Post Reply Why The Video Quality?
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Posted 12/25/13
I read the rules and I'm largely certain what I'm about to say doesn't break them, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

I have a premium CrunchyRoll pay account, as you can see. However, I still mostly go to fansubbing for all of my anime needs for multiple reasons, but one of the biggest is CrunchyRoll's video quality.

I'm going to be frank: It's horrible. The most obvious problem is banding, which can easily be seen in any dark scene. There are several other issues, but I won't go into great detail here, since this thread isn't designed to be a paper on why CrunchyRoll video quality is bad.

This thread is designed, instead, to simply ask: Why? Why does CrunchyRoll, a service I pay for, have worse video quality than the video quality that fansubbers provide for free? I pay for CrunchyRoll because I want to help support the anime industry, and also because a lot of the "fansubs" I watch are edits of CrunchyRoll subs in the first place, so I'd feel bad if I didn't support the people who brought the original scripts in the first place. And no matter what anybody else says, the fact that CrunchyRoll exists has allowed a lot more series every season to be subbed. So, thanks for that, at least.

But still, before I continue off on that tangent: Why the bad video quality? You work directly with the animation studios and the TV stations, don't you guys? So why can't you get the humanly best possible video quality for the shows you put up on your site?

Mind you, unless you managed to provide BETTER video quality than fansubbers, as opposed to just equal quality, I still wouldn't watch shows on her because I despise having to stream anything I watch through the internet. Having it downloaded and on my hard drive is a much nicer experience. But that's a thread for a different day.

Anyways, I appreciate any response from any official CrunchyRoll employee, or even a fellow forum member who might have the answer for me. Thanks in advance.
The Wise Wizard
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Posted 12/25/13

jackalope044 wrote:

Mind you, unless you managed to provide BETTER video quality than fansubbers, as opposed to just equal quality, I still wouldn't watch shows on her because I despise having to stream anything I watch through the internet. Having it downloaded and on my hard drive is a much nicer experience. But that's a thread for a different day.

If you are comparing downloaded fansubs to CR streams, I believe you've answered your own question regarding the difference in video quality.

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Posted 12/25/13


To add to what TheAncientOne brought up, Flash as a video format is rather outdated, especially compared to a lot of the encoding done by the fansub community. Hopefully, with HTML5 gaining wider acceptance, even before it's a fully realized standard, CR and other video streaming sites can choose a codec that's more advanced than the widely used options currently available.
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Posted 12/26/13
CR uses h264; Flash and HTML5 video are just the transport mechanisms, not the codecs.
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Posted 12/26/13 , edited 12/26/13
Well, in that case, I do understand why CR doesn't offer a download service. At the same time, though, CR, the animation studios, and the TV stations all have to know that people are getting their anime through fansubs of grey-area legality anyways, and that CR isn't really in anyway preventing that.

So, if anything, CR offering a download service would increase the usage of CR (I know I would just use CR's download service in that case, at least) as an anime distribution service, and wouldn't really cause an increase in grey-area fansub distribution, since it's already so widespread and prevalent anyways.

Heck, it might even cause a decrease since people like me won't see a need to use grey-area fansubs anymore, if I can get the same or better video quality from CR than I can from fansubs, especially since I prefer CR's actual subs to many of the other, heavily localized, extremely liberal translations of other subgroups.

Just my two cents on the matter. I understand CR isn't the sole decision maker here, since they have to adhere to what the animation studios and the TV stations want, but seriously. It won't cut into the animation studios or TV stations "potential profits" - a term I use with much derision - since none of us here can watch anime on Japanese television channels; People already rip CR's streams, too, so it's not like it'd be a huge change if people suddenly started grabbing CR's downloads and distributing those, instead. CR offering a download service is going to be a win-win for all around. Except for fansubbers, I guess. But the large majority of those guys are pretty huge jerks anyways. even if they do offer a vital service to the anime watching community, so I can't really complain.
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Posted 12/26/13

jackalope044 wrote:

Well, in that case, I do understand why CR doesn't offer a download service. At the same time, though, CR, the animation studios, and the TV stations all have to know that people are getting their anime through fansubs of grey-area legality anyways, and that CR isn't really in anyway preventing that.

So, if anything, CR offering a download service would increase the usage of CR (I know I would just use CR's download service in that case, at least) as an anime distribution service, and wouldn't really cause an increase in grey-area fansub distribution, since it's already so widespread and prevalent anyways.

