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NEWS: Crunchyroll Launches 1080p High-Definition Streams


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agila61



Joined: 22 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:13 am Reply with quote
RyanSaotome wrote:
The big thing is that many people don't see why you should pay when you can get better quality video elsewhere.
The main reasons cited in the subscribers forum are its better quality than other streams, its easier than downloading and supporting the industry.

Obviously you can get higher video quality for free by being a freeloader, just as you can get bootleg rips of Hollywood movies instead of using Netflix or Redbox. Its not news that you pay less as a freeloader.

Quote:
I think they'd get significantly more subscribers if they offered a comparable product.

But how much extra would you pay for bitrates that the majority of the potential audience couldn't make use of? Remember there is an overhead cost, and this would be a level of streaming service that the large majority would not pay extra for, so the extra cost has to be carried by a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand. And if there was a bottleneck between you and the CDN, how much extra would you pay for bitrates you could not make use of?
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cyberbeing



Joined: 28 Mar 2007
Posts: 135
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:25 am Reply with quote
agila61 wrote:
But how much extra would you pay for bitrates that the majority of the potential audience couldn't make use of? Remember there is an overhead cost, and this would be a level of streaming service that the large majority would not pay extra for, so the extra cost has to be carried by a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand. And if there was a bottleneck between you and the CDN, how much extra would you pay for bitrates you could not make use of?

You seem to be missing the point that the largest 720p fansubs are right around the bitrate of Crunchyrolls new 1080p tier. Unless I am missing something and 1080p streaming costs more at Crunchyroll because it's this insane bitrate with huge overhead that nobody would uses, why do you keep bringing this up?
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agila61



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:52 am Reply with quote
cyberbeing wrote:
You seem to be missing the point that the largest 720p fansubs are right around the bitrate of Crunchyrolls new 1080p tier. Unless I am missing something and 1080p streaming costs more at Crunchyroll because it's this insane bitrate with huge overhead that nobody would uses, why do you keep bringing this up?

i was responding to the suggestion that if they took the present upgraded bitrate, which is (evidently), what they have decided they can afford, and then raised the bitrate further (plus played around with the video files), that would fix their problems.

So answer the question I posed before: with the same higher bitrate, but without playing games with applying filters to the product of the anime studios, would the "720_HQ" streams at the same rate as the new 1080p streams be visibly better than the 1080p streams when viewed on a big screen TV? In what way, and would it be anything that people other than videophiles would notice?

cyberbeing wrote:
Just to be clear, above 720p != 1080p. In the case of Fate/Zero, I believe it fell somewhere between 810p and 960p. It was still an upscale, just less of one.

Just to be clear, Flash video streaming is in steps. 720p is one step. 1080p is the next step up. Take a native resolution between 720p and 1080p ~ eg, 4:5, or 1568x864. 720p is a downscale, so the lowest viewing resolution that shows its full detail is 1080p. Jumping up and down and insisting "its an upscale" is silly if the next viewing resolution down is a downscale.

There's some obvious appeal to a 1568x864 production chain ~ in addition to only being 64% of the storage and processing, it is also a resolution that can display native on a UXGA 1600x1200 monitor with plenty of room along the top or bottom for tool palettes, rather than, say, a QXGA 2048x1538.

And, after all, after the fansub RAW has been carefully massaged and filtered and fine tuned, its then downloaded by the uploader for a leech streaming video site and the majority of people who view the fansub pointed to from the leech streaming site to some free video streaming safe harbor site like Veoh or MySpace.

cyberbeing wrote:
Once again, 1080i digital television captures which display at 1920x1080p, not 720p. ...

Well, would you people make up your mind. I kept saying that Japanese HDTV was 1080i, and y'all kept saying oh, no its 720p. Knock some heads together and get your story straight.


Last edited by agila61 on Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:25 am; edited 2 times in total
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Daizo



Joined: 03 Feb 2009
Posts: 135
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:04 am Reply with quote
agila61 wrote:
So answer the question I posed before: with the same higher bitrate, but without playing games with applying filters to the product of the anime studios, would the "720_HQ" streams at the same rate as the new 1080p streams be visibly better than the 1080p streams when viewed on a big screen TV? In what way, and would it be anything that people other than videophiles would notice?

