BitTorrent's elite switches from Xvid to x264

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80 Responses to “BitTorrent's elite switches from Xvid to x264”

  1. Mace Moneta says:

    The standards body that oversees copyright infringement has better processes than the industry that creates the content.

  2. I was always a bit surprised that x264 codec wasn’t the standard.  Now it would have been far more interesting if they had gone with WebM

    • neapel says:

      WebM has been specifically designed as a subset of H.264 techniques to carefully navigate around some patents. It exists for legal reasons only. Why should these people who operate illegally anyway care if they also infringe on some patents while infringing on some copyright?

      • tyr says:

        The fact that WebM if it were successful would also disrupt Apple’s business as a major purveyor of h264 media and players was undoubtably a bonus too. It’s kind of a trend in Google products lately: Android, WebM, Google Music.

    • ialreadyexist says:

      They put a high value on quality though, so that ruled out WebM.

  3. trackofalljades says:

    Do these files play back easily on a PS3 or an ATV?

    Yes.

    They also play back easily on all home computer applications?

    Yes.

    Okay, so what’s the big deal?

    Exactly…now shut up, we’re watching Game of Thrones.

    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

    • Gene Poole says:

       not necessarily as simple as that, avi is the standard everything supports, and mp4 is not (unless the everything in question is an iPod et al)

      But with that said, considering it’s a bittorrent pirated release, it’s really kind of whiny to complain.

      • trackofalljades says:

        1) you’re confusing codecs and containers

        2) there are far more devices today which can easily play MP4 and not AVI than the reverse case

      • jerwin says:

        Dude. Reprogram your device. Hack. Earn your geek cred.

        • Ender Wiggin says:

          this should allow much easier local streaming with my roku box, it does mp4 natively, i had to run everything through handbrake before.

          • tyr says:

            Why? Any release worth it was already encoded as h264 in an mkv container All you need to do is pour the stream in the proper container using something like Subler (OSX only though).

      • Scott Frazer says:

        iPhones, iPod touches and iPads can’t play xvid in avi containers. There are 316 million iOS devices in people’s hands. Seems like a large enough market to cater towards.

    • Kimmo says:

      The big deal is, if I want to burn a disc of half a dozen movies for a friend to play on their DVD player, they have to be old releases, cause the new ones won’t work on some random 5-10 year old player.

      Unlike DivX/Xvid.

      But oh well, that’s progress I suppose. SD stuff’s days are numbered anyway, I guess…

      …Also, LOL @ “official”

      • Dummy00001 says:

        > the new ones won’t work on some random 5-10 year old player.

        The new HD-upscaling, H.264 capable players in Germany cost for past ~3 years something like 40€. Can’t imagine they cost more in US. That’s really no big deal IMO.

      • trackofalljades says:

        I get that, I mean, I own such a DVD player (OPPO represent!).  I will keep it forever because it upscales and deinterlaces better than any newer device on the market and I love the thing…for DVD playback that is.

        The fact is though, at this point, the install base for newer devices that support MP4 and not AVI is much much larger than the install base of those older devices.  So actually, a greater number of people were being inconvenienced by doing things the old way.  That means this change serves a larger audience more conveniently, with the added benefit of the files having a better quality-to-bytesize ratio (in other words, less bandwidth consumption and more files on a given thumbdrive/disc/etc).

      • neapel says:

        What I’m not getting is: is there still a significant number of people who burn TV episodes on DVDs?  That sounds ridiculously complicated…

  4. Labbit says:

    “AVI WILL ALWAYS BE KING”

    I lol’d.

  5. Marc Mielke says:

    Everything plays H.264 these days so what’s the problem? I’ve had more trouble with MKV than with mp4, but only when trying to run 720p on my little netbook. 

    If you really need avi, there’s conversion software out there. Chances are that you are already a pirate anyway, so why bitch?

    • Gene Poole says:

       Not everything supports 264, but everything supports avi. The ones who are complaining are probably not technologically sophisticated to know how even to convert a file. These are also the ones bitching out EZTV for changing the format, like they had a say in it, and like SCENE care what the hell any of us think.

      • freshyill says:

        Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, and even Macs — none of these support AVI out of the box.
        This wasn’t an arbitrary decision by Apple, either. They have hardware support for h.264, meaning you’ll burn a lot more battery watching an AVI through a 3rd party app than you will watching an mp4 file through the included apps. And Apple is not alone. Plenty of other devices have hardware-level h.264 support. Is hardware acceleration for AVI even a thing?

        • Gene Poole says:

          I don’t think the question is which is better; at least that’s not what I’m talking about. .avi is more widely supported. That’s not to say it’s better quality, and we all have to move on some time. But as a parallel, just because FLAC is a better audio standard doesn’t mean we throw out mp3.

