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Old 18th March 2009, 23:02   #1  |  Link
benwaggoner
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Silverlight 3 beta with H.264 support available

I mentioned this a while ago, but we've actually got a beta out today.

http://on10.net/blogs/benwagg/Silver...New-for-Media/
Specifically, Silverlight's MPEG-4/H.264/AAC-LC support includes:
  • Self-contained .mp4 (including .f4v and .m4a) and .mov file formats (no reference movies or anything fancy like that).
  • H.264 video in Simple, Main, and High 4:2:0 profiles (progressive scan only)
  • AAC-LC audio mono or stereo (HE AAC will play back with lower fidelity, as in QuickTime)
  • Local files or http progressive download.
So, Silverlight 3 will be able to play pretty much all MPEG-4 files that would play back well in both QuickTime and Flash.

The H.264 and AAC-LC decoders are exposed via the MediaStreamSource used by Smooth Streaming, which means extending support to other file formats and protocols will work there as well. And of course, Smooth Streaming will support H.264 and AAC-LC as well.

This is still beta, so we're welcoming any feedback on issues, problematic content, etcetera. Anything in Simple/Main/High 4:2:0 should work, so if you find anything that doesn't, let us know (ideally with some sample content).

And, sorry Dark Shikari, we didn't get lossless in there . Your request led to some real discussion about it, but in the end we just couldn't reallocate enough media test resources away from other features to sufficiently validate it. We can definitely revisit that if we see lossless H.264 catching on, or otherwise see some enabling scenarios around it.

Anyway, give it a spin and tell us what you think.
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Old 18th March 2009, 23:06   #2  |  Link
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So, Silverlight 3 will be able to play pretty much all MPEG-4 files that would play back well in both QuickTime and Flash.
I thought Flash could play interlaced (MBAFF/PAFF)? Despite my dislike for non-progressive content, I would think those would be considerably more important than lossless...

Last edited by Dark Shikari; 18th March 2009 at 23:09.
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Old 18th March 2009, 23:12   #3  |  Link
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I thought Flash could play interlaced (MBAFF/PAFF)?
It can, although it doesn't have any deinterlacing support in its pipeline so I'm not sure how useful it is .

What I was trying to say that a file that plays well in Flash AND QuickTime would also play well in Silverlight 3, and QuickTime doesn't do interlaced H.264. There's plenty of stuff that one of them can do that neither the other nor Silverlight can.

That said, we certainly welcome feature requests for how to expand this support in future versions to enable additional scenarios.

Interlacing was something we thought would be more expensive than useful, since it's slower to decode intrinsically, would require a deinterlacing pipeline be built as well, and would increase the size of the installer.
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Old 18th March 2009, 23:16   #4  |  Link
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It can, although it doesn't have any deinterlacing support in its pipeline so I'm not sure how useful it is .
That makes me wonder as well what the hell was the point of having it in there to begin with...
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Old 18th March 2009, 23:29   #5  |  Link
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Why should anybody embed an interlaced video into a web-site, just to deinterlace it on the client side?

Doesn't it make much more sense to deinterlace before encoding (using a high-quality deinterlacer) and only embed progressive videos into web-sites?

Embedding interlaced video into web-sites just doesn't make any sense to me. Not like interlaced video does make much sense at all...
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Old 18th March 2009, 23:32   #6  |  Link
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I should hope most media sites (or at least the smart ones) deinterlace any interlaced video that gets thrown at them. IIRC, interlaced tends to suck up more bitrate than progressive does.
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Old 18th March 2009, 23:57   #7  |  Link
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That makes me wonder as well what the hell was the point of having it in there to begin with...
In Flash? No idea. I've certainly never seen it being used, and can't really think of why it would be useful for a browser plugin.

A good motion-adaptive bob deinterlacer can make interlaced encoding with interlaced source more efficient; we saw about a 30% bitrate advantage in encoding 30i as 30i compared to encoding 30i as 60p with VC-1. But the decode complexity is high enough it wouldn't really make that much sense to do in a software-only player. And most player architectures aren't really set up to do this very efficiently. Deinterlacing in the decoder when you have the motion vector and block type data available would be a lot easier than later in the pipeline when you've got just YUY2 frames. But most architectures really force the latter approach.

I fantasized about doing that for Silveright, but the dev/test cost was way too high relative to the benefit; there's a lot lower hanging fruit out there.
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Old 19th March 2009, 00:42   #8  |  Link
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Will this finally allow people to view flash in 64 bit windows browsers?

Adobe has been 'working' on this for over a year now, still only 32 bit windows releases.
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Old 19th March 2009, 00:53   #9  |  Link
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Will this finally allow people to view flash in 64 bit windows browsers?
Nope. Sliverlight is not related to Flash at all. It's an adversarial technology!

The Silverlight plugin does only work with Silverlight animations (not with Flash animations). The Flash plugin does only work with Flash animations (not with Silverlight animations).

Hence Silverlight cannot substitute Flash (or vice versa). It's two different products by two different companies that exist in parallel.

Anyway, why not use a 32-Bit browser on 64-Bit Windows ???
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Old 19th March 2009, 01:19   #10  |  Link
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Will this finally allow people to view flash in 64 bit windows browsers?

Adobe has been 'working' on this for over a year now, still only 32 bit windows releases.
Silverlight 3 remains 32-bit only, although the Moonlight implementation from Novell is available for 32-bit and 64-bit Linux.

I suppose it's a bit of a chicken-and-egg thing; since almost no one is using native 64-bit browsers, it didn't seem worth the test cost to add another ISA. 64-bit is pretty trival from a code perspective, but it's a big expansion in the number of platforms we'd need to test on.

