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What is going on with Vorbis? (or Xiph overall)
pepoluan
post May 22 2007, 07:23
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... and the "Play Ogg" campaign is now made mainstream by LifeHacker:

http://lifehacker.com/software/digital-mus...rbis-262021.php


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sonytp50
post May 22 2007, 10:44
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QUOTE (pepoluan @ May 19 2007, 05:18) *
But leaving out Winamp, which is the de facto most widely used media player in the Windows world, don't really push the popularity of Ogg Vorbis.

"Oh? Winamp supports Ogg Vorbis? Gee, I should check this out."


Only problem: The current WinampLite versions do not play
Ogg right out of the box - you have to do a full install (that
also installs loads of other useless things) to get it to play
vorbis. sad.gif

Also it seems that people who care about music enough to install Winamp
are not the people who still need to hear about ogg for the first time.
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tempnegro
post May 23 2007, 02:03
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could of swore I had a post in here
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pepoluan
post May 23 2007, 19:32
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See this:

Wired has picked up on the Play Ogg initiative.

Also:

Wired's analysis on the effect of recently-litigated MP3 patents.
QUOTE
It's hard to say which companies will be affected by Thursday's award. Those wishing to use MP3 have traditionally been subject to two sets of rules for using the codec: one for encoding, and another for playback. If the two patents upheld by the jury today apply only to products that encode audio into MP3s, the ruling would affect only companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and others offering software that lets consumers make their own MP3 files.

If they cover playback too, every company involved even tangentially with MP3 stands to lose big. Microsoft's licensing bill for Thomson/Fraunhofer was only $16 million -- about 1 percent of what it now owes Alcatel-Lucent. A significant number of the companies who offer MP3 encoders and/or players could face a similar judgment, with many being driven out of business.


Edit: The first article above does a good job trying to explain Ogg Vorbis and help people play it.

This post has been edited by pepoluan: May 23 2007, 19:34


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gameplaya15143
post May 23 2007, 20:18
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QUOTE (jorsol @ May 19 2007, 01:59) *
...Winamp need additional codecs if you want to play Theora (and is not free software), foobar2000 don't even play video (and is not free software), WMP needs ALL the necessary codecs installed (and is not free software)...
blink.gif Are you crazy? All of those are free (not necessarily open source though) and Illiminable's Oggcodecs are free (which are needed to add ogg/theora support into both winamp/wmp).


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Fandango
post May 23 2007, 23:12
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QUOTE (pepoluan @ May 23 2007, 20:32) *
Wired's analysis on the effect of recently-litigated MP3 patents.
QUOTE
It's hard to say which companies will be affected by Thursday's award. Those wishing to use MP3 have traditionally been subject to two sets of rules for using the codec: one for encoding, and another for playback. If the two patents upheld by the jury today apply only to products that encode audio into MP3s, the ruling would affect only companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and others offering software that lets consumers make their own MP3 files.

If they cover playback too, every company involved even tangentially with MP3 stands to lose big. Microsoft's licensing bill for Thomson/Fraunhofer was only $16 million -- about 1 percent of what it now owes Alcatel-Lucent. A significant number of the companies who offer MP3 encoders and/or players could face a similar judgment, with many being driven out of business.

Uhm, I believe the least Alcatel-Lucent and Fraunhofer want is to scare every single company who uses MP3 in their products away from... using MP3. So it's utterly unrealistic that we will see a major shift from MP3 to, e.g. Ogg Vorbis. Microsoft is an extreme example, but it's an exception, because they have extremely huge amounts of cash.

What Alcatel-Lucent wants is making a profit out of (modest) fees from their patents and not destroying this opportunity at all, be it by bludgening everyone down who can't or isn't willing to pay or by scaring them off to another codec. Moreover I doubt that neither single persons nor non-profit projects like LAME will be charged for fees.

Of course, in case companies who'll face the possibility of paying will think twice whether it is worth it to stick with a MP3 playback and recording functionality in their products, but I'm sure that it will still pay out to keep MP3 support despite the fees because it is and will be a wide-spread format - people won't delete their old MP3s because more and more new products don't support it anymore, in fact they will rather avoid buying those products.

