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AndrewS
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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:09 pm

rpdom wrote:Either by running a MythTV frontend (which would b hoping a bit much)
What makes you think that? If the RPi had MPEG2 hardware acceleration, I don't see any reason it wouldn't make a great MythTV frontend?

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:28 pm

I might not be young and trendy anymore, but I watch massive amounts of TV and DVDs all of which are MPEG-2. And I do so entirely on computers hooked up to TV's.

There is a market for this - the Pi is being pushed as a media centre machine, but the reality is without MPEG2 it's usefulness is limited.

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:09 pm

AndrewS wrote:
rpdom wrote:Either by running a MythTV frontend (which would b hoping a bit much)
What makes you think that? If the RPi had MPEG2 hardware acceleration, I don't see any reason it wouldn't make a great MythTV frontend?
The memory requirement, for one, the MySQL usage for another, plus the overheads of MythTV and Xorg. On their own, each of these wouldn't be a problem, but they add up. Also a fair bit of cpu time will still be taken up with passing the video stream to the gpu and with procesing audio too,

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:30 pm

robwriter wrote:I might not be young and trendy anymore, but I watch massive amounts of TV and DVDs all of which are MPEG-2. And I do so entirely on computers hooked up to TV's.

There is a market for this - the Pi is being pushed as a media centre machine, but the reality is without MPEG2 it's usefulness is limited.
It's being pushed as an education machine, not a media centre. The media centre bit is a fortunate side effect.

Why are you watching DVD as MPEG2? I always rip to H264 - much better compression (about twice as good for same quality) as MPEG2. Or are you playing direct from DVD?

If you watch that much stuff I'd really recommend something designed for the purpose such as the Roku2 device. It uses the same SoC but does have MPEG2. Cheapest one is £50 I think, but is designed for the job.
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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:31 pm

rpdom wrote:
AndrewS wrote:
rpdom wrote:Either by running a MythTV frontend (which would b hoping a bit much)
What makes you think that? If the RPi had MPEG2 hardware acceleration, I don't see any reason it wouldn't make a great MythTV frontend?
The memory requirement, for one, the MySQL usage for another, plus the overheads of MythTV and Xorg. On their own, each of these wouldn't be a problem, but they add up. Also a fair bit of cpu time will still be taken up with passing the video stream to the gpu and with procesing audio too,
XBMC works fine playing all sorts. Does Myth require that much more processing oomph?
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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:34 pm

I can't really comment definitively, since I've never run the MythTV frontend on a different machine to the MythTV backend, but I thought that all the SQL was handled in the backend? And a quick google suggests that MythTV can be run without X ? http://www.gentoo-wiki.info/HOWTO_Setup ... ramebuffer

I haven't looked through all the results, but this seems to have a bit of info http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/searc ... rds=mythtv

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:26 pm

jamesh wrote: Why are you watching DVD as MPEG2? I always rip to H264 - much better compression (about twice as good for same quality) as MPEG2. Or are you playing direct from DVD?
I'm glad you asked, because there seems to be a bunch of antipathy around folks expressing that MPEG2 as a requirement. So perhaps if I explain, then it will either make sense, or provide a insightful counter-argument that convinces me to do/want something else.

My live TV comes in MPEG2, so I can't watch them live on the Pi. If they are recorded by some back-end, they have to be transcoded to display (See SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime). By the way, the savings using cable-cards ($4/month) over STBs is approximately $10/month/STB and $20/month/DVR -- Currently 3 STBs and 1 DVR.

My DVDs are ISOs. After you buy a few hundred DVDs (Yes, I pay for my content), hunting down the Disc is nightmare. If you have children, DVDs are consumable Items. Buying old Xbox1's to run XBMC isn't sustainable or supportable anymore. Transcoding doesn't (to my knowledge) support all the special features on the DVD or the DVD Menus. Although transcoding 7 TB is daunting, it is not my sole reason for being resistant. Given that most of what I buy is now BD, I could see a compelling argument that this is legacy and needs to be transitioned -- if there is no loss of content and functionality.
jamesh wrote: If you watch that much stuff I'd really recommend something designed for the purpose such as the Roku2 device. It uses the same SoC but does have MPEG2. Cheapest one is £50 I think, but is designed for the job.
I have one. It played netflix until recently. It doesn't run XBMC and it does not play MPEG2 Live and it does not play ISOs. I never got anywhere with the BD's either. Supposedly Plex can get involved somehow, but who knows. I suspect (haven't confirmed) that there is transcoding involved -- ups the requirements of the head-end box substantially, but sometimes that's the cost of a thin-client. I gave it away to a friend who only needed netflix.
jamesh wrote: It's being pushed as an education machine, not a media centre. The media centre bit is a fortunate side effect.