          Ultimately the success of this standard change will come down to which files more widely downloaded, which will have more seeds. Will people leech and seed the mp4 format more, or will some download it, convert to avi, and re-up it, leading to more seeds as filesharers are drawn to the standard they are most familiar with? Time will tell.

          • John Wells says:

            The difference between XviD vs. x264 and FLAC vs MP3 is that a high-quality MP3, to most listeners, is nearly identical to its FLAC counterpart.  XviD/AVI, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired even at its best.

            FLAC support is also much more rare than x264 support.

          • trackofalljades says:

            I understand why someone would mistakenly believe that “AVI is more widely supported” based on past experience, but that’s not true any more.  In fact, that’s very far from being the case today.

            There are older devices, many of which can play back divx inside AVI containers but not H.264 inside MP4.

            There are newer devices, many of which can play back H.264 inside MP4 containers but not divx inside AVI.

            There are currently far, far, far more devices in use that fit the latter description.  

            The difference between these two install bases is probably somewhere between one and two orders of magnitude honestly.

        • You are confusing the container and the codec.

    • Mkv is an Xbox owning newsgroup using nightmare.

      I’m assuming Xbox works with mp4 ? Even if it does I probably need a frooking gold account – money grabbing bastards. Like I have to pay s monthly fee to watch YouTube on my Xbox, the bloody audacity.

      • Tynam says:

        Not that hard to cope with. I stream avi/mkv/mp4 with all codecs I care about to my xbox from my PC, with no trouble, using only free tools.  TVersity or Media Browser go a long way.

  6. drukqs says:

    VLC is the solution to all of life’s problems.

  7. oldtaku says:

    I was extremely amused by the outrage of the leech community here.  If you’re just a passive consumer, STFU and update your damn players. You have no ‘rights’.

    • Marc Mielke says:

      I feel that if you’re not going to pay for content, the absolute least you can do is take the miniscule time necessary to find, download, and learn to use basic conversion software. 

      Frex, I find FLAC a useless bloatmonster of a codec, since it all comes out of crappy headphones/PC speakers anyway, but if stuff I want is in FLAC it’s not really a thing to convert it to mp3. It takes seconds. 

      If you don’t want to put in the work, maybe consider paying for shit. Somebody has to. 

      • oldtaku says:

         Exactly – the other side of stupid corporations not being willing to provide content with reasonable terms/cost is people who think they’re entitled to infinite quality content for free.

        I would like to meet in the middle and pay reasonable prices for reasonable access to your content. I have done so where it was offered.  I’ve spent over $20K for music in my lifetime, and have no problem ‘pirating’ music I’ve already bought in new formats.

      • It’s an interesting psycological observation – you appear to justify your illegal act because you’re putting effort into it.

        I think someone needs to get off their high horse.

  8. bcsizemo says:

    I am surprised they opted for mp4 over mkv, but I guess mp4 has broader stand alone support.

    IMO telecining and to some degree interlaced media is just pointless.  50+ year old standards be damned.

    And personally I use MeGui to do all my conversions to 264.  Between that and a couple of custom avisynth scripts I’ve got the workflow pretty efficient.

    • Dummy00001 says:

      > I am surprised they opted for mp4 over mkv

      This is only for SD releases. The successor to AVI is the MP4. And yes, simple MP4s are better supported by stand-alone players.

      Theoretically MP4 also can everything what MKV can, but support for advanced MP4 features (multi-tracks, overlays, subtitles, menus, chapters) is pretty much non-existent in most players. And authoring tools cost arm and leg. So the features pretty much never took off – and MKV became the format to go for the HD releases.

      > I use MeGui

      I avoid conversions. I use the Avidemux to simply change wrapper if I want to. (I did on couple of occasions convert AVIs and MP4s into MKV to add chapters.)

  9. Jaye Sunsurn says:

    I noticed the change, and personally I welcome it. The files are smaller and are of better quality. Less downloading time, better experience. Hollywood tries to get people accept less for more, and the piracy scene (not that they care about the little guy all that much either) they try and give more for less. Funny that.

  10. tehsusenoh says:

    This is more detailed than ACTA.  Doesn’t surprise me at all.

    • Andrew Singleton says:

      Also easier for someone to read that’s not steeped in the black arts of translating legaleese to human readable.

  11. BarBarSeven says:

    Hey folks, did any of you actually read the snippet of the post above before foaming at the mouth? Here let me help you with a key point: “The SD x264 TV Releasing Standards 2012,” “SD resolutions” & “SD releases.” SD = STANDARD-DEFINITION. Nuff said. Excelsior!