This post has been edited by Fandango: May 24 2007, 20:31
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vlada
post May 24 2007, 10:59
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QUOTE (sonytp50 @ May 22 2007, 11:44) *
Also it seems that people who care about music enough to install Winamp
are not the people who still need to hear about ogg for the first time.


I know plenty of people who are using Winamp, but never heard about Ogg Vorbis. They only know MP3.

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ckjnigel
post May 24 2007, 16:26
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Well, most people don't know about VBR and why it's desirable. (Or, why transcoding from *.mp3 to *.ogg isn't good!)
I'm impressed by how many mobile players support Ogg Vorbis. But, questions I see in product support forums show that few are aware of why and how *.ogg files are better. Yes, I point people, but I doubt many want to mess with EAC, foobar2000 and command lines.
I think that encoding speed (e.g., Blacksword) and more fi for your space are potent selling points. But, what's needed is a costless, super-simple rip-encoder that *.ogg fans can promote on forum boards such as for iRiver and Meizu.
I think my greatest disappointment is that Nokia's N800 doesn't provide straight-from-the-box *.ogg support.
Addendum: The most effective way to promote would be to take some LC-AAC songs from the iTunes store and show what size *.ogg files are comparable in quality. But, I know that HA's stringent testing guidelines make that a non-trivial exercise.

This post has been edited by ckjnigel: May 24 2007, 16:35
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pepoluan
post May 25 2007, 09:23
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QUOTE (ckjnigel @ May 24 2007, 22:26) *
Well, most people don't know about VBR and why it's desirable. (Or, why transcoding from *.mp3 to *.ogg isn't good!)

I'm impressed by how many mobile players support Ogg Vorbis. But, questions I see in product support forums show that few are aware of why and how *.ogg files are better. Yes, I point people, but I doubt many want to mess with EAC, foobar2000 and command lines.

I think that encoding speed (e.g., Blacksword) and more fi for your space are potent selling points. But, what's needed is a costless, super-simple rip-encoder that *.ogg fans can promote on forum boards such as for iRiver and Meizu.
You can point them to AudioGrabber.

QUOTE (ckjnigel @ May 24 2007, 22:26) *
I think my greatest disappointment is that Nokia's N800 doesn't provide straight-from-the-box *.ogg support.
My grief, too.

QUOTE (ckjnigel @ May 24 2007, 22:26) *
Addendum: The most effective way to promote would be to take some LC-AAC songs from the iTunes store and show what size *.ogg files are comparable in quality. But, I know that HA's stringent testing guidelines make that a non-trivial exercise.
For the rest of the world that's not members of HA, I don't think HA's TOS applies smile.gif


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askoff
post May 25 2007, 11:19
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I think that Vorbis has quite good support already and if you really want to use it, you can just by checkig before what you buy. I think it's not a good idea to force everyone to use it because most of the people doesn't care how much better it is and how many songs more they can fit in their players. People use what they get and what they have and the songs in MP3 format are easiest to find.
Those people who does care about these little things like sound quality and efficiency, they don't have to use MP3.
Worst thing is that it only takes one MP3 player in house to keep the songs in MP3 format. (And in my case WavPack...)

This post has been edited by askoff: May 25 2007, 11:21
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Spikey
post May 26 2007, 04:29
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Well, for my money, I find the 'ease of encoding' argument an interesting one.

I'm no expert in these matters, I'm a member of HA to learn more and understand more, not dole out advice.

But- in my experiences, I find popular MP3 encoding programs such as 'LAME' to be convoluted and confusing- whereas using the OggDropXPd Lancer build is damned easy- set to whatever quality you want and drag and drop! (And set tags and whatever else you want of course.)

Obviously, as was said in this thread or another (which linked to this thread) most people simply hit 'rip' in their ripper or player (which does rips) of choice. But as has been covered in this thread, Vorbis isn't currently used amongst such 'average' users, but rather more sophisticated ones.

