things for granted now, but in real World it only means hell's gate is opening ... They do not understand that things can go quickly wrong if there is no free will on makers part.
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    Which current stand-alone media player boxes do you think are better than a TV's media player? Also, we should be comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

    The few remaining inexpensive pure hardware media players like the Micca Speck G2 aren't very different from the media player in my mother's 2015 non-smart Samsung TV.

    Android boxes, which are really a tiny computer, are more versatile because they can use a combination of hardware and software to play media files. Android Smart TVs from Sony can run Kodi and VLC too, although maybe not as competently.
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    I vote for a midrange ~$75-100 Android Box as I've suggested in numerous threads. Install MX Player and it will play almost any a PC will, except AFAIK DV and RAW. And of course there's KODI which I find interesting, but (the last time I used it) need an upgrade on the interface. Which leads to (for me) the major drawback to the Android OS, the interface which is designed for touchscreens. Even with an AIO keyboard like a Logitech K-400 or a wireless mouse pointer, it's still slow going.

    Things have probably changed since I switched to using a laptop and PC as my media player needs a year or so ago, but my needs are simple, open file browser, play movie.

    Edit: I've tried Android VLC on my Android Box, phones and tablets and found it buggy. Frequent crashes and unable to play files that MX Player will.

    Also, I think a Chrome Box (if it existed and video support was fixed) would meet my needs since the OS isn't touchscreen-centric like Android. I actually bought a cheap Chromebook planning to use it as a media player, but it's poor support for video formats made me put it on the shelf.
    Last edited by lingyi; 4th Aug 2019 at 14:23.
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    I don't think Android TV is a touch-screen-centric OS like the standard Android OS. There are a couple of Android boxes that run Android TV as some new Sony TVs do, the NVIDIA Shield TV and Xiaomi's Mi Box S.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 4th Aug 2019 at 15:59. Reason: correct spelling for Xiaomi
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    I haven't had a chance to use any device with Android TV. I know one of the traits of a cheap Android Box is that they use the regular Android OS, sometimes clearly marked for a phone or tablet which you check the OS info. One day I'll give a Box with Android TV a try.

    The (to me) clunky and slow interface is one of the reasons I put my Roku and Chromebox on the shelf.

    Edit: I'm very wary of anything Sony makes/includes for media playback because of their firm stance on protecting playback. Would love to hear reviews of Android TV on their TV.
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    Production cost vs saleability. Cheap and cheerful and low quality for the masses vs High-end for the wealthy. Actually, most low end devices are almost the same quality as the high end products..
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    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Would love to hear reviews of Android TV on their TV.
    Unfortunately, I couldn't find out anything about media playback with Android TV on Sony TVs. The reviews I found mainly discussed the available streaming services, and one on Amazon noted that this year's TVs have smoother menu navigation than last year's model and a Google Assistant voice remote.

    I also read a review of the Xiaomi Mi Box S on Tom's Hardware. Looks like the Shield TV is still the best Android TV OS box to get. The reviewer wrote that the Xiaomi Mi Box S's picture quality is significantly worse than the PQ with the NVIDIA Shield TV.
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  21. Look at Android boxes or mini pc's connected via hdmi...



    http://chigztech.com/charts.html


    dumb tv + android box seems a better choice than an overpriced smart tv whose features will go after 3 years of release..
    Last edited by teodz1984; 4th Aug 2019 at 22:51.
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  22. Originally Posted by teodz1984 View Post
    http://chigztech.com/charts.htmllook at Android boxes or mini pc's connected via hdmi...


    dumb tv + android box seems a better choice than an overpriced smart tv whose features will go after 3 years of release..
    The link is messed up. It should be:

    http://chigztech.com/charts.html

    Nice charts. Watched a few of the linked to youtube reviews. Worth a look...
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  23. Member
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    Originally Posted by teodz1984 View Post
    dumb tv + android box seems a better choice than an overpriced smart tv whose features will go after 3 years of release..
    Good in theory but hard to do in practice. Today the only dumb TVs I see for sale in the USA are budget LED TVs, mostly from minor brands. If someone wants a TV with a panel that is better than the cheapest available, the TV will have some kind of smart TV OS.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 5th Aug 2019 at 01:42. Reason: typo
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