  12. Nylund says:

    At first I was a little confused when I saw everything suddenly coming up as Mp4′s, but I’m glad they did it.  It makes it a bit easier to watch stuff on my iPad (I assume…haven’t tried yet). Everything else I use can play either (like VLC).  The iPad was the one device that took an extra step.

    Speaking of which, I’m sure nearly everyone here already knows this, but a lot of people still mix up the concept of the codec (eg. xvid) and the container (avi).  Lots of people seem to waste lots of unnecessary time converting video files for other devices/programs when often all that’s needed is changing the container (eg. avi to mp4).  It’s like swapping book covers instead of translating every word in the book. It’s so much quicker and easier.

  13. Doug Nelson says:

    I’m sure my naivete will generate many chuckles and outright guffaws, but isn’t H.264 patented by MPEG LA, requiring a license to use for encoding? Not that pirates would care about a license, but doesn’t this de facto endorse and promote a product owned by a renowned licence troll? I thought that was why xvid became the standard over divx?

    • oldtaku says:

       It’s not a dumb  question, but if you’ll remember MP3 was also somewhat up in the air. Do we need a license from Fraunhoefer or not? That was never really answered. But the effective answer is that consumers don’t care, pirates don’t care, only companies need to care. And the licensing issue is usually the least of company stupidity in this case.

      The real problem here is that companies are just not providing the service that consumers would be willing to pay for. So screw ‘em.

  14. hypersomniac says:

    Just so you know, I would NEVER use this information to download any copyrighted material illegally. But thank you, nonetheless. Also, I’m nostalgic for the the days of navigating (m)IRC when the l33t warez groups were like gawdz. And then dudes would start their own groups on AOL (taking credit for the real work but often associated with the IRC hierarchy) and mass mail the leet groups’ zero day warez. I’m getting old.

  15. Never heard of this format, but as long as it playes on VLC I don’t care. 

  16. Harvey says:

    I’m all for the switch to x264/mp4 for the reasons others have mentioned, but I hope they don’t standardize on AAC for HD and multi-channel because too many receivers do not decode AAC. I hate downloading an MP4 only to realize that the audio is AAC and then having to remux/transcode the audio to AC3. Stereo AAC is ok, though, since Boxee and the like will happily decode those and output PCM.

  17. Pedantic Douchebag says:

    …requiring the torrent-downloading public to rethink which tools, devices and converters they use

    Nope. VLC.

  18. Dummy00001 says:

    > – Group watermarks of any kind on the video are banned
    > – Intros, outros, betweenos, or any other form of defacement of the  episode are banned

    They are definitely better than the industry.

    P.S. Funny how easy it is to be better than the industry.

  19. Never mind release formats.  When are they going to bring NFO formats into the 21st century and use Unicode? Pah.

  20. Cory Schmunsler says:

    The “Elite” have been using H.264 for years already. I don’t know who these guys are, but if they were still using XviD they certainly couldn’t have had the “highest quality” releases.

    The true Elite have all but completely moved on to the hi-10 profile, which doesn’t have nearly as much hardware or even software support as the hi profile, but they don’t care. If you want the highest quality possible, you have to make some sacrifices.

  21. Steve Pan says:

     Now maybe the folks who do games and rips should, hypothetically speaking of course, move away from the hundreds of rar files that they might or may not use for game releases, since the modern broadband era really doesn’t need need that anymore for redundancy and error correction.

  22. t8t says:

    2009 wants its story back

  23. renke says:

    not that I’m highly interested in the whole release group politics, but is there a rationale for forbidding ffmpeg as audio encoder?

    “- Nero and Apple encoders are recommended. FFmpeg is banned.”

  24. citizen says:

    Torrentfreak is laughing at bittorrent users who think these release groups are the people posting their torrents. Judging from the title of this post Cory somehow still has that impression after reading the article.

  25. incant says:

    Cory, that screenshot is horribly broken.  You need a font that supports CP-437.  On debian/ubuntu the package xfonts-terminus-dos works nicely.

    Edit: I just realized that the mistake is TorrentFreak’s.

  26. Torrent is not Scene. Please.
    Maybe i’m wrong and the scene is totaly fucked up but ASAP, BAJSKORV, C4TV, D2V, DiVERGE, FTP, KYR, LMAO, LOL, MOMENTUM, SYS, TLA and YesTV are not from torrent scene.

    • Never Soft says:

      So true! All of those groups would be mortified at the suggestion that they’re “Torrent” groups. The Scene is more like Fight Club and Torrent sites, Usenet and File hosts just leech off of it.

  27. buenoben says:

    Haha there’s a group calling themselves “Bajskorv”

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