You are right. The Foundation did push it as an educational machine. I should have read the Raspberrypi.org page instead of the Broadcom page to discover a lack of MPEG2. 100% my fault for making that mistake. However, The Foundation wasn't the only one 'pushing' the machine. A lot of folks saw the media capabilities and pushed that this was a media centre. Folks did amazing things to make XBMC and other software work on the Pi. Look at the press from Feb-May. The Pi was marketed as a Media Centre (perhaps beyond what the foundation intended)

I think this is your best and most supportable argument about MPEG2 -- "We have other goals that we believe to be more important." I think that does trump MPEG2. I like the idea and vision of the Pi. I do not regret my purchase and hope it supports the foundation. The fact that the Pi does not do what I wanted is my fault for not doing the proper research. It has surprised me in a number of positive ways as well.

I would like to humbly suggest that you have not yet seen the true demands of your customer base due to the lack of ready availability. I am sure that the request for features will mature as more Pi's get out there and MPEG2 will probably be somewhere among them -- the foundation will have to prioritize according to the demand.

For me, I have a number of different orders for other ARM based SoCs to play with. ARM is really getting exciting and the Pi is fun to work on. It will probably not be my STB until the MPEG2 issue is resolved. I actually suspect that it will not be resolved until after the Camera Module fleshes out the need for some 'encoder' licenses. I said above that I pay for my content. I don't have any expectation that the eventual MPEG2 resolution, if any, will not be free.

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:49 pm

jamesh wrote:
robwriter wrote:I might not be young and trendy anymore, but I watch massive amounts of TV and DVDs all of which are MPEG-2. And I do so entirely on computers hooked up to TV's.

There is a market for this - the Pi is being pushed as a media centre machine, but the reality is without MPEG2 it's usefulness is limited.
It's being pushed as an education machine, not a media centre. The media centre bit is a fortunate side effect.

Why are you watching DVD as MPEG2? I always rip to H264 - much better compression (about twice as good for same quality) as MPEG2. Or are you playing direct from DVD?

If you watch that much stuff I'd really recommend something designed for the purpose such as the Roku2 device. It uses the same SoC but does have MPEG2. Cheapest one is £50 I think, but is designed for the job.
Maybe it's over the top to say the Pi is being pushed as a media centre, but the Foundation aren't playing this aspect of it down either. And XBMC works pretty well right now and will continue to improve, so it does have some use in this role.

I'm obviously old fashioned and play directly from DVD. I have lots of them, having gone through various phases of trying to learn film studies, and they've been around for years now, and they're usually only 3 quid! I'd like to rip them all one day, but if I go to the time to do that, I'd want to back them up as it'd take me forever to do it. And right now I don't calculate that the storage to do is that cheap - assuming around 200 ISOs per TB I'd need quite a few hard drives (x2 to back them up, as the cost in time is higher than the cost in HDD's), and so for now I decide to keep on putting it off and using the discs.

I actually imagine that by the time I get round to it there'll probably be a service that I can pay monthly to access lots of content. Kinda like Spotify for movies.

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:15 pm

Given the pragmatic decisions evident elsewhere on the Pi board I can only assume that the inclusion of a GPU that seems overspecced for a budget educational device was to act as a carrot.

I'm sure that some kind of challenge / response licencer and software validation layer could be set up, but amongst other things the MPEG-2 licencing bods would need to be convinced that the entire systen was absolutely secure.

I suppose it's a reminder of the caveat emptor thing - if you're buying into any hardware / software with a particular task in mind then get it for what it can do now, not what it may be able to do at some point in the future.

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:13 pm

gritz wrote:Given the pragmatic decisions evident elsewhere on the Pi board I can only assume that the inclusion of a GPU that seems overspecced for a budget educational device was to act as a carrot.

I'm sure that some kind of challenge / response licencer and software validation layer could be set up, but amongst other things the MPEG-2 licencing bods would need to be convinced that the entire systen was absolutely secure.

I suppose it's a reminder of the caveat emptor thing - if you're buying into any hardware / software with a particular task in mind then get it for what it can do now, not what it may be able to do at some point in the future.
Not really a carrot - do you know of any decent Arm chips that DONT have GPU's that you can get for a similar price? The carrot is more likely to be in the 3D area than in video playback as that certainly has teaching potential.
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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:26 pm

gritz wrote:Given the pragmatic decisions evident elsewhere on the Pi board I can only assume that the inclusion of a GPU that seems overspecced for a budget educational device was to act as a carrot.

