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NEWS: Crunchyroll Launches 1080p High-Definition Streams


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agila61



Joined: 22 Feb 2009
Posts: 3213
Location: NE Ohio
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:33 am Reply with quote
Sacto0562 wrote:
Here's the problem: nobody I know of broadcasts over the air in 1080p, even in over-air terrestrial broadcasting. I believe in the USA (using ATSC) and Japan (using ISDB-T) the maximum resolution is 1080 interlaced (1080i), and I believe many Japanese broadcasters use 720p as their HD broadcast resolution standard.

As such, it's way overkill to offer 1080p.

A valid argument for bootlegs using RAWs copied from 720p Japanese digital TV broadcasts.

But Crunchyroll gets their material from Japan, mostly on HDCAM which is in either 1080i or 1080p. Any upscaling is done by the Japanese source before delivery to Crunchyroll. If the series is produced in 1080p, then the 720p broadcast is a downscale at the broadcaster.

Quote:
Also, unless you have cable Internet that can do at least 12 megabits/second sustained download speed or Verzion FIOS, the bandwidth requirements for 1080p is too much for most broadband users here in the USA.

Crunchyroll is obviously not streaming a digital TV encode directly, so you cannot read the bandwidth of their stream off of a HDTV standards chart.
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configspace



Joined: 16 Aug 2008
Posts: 3714
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:26 am Reply with quote
in addition you can't compare transport stream bitrate because most of them still use MPEG2 not h.264, so obviously they require a much higher rate for the same quality
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RyanSaotome



Joined: 29 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:32 am Reply with quote
Well I watched both the 720p TV raw for Nisemonogotari, and the Crunchy 1080p stream. 720p is easily better looking since it isn't so bitrate starved, so it seems pretty pointless...
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cyberbeing



Joined: 28 Mar 2007
Posts: 135
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:57 am Reply with quote
Japanese TV Broadcasts are 1440x1080i, not 720p. They would be getting the same 1440x1080i/1920x1080p tapes as Crunchyroll, so the only difference in quality would come from differences in processing of the tapes and compression for broadcast/streaming. The reason people say broadcast anime is 720p, is only because it's extremely rare for any anime to have an effective resolution above 720p. In other words, just because the tapes received by Crunchyroll and Japanese TV Stations are 1440x1080i/1920x1080p, it doesn't mean the anime stored on the tape isn't itself an upscale by the studio or production company. Half the problem of course being that studios who use BetaCam/HDCAM/HDCAM-SR, only have the option of 480p/1080i/1080p, there is no 720p storage option. They can either upscale or downscale their 480p/540p/720i/720p source material before distributing it to Japanese TV Studios, Crunchyroll, NicoNico, and others.

The main quality benefit comes not from added resolution, but from the ability to encode a clean artifact-free source, directly to h264. Though in the case of Crunchyroll, much of the benefit is lost considering their encode quality has never been particularly impressive, especially on darker scenes. They would have been much better of just going with high-bitrate 720p. But hey, if the placebo of 1080p streaming attracts new subscribers who don't know better, why not.
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BigOnAnime



Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Posts: 881
Location: Minnesota, USA
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:27 pm Reply with quote
Actar wrote:
ShanaFan852 wrote:
Anyway, glad to see this finally happen. Maybe more might go with CR instead of torrents, but you'll still have the "Why pay $5 a month for HD, no commercials, and an hour after the Japanese airing when I can download fansubs for free a few days later?" mentality.


You're forgetting the and not available in my territory.
Ah, I forgot about that. My post was mainly directed at North Americans, the ones who have legal options right in front of them, but choose to ignore them. It's more understandable to download fansubs if you're in other regions, but in North America, it can be baffling since we get so much compared to other regions.
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agila61



Joined: 22 Feb 2009
Posts: 3213
Location: NE Ohio
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:32 pm Reply with quote
RyanSaotome wrote:
Well I watched both the 720p TV raw for Nisemonogotari, and the Crunchy 1080p stream. 720p is easily better looking since it isn't so bitrate starved, so it seems pretty pointless...

As to whether its "pointless", the question is whether the 1080p stream is better looking than the 720p stream when played on a large screen TV. Some people on Crunchyroll have reported it looks better for them. That would therefore be the point.

Comparing a stream to a download is an apples to oranges comparison that begs the issue ~ to get the download bitrate you need to find the bootleg site, do the download, make sure you have the codecs that the bootleg file encoder used, if you want it on your tablet or set-top box you need another piece of software to do that ...
... instead of just click and watch.