Provided that their source is good, yes, a "720_HQ" would most definitely look better than their 1080p streams. Even more so if they took their time to filter the problematic sources.

EDIT: Also, agila61, your argument that the quality of illegal releases doesn't matter at all when it comes to Crunchyroll's video quality is wildly ignorant. Of course it matters! As long as every show under the sun isn't available as a simulcast in every part of the world, illegal and legal releases will continue to be the two sides of the exact same coin. When people observe all the seasonal anime charts and decide what they are interested in, they sure as hell won't decide not to watch something just because it isn't available as a legal simulcast for them, even if they would be watching everything else as a legitimate paying customer of [stream site X]. These people are exposed to both fansub video quality and legal stream quality, and as long as the latter will fail in comparison to the former, a certain amount of people will not be interested in paying for the legal options. Crunchyroll had a real chance to actually beat the illegal options save for BDrips had they started to offer "HQ 720p" streams, but instead they chose to go for the placebo of big numbers, which is quite unfortunate.

EDIT2:
agila61 wrote:
cyberbeing wrote:
Once again, 1080i digital television captures which display at 1920x1080p, not 720p. ...

Well, would you people make up your mind. I kept saying that Japanese HDTV was 1080i, and y'all kept saying oh, no its 720p. Knock some heads together and get your story straight.

Basically all Japanese TV broadcasts are hard telecined and anamorphic 1440x1080.

cyberbeing: The methodology used for determining the asset resolution was simply using spline36resize (a very high quality resizing algorithm, for those who don't know) to resize the sharper source down to resolution X and then back up to 1080p and observing detail loss in small lineart and background assets. The resolutions I mentioned are the resolutions where detail loss stopped happening. Of course, this methodology is not perfect, since resizing is a lossy process, but at the very least I would say that it works for determining whether a higher resolution encode would be warranted when dealing with studio-upscaled sources if you want to avoid detail loss from multiple resizes.

Also, the nickname's Daiz, not Diaz.
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agila61



Joined: 22 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:45 am Reply with quote
Daizo wrote:
agila61 wrote:
So answer the question I posed before: with the same higher bitrate, but without playing games with applying filters to the product of the anime studios, would the "720_HQ" streams at the same rate as the new 1080p streams be visibly better than the 1080p streams when viewed on a big screen TV? In what way, and would it be anything that people other than videophiles would notice?

Provided that their source is good, yes, a "720_HQ" would most definitely look better than their 1080p streams. Even more so if they took their time to filter the problematic sources.

Setting aside the notion that they are going to spend time filtering individual sources ~ Crunchyroll is a streaming site, not a DVD/BD distributor, running to a weekly schedule, and at least in the 2012 time frame I don't see them hiring a couple of extra people to play games with filters to keep a handful of videophiles happy ~ if they bumped the 720p to ~2.5Mb/sec and the 1080p to ~4Mb/sec, what would that do to the quality of each?

Your remarks on filtering made it sound like chasing a videophile portion of the market should be very low down on their list of priorities, well after getting PS3 and XBox360 apps and DNLA stored streams, but if they could sell a "high capacity" membership at a 20% premium, and it would be marketable without the extra filtering you talk of, there might be a business model there.

superdry wrote:
It sounds like CR pretty much encodes all their 720p video at 1.5mbps which will work for some shows, but not for others. I guess 1.5mbps was used as a compromise bitrate for streaming.

The story given early last year was that about 20% of Crunchyroll's international members were on 1.5Mb/sec internet connections, however that may have been from 2009 when the strategic decision was first made.

That constraint must have eased a bit (which can happen in two direction, either as members get faster access, or as members drop their preference down to 480p), as they've pushed it a little higher. I've seen a figure around 1.7Mb/sec cited, but I can't confirm that.
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superdry



Joined: 07 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:03 am Reply with quote
agila61 wrote:
and at least in the 2012 time frame I don't see them hiring a couple of extra people to play games with filters to keep a handful of videophiles happy ~ if they bumped the 720p to ~2.5Mb/sec and the 1080p to ~4Mb/sec, what would that do to the quality of each?


