Internet Archive Film Collection - Technical Data 


Updated July 2, 2002

MPEG-2 Information

The Internet Archive Film Collection was digitized from Sony Betacam transcodes of the original film material. The digitization was performed by a FutureTel NS320 real-time MPEG-2 encoder running on Windows NT with a custom encoding/deck control application developed by COOLSTF.com.

The movies are digitized with a bitrate between 2.75 and 3.5 Mbps for the video and 128 Kbps for the audio with 44.1 KHz sampling using NTSC standards (29.97 fps). Resolution is either 480x480 (2/3 D1), 368x480 (roughly 1/2 D1) or 352x480 (1/2 D1) - decoders are supposed to interpolate this back up to 720x480 for display.

Please note that the file extensions for the movies is MPG - however, this doesn't mean they will play with a standard PC's operating system since no PC operating systems are currently supplied with an MPEG-2 decoder. If you have DVD playback software or hardware in your PC, then the movies will play with the DVD software. Some MPEG-2 playback solutions also include compatibility with Microsoft's Direct Show interface - if you have one of these, MPEG-2 video can also be played using Microsoft's Media Player application that's included with Windows.

MPEG-4 Information

Some of the movies have been transcoded to MPEG-4 format - these will have the AVI extension. This results in a significantly smaller file, but at the expense of picture quality. The Divx codec was used during the transcode - to decode any of the AVI files, you need the Divx codec. See the MPEG-4/Divx section in this document for details on getting the Divx codec.

Real Information

Many of the movies have also been converted to Real format which allows streaming playback of the movies without first having to download them. If you want to preview a movie before downloading it, use the Real versions. Two versions are encoded - one for users with 56K through 128K connectivity and the other for broadband users with connectivity from 250K upwards. The standard Real player available from www.real.com is used to play these movies via our Real Server.

Decoding MPEG-2 on Windows

Hardware Solutions

All of the hardware solutions here have NTSC video outputs. Since the material was captured from video tape, all of the movies are interlaced. This means that for absolute best results, viewing on a television is recommended. Playing back on a progressive display (like a computer monitor) will look very good, but it'll look better on a television. Hardware decoders are a very good solution for an older PC with less than a 300MHz Pentium II class processor. Most Pentium 166MHz machines that don't stand a chance of decoding MPEG-2 in software will work fine with a hardware card.

Product Version/OS Results

Cost

Direct Show Compatible
Sigma Designs Hollywood Plus (PCI Card) 1.81
Windows 98
Almost perfect - doesn't interpolate the picture up to full D1 when in full-screen mode. Less than $50
Search Pricewatch for "Hollywood Plus"
No
Sigma Designs NetStream 2 (PCI Card) 4.60 (1.60a)
Windows NT 4 SP6
Perfect Replaced by Netstream 2000 Yes
Sigma Designs NetStream 2000 (PCI Card) 1.0 build 125
Windows NT SP6 & Windows 2000
Perfect $250 Yes
Optibase VideoPlex Express (PCI Card) 1.2
Windows NT SP6 & Windows 2000
Perfect $400 Yes
Stradis SDM275 4:2:2 (PCI Card) 1.10
Windows 2000
Perfect $1200 Yes

Combination Hardware/Software

Product Version/OS Results

Cost

Direct Show Compatible
Matrox G-450 Dual Head Windows 2000 Perfect on-screen playback. Also has a second output that allows NTSC/PAL output of the MPEG video. Looks good except there are some interlacing issues. $150 Yes- also outputs MPEG-4 to the video connector.

Software Solutions

All of these software solutions have an MPEG-2 decoder that runs on your PC's processor. Because MPEG-2 is a very complex method of representing video (but very compact), you need at least a 300MHz Pentium II class processor to decode the video in real time.

Product Version/OS Results

Cost

Direct Show Compatible
Elecard MPEG-2 Player  1.15
Windows 2000
Excellent, but doesn't interpolate in Media Player $20.00 Yes
Cyberlink PowerDVD 2.5
Windows 98
Perfect $49.50 Yes
MGI Soft DVD MAX 3.32.03
Windows 98
Perfect (but must use a supported AGP graphics card to use this product)  $39.95 Yes
MediaMatics DVD Express (OEM Product) 5.00.00.5.6.1
Windows 98
Perfect  n/a Unknown 
Xing DVD Player 1.61
Windows 98
Doesn't play. Irrelevent since this product has been withdrawn from the market n/a Probably not
Ligos LSX-MPEG Player  1.0
Windows 98
Occasionally crashes. Doesn't interpolate the picture up to full D1 resolution $29.95  Yes
ATI DVD Player 3.5
Windows 98
Perfect  n/a Unknown
Herosoft SDVD 2000

Windows 2000
Works very well. Occasionally, you have to right click on the video window and select "Original Size" to get a picture. 60 day trial
Unknown price
No

Decoding MPEG-2 on Linux

Hardware Solutions

Product Version/OS Results
Stradis SDM275 (PCI Card) 19991019
Linux
Driver at http://mpeg.openprojects.net/. Not tested.
Creative Labs DXR2 (PCI Card) Linux Driver at http://opensource.soundblaster.com/snapshot.html. Not tested.

Software Solutions

Product Version/OS Results
MPlayer  0.5
Linux
Not tested here but reportedly works well.
Joachim's Player 0.6
Linux
Needs 2 x Pentium III 500MHz for full framerate playback. Not tested.
mpeg2dec

0.1.7
Linux
Not tested.
XMovie Linux Reportedly works well if you have an up to date X server, i.e. XFree86 >= 4.0.1
XMPS  Linux Works with Win32 DLLs so it can play DivX ;)

Decoding MPEG-2 on Mac OS-X

Product Version/OS Results
Video LAN Client Mac OS-X Not tested here, but reportedly works well.

Thanks to Jim Stocking for the above info.

Decoding MPEG-4/Divx on Windows

Divx.com's Divx 5 codec is required to play the MPEG-4/Divx files. The standard or Pro version can be used - http://www.divx.com/

Decoding MPEG-4/Divx on Mac OS-X

Please read this HOW-TO PDF on the subject from Pejvan Beigui.

Thanks to Jim Stocking for the above info.

Decoding MPEG-4/Divx on Linux

Software Solutions

Product Version/OS Results
MPlayer  0.5
Linux
Not tested here but reportedly works well. Needs Win32 codecs to play Divx
Divx.com Divx 5 codec 5.0.1
x86 Linux
Not tested here, but from divx.com so it should work fine.

Thanks to Bastiaan van der Linden for the above info.