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[ NNSquad ] Re: Comcast increasing compression of some HD sources

This is very central to NN because the arguments based on scarcity are based on a telco view of the world in which there are standards that must be met whereas the Internet is about discovering what you can do with what you have. Thus protecting cherished applications punished clever solutions.


For example, if I want to create a video with wide distribution I might send the animation instructions for objects using _javascript_ or Flash or whatever. I wouldn’t render it as video first and then compress it. Yet the latter is what is done now because they are forced into sending video bits not objects. And then they are told they are wasting bandwidth.


At CES there were a number of demos of taking an SD signal and interpolating to remove the jaggies that mean "not HD".


Of course this all presumes video because we need it to be high resolution video because otherwise we wouldn’t be using up enough capacity to create the crises we are trying to solve.


The other important factor as I've mentioned is that we assume we have a "Tragedy of the Commons" which is a bovine problem -- cows take up a lot of space and consume resources and you don’t want to walk behind them for too long. With IP we have a flow that allows everyone a "fair" share -- if you have 10 people they each should get 10% of the of the slots for packets. Even if you have oversubscription they should be able to get their 10% -- the problem is that we've promised them each 100%.


But 100% of what -- we are used to 10x improvements in capacity as per Moore's law. I refer to the absence of such increases as a criminal violation of Moore's law. When you drill down the violation is not so much due to explicit attempts to prevent it (even though they are rife) but the coupling of markets or elements. Thus the separation of software from hardware was the real enabler of hyper-growth in computing -- not physics itself. Same for the TCP-IP separation.


The real problem then is associating services with a particular transport. And the artificial peering system we have that creates billable events for no purpose other than creating billable events. It's a funding model that requires scarcity and prevents over-provisioning or even using the capacity we have let alone more -- and it's so cheap that adding more is a nonissue. The so called fiber-bubble shows what happens when you don't prevent hyper-growth in a marketplace that is out of whack.


Again and again over-provisioning is the solution while QoS cannot create new capacity -- only punish innovation.


So Comcast is very clever in focusing on Bit Torrent and then making nice just like a magician uses misdirection. OK, they may not have been clever but the effect is the same. We are blind to the utter and complete lack of neutrality for the other 99% of the capacity of the local distribution let alone the total lack of neutrality for wireless.


That's the real problem and we ignore it because we are so focused on the other hand that we can't see the magician palming our infrastructure and leaving the stage with all the loot while we dive for the pennies (1% (as in cents) of the take) that they throw out to the crowd.


And we demand 1920x1200 as if was 1995 and that was high solution -- as type this on my 2500x1600 (or so) screen where 1920x1200 is a tiny image. But no problem -- when I do view HD over IP it looks very good scaled up -- who cares about the pixels? If the story is good I'll watch it on my watch. If it's not then who cares at all. If I’m a sports fan I’d want more views than more sweat (well, some sport fans).


So we why do we settle for neutral sharing of the pain rather than demanding the neutrality that comes from a real marketplace -- neutrality of opportunity not neutrality of faux promises.


-----Original Message-----
From: nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org [mailto:nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org] On Behalf Of Ron Teitelbaum
Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 13:03
To: 'Lauren Weinstein'; nnsquad@nnsquad.org
Subject: [ NNSquad ] Re: Comcast increasing compression of some HD sources


This is very interesting.  I couldn't find the direct quote but according to

Mary Lou Jensen, the resolution of HD is mostly hype.  The resolution being

developed and delivered is greater then a person eyes are able to see.  I'm

sure this needs more research but given the way that technology is out

pacing the ability to deliver those services it might be a worthwhile field

of study.


I find this very relevant by the way.  I was wondering why P2P was being

singled out.  I assumed that P2P was an easier target then VOIP and HD

video.  I think that we should be discussing the impact of those

technologies on the internet and P2P technologies.


Ron Teitelbaum


  [ Received image quality depends on many factors.  If the overall

    data rate is insufficient for the program material, various

    artifacts easily result, especially in images with much fine

    detail and/or rapid motion.  For example, your typical "talking heads"

    program (well, assuming one of those heads isn't Bob Frankston,

    anyway) won't need anywhere near the bandwidth of an action or

    sports program.  A typical worst case is panning across a detailed

    image -- like a field of flowers or the audience in a sports

    arena.  At compressed HD rates, those sorts of scenes can be

    "artifact-city" deluxe!


    Question: Would ISPs feel that it was within their operational

    rights to intercept end-to-end Internet video streams from

    outside sites and further compress them before allowing them to

    proceed to end users?


          -- Lauren Weinstein

             NNSquad Moderator ]


   - - - -



> -----Original Message-----

> From: nnsquad-bounces+ron=usmedrec.com@nnsquad.org [mailto:nnsquad-

> bounces+ron=usmedrec.com@nnsquad.org] On Behalf Of Lauren Weinstein

> Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 12:05 PM

> To: nnsquad@nnsquad.org

> Cc: lauren@vortex.com

> Subject: [ NNSquad ] Comcast increasing compression of some HD sources



>   [ This is not an Internet Network Neutrality issue per se, but

>     since it involves an ISP taking source digital signals and

>     reducing their quality before passing them along to customers

>     (presumaby without any warning to subscribers or reductions in

>     the fees that subscribers pay for those channels) it still seems

>     interesting.  As the article notes, this has been a common

>     practice by satellite video providers, and if cable generally

>     goes the same route they may be eliminating a key advantage that

>     cable has had against satellite in terms of image quality.  Of

>     course, cable is also attempting to find ways to match the HD

>     channel *quantity* advantage of satellite, and content sources

>     are not necessarily in a "political" position to complain about

>     such practices if they want continued carriage.  I believe there

>     are some useful parallels with the Internet cases that we

>     usually deal with.


>       -- Lauren Weinstein

>          NNSquad Moderator ]



> ------- Forwarded Message


> From: David Farber <dave@farber.net>

> To: "ip" <ip@v2.listbox.com>

> Subject: [IP] Comcast HD Quality Reduction: Details, Screenshots - AVS

> Forum

> Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 08:40:28 -0400



> http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1008271


> Comcast HD Quality Reduction: Details, Screenshots

> Last updated: March 24, 2008


> Until recently, most Comcast systems passed all HD as is from the

> content provider, without any added compression or quality reduction.

> In response to competitive pressures from DirecTV and Verizon FiOS,

> Comcast recently decided to sacrifice some quality to improve

> quantity. By early April, most Comcast systems will recompress and

> degrade their HD, much like DirecTV and Dish Network do on their

> MPEG-2 channels. This creates room for new HD channels without the

> need to eliminate a significant number of analog channels.


> Previously, Comcast allocated a maximum of two HD channels per

> 38.8Mbps QAM, so each channel had the full 19.4Mbps available if

> needed. Now, with the addition of new channels, Comcast is squeezing

> three HD channels into each 38.8Mbps QAM. Furthermore, some existing

> QAMs with two HD channels are being recompressed in preparation for

> new channel additions.


> But what does that mean? How much difference is there, really?


> To find out, I decided to compare the quality of the same programs on

> Comcast and Verizon FiOS. I recorded the same program from the same

> channel, at the same time, on both Comcast and Verizon FiOS in N. VA.

> I compared the size and bitrate of each MPEG-2 recording, as well as

> the subjective quality with video.


> Note when I tested channels late last year, there were no differences

> between the two providers on HD. Any differences are new.


> picts etc follows djf


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