Filtering the source would be great, but it all depends on when they get the materials and how long they have to encode before it get's uploaded for viewers to watch (I'm curious to know this actually).

From what I know, upping the bitrate won't fix any imperfections in the source (you possibly won't introduce anything new). Good filtering can help with that.
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Daizo



Joined: 03 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:05 am Reply with quote
agila61 wrote:
Setting aside the notion that they are going to spend time filtering individual sources ~ Crunchyroll is a streaming site, not a DVD/BD distributor, running to a weekly schedule, and at least in the 2012 time frame I don't see them hiring a couple of extra people to play games with filters to keep a handful of videophiles happy

Since it's pretty clear that you have know technical knowledge about the subject whatsoever, let me fill you in a bit. You can have multiple levels of involvement with filtering. Doing throughout scene-per-scene job for every episode is certainly possible, but not necessary to get good quality results. Writing a single filter chain for a single series at the beginning of the series should be more than enough for CR's filtering needs, and would already work wonders as far as quality goes. That shouldn't be very consuming for them.

agila61 wrote:
I've seen a figure around 1.7Mb/sec cited, but I can't confirm that.

They've upgraded their 720p streams from 1500 kbps to 1776 kbps, as I mentioned in the article linked earlier. It's certainly an improvement, but not a very major one.

Also, can you please stop talking about "Mb/sec" when you're not getting the conversions right - 1500 kbps is NOT 1.5 Mbps, it's 1.46 Mbps, 1776 kbps is 1.73 Mbps and 3072 kbps (their 1080p bitrate) is exactly 3 Mbps. Beyond that these bitrates aren't that high that we would benefit from speaking in Mbps instead of kbps.
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TheAncientOne



Joined: 06 Oct 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:23 am Reply with quote
Daizo wrote:

When people observe all the seasonal anime charts and decide what they are interested in, they sure as hell won't decide not to watch something just because it isn't available as a legal simulcast for them, even if they would be watching everything else as a legitimate paying customer of [stream site X].

Sorry to say, but you're dead wrong.

You presumed to speak for everyone when you stated, "they sure as hell won't decide not to watch something just because it isn't available as a legal simulcast for them", and that certainly isn't true for me.

I haven't streamed or downloaded a single fansub since July 2010, and probably don't plan to even consider it unless something goes unlicensed for at least 5 years.

I know from past experience that I am not alone in this, and there are others that at least shun fansubs of currently airing shows, so don't make another mistaken assumption by jumping to the conclusion that I am some one in a million exception.
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Daizo



Joined: 03 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:52 am Reply with quote
TheAncientOne wrote:
so don't make another mistaken assumption by jumping to the conclusion that I am some one in a million exception.

But you are. There's clearly a large demand for new shows and people aren't hesitant at all to go for the illegal options to watch them if legal options do not exist. Let's just take a single example: Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It started airing a year ago, and so far there has still been no legal English-language releases for it (with the first US BD coming out next month). Despite of that, it's probably the hottest potato of 2011 as far as anime goes and on MyAnimeList alone over 50'000 people have watched it. Tons of people watched it as it aired and the western fanbase even managed to outdo the Japanese one in speculation and research at times (by for example cracking a cryptic alphabet before anyone in Japan did). Do you really think it would have become the kind of phenomenon it has in the western anime fandom if the majority of people were like you? Hell no.

As I said, illegal and legal means to watch anime will continue to be the two sides of the same coin until everything can be legally watched anywhere in the world. Where there's demand, illegal options will pop up to fill that demand if the legal providers fail at it. It's simple as that.
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agila61



Joined: 22 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:50 pm Reply with quote
Daizo wrote:
EDIT: Also, agila61, your argument that the quality of illegal releases doesn't matter at all when it comes to Crunchyroll's video quality is wildly ignorant.

I'll note that you can't quote me saying that. since its not what I said.

It obviously doesn't matter to the majority of the market. Whether it is commercially relevant is whether the cost of catering to the market segment is greater or less than the benefit of catering to the market segment.

