Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

 
thorstenhirsch
Topic Author
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:25 pm

Do you consider implementing OGG/FLAC at all?

Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:12 pm

Hi,

it's very unsatisfactory that there's no information at all regarding all the requests here begging for OGG/FLAC support. Do you consider implementing it at all? Or did you find out, that it's technically impossible? Do you think, that people will buy more and more of your devices as long as you haven't said that you won't/can't implement it? That's pretty tough information politics! In that case you've lost a customer here, but...

I want you to offer a deal: when you implement OGG/FLAC within the next year I'll buy another M1001. You might think that 1 fiddling device is not worth the cost of implementing it. Be assured that I'm not the only one. The current exchange rate (€/$) makes your devices very attractive for so many people here if only OGG/FLAC would be supported. Really, people are saying so! C'mon. Do it! NOW!

Regards,
Thorsten
 
dupondt
Posts: 1653
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:46 am
Location: Germany, European Union

Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:35 am

Hi Thorsten,

as regards playing internet radio, I agree that it would be nice to have OGG implemented on the Soundbridges, as some (not many) stations have chosen that format for their streams. But there are some other issues with a much higher priority (RTSP, RealAudio and full AACplus support, for example).

When it comes to the original (and still main) purpose of Roku's devices, i.e. playing music streamed from a computer or NAS box, I don't see any need for implementing OGG/FLAC. The Soundbridges offer support for a wide variety of (standardized) formats: MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, ALAC and AIFF, with different bit and sample rates. All of these are widely used, whereas OGG/FLAC apparently is a niche format, so Roku presumably saw (and see?) no need to support it on the Soundbridges.

In addition to that every format which gets added to the Soundbridges blows up the size of the firmware and thus uses a considerable amount of memory.

If you have chosen OGG/FLAC to encode your music, you can always use a media server software that allows you to transcode your files to a supported format "on the fly" when they are streamed to the Soundbridge (Firefly, for example).

Greetings
dupondt
SoundBridge M1001 and M1000 • Clint L1 (retired) • DNT IP-dio (retired)
Google Chromecast • Amazon Fire TV • Amazon Echo and Echo Dot
 
batka
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 5:34 pm
Location: Hungary
Contact:

Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:57 pm

dupondt wrote:
When it comes to the original (and still main) purpose of Roku's devices, i.e. playing music streamed from a computer or NAS box, I don't see any need for implementing OGG/FLAC. The Soundbridges offer support for a wide variety of (standardized) formats: MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, ALAC and AIFF, with different bit and sample rates. All of these are widely used, whereas OGG/FLAC apparently is a niche format, so Roku presumably saw (and see?) no need to support it on the Soundbridges.


Hi dupondt,

Although the initial post was not mine, but I think I'd jump in to reflect your answer. I guess Thorsten didn't mean the "Ogg-Flac" format, but the OGG and FLAC formats separarately.

And when we speak about these two formats, I wouldn't say they are niche. As for lossless point of view, the FLAC is almost probably the most widely used. This is not the thread about which codec is more used, but one thing is sure, FLAC is used widely enough.

Of course transcoding is always possible, but playing FLAC and OGG natively has several advantages.

So, imo, either it increases the size of the firmware or not, implementing either of these two codecs probably would highly increase the sales of Roku products..... So I agree with Thorsten on this matter.

So let we hope developement going ahead! 8)
 
stretch
Posts: 623
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:29 am
Location: Australia

Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:58 pm

dupondt wrote:
whereas OGG/FLAC apparently is a niche format,


If you read the audio format request sticky you´ll notice that OGG / FLAC are amoung the most requested formats, if not the top two.
2 x M2000's
Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ with Firefly svn-1676
NSLU2, 500GB Maxtor One Touch III, uNSLUng 6.8, Firefly svn-1696
music library in FLAC format
 
dupondt
Posts: 1653
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:46 am
Location: Germany, European Union

Sat Mar 01, 2008 4:42 am

stretch wrote:
you´ll notice that OGG / FLAC are amoung the most requested formats, if not the top two.