Heck, it might even cause a decrease since people like me won't see a need to use grey-area fansubs anymore, if I can get the same or better video quality from CR than I can from fansubs, especially since I prefer CR's actual subs to many of the other, heavily localized, extremely liberal translations of other subgroups.

Just my two cents on the matter. I understand CR isn't the sole decision maker here, since they have to adhere to what the animation studios and the TV stations want, but seriously. It won't cut into the animation studios or TV stations "potential profits" - a term I use with much derision - since none of us here can watch anime on Japanese television channels; People already rip CR's streams, too, so it's not like it'd be a huge change if people suddenly started grabbing CR's downloads and distributing those, instead. CR offering a download service is going to be a win-win for all around. Except for fansubbers, I guess. But the large majority of those guys are pretty huge jerks anyways. even if they do offer a vital service to the anime watching community, so I can't really complain.


Even if it isn't difficult to rip CR's streams, there's still a layer there that keeps people from casually uploading files. With a DTO option, those files would likely require some DRM mechanism, and then you'd have an outcry against that, and greater "justifictition" from pirates to steal CR's work.
The Wise Wizard
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Posted 12/26/13

jackalope044 wrote:

Well, in that case, I do understand why CR doesn't offer a download service. At the same time, though, CR, the animation studios, and the TV stations all have to know that people are getting their anime through fansubs of grey-area legality anyways, and that CR isn't really in anyway preventing that.

Publishers demand higher rates for downloads, even if it is time limited download (considered a "rental").

Early on, CR did offer some titles for download (for purchase, not part of the monthly subscription), but it wasn't successful. Funimation has tried the same, but it doesn't appear to have caught on their, either.

You might point to the music market, but keep in mind it is not only different (DRM free downloads are the norm for music, but not for video), but also the approaches to licensing for streaming also differ.


At some point, you stop trying to cater to people who pirate. Remember back when NicoNico.com was in operation? They offered HD streams with no ads (after the first season). For some reason many of those were unprotected, making them only a click away from downloading with a simple browser extension. Yet despite that, there were still people that pirated those series.

The success of services like CR, Netflix, Hulu, etc. is proof that you don't have to offer the absolute best quality and maximum flexibility for a lot of people to opt for the legal solution. You just have to make it more convenient for most of them, without being too costly.
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Posted 12/26/13
The problem with that answer is that streaming on this site hasn't been working well for over a month now. I cannot watch 1080p unless its the middle of the night. Either they need to fix their streaming ASAP or they need to offer something like downloads. For almost a month now, I've been having to torrent my anime because this site has been unusable.
The Wise Wizard
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Posted 12/26/13

millotalius wrote:

The problem with that answer is that streaming on this site hasn't been working well for over a month now. I cannot watch 1080p unless its the middle of the night. Either they need to fix their streaming ASAP or they need to offer something like downloads. For almost a month now, I've been having to torrent my anime because this site has been unusable.

I haven't had any problems streaming. Keep in mind that people that aren't having problems are not normally going to drop by and leave a message saying, "Everything is fine". If everyone, or even a majority of CR's userbase were experiencing problems, the complaints voiced here would be a drop in the bucket by comparison.

Is some portion of CR's userbase having problems? Clearly the answer is yes. As to what the common factor is, I suspect it is specific to certain areas, but since so few people even list their country in their profile, much less more specific location info (I'm guilty of that), no one in the forums can tell.

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Posted 12/26/13 , edited 12/26/13

eyeofpain wrote:

Even if it isn't difficult to rip CR's streams, there's still a layer there that keeps people from casually uploading files. With a DTO option, those files would likely require some DRM mechanism, and then you'd have an outcry against that, and greater "justifictition" from pirates to steal CR's work.


It's clearly not working very well, since the specific group that I know rips directly from CR has tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of downloads a week from all their CR rips. They have an automated program that does it for them, even, and uploads it without anybody having to lift a finger.

I'm just saying, thinking that streaming prevents people from pirating is simply incorrect. Take a look at any anime torrent site, and you'll see that.


TheAncientOne wrote:
Publishers demand higher rates for downloads, even if it is time limited download (considered a "rental").

Early on, CR did offer some titles for download (for purchase, not part of the monthly subscription), but it wasn't successful. Funimation has tried the same, but it doesn't appear to have caught on their, either.

You might point to the music market, but keep in mind it is not only different (DRM free downloads are the norm for music, but not for video), but also the approaches to licensing for streaming also differ.


At some point, you stop trying to cater to people who pirate. Remember back when NicoNico.com was in operation? They offered HD streams with no ads (after the first season). For some reason many of those were unprotected, making them only a click away from downloading with a simple browser extension. Yet despite that, there were still people that pirated those series.