Quote:
Of course it matters! As long as every show under the sun isn't available as a simulcast in every part of the world, illegal and legal releases will continue to be the two sides of the exact same coin.


Not the exact same coin ... there will be those consumers of bootlegs who are outside of the market entirely, and if it became impossible to find anime bootlegs would move on to some other bootleg release of some other media rather than pay the cost of one fast food meal per month to subscribe to a streaming service.

And there are those who did not come into the audience via bootlegs, but who came into the market directly, who would be unlikely to go to the extra trouble of learning how to download bootlegs as long as they are satisfied with what they have available in the market.

Quote:
When people observe all the seasonal anime charts and decide what they are interested in, they sure as hell won't decide not to watch something just because it isn't available as a legal simulcast for them, even if they would be watching everything else as a legitimate paying customer of [stream site X].

However, you are talking about a part of a part of the total audience. First, those who look at the seasonal anime charts, and second, among those who look at the seasonal anime charts, those who hunt down bootlegs if a show that they are interested in is not available streaming.

And then for that subset of the market, there is the subset who will go to the extra trouble of watching a bootleg instead of a legit stream for videophile reasons.

Its likely that the total numbers we are talking about in the final subset is much smaller than the total numbers who would be picked up if there was a streaming app for either the PS3 or the XBox360.

Quote:
These people are exposed to both fansub video quality and legal stream quality, and as long as the latter will fail in comparison to the former, a certain amount of people will not be interested in paying for the legal options. Crunchyroll had a real chance to actually beat the illegal options save for BDrips had they started to offer "HQ 720p" streams, but instead they chose to go for the placebo of big numbers, which is quite unfortunate.

But it seems like you are talking about pulling some developers with the right video processing skillset off their work for two to three weeks at the start of each season to set up the filters for a series, and then pull one of them off again mid-season if there are complaints lodged about the quality of the filters.

The people in this setting likely loom large in your eyes because you participate in circles that are either very interested in those issues or who are in the habit of turning technical discussions into displays of ePeen. But its highly unlikely to be a very large share of the total market, which means that the scale economy effects of receiving their subscriptions will not pay for very much in additional processing and staffing costs.

However, if a "high capacity" option were added, there would also be people who shift their subscriptions, and when the extra 20% in subscription revenues from those people are added to the videophile subscriptions, there might be a viable business model there.

Quote:
agila61 wrote:
cyberbeing wrote:
Once again, 1080i digital television captures which display at 1920x1080p, not 720p. ...

Well, would you people make up your mind. I kept saying that Japanese HDTV was 1080i, and y'all kept saying oh, no its 720p. Knock some heads together and get your story straight.

Basically all Japanese TV broadcasts are hard telecined and anamorphic 1440x1080.


So they broadcast in the same resolution as the SDCAM transport medium, which is 3:4 anamorphic, making a 1440x810 post-processing resolution even more attractive, as it would be a 3:4 vertical row upscale alone to place it on the transport medium in the broadcast resolution. So, basically, these people (and the others in the preceding discussion) should be treated as untrusted sources on these issues:
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.

RyanSaotome wrote:
Well I watched both the 720p TV raw for Nisemonogotari ...


I said they were 1080i in the previous thread that this one continues:
agila61 wrote:
RyanSaotome wrote:
No TV shows in Japan air in native 1080p...

Yes, I'd understood that digital HD broadcasts in Japan are 1080i. ...

... but the consumers of your fansubs insisted that the Japanese TV broadcasts are in 720p.
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TheAncientOne



Joined: 06 Oct 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:28 pm Reply with quote
Daizo wrote:
TheAncientOne wrote:
so don't make another mistaken assumption by jumping to the conclusion that I am some one in a million exception.

But you are. There's clearly a large demand for new shows and people aren't hesitant at all to go for the illegal options to watch them if legal options do not exist. Let's just take a single example: Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It started airing a year ago, and so far there has still been no legal English-language releases for it (with the first US BD coming out next month). Despite of that, it's probably the hottest potato of 2011 as far as anime goes and on MyAnimeList alone over 50'000 people have watched it. Tons of people watched it as it aired and the western fanbase even managed to outdo the Japanese one in speculation and research at times (by for example cracking a cryptic alphabet before anyone in Japan did). Do you really think it would have become the kind of phenomenon it has in the western anime fandom if the majority of people were like you? Hell no.

