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Apple\'s QuickTime loses in Video Codec Shootout

updated 01:50 pm EST, Fri March 12, 2004

Video Codec Shootout

ExtremeTech's evaluates four different video codecs for home use, including DivX, Windows Media Video 9, QuickTime 6.5/Sorenson 3, and QuickTime 6.5/MPEG-4: "We give the nod to both DivX 5.1.1 and WMV9 -- it all depends on your priorities. If you're going to stick to computers as playback devices, the faster speed of DivX is welcome. If you want to play your stuff on the PDAs, portable video players, and DVD players coming out later this year and beyond, WMV9 has broader industry support and is worth the extra encoding time. Both codecs delivered quite impressive image quality."

"QuickTime 6.5 faired reasonably well when using the common Sorenson3 codec, only really breaking down in certain high-motion scenes. It's also the fastest-compressing codec of the four tested here. The same cannot be said of Apple's MPEG-4 implementation, however, which is absolutely awful. It shows plenty of artifacts even in relatively easy, low-motion scenes, and turns into a mess of blocks when the action gets even the least bit intense. These blocky artifacts are sometimes exaggerated in still shots, but in the case of our MPEG-4 clips, it looked just as bad in motion. This is not to say that all MPEG-4 will look this bad, but there are precious few free or cheap (sub-$50) programs that offer it at this time."




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. ghost_flash

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    WTF?

    "A great many CE products shipping this year and next will support it. DivX has a reasonable amount of CE adoption as well, and may be the better choice for playback on a PC, as encoding times are much shorter and the quality is comparable."

    Hmmm. They tested the Codecs on a PC only.
    Whatever. M$ Owns everything.

    fizzle.

  1. slboett

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    WTF?

    Can someone explain why this came out so poorly for Apple? Is it really because they used a PC?

  1. Durandalus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    I observed this as well

    Quicktime's MPEG 4 implementation gives horrible image quality. Let's hope Apple's been working on it.

  1. bashar

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Windowz format....

    so, what is it, will we have windows Money format, Windows Credit format, what the h*** is next?? windows picture format, windows c*** format, I am sick of hearing windows c*** format, Now virgin is getting into the game with windowz audio format, DVDs with windowz format.....I am suffocating here, can't they come up with windowz condom format and leave us alone.......

  1. loudgazelle

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    that's it!

    I'm switching to windows. I'm sick of this apple bullshit.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    What a joke!

    Not only did they do the tests on Windows, when most video production is done on a Mac, they also used low bit rates, and used MPEG2 (a DVD) as the source?

    So they're recompressing already lossy-compressed video?!?

    An accurate test is for them to go out and shoot some footage, and then capture and compress it directly to the tested format.

    Anything else is ridiculous.

  1. Trodo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Cleaner MP4 much better

    They are right--Apple's MPEG4 compressions aren't very good. I have been using Cleaner and getting great MPEG4. They should not have used MPEG2's as their source, because it throws off both the quality and the compression times. Most MPEG2 video is going to be encoded anyway.

  1. jedi1yoda1

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    benchmarks...

    As with most benchmarks on Apple/M$ stuff, I always find the test to be somewhat bias to the PC side. You hear all the time that in video in Avid on a PC beats Avid on a mac. Avid is geared for PC, not mac. So you should always take into account how the tests are being performed

  1. edtekker

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Lowered Priority

    I think Quicktime isn't at the same level of priority for Apple as it once was. Have you seen Apple out there pushing it as a standard? Have they been promoting QT the same way that Microsoft has been WM9 for film distribution, HDD, and so on?

    It doesn't matter whether the test was on a Mac or a PC. Apple wouldn't allow iTunes to be a crappy experience on PCs, and they shouldn't let Quicktime be a poor PC option, either. It doesn't matter that most video professionals use Macs; most people viewing compressed video files are (or soon will be) the general computer user. If Apple intends for Quicktime to be in the race, they need to make it the best product in all platforms - Windows, Mac, and Linux.

    I just don't think Apple cares that much about it right now. If they do care, they aren't following through very effectively.

  1. piracy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    3ivx D4 MPEG-4 codec

    3ivx's (www.3ivx.com) D4 MPEG-4 codec for QuickTime is much, much better than Apple's MPEG-4 codec. It should be made clear that MPEG-4 is NOT a bad format, or "worse" than DiVX or VC9. It's just that Apple's impementation of MPEG-4 for encoding in the default codec sucks.

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