Video Technology Magazine November 2004               

Running Late
It's been a hectic Month. I'm a little late getting this one out.

Video over TCP/IP
Video Should never be streamed over TCP/IP. I can't tell you how many times I have had to deal with problems that are cause by this.
We now people are starting to want to use their video editing systems with SAN and NAS storage arrays and still expect and want to be frame accurate., After all when recording off of a FireWire device and your network drives can not keep up this is bad. One observation thou is Avid on the Mac was able to deal with storage delays better then Final Cut Pro. Apparently they have better buffering.

Most Remote file mount systems support UDP based communication NFS, and CIFS (Microsoft Windows uses this), CIFS also support TCP/IP across the Internet backbone, which has been responsible for many security problems. Well now there are iSCSI and of course it a block device over TCP/IP and comes with all the problems of video over TCP.

Some comments from an IETF perspective:

  1. The IETF does not standardize protocols that are intended only for use in private networks, especially when the topology of those private networks has to be limited to ensure proper operation.
  2. The best intentions to restrict use of a protocol to such private networks often go awry - if the protocol is seriously useful, it will get used in other places.
  3. IETF will only consider standardization of an iSCSI over UDP protocol when TCP-equivalent/friendly congestion control is included. This is not negotiable - don't even ask.
  4. The NFS experience should be considered - NFS was originally specified to run over UDP, but most NFS servers in use today run over TCP due to its better behavior on real networks. The TCP vs. UDP performance deltas for NFS are not that large even when the CPU is saturated.
From David Black at EMC Jan 2002.

Capturing video is like drinking out of a firehose.
It just keeps coming and the software and hardware must deal with it. There is no flow control! You can't just request that it slows down because your CPU is busy doing something else. For proper quality playback the restriction are the same. Video must take priority over everything else. The data must be there the codec must complete on time.
When are the standards people going to get it. You can't use TCP/IP for thing that required data that is time and throughput sensitive.

Ignoring the Broadcast Flag
November 8th, pcHDTV has started shipping their HD-3000 Hi Definition Television Capture Card. This may be the last card ever made that ignores the Broadcast Flag. Come July 1st, 2005, under a recent FCC Order all equipment in the US is required to detect the Broadcast Flag and disable the recording mode, which means that this card will be illegal in the States soon.

Good thread on the subject, from the MythTV folks

The FCC says it has power over anything that can receive and play a digital file

H.264 & IPTV over DSL
Enabling New Telco Revenue Opportunities
A Paper from Intel

More White papers on this subject

DALSA to Launch Digital Cinema Center / First 4K Camera

DALSA Digital Cinema Center opened recently 6160 Variel Ave Woodland Hills, California just outside of Los Angeles. The new full service rental facility has 12,000 square foot of space.

This will be home to the DALSA Origin, the world's first and only 4K digital motion picture camera. The Center will also be the first rental operation in Los Angeles to provide a full spectrum of digital cameras, accessories and services.

Dalsa Digital Cinema
DALSA Corporation is an international high performance semiconductor and electronics company that designs, develops, manufactures, and markets digital imaging products and solutions, in addition to providing semiconductor products and services. DALSA’s core competencies are in specialized integrated circuit and electronics technology, and highly engineered semiconductor wafer processing.

Story here

Retroreflective Materials
3M make a variety of Retroreflective tapes. It uses microscopic cube corner reflection technology. This is very cools stuff, basicly it reflect like back in the direction that it came from. The luminance is 650 to 4000 times brighter than a perfectly diffusing white surface.
This stuff is uses all the time in highway cones, the lines on the road, stop signs, license plates, and the registration stickers(here in California), Firemans uniforms and helmets.

All really cool stuff but what does this have to do with video you ask. Well for many machine vision applications, it's about signal to noise ratio. Make the object your interested in stand out in the image.

Many motion capture systems use multiple cameras with LED rings around the lens, and the actor has little Styrofoam balls cover in the 3M reflective tape attached to the joints of his body to track his motion. Here's a really goofy photo of someone wearing markers

Reflective Marker used for Motion capture

For CCTV these can be used to mark location on the floors or walls to increase the sensitivity of the motion detection, or to act like many electric eyes.

CCTV Camera with IR Led's for illumination

3M part numbers 3000X, 3870, 7590, 7610, 7800 are the interesting ones. When testing with one of those IR illuminated CCTV cameras I found the 7610 to be the best. I found you have to open the cameras up and place a piece of black electrical tape of the light sensor to keep the IR LED's power up continuously. But with this done, even in bright sunlight the tape stands out brightly from other objects in a scene.