Interesting that by the end of your response you were changing your tune from "but you are (one in a million)" to the correct "if the majority of people were like you". As you should note in my original message I neither claimed nor implied that people like me were even close to a majority. My issue is that you were claiming people like myself didn't exist.

Your original claim painted all fans with the same brush, which is clearly not true, but apparently is still something you have trouble owning up to.
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Spotlesseden



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:35 pm Reply with quote
1080p won't do anything right now, but it's a good step to the future. Sooner or later, nobody will want watch 720p on TV on PC.
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cyberbeing



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:42 pm Reply with quote
agila61 wrote:
But it seems like you are talking about pulling some developers with the right video processing skillset off their work for two to three weeks at the start of each season to set up the filters for a series, and then pull one of them off again mid-season if there are complaints lodged about the quality of the filters.

More like two to three hours max, per series, over the entire season, not weeks. Though really, I'm having a hard time believing these HDCAM/HDCAM-SR sources even need filtering, other than proper deinterlacing/decimation and potentially destriping/anti-aliasing.

Though really, issues like severe banding shouldn't exist in the HDCAM tapes, and x264 shouldn't create the amount of banding seen in Crunchyroll's encodes. If Crunchyroll intends keep 1080p around, a better use of their time would be tracking down and kicking the ass of whoever is destroying their sources before they even get to the point of being encoded to streaming resolutions so they no longer have a need for aggressive filtering.

agila61 wrote:
... but the consumers of your fansubs insisted that the Japanese TV broadcasts are in 720p.


Japanese HDTV Broadcasts: 1440x1080i anamorphic (1920x1080p display resolution).
Unlike the USA, Japan never broadly adopted the use of 720p broadcasts.

Effective resolution of the majority of anime when broadcast on Japanese HDTV @1080i: 720p

Effective resolution of the majority of Ghibli films when broadcast on Japanese HDTV @1080i: 1080p

Most common and practical resolution for TV and Crunchyroll anime re-encodes: 720p

Most useless and impractical resolution in terms of quality/size/bandwidth/cost/time for TV and Crunchyroll anime re-encodes: 1080p

You can't expect viewers of fansubs and subscribers to sites like Crunchyroll to understand and even care about being 100% technically correct about such matters. I see nothing wrong with people believing that TV anime is 720p, considering it's the most politically correct answer and often closer to the truth than believing it's any other resolution.


agila61 wrote:
...broadcast...HDCAM...1440x810...

I've actually been surprised that 1440x810 never became popular for Hi-Vision anime encodes when after the use of digital transport streams became common. As far as maintaining optimal sharpness quality for exceptional anime in 1440x1080i streams, 1440x810 would be the next logical progression since it should guarantee that 720p of resolution would be maintained 720p(studio)->1080i(tape)->810p(encode) while doing 720p(studio)->1080i(tape)->720p(encode) you would usually end up loosing a bit of resolution compared to an original 720p studio source. On 2ch and the less mainstream (anti-gaijin) Japanese P2P networks, use of 1440x810 for transport stream re-encodes & screenshots of anime, has been the norm for years. I'd be somewhat humorous if Crunchyroll now offering 1080p caused fansub groups to reconsider releasing things in 810p to get a definite upper-hand in quality, considering 810p isn't as idiotic, nor does it have the negative stigma of 1080p.
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Mr. sickVisionz



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:11 pm Reply with quote
Daizo wrote:
When people observe all the seasonal anime charts and decide what they are interested in, they sure as hell won't decide not to watch something just because it isn't available as a legal simulcast for them.


I do. I don't watch fansubs and don't want to support them, whether that's encouragement to a fansub group via their release blog getting more clicks/views when I visit or by some ad filled torrent tracker ad revenue my browser loads the adds on their site. If my support is going to go anywhere it will be to companies licensing or creating anime rather than people trying to subvert that.
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Kirkdawg



Joined: 07 May 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:35 pm Reply with quote
People sure do enjoy their placebo effects.
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