Archive for July 26th, 2007

nVidia bummer

So I connected the 32″ HDTV on the PC. Apparently the graphics card can only do two monitors at the time, even if there are 3 connectors on the card. So I have to choose profiles all the time between my two DVI monitors or the primary DVI and the HDTV. When the HDTV is on, the second monitor goes OFF.

I don’t know if this is a limitation of nVidia’s hardware or the OEM who designed the card went cheap on this and didn’t include the extra hardware required to have all 3 monitors work at the same time (JBQ thinks is the latter). I know that under some circumstances ATi can do 3 monitors at a time (two PC and one TV connections), but for nVidia the best option I have heard is to get a GeForce 6200 PCI card and use it as a second graphics card. Good and somewhat inexpensive work around, but I am out of any PCI and PCI-e slots (one goes to my USB card and one to my Audigy HD sound card).

Kinda sucks to be hitting limitations like this one. I mean, come on, that was a $200 graphics card.

1080p PS3/XBox360 Adventures

The adventures of me trying to create a *proper* 1080p video to playback on PS3/XBox are continuing. Apparently the output of any lossless .avi codec from Vegas is washed out. It just doesn’t look good. Somehow when exporting in .avi changes the contrast to high & saturation to low.

Enter Avidemux2. I wouldn’t try it, but someone mentioned it on a forum so I gave its Windows version a try. So, I tried exporting my clip from Vegas using .avi uncompressed and Avidemux2 will render it with the wrong colors. You have to use a special filter to get the right colors… Lagarith, Cineform lossless codecs aren’t supported at all. Huffyuv with its default mode has wrong colors too, but as I said it’s fixable with an extra step. I was ready to delete the app, when I saw the “mplayer eq2″ filter that let’s you adjust the contrast and saturation and bring it back to normal levels. So, I decided to give it another try, as this plugin did fix the visual problem.

However, then, the de-interlacing won’t work properly. Again, I would get ghosting when trying to de-interlace the Huffyuv YUY2 file just like I originally got with ffmpeg, although the problem does not happen when trying to de-interlace mpeg2 streams instead of .avi. The application comes with about 6 different de-interlacers, and all of them had the exact same problem. On ffmpeg the undocumented “trick” was to put the -deinterlace argument before the “input file” argument, but avidemux does not use ffmpeg as far as I know, and yet, it still has the same bug. Changing the order of the filters didn’t help either. Even after ignoring the de-interlacing problems and exporting and creating a 1080p x264 file, the resulted mp4-avc/faac file wouldn’t playback with Quicktime Pro, but only with VLC. Moreover, for some weird reason too, all x264-created files are very slow to decode, while Quicktime’s created h.264 files are not so.

So basically, I am still stuck about all this. There is not a single free or low-cost app out there that can receive as input an HDV interlaced file in a lossless codec and transform it to 1920×1080 by stretching it, de-interlacing properly, keeping the right visual look, and exporting a proper h.264 file. There is always something that just doesn’t work well in the process. I know that Premiere Pro can do all that properly btw, but I can’t justify $1000 just so I can export videos for the PS3/XBox. Having thought about the problem a bit more, I think that the only real solution to this mess is for Vegas to add h.264 support and do the job properly from beginning to end with enough flexibility. I should not even be trying to export lossless files to do the job with external utilities and hitting the one incompatibility or inflexibility after the other. Sony Vegas should add support for the Sony PS3. It’s that simple.

ABC’s HD streaming

These guys have bandwidth to burn… ABC has just made live (only 3 episodes so far) their new HD player. It is using the On2 Flash codec at 2mbps at the 1280×720/24p resolution and it doesn’t sweat on our Comcast connection. It looks fantastic and makes you feel that you already live in the future, but you will need a really fast machine to play it back properly. My PC, a 3 Ghz P4 HT, drops about 4-5 frames per second, so don’t even think about of using the HD version without at least a CoreDuo or above… Other than that, it looks great, it has more interesting content and better quality than Joost, too bad that it’s restricted to US IP addresses though.

720p over the net