One project I worked on a long long time ago was to Identify cars as they went past for things like security gates, parking garages, toll roads and bridges. After spending much time on developing a totally clear/transparent plastic bumper stick with an IR invisible barcode on it, I realized it was just far easier to use a camera with LED around the lens to read the license plates directly. So when the E-ZPass, FAST LANE, Fastrak, SunPass and other Microwave based RF transponder systems took over the market for Electronic Toll Collection on roads and bridges I was shocked and amazed. The per car costs are higher, the need for replacing batteries and other failures are much worse then just using a PC and video camera to OCR the license plates directly. The retroreflective coatings put on most license place make this a snap, the red light enforcement cameras prove this. example of violation notice

Some companies are selling sprays that supposidly block the enforcement cameras by making the entire license plate reflective. Don't know if it true, but if such a paint in a can did work this would be very usefull stuff for digital imaging.

3M Scotch, High-Gain Reflective Sheeting and Tapes

3M and other companies also make retroreflective paints and fabrics.
How this material is made

Traditional blue-screen "chromakey" technique is now starting to be replaced by new keying technology based on retroreflective fabric, lit by Blue or Green Leds place in a ring around the camera lens. The technique was pioneered by the BBC and was being resold for a while by GlobalStreams. Nice link here and here Chromatte Fabric and light rings

Oct   —   Dec

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HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray
As the fight is only begining to heat up many are already proclaiming winners. I don't know why they do this, everyone looses from this kind of stupidity. HD-DVD sould be a protocol standard, while Blu-Ray should be a Hardware disk standard, and one of many at that. I mean why can we use MPEG4 on Blu-Ray? HD-DVD is just MPEG4 and WM9 on DVD, just like VCD is MPEG1 on a standard data CD. Blu-ray is MPEG2 on a new higher desity recording media that uses very expensive Blue Laser Diodes. Well there are already 200 GB worm drives(see Sept 04 Article here) out there so the Blu-Ray hardware is already obsolete! And the blue laser thing is really cool (I love lasers), but there are already plenty of ways to get that density increase without moving to exotic blue lasers that only increase the optical resolution 3x (680nm / 230nm). They sould be working on a data format that is media independant and allow the players to play from multiple optical disk formats.

Singulus, Sony Team Up on Blu-Ray Development

Film Studios Cast Vote for HD DVD

Studios taking sides in fight for successor to the DVD

HD-DVD Wins Support of 4 Studios

4 studios back Toshiba's HD DVD

JVC Everio
This month JVC is releasing two video camera that can record only to flash/Hard Disk. The GZ-MC200 (cube style) and the GZ-MC100 (vertical style)

It can capture stills at 1600x1200 UXGA Resolution, and full motion video at 720x480/60i up to 60 Minutes in High Quality Mode. MPEG2 video or 120 Minutes of normal Quality(4Mbps) on a 4GB MicroDrive Harddisk storage.
The Camera accepts SD Card, CompactFlash, and MicroDrives (MicroDrives look like CompactFlash and fit in the same space, but have a rotating disk instead of flash). The Camera also supports USB 2.0 But not BlueTooth.

JVC Everio

The camera also come with CyberLink DVD software, including PowerDirector Express, a simple Non-Linear Editor.

TV on Cellphones.
Update 12/12/04
SlashDot story on "TV On Cellphones Ever Closer"
"Seems that the new breed of cell-phones are being readied to receive digital TV. The standard has been finalized and handsets are in test. The emergence of DVB-H explains a puzzling purchase made last year by Crown Castle of Houston, Texas. The company, which runs the BBCs transmitter network in the UK, paid $12 million for a 5-megahertz slice of coast-to-coast radio spectrum in the US. At the time no one knew why. But Crown Castle transmitters near Pittsburgh are already broadcasting DVB-H to prototype Nokia mobile TV phones. That purchase may turn out to be an amazing bargain, considering other operators paid billions for 3G licenses which were originally meant to deliver video services."
Links:DVB-H, OFDM demodulation and MPE FEC IP data correction
My Original Article
There has been a recent increase in the amount of buzz and buzzwords about Video on Cellphones. Ton's of news articles , few which really mention any protocols or standards, but lots of future possibilities. DAB, DMB, DVB-H, DVB-T and ASTC DTV receivers are all being build into cellphones. There is also the 3GPP stuff that is already working and then the MMS (Multi-Media Messaging Service), And lets not forget all the new Digital protocols, UMTS HSDPA, WiMax, GPRS, EDGE, W-CDMA, GPS, (E)GPRS, WLAN. I mean if I can't keep up with these new acronyms, how can the consumer or even application developers!