So I think saying to such users, use Lancer build, and use WinAmp with a codec you may/may not need to download, isn't asking much of such users, if Vorbis use/ease of use (or at least, understanding) is our desire here.


Incidentally, hasn't some HA users recently expressed a lack of ability to distinguish between Vorbis and MP3 (and probably other codecs like AAC) at bitrates of around 128 kbps? I would have thought that was a barrier to taking up Vorbis, if most 'audiophiles' or audio enthusiasts can't even ABX the difference at such common (dare I say, low) bitrates.
If average users who probably use 128 or better kbps MP3 files, you get my point- saying "Vorbis doesn't really sound different, but you should use it", plus asking to use different software, isn't a very enticing argument.

Note that that's not my opinion, I use Vorbis for several reasons (quality, filesize, open source/free, easier than LAME, and so on). But I run a music website, and if a forum member puts that to me (the question that doesn't MP3 and Ogg sound about the same as most commonly used bitrates)- I can really only say "Yeah, if that works for you, that's great", or "Yeah, there really isn't much difference". Not really satisfactory answers, but I'm not sure what else to say without getting into codec wars.

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vinnie97
post May 26 2007, 11:21
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QUOTE (Spikey @ May 25 2007, 19:29) *
If average users who probably use 128 or better kbps MP3 files, you get my point- saying "Vorbis doesn't really sound different, but you should use it", plus asking to use different software, isn't a very enticing argument.

It is at this point that you lower the bitrate to 80 kbps without telling them and get their assessment of the SQ. wink.gif
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Junon
post May 26 2007, 15:07
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QUOTE (Spikey @ May 26 2007, 05:29) *
Incidentally, hasn't some HA users recently expressed a lack of ability to distinguish between Vorbis and MP3 (and probably other codecs like AAC) at bitrates of around 128 kbps? I would have thought that was a barrier to taking up Vorbis, if most 'audiophiles' or audio enthusiasts can't even ABX the difference at such common (dare I say, low) bitrates.
If average users who probably use 128 or better kbps MP3 files, you get my point- saying "Vorbis doesn't really sound different, but you should use it", plus asking to use different software, isn't a very enticing argument.

Well, the 2005 multiformat test concluded that users actually weren't able to distinguish between Vorbis and MP3 at a VBR average of around 128 kbit/s. Since the test was carried out in this community it's safe to say that even a lot of audiophiles actually fail at ABXing the differences.

And that leads to the "barrier" you described: There does seem to exist a psychological barrier that prevents people from testing bitrates below the 128 kbit/s threshold, simply because they're aware of the often poorly encoded 128 kbit/s MP3 material found in the internet. A good example for this claim is this quote:
QUOTE (Be Positive)
But I cant believe that 128kbit files are absolutely transparent?

Be Positive obviously often had the pleasure of listening to non-transparent 128 kbit/s MP3s, which has resulted in the conclusion that this bitrate isn't adequate for transparent listening experiences. From a technical point of view this argument doesn't make any sense for different encoders, since all of them make use of their own algorithms to create the audio data. This is especially valid for entirely different formats, like MP3 vs. Vorbis in this case, but how should you explain that to the technically uninterested, average user? She/He will keep encoding to what she/he already knows about, and this will most likely lead to 128-192 kbit/s files. At these bitrates Vorbis doesn't provide any serious benefits compared to MP3 for the majority of listeners, rather disadvantages due to less compatibility, therefore the format remains uninteresting for them.

I even doubt Joe Public would actually want to seriously test ~96 kbit/s AAC/Vorbis vs. 128 kbit/s MP3 due to this psychological reason. He'd most likely become victim of a placebo effect when listening to the AAC/Vorbis encoding, simply because he knows that the bitrate is lower. And from my own past experiences (prior to regularly reading these forums) I can tell that the necessary blind listening tests aren't carried out by the average user. She/He most likely just adds both test files to the audio player's playlist and listens a bit to them, being full aware of which file represents which codec. And this, of course, can't lead to an objective result.
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MedO
post May 27 2007, 15:33
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QUOTE (Junon @ May 26 2007, 16:07) *
He'd most likely become victim of a placebo effect when listening to the AAC/Vorbis encoding, simply because he knows that the bitrate is lower.


