Monday, October 3, 2011

10-bit h264 vs. 8-bit h264

Everything's going to shit right now in the fansub world because groups are moving to the 10-bit color profile for the h264 codec.  The claims are better quality with smaller file sizes.  But how much of a difference will it really make?

First up, there's no point.  The source video is still 8-bit.  No matter what you do, describing an 8-bit color in 10-bit won't make that color look any better.  You can't add information that wasn't there to begin with.  It's the same reason that transcoding music from a low bitrate to a high bitrate doesn't result in an increase in sound quality.

Second, using more space to store color is supposed to save hard drive space?  How exactly does that work?  Plus, with the general "just buy more hard drives" sentiment that asshole fansubbers give to people complaining about file sizes, how exactly do you justify now suddenly caring about file size?

Third, anyone who complains about a release being 10-bit only is met with insults and rude remarks about upgrading codecs.  Yes, I've installed the version of CCCP that can handle 10-bit.  Yes, I have the version of CoreAVC that can handle 10-bit.  That doesn't mean I want 10-bit releases.  My graphics card can't decode them, which means I will have to rely on software decoding, which is unreliable even with CoreAVC and means I'll have to close Firefox, Steam, and TweetDeck just to get enough system resources for smooth playback.

Fourth, I can't upgrade my hardware.  No money, unemployed.  Besides, I don't know of any graphics card currently on the market that has support for hardware decoding 10-bit h264.

Fifth, not that I'm in this boat, but anyone stupid enough to use a set-top box or video game console to watch anime can no longer do so with 10-bit releases.

What brought on this rant?  UTW's lack of an 8-bit release of Fate/Zero.  Yes, they submitted one to TT, but it goes to a page on Nyaatorrents saying that the torrent ID is invalid.  Assholes.  Also, they didn't specify "hi10p" in the filename, so it's impossible to tell that it's 10-bit unless you visit their site or read the torrent comment.  Being that I RSS download things, it's entirely possible for me to end up with something 10-bit that I never actually knew was 10-bit.  I'll be renaming all of UTW's Fate/Zero to replace the "h264" with "hi10p".

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