Originally Posted by gmwedding
I now better understand those observations about MPEG-2, and the investment many long-time online-shashki members have in the technology. I guess the consensus is that Apple will not be supporting it because of concerns that it crosses into the pirated video area. Correct?
I don't know about consensus. But this is true to a degree. But MPEG-2 still has lots of legitimate uses outside of piracy. Ask any video producer, an you're not likely to get any of them to pan MPEG-2's usefulness into the mid-future.
At the same time, the majority of new online-shashki members (and of consumers, myself included) have not yet invested time or money into creating and storing MPEG-2 content on computers. So, to us, MPEG-2 is merely just an old technology standard of the past, that we are not concered with. I even wonder if eventually, it will just whither away as MPEG-4/h.264 takes root. Isn't their validity to this point of view?
If we are only thinking in terms of the SD -> HD revolution for optical formats. For instance, I have no interest in archiving SD material (just like I no longer archive most mp3 material, given a higher quality alternative). Given the ability to archive HD material in a cost effective manner in the future, I might do so.
And since MEPG-2 is not used ubiquitously by the masses, will it really hang around like the aging .mp3 audio standard (which did become widely used by the masses)?
Only to the degree that an increasing body of content becomes publically available in this format over the next few years. Those mp3 libraries are not going to disappear just because of newer formats. Think about libraries that accumulate material over the year. They are full of different formats. Some material will only be avaiable as mp3 or mpeg-2 eventually. People will still collect them.
So, if AAC also becomes DRM-free (as Steve Jobs hopes), won't this marginalize the old .mp3 standard?
Don't get caught up in the popular misconception that just because Apple has added Fairplay DRM to AAC, that that is its original form. AAC is an open format meant to suplant mp3, and is DRM-free from the get-go. AAC will gain traction as more and more hardware/software and mp3 players support the format. Unless something better comes along, or lossless formats become more popular due to increased bandwidth and lowered storage costs, AAC should gain ground on mp3.
I guess I don't think MPEG-2 will hang around, and that over the next few years, it also gradually could be marginalized. I know that Comcast still uses MPEG-2, but won't even cable companies like that eventually switch to MPEG-4 out of necessity (because of the inherent bandwidth shortage in their MPEG-2 based systems)?
Don't minimalize the huge expense of the cable industry to move from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4. There isn't much incentive right now for the industry to make the huge investment to do so. More likely cablecos will look at alternative strategies for delivering content like iptv (move to a streaming network topology) or pumping up bandwidth with fiber or newer copper delivery technology. They will take the path of least resistance (read cheapest) to your pocketbook.
My bottom line question is: "What do you think about the future of MPEG-2? If someone is just getting into HDTV now with newer technology (and has no interest in downloading pirated P2P movies), is the fact that it isn't fully supported by Apple TV really a non-issue (for some buyers)? Or will Apple gradually add support and fix the limitations you cite?
Apple really has no incentive to support MPEG-2 on the consumer side. The future for Apple is h.264. On the other hand, for content producers, Apple will be supporting MPEG-2 for years to come, and whatever else that producers want/need. I really don't see any disconnect between its two stances. They both make perfect sense. Apple will allow third parties to some degree provide support for other formats in the consumer sphere, as providing "blanket" support has never been an Apple trait, and gains them little.