I'm sure that some kind of challenge / response licencer and software validation layer could be set up, but amongst other things the MPEG-2 licencing bods would need to be convinced that the entire systen was absolutely secure.

I suppose it's a reminder of the caveat emptor thing - if you're buying into any hardware / software with a particular task in mind then get it for what it can do now, not what it may be able to do at some point in the future.
I agree with everything you just said.

I would also add that although I *really* want MPEG2 decoding, I think it should wait until it can be done properly so that folks that need a codec besides MPEG2 that is not currently in the licensed bundle can get them as well. examples of this may be encoding video captured by the camera.. or some GPU overlay effect of a live video and then encoded. Although my particular use case is for MPEG2, I believe in the mission of the Foundation and think they should do what makes sense for that mission. I think in the not-so-far future, this (licensing) will come up in another context and if they do something abruptly for MPEG2, they will miss the opportunity to do something... better?

It's harder to bring out a more nuanced argument and not talk in circles. But it's easier to engage in a constructive conversation without taking an absolutist view.

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:36 pm

Just a thought, but why would the foundation need to try to come up with an uncrackable system for MPEG2 licenses?

Surely it just needs to be as robust as the other people selling MPEG2 licenses? How do other companies get around this?

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:36 pm

In short MPEG2 is mainly used for anything to do with UK Freeview TV or DVDs, and the Pi will struggle to get decent framerates without GPU use

Whereas h264 is used in freeview HD and bluray HD, and h264 is GPU accelerated on Pi.

So the bizarre situation is that the Pi will play HD content well, but will struggle with the more plentiful SD content...
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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:48 am

robwriter wrote:Surely it just needs to be as robust as the other people selling MPEG2 licenses? How do other companies get around this?
Other devices that play MPEG2 typically load their firmware from a ROM chip, not a user-accessible (and modifiable) SD card ;) And said (more expensive?) devices always come with MPEG2 as standard, they don't require an "upgrade pack".

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:52 am

thefrog wrote:I think this is your best and most supportable argument about MPEG2 -- "We have other goals that we believe to be more important." I think that does trump MPEG2. I like the idea and vision of the Pi. I do not regret my purchase and hope it supports the foundation. The fact that the Pi does not do what I wanted is my fault for not doing the proper research. It has surprised me in a number of positive ways as well.

I would like to humbly suggest that you have not yet seen the true demands of your customer base due to the lack of ready availability. I am sure that the request for features will mature as more Pi's get out there and MPEG2 will probably be somewhere among them -- the foundation will have to prioritize according to the demand.
As a charity rather than a for-profit entity, I believe the Foundation's priorities lie with the charitable aim, rather than customer demands? :| Of course if they overlap then everyone wins ;)

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:25 am

thefrog wrote:...there seems to be a bunch of antipathy around folks expressing that MPEG2 as a requirement. So perhaps if I explain, then it will either make sense, or provide a insightful counter-argument that convinces me to do/want something else.
I don't think it's antipathy as such, just an expression that, if you have mpeg-2 decoding ability as a fundamental requirement, buying a device that doesn't provide that functionality, doesn't advertise itself as providing that functionality, and is aimed at a completely different market sector - then moaning about the lack of said functionality is a bit daft, regardless of whether that's due to an "artificial hobbling" of the chipset used.

We understand that there are use cases for a media player / stb where mpeg-2 is useful or even fundamental. But they aren't use cases for the Pi, regardless of what enthusiastic third parties managed to assume the Pi could do before it hit the streets.
thefrog wrote:The fact that the Pi does not do what I wanted is my fault for not doing the proper research.
Indeed.
thefrog wrote:I would like to humbly suggest that you have not yet seen the true demands of your customer base due to the lack of ready availability. I am sure that the request for features will mature as more Pi's get out there and MPEG2 will probably be somewhere among them -- the foundation will have to prioritize according to the demand.
[/quote]
You have to remember that you are not a customer of the foundation. You are a customer of RS components or Farnell / Element 14. As far as the foundation is concerned, you are a beta tester, and not even one who's testing anything relevant to their device's goals. That said, the Foundation do isten to their users, must be aware of the demand for mpeg-2 from a minority of them, and I'm sure that dealing with that demand will be prioritised according to its relevance to providing decent computer science education for kids.

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:57 am

AndrewS wrote:
robwriter wrote:Surely it just needs to be as robust as the other people selling MPEG2 licenses? How do other companies get around this?
Other devices that play MPEG2 typically load their firmware from a ROM chip, not a user-accessible (and modifiable) SD card ;) And said (more expensive?) devices always come with MPEG2 as standard, they don't require an "upgrade pack".
I guess I was thinking of licenses in Windows applications which are easy to pirate. But then I guess the MPEG2 license holders don't care as there are free implementations anyway.

