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ian_heys
2008-12-16, 06:38
Has anyone ever considered tackling this issue.

Apparently there is limited capacity for native codecs within the SB2/3 but some formats are provided that I don't use.

For me the ideal native combination would be:

WAV*/AAC/AAC+/WMA*/MP3*

(* = already native)

I would be willing to relinquish some of the other native codecs so that I could receive all these "natively" within the SB2/3 and even subscribe to any licensed codecs if that were required.

I have in mind a check box scenario when choosing your native codecs (say any six of the available codecs or whatever) something like the new plugin architecture in 7.3.

Robin Bowes
2008-12-16, 09:04
ian_heys wrote:
> Has anyone ever considered tackling this issue.
>
> Apparently there is limited capacity for native codecs within the SB2/3
> but some formats are provided that I don't use.
>
> For me the ideal native combination would be:
>
> WAV*/AAC/AAC+/WMA*/MP3*
>
> (* = already native)
>
> I would be willing to relinquish some of the other native codecs so
> that I could receive all these "natively" within the SB2/3 and even
> subscribe to any licensed codecs if that were required.

I believe AAC/AAC+ is not possible because of licensing issues on
Apple's part. I may be wrong.

R.

Steve Bernard, Jr
2008-12-16, 09:17
On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 11:04 AM, Robin Bowes wrote:

> I believe AAC/AAC+ is not possible because of licensing issues on
> Apple's part. I may be wrong.
>
> R.

AAC and AAC+ do require a patent license to develop and distribute
codecs, but that has nothing to do with Apple. AAC is part of the
MPEG standard and was developed by a number of companies in
cooperation. Apple does not own or control the format, though they
robably have the highest visibility of any of the standard's
proponents.

-Steve

CatBus
2008-12-16, 09:25
If space in the firmware were the only limiting factor, that would be a decent solution--but as Robin points out, vendors refusing to license codecs is a much more serious issue.

But I have to ask: what's wrong with server-side transcoding? I mean, if it plays, it plays, right? As of SqueezeCenter 7.3, you can FFWD/REW within transcoded tracks, so I can no longer think of anything you actually lose by transcoding. I'm curious--is there any advantage anymore to native playback?

Steve Bernard, Jr
2008-12-16, 09:46
On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 11:25 AM, CatBus
<CatBus.3kirzn1229444701 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
> If space in the firmware were the only limiting factor, that would be a
> decent solution--but as Robin points out, vendors refusing to license
> codecs is a much more serious issue.

AAC licensing is fairly straightforward with a per-unit fee for
consumer devices. See
http://www.vialicensing.com/Licensing/AAC_fees.cfm and
http://www.vialicensing.com/Licensing/AAC_FAQ.cfm

I would expect that getting a license to write your own WMA codec is a
much bigger hurdle than licensing AAC, but that might be easier than I
think, as well.

-Steve

aubuti
2008-12-16, 09:50
I'm curious--is there any advantage anymore to native playback?
I would think that native playback is still an advantage when running SC on underpowered hardware, like a lot of NAS units or ancient PCs that are "put out to pasture" as music servers.

CatBus
2008-12-16, 09:57
I would think that native playback is still an advantage when running SC on underpowered hardware, like a lot of NAS units or ancient PCs that are "put out to pasture" as music servers.

Ah I hadn't considered the NAS angle, thanks. I think that must be the only advantage of native playback anymore, then.

ian_heys
2008-12-16, 09:57
I have no problems streaming/transcoding AAC/AAC+ from my SC.

My favourite BBC radio stations are about to start streaming in AAC+ at higher quality than the WMA streams they currently use. (They have also said they may also stream their flagship Radio 3 in AAC - but that remains to be seen).

Many other radio stations stream in AAC+ already.

It's very power intensive to have the server running just to receive stream radio from the internet.

AAC+ capable web radios will surely arrive soon - why cannot the Squeezebox be one of them?

That doesn't preclude the original premise that others may chose a different set of codecs.

CatBus
2008-12-16, 10:02
AAC licensing is fairly straightforward with a per-unit fee

Ah, I should say "vendor refusal to license codecs according to terms that are acceptable to Logitech". Frankly I'd balk at licensing AAC for every device sold if my marketing demographics indicated only 8% of my user base needs it (generous guess of people who use AAC/AAC+ AND run SqueezeCenter on their NAS).

CatBus
2008-12-16, 10:51
That doesn't preclude the original premise that others may chose a different set of codecs.

I didn't mean to sound overly dismissive of the idea. I actually like it (and I've suggested it before: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=40412). I just wanted to point out that since licensing adds cost/complexity, and transcoding these days (mostly) removes the need, we're talking about a high cost/benefit ratio.

For example, thinking about per-player licensing, let's say you can buy an optional AAC codec pack for your SB3 that includes the licensing cost of the codec. But wait a sec...you have three SB3's. So if the codec is licensed per device, you actually need to be charged for three codec packs, right? How would Logitech enforce this to the satisfaction of the vendor? Invent their own DRM scheme? Etc, etc. That's the sort of question that may help explain why Ogg Vorbis is supported in the firmware even though it's a fairly uncommon format.

y360
2008-12-16, 11:20
I assume the hardware in SB3 is already considered ancient.
The wish for more encoding formats, support for additional DRM schemes and integration with new music services will probably be forthcoming in a new SB4 platform with improved hardware

CatBus
2008-12-16, 11:31
The wish for more encoding formats, support for additional DRM schemes and integration with new music services will probably be forthcoming in a new SB4 platform with improved hardware

I can't see how new hardware can fix what is essentially a legal problem. Unless it's a robot lawyer.

Phil Leigh
2008-12-16, 11:37
IMO the last thing we need is more formats...and definitely not any form of DRM support!

seanadams
2008-12-16, 11:54
This is actually an idea that we evaluated but there are a bunch of things that make it not possible. The OS that runs on SB3 is a special "real-time" embedded platform - the firmware is built monolithically so you can't link in arbitrary code on the fly. It's also a unique CPU architecture which makes porting a major challenge (also requiring special $$$ tools).

As to why any particular codec may or may not be supported, we made the call based on a number of factors including:

- popularity of the codec
- whether it used for internet radio (can't transcode with SN)
- whether it can be transcoded in SC
- cpu footprint
- memory footprint
- license terms, cost

ian_heys
2008-12-16, 12:00
Thanks for that Sean.

I've never had a product that's held my attention like the Squeezebox and it's fantastic support.

Think I'll build a low power server and leave it always on then.

Thanks again.