This goes so far that many people seem to think that bitrate is actually the same as sound quality. A friend once told me that he had found a new format (don't remember which one it was) that produced "smaller files than mp3 at the same bitrate" (not an exact quote), and I think someone posted in this forum, who was concerned because his losslessly compressed files had a lower bitrate than the original wav.

So maybe it would actually be better not to talk about bitrate at all when telling uninformed people about codecs different from mp3, but instead about file size, which is something people might understand better.
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pepoluan
post May 27 2007, 17:06
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Just an anecdote from me:

People keep asking me to copy them nice-sounding albums from Jamendo. I *did* point them to the site, but my office's broadband connection always gives me result and fast. So they rely on me.

Sooooo...

I only give them the .ogg files. Transcoded to a lower bitrate wink.gif


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Mercurio
post May 28 2007, 11:22
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QUOTE
I think my greatest disappointment is that Nokia's N800 doesn't provide straight-from-the-box *.ogg support.


I knew this too and I was disappointed too.
Since the N800 is built on an opensource platform, it seems like they almost *removed* it purposely!

edit:I've read something on www.maemo.org. Maybe it is not so simple, but still not clear to me.

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pepoluan
post May 28 2007, 12:34
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QUOTE (Mercurio @ May 28 2007, 17:22) *
QUOTE
I think my greatest disappointment is that Nokia's N800 doesn't provide straight-from-the-box *.ogg support.
I knew this too and I was disappointed too.
Since the N800 is built on an opensource platform, it seems like they almost *removed* it purposely!
Is there a way for us to 'petition' Nokia?


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gottkaiser
post May 28 2007, 12:45
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QUOTE (pepoluan @ May 28 2007, 13:34) *
Is there a way for us to 'petition' Nokia?


That sounds like a good idea. I would really like Nokia to support OGG Vorbis.
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pepoluan
post May 28 2007, 13:02
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QUOTE (gottkaiser @ May 28 2007, 18:45) *
QUOTE (pepoluan @ May 28 2007, 13:34) *
Is there a way for us to 'petition' Nokia?
That sounds like a good idea. I would really like Nokia to support OGG Vorbis.
If you, or anyone else, finds how, then please do post here. I'll gladly donate some of my time to join a petition.

And not only Nokia. Also Sony-Ericsson (although I'm not sure they'll relent -- they are part Sony), Samsung, LG, Motorola, etc.

Heck. Samsung already make Ogg-playing DAP's. Why don't their phones play ogg? And LG is also a Korean company -- seems Koreans and Japanese are really 'into' ogg. So...

This post has been edited by pepoluan: May 28 2007, 13:04


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pepoluan
post May 29 2007, 10:18
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Why Audio Format Matters


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eofor
post May 29 2007, 10:50
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QUOTE (pepoluan @ May 28 2007, 13:02) *
QUOTE (gottkaiser @ May 28 2007, 18:45) *
QUOTE (pepoluan @ May 28 2007, 13:34) *
Is there a way for us to 'petition' Nokia?
That sounds like a good idea. I would really like Nokia to support OGG Vorbis.
If you, or anyone else, finds how, then please do post here. I'll gladly donate some of my time to join a petition.

And not only Nokia. Also Sony-Ericsson (although I'm not sure they'll relent -- they are part Sony), Samsung, LG, Motorola, etc.

Heck. Samsung already make Ogg-playing DAP's. Why don't their phones play ogg? And LG is also a Korean company -- seems Koreans and Japanese are really 'into' ogg. So...