ASTC DTV, is the new US Digital TV standard and DVB-T is the European standard for the same. They call is Terrestrial Broadcast, which means it used old fashioned Radio towser on hills and tall building. Several companies are working to receive this direct onto cell phones.

Then there is DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting): provides CD-quality-level sounds, data and video services via mobile handsets, while their holders move or stay in certain places. It is classified into terrestrial DMB and satellite DMB according to transmission means.
From what I can tell most are sending DMB over the Eureka 147 DAB specification. DAB is Digital Audio Broadcast or essentially the standard for Digital Radio, as an alternative for AM and FM here in the US. DAB is the main competitor to digital audio radio services (DARS), that is used by XM and Sirius.
There is also a company called iBiquity that has a scheme for overlaying digital data on top of the analog broadcast so it's like free spectrum.
iBiquity's IBOC (in-band on-channel) technology works on AM and FM stations and allows broadcasters to transmit digital quality audio alongside existing analog transmissions.

DAB processor to support Korean DMB standard
Digital Multimedia Broadcast goes live in Cannes

LG has developed a DMB(Digital Multimedia Broadcast) Chipset, is not expected to be commercialized before next spring
World's First Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcast-Receiving Mobile Phone
LG unveils cellphone with crystal-clear TV

LG Electronics Unveils DMB-Receiving Phone

LG Electronics Unveils World's First Terrestrial DMB-Receiving Mobile Phone

But Does Anyone Want Mobile TV?
If Qualcomm Builds Mobile TV, Will Viewers Come?
Crown Castle, Nokia pilot mobile TV in US over DVB-H
DVB-H is a standard specified by the DVB Organization specifically for the transmission of TV-like content and data to handheld devices, such as mobile phones, which have unique requirements in terms of power consumption, screen-size and mobility.

Richard Templeton, chief executive of Texas Instruments, said that he expects that cellphones with built-in digital televisions run by the company's chip will be on sale in the United States in 2007. The processor, code-named Hollywood, is being tested now. Texas Instruments is the world's biggest maker of mobile-phone processors. The chips will be available in phones in Japan and Europe in 2006, with "our best estimate" for U.S. distribution in 2007.

Cellphone addition: high-definition TV I'm sure this one is taken out of context.

Qualcomm has established a subsidiary, MediaFLO USA, to deploy and operate a nationwide network operating in the 700 MHz spectrum to deliver video and audio programming to 3G mobile phones.
The MediaFlo network is expected to begin commercial operation in 2006. Negotiations have already started with US cellular operators to distribute the multimedia services in tandem with their networks.

Vodafone will begin offering "mobisodes", one-minute TV show episodes this January in the UK.
They have partnered with Twentieth Century Fox to product a Cell Phone version of the TV series "24".
Fox to provide TV series for cellphones

Here's one I bet you didn't know about
Technicolor Digital Cinema, A joint venture between QUALCOMM and Technicolor that's developing a complete distribution technology and support services for the delivery of digital cinema to theaters.

Qualcomm Digital Cinema

Technicolor Digital Cinema

MicroSoft Digital Cinema

Digital Video Editors


Avid - (they have many products)
Apple, Final Cut Pro 4

PC - WinTel

Avid Xpress
Adobe Premier 6.5 and After Effects
Pinnacle Studio 9
Pinnacle Liquid Edition 6, does HD

Others out there?
Discreet Edit, Discreet Smoke, Vegas Video 5,Ulead VideoStudio (probably not good), Mediaedit Pro, Movieshop 6, NewTek Video Toaster 2.0 TV-Studio-in-a-Box , Roxio VideoWave 7,Digital Fusion and Nucoda

Not to put a plug in for these guys but BlueFish444 Sells high end PC for video editing. I was trying to get them to do a deal with Nisvara Inc. a startup I help found that builds Silent computers.

Digital Cable High-Def Ready Recorders
Although high definition DVD recorders aren't expected to be on store shelves until late in 2005 or early 2006, that does not mean that consumers won't be able record television programs in high definition before then. Sony has just announced that is introducing two Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) that can record HDTV programming on hard drives instead of discs or tape. The DHG-HDD250 is a basic unit that has a 250GB hard drive which can hold up to 200 hours of standard definition programs or 30 hours of HD programming. The step-up DHG-HDD500 incorporates a huge 500GB hard drive, which allows the recording of 400 hours in standard definition, or 60 hours of HDTV content. For additional details on features, pricing, and availability, check out the report from Home Theater Magazine.

Copyright © 2004, John L. Sokol
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