The success of services like CR, Netflix, Hulu, etc. is proof that you don't have to offer the absolute best quality and maximum flexibility for a lot of people to opt for the legal solution. You just have to make it more convenient for most of them, without being too costly.


Like I said, I know it's not all on CR. I know the animation studios and TV stations are part of the reason downloads don't happen. But their reasoning is off, just as much as CR's reasoning is off.

The reason people (Myself included) didn't use NicoNico.com is, again, because the video quality was worse than what we could get from fansubs. The audio quality, as well. Sometimes, even the translations themselves weren't that great. This is why I don't directly use CR, even though I pay for it, because I want the best video and audio quality I can get, and that, literally all of the time, comes from legal grey-area fansubs.

I mean, if the vast majority of people who use CR don't care about video or audio quality, that's on them I guess, and CR is a business so I guess they should do whatever makes them the most money. I mean, I pay them monthly because I technically use their subs indirectly, so I feel it's only proper due compensation, so they already have my money so I guess they don't really need to care about what I think about video quality, ESPECIALLY since I'm not chewing up their bandwidth by watching the videos in the first place.

I don't really think downloading my anime from those grey-area fansubs is less convenient than CR. If anything, not having to wait for an episode to buffer is more convenient than streaming through CR. It takes me approximately the same amount of time to get to where I need to go to download something as it does to find the show on CR.

I don't really see why any of that would prevent CR from offering a download service, though. I mean, like I said, I guess if CR is taking a business mentality they'll just take my money since I'm already giving it to them and not worry about offering me a download service since that'd just take more money out of their pocket, but if they really are serious about offering the best quality anime, then I just think they need to consider the fact that fansubs provide better quality for free.

It just seems really, really weird to me that the service I pay for offers worse quality than people giving something for free. That's the big thing.

EDIT: My main point is it hurts literally nothing to offer a download service since their streams are already being ripped anyways.
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Posted 12/27/13
While most series here have a small amount of banding, the usual levels aren't that bad.

That being said, there are a few series with more excessive banding because CR has been provided with bad quality source raws. Everything licensed from Media Factory looks absolutely terrible (Non Non Biyori, Watamote etc), while all Showgate licenses are much worse than usual in dark scenes (Little Busters, Devil Survivor etc).
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Posted 12/28/13

llamaben wrote:

While most series here have a small amount of banding, the usual levels aren't that bad.


Believe me, for a videophile like myself, even the tiniest bit of banding distracts me from being able to enjoy the show. I know it's silly, but that's just how it is for me.


That being said, there are a few series with more excessive banding because CR has been provided with bad quality source raws. Everything licensed from Media Factory looks absolutely terrible (Non Non Biyori, Watamote etc), while all Showgate licenses are much worse than usual in dark scenes (Little Busters, Devil Survivor etc).


I'm just curious why this happens, if you might know. Why wouldn't studios provide the best quality source raws for CR to broadcast? It just doesn't make much sense to me.
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Posted 12/28/13
CR already uses the same encoder as fansubbers (x264) but with settings to be compatible across different devices, so you will get good but not absolutely the best quality.

However, most of the banding issues come from the raws delivered to CR. You can see the difference in the raws provided by the difference in quality between different shows. In fact, many of the raw TV transport streams ALSO has the same banding issues. The way CR encodes exacerbates the banding issues a bit, but the point is they were originally there.

You don't even have to trust me, you can download them yourself (not the encoded mp4 raws, but the usually mpeg-2 .ts or m2ts files ripped from the broadcast). Here's what the fansubbers do that CR does not: they filter. This includes a debanding filter. CR does not because I'm pretty sure CR uses an automated process and setting up filter chains requires a human to watch each episode and to tweak the settings iteratively to determine the best result.
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Posted 12/29/13 , edited 12/29/13
I like how this person complains about the video quality on this 1080p 6 dollar a month streaming site that has a ton of content and then defends his entitlement by saying illegal fansubs look better and are free.

Thats like complaining about having to pay for a burger because technically you could just steal a steak from a restaurant.
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Posted 1/6/14 , edited 1/6/14
the quality depends on more than one factor
1. the player (flash) vs MPC-BE with EVR and LAV Filters (pretty much the cream of the cream for video quality, lav even got two banding modes)
2. the video card (check if the so called enhancements are on, just turn them off!, set Dynamic range is set to full (0-255)
3. the display (atleast set brightness under 50 or lower)

but yes, CR realy need a optional HTML5 player
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