And, sure, you can say, "all they have to do is to crank up the 720p bitrate and choke off access to all those people who can't handle the bitrate" ... but all of those people are also a paying audience, and they can't just choke off their access to pander to a likely smaller but certainly vocal group of customers who want a stream that looks better on a big screen TV.

cyberbeing wrote:
... They would have been much better of just going with high-bitrate 720p. But hey, if the placebo of 1080p streaming attracts new subscribers who don't know better, why not.

As above, they couldn't have "just" increased the 720p bitrate without squeezing out existing 720p viewers who are near the edge of what their systems allow. After all, as of last year, 20% of Crunchyroll's international subscribers are on 1.5MB/sec connections. And in many US households, a single higher bandwidth connection is shared between multiple users, so Crunchyroll may be streaming a computer in one room at the same time that NetflixHD is streaming to the big TV in the living room.

As far as doing frame animation in 540p and upscaling that against 1080p backgrounds, with 1080p post-processing ...
... if Bleach, a long-running early evening Shonen Jump series, is presently working that way, that suggests its a pretty cheap way to produce anime for eventual BD release, so it would not be surprising if a lot of seasonal anime series are working along similar lines.

With lower res frame animation upscaled against 1080p backgrounds, is it necessarily the case that doubling the 720p bitrate would indeed be superior in perceived quality on a big screen TV to 1080p at that same doubled bitrate? Unless "720p HQ" at the higher bitrate (somewhere around 3Mb/sec to 4Mb/sec), the simplicity of communicating "720p" versus "1080p" would argue strongly for the 1080p stream.


Last edited by agila61 on Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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BigOnAnime



Joined: 01 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:36 pm Reply with quote
RyanSaotome wrote:
ShanaFan852 wrote:
Anyway, glad to see this finally happen. Maybe more might go with CR instead of torrents, but you'll still have the "Why pay $5 a month for HD, no commercials, and an hour after the Japanese airing when I can download fansubs for free a few days later?" mentality.


They already got 1080p rips out, so I don't see how it changes anything. It just gives pirates slightly better quality subs to download.
Ah I forgot. I see talk on /a/ about Crunchyroll stream rips quite a bit.
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RyanSaotome



Joined: 29 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:37 pm Reply with quote
agila61 wrote:
And, sure, you can say, "all they have to do is to crank up the 720p bitrate and choke off access to all those people who can't handle the bitrate" ... but all of those people are also a paying audience, and they can't just choke off their access to pander to a likely smaller but certainly vocal group of customers who want a stream that looks better on a big screen TV.


I don't see why it can't give you an option like Netflix. It lets you choose different quality settings for how much bandwidth you want to use.
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INS Division 6
Subscriber



Joined: 01 May 2008
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Location: Philadelphia Area, PA
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:39 pm Reply with quote
1080 is all well and good but when are they going to stream on the psn or xbox live?
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:44 pm Reply with quote
As I said earlier, the 1080p affects each show differently. Slightly better for Nisemonogatari compared to a TV cap (but not filtered properly), but HORRIBLE for others. Moretsu Pirates looks pretty bad, horrible blocky banding everywhere. Ano Natsu had massive ivtc problems, making it unwatchable.

Daiz even made a report and argument on the subject:
http://blisswater.info/regarding-crunchyroll-and-1080p-streaming/
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ximpalullaorg



Joined: 16 Jan 2007
Posts: 303
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:14 pm Reply with quote
bmt528i wrote:
1080 is all well and good but when are they going to stream on the psn or xbox live?


The same time they'll get rid of DRM...Never, I suppose.
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agila61



Joined: 22 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:24 pm Reply with quote
walw6pK4Alo wrote:
As I said earlier, the 1080p affects each show differently. Slightly better for Nisemonogatari compared to a TV cap (but not filtered properly), but HORRIBLE for others. Moretsu Pirates looks pretty bad, horrible blocky banding everywhere. Ano Natsu had massive ivtc problems, making it unwatchable.

"compared to a TV cap"? Talk about a meaningless apples to oranges comparison. Crunchyroll's audience is paying for those bitrates, they are not getting them ripped off for free. A meaningful comparison here would be whether the 1080p stream looks better or worse than a "720p HQ" stream at the same bitrate.

That is, to be realistic for a situation where Crunchyroll users have to actually pay for those bitrates, the argument has to be that 720p at the same roughly doubled bitrate is automatically better looking than 1080p at that same bitrate. And the fact that Nisemonogatari looks better at 1080p and a lower bitrate than a digital TV broadcast, tells us that the realistic argument does not seem to be true.