As well as I have noticed that, you will have noticed that these requests are continuously coming in for two and a half years now and nothing has happened. There must be a reason for that, as other requested formats have been implemented.

In addition to that an increased amount of requests in a forum is by no means an indication that a specific format is widely used.

OGG-Vorbis and/or FLAC are niche formats because

a. neither Windows nor OS X, which are the two mainstream operating systems, support them out the box;
b. only very few portable music players (aka MP3 players) support them, the most popular ones are not among these;
c. the big players in the music download business do not support them (iTunes store: AAC, Musicload: WMA, Amazon: MP3 and so on…);
d. none of the most popular programs for ripping CDs supports them out of the box (not even Winamp does when it comes to ripping).

Don't get me wrong: I welcome each and every format that finds its way into the firmware of the Soundbridges, even if I have no use for it. But looking at the history of feature requests and firmware development I strongly doubt that OGG-Vorbis and/or FLAC will get implemented.

So let's be realistic: Anyone who needs a device natively supporting these formats should not buy a Soundbridge - there are alternatives (but these, too, will certainly lack features that some people would like to have).

Greetings
dupondt
SoundBridge M1001 and M1000 • Clint L1 (retired) • DNT IP-dio (retired)
Google Chromecast • Amazon Fire TV • Amazon Echo and Echo Dot
 
jtbse
Posts: 229
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:45 am
Location: USA East Coast

Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:56 pm

Running the risk of "piling on" here...but I think it's a great conversation (regardless of Roku's plans).

dupondt... While I respect and understand your opinions, there are a couple of items I have to take issue with.

dupondt wrote:
b. only very few portable music players (aka MP3 players) support them, the most popular ones are not among these;


While I don't disagree with this statement, I would suggest that those who really want flac support (myself included), don't want it because of their portable music players. Roku's products are about home stereo/hifi (IMHO). PMPs are and always will be a compromise of convenience over sonic quality.

dupondt wrote:
none of the most popular programs for ripping CDs supports them out of the box (not even Winamp does when it comes to ripping).


I think you're mistaken about Winamp. With current version (5.52) native flac support is present, and one can easily rip CDs to flac (although I don't actually use WinAmp for ripping). But I just tested it to be certain before writing this.

Now having said all that.....yes, transcoding from a server is always an option and works fine in most cases, even on a relatively low-powered NSLU2 w/Firefly (if your network connection is wired, that is). But transcoding is always a compromise at best, and as has been suggested...native codec support in a client device has advantages (bandwidth and server cpu utilization reduction among them).

I use flac for various applications and will continue to do so. For example...for anything that is not easily replaced, like the tracks that I convert from vinyl, I will choose to use flac. I will also be transcoding those same tracks for transfer to my iPod, and for now, for playing on my Soundbridges.

For a devices like Rokus, I don't really think it's far-fetched at all to suggest flac support....after all Roku *does* support two very proprietary lossless formats (ALAC and WMAL), which also fall victim to your arguments about native support, portable support, and so on.

But to reiterate, my comments come from approaching my Soundbridges as components of my home stereo equipment...not so much as an internet radio, or portable device.

Cheers and Best Regards
 
dupondt
Posts: 1653
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:46 am
Location: Germany, European Union

Sun Mar 02, 2008 5:53 am

jtbse wrote:
I think you're mistaken about Winamp. With current version (5.52) native flac support is present, and one can easily rip CDs to flac (although I don't actually use WinAmp for ripping). But I just tested it to be certain before writing this.

<nitpicker mode>
According to Winamp's website (http://www.winamp.com/player/features) OGG-Vorbis and FLAC are supported for decoding. For encoding (ripping) you will have to download plugins.
</nitpicker mode>

Hi jtbse,

it certainly is very nice to be able to chose from a variety of formats, but as we can see in the "Feature requests" threads, this can also cause problems. Especially in the computer business, but also with audio and video we have lived that over and over again within the past 30 years. Just think of the loads of incompatible formats when it comes to word processing, spreadsheets and imaging or have a look at the list of "standards" for recordable DVDs. The latest example for this is the Blue-Ray/HD-DVD "war".

