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Ryan_Vickers

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About Ryan_Vickers

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    and counting

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    Canada
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  1. It's easy to not notice the little changes as they stack up over time but when you put MPEG 2 up against something like VP9 you really see how far we've come in visual quality per bit over the years, and that's not even the best format anymore either.  Most people would consider MPEG 2 an ancient and obsolete format by this point, and rightly so, it came out in the mid 90s.  Since then, we've moved on to H.264/AVC/MPEG 4, which is pretty much universally supported and still commonly used.  The majority of devices can not only play it back effortlessly, but even encode it in real time.  It's hardly cutting edge though either, having come out in the early to mid 2000s.  Since then we've moved on to more modern things like VP9, and while it will take time, over the next few years, we can expect a transition to an even better codec, AV1.

     

    Meanwhile, JPEG launched in the early 90s, and yet it is still commonly used and something of a universal standard.  Certainly newer and better formats exist - webp just to name one - but they just haven't caught on.

     

    I thought about this and then I realized, there's been more progress in video formats than there has in photo formats - a lot more - and this is sad for two reasons.

     

    For one, it's easy to imagine how the same improvements we've seen with video could be enjoyed in the photo space as well, or, if you're not the imaginative type, you can look up demos that clearly illustrate this fact.

     

    Second - and this is really the strange part - it is so much easier to add support for other photo formats than it is to switch the whole world to a new video codec.  Video has to perform well or it doesn't work.  This often requires having physical, hardware support, which means updating all your equipment, after waiting years for the manufacturers to jump on supporting it in the first place.  Alternatively, you can brute force the decoding with raw power, but this is becoming increasingly impractical as codecs get more advanced, as well as the fact this is simply not an option on many weaker machines, as well as all mobile devices.  Conversely, no one cares if a photo takes 1/10th of a second to load (a speed that would be insufficient for video), and the only thing programs and devices need to understand the format is a software update.

     

    The only reason for this that I can imagine is the pressure to reduce bandwidth and increase quality for streaming services pushed the improvements in video codecs where as for photos, there isn't really a similar pressure, but it's not entirely satisfying.

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Ryan_Vickers

      Ryan_Vickers

      Yeah, a JPG can look basically indistinguishable from lossless if set to maximum quality, it just ends up being ~15 MB for a 24 MP photo, which is a lot more than it needs to be.  But, it's also not really a big deal to anyone most of the time, compared with the several GB of a typical video file.

    3. Ashiella

      Ashiella

      Why would you test VP9 when you have AV1

    4. pierom_qwerty

      pierom_qwerty

      i shoved an mpeg up my ass

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