So, for my own context, can you tell me why and how you'd use a 64-bit browser instead of a 32-bit browser?
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Old 19th March 2009, 02:03   #11  |  Link
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Oh ok, I know I've ran across some streams that say install: adobe flash player or silverlight to play this content. Which I'm guessing is the same stream but I could be wrong and I thought what ben said 'So, Silverlight 3 will be able to play pretty much all MPEG-4 files that would play back well in both QuickTime and Flash.' would mean it could be a replacement for flash.

64 bit browsers render much quicker then 32 bit ones and I notice it quite a bit.

In terms of speed of what I use (slowest to fastest): IE7 32 - Firefox - IE7 64 - Minefield (64 bit firefox)

Minefield is my default but I use Firefox when I want to use flash. The same plugins work for both.

Last edited by turbojet; 19th March 2009 at 02:07.
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Old 19th March 2009, 02:10   #12  |  Link
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Oh ok, I know I've ran across some streams that say install: adobe flash player or silverlight to play this content. Which I'm guessing is the same stream but I could be wrong and I thought what ben said 'So, Silverlight 3 will be able to play pretty much all MPEG-4 files that would play back well in both QuickTime and Flash.' would mean it could be a replacement for flash.
It's quite possible that some web-sites provide the same contents for both, Flash and Silverlight.

But this isn't automatic...
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Old 19th March 2009, 11:46   #13  |  Link
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[*]AAC-LC audio mono or stereo (HE AAC will play back with lower fidelity, as in QuickTime)
No HE-AACv2? Is it something settled on, or is it just because it is still in beta stage and not feature complete?
(btw, we now have strong hints that quicktime will support HE-AAC very soon)
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Old 19th March 2009, 12:07   #14  |  Link
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So, for my own context, can you tell me why and how you'd use a 64-bit browser instead of a 32-bit browser?
i only have 64 minefield on one computer, well as well as ie 32/64. i personally get peeved at having to switch browsers just to use a function like flash.

for those of us who specifically went 64 bit os, why on earth wouldnt we want to use the 64 bit versions of all software, its why we got the darn thing
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Old 19th March 2009, 13:25   #15  |  Link
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Because despite what people say - and I'm sure I'm just about to open the can of worms - 32 bit applications peform better on x64 64-bit Windows. Much of this can probably be put down to 64 bit drivers ...
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Old 19th March 2009, 16:08   #16  |  Link
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Because despite what people say - and I'm sure I'm just about to open the can of worms - 32 bit applications peform better on x64 64-bit Windows. Much of this can probably be put down to 64 bit drivers ...
I think this only applies to applications that have more optimized 32 bit code (it's more mature after all) then 64 bit code. However for most apps you probably wouldn't notice a difference between 32 and 64 bit cause it can't really make use of the 64 bit registries anyhow, a web browser just happens to be something that can benefit. Apps that are optimized just as well or better for 64 bit usually run a little faster on 64 bit, x264 and ffdshow64 are 2 popular tools discussed here that show this.

As for software developers compiling 64 bit apps I think it's mostly because they don't have the time or don't want to maintain 2 branches. Eventually 64 bit will be the norm but it's probably still at least 5 years out. I read many places (rumor?) that Microsoft announced Windows 7 was going to be 64 bit only but 32 bit exists and now I see reported that Windows 7 is the last 32 bit windows OS.

Just my thoughts on it but this is a bit off topic for this thread so this is all I'll discuss about 32 vs 64 bit.

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Old 19th March 2009, 16:49   #17  |  Link
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No HE-AACv2? Is it something settled on, or is it just because it is still in beta stage and not feature complete?
AAC-LC is the plan. Licensing of it for something like Silverlight that's a platform to build other apps on can be complex, and we hadn't had requests for it from many customers yet. Feel free to pitch me on what kind of content you'd got that uses it.

That said, we have tested we can play back the base stream of HE AAC, so you'll get audio, just at half sample rate. Not idea for anything other than voice, of course.

This is something that we'd love to see addressed via our Raw AV support for managed decoders, as we're discussing over on this thread:
http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=145758

Quote:
(btw, we now have strong hints that quicktime will support HE-AAC very soon)
Do you have a link? I hadn't heard that.
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Old 19th March 2009, 18:09   #18  |  Link
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AAC-LC is the plan. Licensing of it for something like Silverlight that's a platform to build other apps on can be complex, and we hadn't had requests for it from many customers yet. Feel free to pitch me on what kind of content you'd got that uses it.
I was suspecting a licensing issue.
Regarding content, any 3gp content would likely use either HE-AAC or HE-AACv2. Sure, they are low-res contents, but it would sometimes be convenient to be able to serve the same assets for different platforms (and having an audio decoder handling the full frequency range).
As Flash supports HE-AACv2, there are some websites pushing HE-AAC and HE-AACv2 content. Examples: BBC IPlayer, Joost

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Do you have a link? I hadn't heard that.
I don't have a direct link, as developers docs at Apple are requiring prior registration/login. However, within the "iPhone Streaming Media Guide for Web Developers" released on March 15th, it is clearly mentioned that iPhone 3.0 will support HE-AAC. To me it is then quite likely that Apple will push a QuickTime update on the same day as iPhone 3.0 will be released, bringing HE-AAC support.
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Old 20th March 2009, 05:09   #19  |  Link
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So, for my own context, can you tell me why and how you'd use a 64-bit browser instead of a 32-bit browser?
64bit OS 64bit apps... makes sense to me
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interlacing and telecining should have been but a memory long ago.. unfortunately still just another bizarre weapon in the industries war on image quality.
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Old 20th March 2009, 14:39   #20  |  Link
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64bit OS 64bit apps... makes sense to me
Makes sense only if the particular applications benefits from 64-Bit, as 32-Bit apps run just fine on 64-Bit OS and usually have better support...
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