I can see why it'd be harder now that there are R-Pi's that don't have it.

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:35 pm

AndrewS wrote:
robwriter wrote:Surely it just needs to be as robust as the other people selling MPEG2 licenses? How do other companies get around this?
Other devices that play MPEG2 typically load their firmware from a ROM chip, not a user-accessible (and modifiable) SD card
What about major companies selling software MPEG 2 players?
E.g.: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/extendin ... nents.html

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:18 pm

Max wrote:
AndrewS wrote:
robwriter wrote:Surely it just needs to be as robust as the other people selling MPEG2 licenses? How do other companies get around this?
Other devices that play MPEG2 typically load their firmware from a ROM chip, not a user-accessible (and modifiable) SD card
What about major companies selling software MPEG 2 players?
E.g.: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/extendin ... nents.html
*shrug* I guess it's up to Apple and their lawyers to prove to the MPEG-LA that their software isn't easily piratable :?:
Apple can afford more lawyers (and software developers, obviously) than the RPF ;)

EDIT: LOL, it's funny to see "ALDI Stores Limited" in the same list as "Apple Inc."
http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/M2/ ... nsees.aspx

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:24 pm

AndrewS wrote: *shrug* I guess it's up to Apple and their lawyers to prove to the MPEG-LA that their software isn't easily piratable :?:
Does the MPEG-LA actually require that?
Only place where I have ever heard that is in this forum.
Apple is certainly not the only one with software players, believe there used to be several licensed ones for Windows, before VLC and the other free players became popular.
Apple can afford more lawyers (and software developers, obviously) than the RPF ;)
Think that in a jury trial RPF will do a lot better than Apple ;)
Apple has the "big evil greedy corporation" image, while RPF is an underdog with "think about the children" all written over it. :mrgreen:

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:26 pm

Max wrote:
AndrewS wrote:
robwriter wrote:Surely it just needs to be as robust as the other people selling MPEG2 licenses? How do other companies get around this?
Other devices that play MPEG2 typically load their firmware from a ROM chip, not a user-accessible (and modifiable) SD card
What about major companies selling software MPEG 2 players?
E.g.: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/extendin ... nents.html
I think they pay for a bulk licence up front. If it get pirated it gets pirated. Problem we have is that the MPEG2 code runs on the GPU, and the Foundation pays for the GPU, and the numbers are trackable.
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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:09 pm

Max wrote:
AndrewS wrote: *shrug* I guess it's up to Apple and their lawyers to prove to the MPEG-LA that their software isn't easily piratable :?:
Does the MPEG-LA actually require that?
No idea!
Only place where I have ever heard that is in this forum.
Mea culpa, I shouldn't believe everything I read on these forums :oops:
Apple is certainly not the only one with software players, believe there used to be several licensed ones for Windows, before VLC and the other free players became popular.
Yeah, when I bought my first IDE DVD-ROM drive (it had a silver bezel :P ), it came with an OEM copy of PowerDVD.
And then I had to use a 3rd-party software hack to get around the Macrovision protection, so that I could use the video-out to play the DVDs on my big CRT television.

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:20 pm

robwriter wrote: I guess I was thinking of licenses in Windows applications which are easy to pirate. But then I guess the MPEG2 license holders don't care as there are free implementations anyway.
I rather suspect that it's not a case of not caring, so much as it's a case of not being *able* to do anything about it....or at least, not being able to do anything profitable about it. (Suing some 20-something without financial resources would result in a cease-and-desist order, but they'd have to pay their own lawyers money to get that and wouldn't get anything back. It'd just be an expensive game of "whack a mole" with no return on the money spent, except a ton of bad publicity.)

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:22 pm

I would also like to join the growing chorus of people pleading for an alternative from the foundation for this functionality. I know it means some more $$$, but it would be worth it.

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Re: A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2

Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:54 pm

zanophol wrote:I would also like to join the growing chorus of people pleading for an alternative from the foundation for this functionality. I know it means some more $$$, but it would be worth it.
Note...I am not opposed to including MPEG-2 in the GPU blob, but...

How does this fit with the Foundations purpose? Is an MPEG-2 decoder *needed* to make the Pi functional *in* *schools* and for *educational* purposes?

Personally, I think it isn't, and it appears that the Foundation thinks that the Pi doesn't need it, or--at least--doesn't need it at the price they would have to pay to get it included.

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