For us consumers to cope with that situation might not always be comfortable, it certainly doesn't make life easier. So - again - let's be realistic: Anyone who wants to buy a certain device, should have a look at the features of the products on the market and then make his decision.

In our case this means: If you buy a Soundbridge knowing that

a. it doesn't support OGG-Vorbis and/or FLAC and

b. there has not been one single promise from Roku to implement these formats

you don't have any right to deplore that these features are missing and blame Roku for that. Putting forward a request is fine, but yelling "C'mon. Do it! NOW!" (as Thorsten did) is - to put it mildly - impolite.

Greetings
dupondt
SoundBridge M1001 and M1000 • Clint L1 (retired) • DNT IP-dio (retired)
Google Chromecast • Amazon Fire TV • Amazon Echo and Echo Dot
 
thorstenhirsch
Topic Author
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:25 pm

Sun Mar 02, 2008 8:12 am

dupondt wrote:
If you have chosen OGG/FLAC to encode your music, you can always use a media server software that allows you to transcode your files to a supported format "on the fly" when they are streamed to the Soundbridge (Firefly, for example).

Actually, that's exactly the problem. I've chosen to put all my music onto a Buffalo Linkstation and installed Firefly there. But since the cpu of the Linkstation has no mathematical coprocessor (and Vorbis' ogg decoder relies on floating point processing power) the Linkstation is not able to decode ogg on-the-fly.

I've also seen, that there's an implementation of Vorbis' ogg decoder, that doesn't rely on floating point calculations: tremor. However, the implementation doesn't compile on the linkstation.

So how to solve this problem? I couldn't find anyone responsible for the tremor code, nor could I manage to solve the problem myself - well, I've managed to fix the code so that I could compile it, but the decoding did not work at all.

Of course there are several other options to fix the problem (I could re-encode all my CDs in mp3, I could pay someone to fix the tremor code, ...), but since implementing ogg into the SB's firmware would not solve only my problem, but also help all the other people that request native ogg support in the feature request thread, I still think that this would be the best solution.
 
jtbse
Posts: 229
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:45 am
Location: USA East Coast

Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:25 am

dupondt wrote:
<nitpicker mode>
According to Winamp's website (http://www.winamp.com/player/features) OGG-Vorbis and FLAC are supported for decoding. For encoding (ripping) you will have to download plugins.
</nitpicker mode>


<nitpicker's nitpicker mode>
Hmm...maybe I'm blind (real possibility :) ), but I didn't see that statement anywhere on the link you provided. *And*, I went back and checked my installation of WinAmp pro. It's a totally clean install with *no* third-party plugins. From the original download, to rip and encode to flac, Winamp uses Flake 0.11...which came with the original downloaded package...no additional plugin download required. Having used Winamp for years, I believe they started packaging flac decoding and flac encoding (via Flake) around version 5.33. Prior to that, flac support required additional plugin downloads.
</nitpicker's nitpicker mode>

[edit: I stand corrected...I had forgotten...flac encoding is actually part of the "Winamp Essentials" plugin pack...but since it's maintained by the Winamp developers, I've just gotten in the habit of automatically installing it as part of my normal Winamp install process....sorry bout that]

But of course it's really just splitting hairs. (And we're running the risk of discussing Non-Roku products on a Roku forum...poor form, I know)

And yes, most of your points are well taken. Of course when I bought my SoundBridge's I did so knowing they didn't support flac decoding. That's precisely why after less than a week of ownership, I began playing with server alternatives beyond iTunes...first SlimServer and ultimately Firefly (actually was my plan from the start, when I bought my first SoundBridge). And you're correct...if Roku were to add support for flac, it would be nice for some, but certainly shouldn't be expected or demanded. But that's why it's a "Feature Request Forum"...no?

I sympathize with thorstenhirsch's and others' dilemmas, because I've been through most of them myself...but working for a software company, and having dealt with software and computers for over 20 years myself, I understand that as consumers, the best we can do is to try and make educated decisions, and adapt as well as we can. To some extent we're at the mercy of business objectives of companies that don't necessarily have (or can afford to have) our individual interests in mind. But the lively discussion is a valuable part of that process.

