Mr. Video Productions

Why MPEG-1 Movies?

Here are the reasons why I have converted from MOV and AVI to MPEG-1/2:

In a nutshell, here are the reasons for converting to MPEG-1 video:

  1. Easier and quicker to produce.
  2. Better video quality at larger size.
  3. Full bandwidth audio.
  4. Faster frame rate.
  5. Playable on all operating systems.
  6. File size is less than the sum of MOV and AVI files.
  7. VideoCD compatible.

On 7/24/00, I updated the Panasonic MPEG-1 encoder and the video quality has improved dramatically. Watching the new files, full screen on my 17" computer monitor, was a real treat.

Nothing is Perfect

Yes, there are some drawbacks. While the MOV and AVI files don't please everyone, neither will MPEG-1. Even if I were to try and deliver video, PAL countries couldn't play anything in NTSC, resulting in two version of a video. That is what was happening with the MOV and AVI files. With MPEG-1, while the content is NTSC compliant, playing it on a PeeCee doesn't require anything NTSC. Of course, if you wanted to play it to your TV set, it would have to be NTSC compliant. A PAL TV wouldn't work.

The biggest drawback is the file size. It is about twice the size of an AVI file. But, the image is about 1.96 times the area of a MOV or AVI movie. There will be some of you that will balk at the file size.

While the MPEG files are supposed to be playable on all platforms, there will be reported problems. I choose MPEG-1 encoding values that produce compliant VideoCD MPEG-1 files.

I'll add compatibility issues to this page, as they show up. This page will also undergo revisions, based upon viewer feedback.

Linux Users

To play back the .MPE/.M1S files, you should download MPlayer. It is a multiformat media player.

Windoze Users

To play back the .MPE files, you should download Media Player Version 5.2. Of course, if you have DVD software, you can use it to play the files. Better yet, if you have DVD software and a MPEG card, you'll have no trouble playing these files at speed.

QuickTime 5.0, or later, can be used to play the .M1S files. Using QuickTime will produce better visual results, including having the video displayed in the correct aspect ratio. Media player does not display non-square pixels correctly, QuickTime does.

To set up Windoze 98SE to automatically start QuickTime when you double-click on a file, do the following:

  1. Start the Windoze Explorer (NOT IE :-)
  2. Select View->Folder Options
  3. Select the File Types tab
  4. Select New
  5. Enter "MPEG-1 Movie" for the Description
  6. Enter ".M1S" for the Associated Extension
  7. Enter "video/quicktime" for the MIME type (use can use the pulldown list)
  8. Select New
  9. Enter "open" for the Action
  10. Enter the path to where the program is located. You can Browse for it.
  11. Place a "%1" at the end of the line. The command will look like:
    <your drive here>:\<your path here>\QuickTimePlayer.exe "%1"
  12. Select OK
  13. Select CLOSE
  14. Select CLOSE

You are ready to roll. Consult your Windoze manual for setting up other Windoze versions.

Mac Users

Mac QuickTime playback requirements for MPEG-1 multiplexed (muxed) system streams are a PowerPC processor and QuickTime 2.x or higher.

QuickTime 2.0 requires the "QuickTime MPEG Extension" and the Sparkle shareware app.

QuickTime 2.5 and greater has everything included in the default (easy) install option.

The latest PPC (PowerPC) version can be found on Apple's QuickTime download pages.

The last 68k (680x0) version can be found on Apple's QuickTime full installer page.

For optimal/smooth playback, processor speed should be 120 MHz or higher, and if "black lining" occurs when double sized, Movie/QuickTime Player's "Present Movie" or "High Quality" option can be use to prevent this.

If your Mac's display uses a video card with MPEG-1 support, then QuickTime will use this to help decode the video stream.

Note for Performa users: if your model number has four digits, it has a PowerPC processor and can play MPEG movies. If the model number only has three digits, then it has an older 680x0 based processor and their clock speed is too slow to play MPEG movies directly.

They need an app like Maczilla which converts the MPEG-1 streams to a QuickTime movie. The app uses the Apple Animation RGB based compressor which can then be exported to another video compressor which can handle lower data rates. The audio stream is converted to a 16 bit PCM sample (uncompressed).

Here is a QuickTime page giving a quick guide on what main data formats/decompressors are supported.

OS/2 Users

To play back the .MPE files produced, you should download the Netscape Communicator 4.x for OS/2 and the Multimedia Plug-in Pack as well, then install both. The MPEG playback is part of the Multimedia Plug-In Pack and interfaces with MMPM to give MPEG-1 playback in all Multimedia Applications (ie. you can just double-click on an .MPE file and it will play it).

MPEG-2 Movie Players

Ever get into a situation where you have a MPEG-2 file, but don't know how to play it? If you have a DVD-ROM drive in your system, more than likely you also have the software, and many have hardware, to play DVD discs on your computer. If you do, that software will normally play MPEG-2 files as well. Problem solved.

But, if you don't have a DVD-ROM in your system, now you have to go looking for for standalone software that will play MPEG-2 video files. Unfortunately, I do not know of any free versions. Here are some links of places to check out:

The next upcoming release of QuickTime has been confirmed to have both MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video decoding and basic encoding on both 32-bit Windoze and PPC-based Macs. But, the final release will not play MPEG-2 files, no matter what it says in the press release. The QuickTime 5 specification only lists MPEG-1 playback.

What is a Mac user to do? For that matter, what is a PeeCee user supposed to do without a DVD-ROM drive and DVD playing software/hardware? This is all the fault of the people who own the MPEG-2 license.

Generic Specs for Media Files

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This page downloaded on Friday, 20-Oct-2017 15:52:10 GMT

Last modified on Sunday, 12-Sep-2010 23:22:22 CDT.

vidiot at vidiot dot com