I have a Nokia phone (7710, Symbian S90) with Ogg playing software (OggPlay). I initially loved the fact that I could get twice as much music on the memory card by using Ogg @ 64kbps. The experience compared to mp3 however was not good at all, cpu loads are so high that the phone becomes unresponsive and the battery drains really, really quickly. Unless there's an efficient Ogg codec for these mobile platforms (like you can license from the big boys cheaply for WMA/MP3/AAC), phone manufacturers will not push Ogg, because nobody wants to advertise a music phone that lasts less than 4 hours playing the format. Also, encoding (using standard WinAmp, which uses an up-to-date Lancer build) is painfully slow compared to LAME. That's not meant as a attack on OGG as a format, but more as a reminder that building a great psymodel, defining robust specs and having impeccable "free software" credentials is not enough - for it to be a success as a commercial product, you need to provide OEMs with easy and fast implementations.

Microsoft understands this - even when WMA is even less popular than OGG and nobody likes MS to begin with, they provide such easy to implement and efficient decoders and simple, no-hassle licenses for OEMs that even every two-bit Chinese backstreet workshop implements it.

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bawjaws
post May 29 2007, 12:00
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I don't know if this has been mentioned already but it looks quite likely that at least Mozilla and Opera will support Ogg Theora and Vorbis for the suggest "audio" and "video" tags in HTML5.

Apple's pushing for AAC/H.264 and it might turn out that the HTML5 standard doesn't specify a codec. But if they also package up a drop in replacement for older/non-conforming browsers (for example, using the Cortado Java Applets) then this could be a real goer. (Part of the idea of HTML5 is to remain backwards compatible with IE as much as possible, even if it means using fancey javascript tricks to patch up the differences for non-compliant browsers. I've never heard them promote Java as a way of doing this but i think it makes sense in the realm of video and audio).

That would mean native support on Mozilla and derivatives, Opera (including probably the Wii, maybe the Nintendo DS and several smart phones). It's interesting to note that the Wii browser only supports Flash 7 because Adobe doesn't provide a newer SDK, so only Adobe's supported platforms get the newer code.

I'd assume that Apple would use Quicktime so Ogg support should be a plugin away.

Wikipedia's already signed up to use the format regardless. I'd imagine the BBC and other national broadcast types would jump at the chance to use a real browser standard rather that a mishmash of Real/WMA/Quicktime.

One of the Google employees that works on HTML5 seemed to be hinting that Youtube would switch too.

Flash video came from nowhere because it filled a real need, I can see Ogg Theora doing the same, and bringing Ogg Vorbis support with it.

links:

The HTML5 draft
http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#video0
http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#audio0

A test build of Opera with Theora/Vorbis support:
http://people.opera.com/howcome/2007/video...lgpl_signed.exe

Some sample sites (scroll down to "A call for video on the web":
http://labs.opera.com/

Screencast of the Mozilla support:
http://www.bluishcoder.co.nz/2007/05/suppo...element-in.html

Cortado applets:
http://www.flumotion.net/cortado/

This may not translate into total dominance of mp3, but it looks like Ogg may carve itself a pretty big niche if this all goes according to plan.

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eofor
post May 29 2007, 12:45
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If Ogg Vorbis/Theora goes into HTML 5, that means that the "no patents" claim will finally be tested! It's one thing for a possible patent holder to tolerate a niche format used mainly by OS-programs with no money, it's another thing to have it in the future standard of the whole web.
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TREX6662k6
post May 29 2007, 12:59
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lol, no patents? I find that hard to imagine especially in today's world where you can patent something so general and blunt then sue absolutely everyone for every penny.

I think I first found out about OGG when I noticed that unreal tournament 2003 was using some obscure audio format.

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bawjaws
post May 29 2007, 13:18
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Theora *is* patented. Google or Wikipedia for more if you're interested.

Note that there's no real threat from competitors when it comes to patents. It's really not in their own self-interest to start something like that. They might make vague threats but nothing more.

Little tiny companies who have nothing but slightly iffy patents. They're a threat. But more to Microsoft than anyone else, cos they've got all the money.

And this is relevant too:

http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy/

Basically, if you're taking part in the process then you've got to show your hand with respect to patents that cover the standard.

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