Best Regards
 
dupondt
Posts: 1653
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:46 am
Location: Germany, European Union

Sun Mar 02, 2008 11:53 am

Hi jtbse,

your last post only requires one very short answer:

Image

Greetings
dupondt
SoundBridge M1001 and M1000 • Clint L1 (retired) • DNT IP-dio (retired)
Google Chromecast • Amazon Fire TV • Amazon Echo and Echo Dot
 
thorstenhirsch
Topic Author
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:25 pm

Mon Mar 03, 2008 3:55 pm

I've managed to update an old tremor patch for oggdec so that it works with vorbis-tools-1.2.0. So at least my problem with playing ogg files from a Linkstation is solved now. If you're interested, here's a link to my posting in the firefly media server forum.
 
atrocity
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:17 am
Location: Sacramento, California

Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:56 am

jtbse wrote:
Now having said all that.....yes, transcoding from a server is always an option and works fine in most cases, even on a relatively low-powered NSLU2 w/Firefly


The problem for us FLAC fans is that transcoding FLAC to WAV via Firefly does not give gapless playback. I have a *ton* of live recordings in FLAC format and the hiccups between tracks drive me crazy, so I never play them on the Soundbridge.

But I bought the Soundbridge primarily for Internet radio, and it delivers there, so I'm reasonably happy. I *do* wish FLAC could be streamed gaplessly, but I've resigned myself to the likelihood that it will never happen. For better or worse, it's a lo-fi MP3 world out there and though stuff like that drives me up the wall, it doesn't even seem to register with most others.
 
beeka
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 6:19 am
Location: Portsmouth, UK

Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:29 pm

dupondt wrote:
OGG-Vorbis and/or FLAC are niche formats because...


Your points are well argued and I would agree that FLAC and OGG are not mainstream - my Dad probably doesn't even know what they are as ke just follows the iTunes manual. However I think this forgets the fact that Roku devices appeal to the geek-crowd: people who would choose to use open formats and are willing to install the extra software.

I would like FLAC support because it doesn't tie me into Apple or Microsoft formats (and I rip my CDs using Linux) and it is just easier if the device handles it natively. As much as I would like them to, I can't see Roku implementing it.... lossless formats are of key importance to audiophiles, who would probably care more about the 48khz upsampling (and the associated noise) than the codec. Roku don't seem interested in the high-end audio devices, but then their (stree) prices aren't high-end either.

Steve.
 
jtbse
Posts: 229
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:45 am
Location: USA East Coast

Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:51 am

atrocity wrote:
The problem for us FLAC fans is that transcoding FLAC to WAV via Firefly does not give gapless playback. I have a *ton* of live recordings in FLAC format and the hiccups between tracks drive me crazy, so I never play them on the Soundbridge.


Actually atrocity, I think maybe that's a Windows thing? Had another discussion about this on the Firefly boards somewhat recently, and IIRC, it's an issue in the current Windows version of Firefly (maybe ffmpeg related?)

I say this because on my NSLU2, my flacs play gaplessly. In fact that's one of the reasons I use FLAC for certain albums, e.g. anything by Pink Floyd :)
 
andyg
Posts: 407
Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2005 4:11 am
Location: London, UK

Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:26 pm

jtbse wrote:
atrocity wrote:
The problem for us FLAC fans is that transcoding FLAC to WAV via Firefly does not give gapless playback. I have a *ton* of live recordings in FLAC format and the hiccups between tracks drive me crazy, so I never play them on the Soundbridge.


Actually atrocity, I think maybe that's a Windows thing? Had another discussion about this on the Firefly boards somewhat recently, and IIRC, it's an issue in the current Windows version of Firefly (maybe ffmpeg related?)

I say this because on my NSLU2, my flacs play gaplessly. In fact that's one of the reasons I use FLAC for certain albums, e.g. anything by Pink Floyd :)


ditto jtbse... couldn't imagine a Dead show being interrupted by track changes :lol: Flacs on a slug here as well.
G5, OS X 10.5.8, 3 x M1000, iTunes 10.4, slimserver 6.2.1/alienbbc (now redundant), firefly svn 1586, uNSLUng 6.8

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