And, yes, if the anime producers ship them a bad transfer, the higher resolution will not fix that, and could indeed make the bad transfer more obvious. It would be more than a little silly, however, to blame the 1080p for the anime producers shipping a bad transfer to Crunchyroll. That's also happened back before they rolled out 1080p.

RyanSaotome wrote:
... I don't see why it can't give you an option like Netflix. It lets you choose different quality settings for how much bandwidth you want to use.

Netflix is not flash streaming ~ to go to adaptive quality streaming, you'd need a player application. AFIU, they do have adaptive quality streaming for their iOS app, as Apple required it to allow it to stream when off of WiFi ~ but, of course, that is a player application. Certainly using the m.crunchyroll.com on my stock Nook Color gives a very choppy feed, even at the 360p m.crunchyroll resolution, while using the Android app on the same hardware with a cm7 system gives a much smoother feed, so a player application copes with limited hardware much better than Flash can do.

In addition to the revenue to pay for that PC player app, Crunchyroll would also have to find the revenue to cover the extra hardware to do the larger number of encodes, if they were going to have multiple 720p quality encodes available. Whether they are paying for the encoding processing done at a server farm or own their own encoding servers, one way or the other the customer has to pay more if more processing is done on their behalf.


Last edited by agila61 on Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:16 pm; edited 2 times in total
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nhat



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 917
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:29 pm Reply with quote
all anime is made in 480p or 720p, the rest are upscale except very certain exceptions. I suggest everyone reading this:

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/htuqk/we_are_crunchyroll_the_biggest_legit_anime/c1yd4bg
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agila61



Joined: 22 Feb 2009
Posts: 3213
Location: NE Ohio
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:01 pm Reply with quote
nhat wrote:
all anime is made in 480p or 720p, the rest are upscale except very certain exceptions. I suggest everyone reading this:

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/htuqk/we_are_crunchyroll_the_biggest_legit_anime/c1yd4bg


Especially:
Quote:
Note: Anime is commonly drawn between 480p and 720p, and 1080p are most often upscales from those. Certain non-animation assets are sometimes rendered at the higher resolution.


That says something quite different than "anime is made in 480p or 720p, the rest are upscale except very certain exceptions". For example, Bleach frame animation is produced at 540p and backgrounds at 1080p, with the animation upscaled to the background resolution in post-processing.

Reading is fundamental: "Anime is commonly drawn between 480p and 720p" simple does not mean the same thing as "either 480 or 720p". Given that the animated frames are going to be upscaled to 1080i or 1080p for transfer via HDCAM to the broadcaster and/or digital distributor, the direct 2:1 ratio between producing in 540p and transporting in 1080p or 1080i is a sweet spot when anime frames are not going to be produced directly in 1080p.

Also, in "Certain non-animation assets are sometimes rendered at the higher resolution.", means "in some series, backgrounds are rendered at 1080p". Obviously in those series it would be silly to render the frame animation at either 480p or 720p, when 540p will upscale to the 1080p background more cleanly than either 480p or 720p would do.

One other thing it says that is worth remembering is: "7 months ago". Summer 2011 and Winter 2012 are not the same anime production projects, and what was true of the projects in Summer 2011 is not necessarily true of all of the projects in Winter 2012. After all, BD has become over 50% of the physical media market and so its not surprising that some of the present season's anime are now being produced in 1080p: but the simple fact is, "all anime is produced between 480p and 720p" is itself no longer strictly true.

I would agree that everyone should read it, but read it, do not project your own biases and misconceptions into it.
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Mr. sickVisionz



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 2096
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:07 pm Reply with quote
I would have preferred something that addressed the banding issues in their streams. Every now and then a scene with a bunch of glowing particles is hella pixelated but that doesn't bother me as much as anytime an anime has a gradient or night time scene (which is like every anime episode) we see banding going crazy. It's far from unwatchable or not being worth the money, but it would be nice if they could address that at some point. I don't know what it would do to CPU usage, but wouldn't switching to 10-bit encodes get rid of banding (possibly the pixelation issue) while maintaining the same if not smaller bit rate?

Anyways, for 1080p. That's cool I guess. If it makes watching on a 1080p screen the same quality as watching 720p on a 720p screen, then that's a win for people. I checked it out earlier today on a scene and the banding was the same. Maybe a marginal win, but a win nonetheless.
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