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Simpsons over Shortwave

Bandwith-saving video codec for cartoons
  [vote for,

This idea came to me when I watched a Simpsons episode on DVD and noticed some mpeg compression artefacts around the edges.

Cartoons such as the Simpsons are simple drawings. They consist of mostly black lines, solid colour surfaces, and the occasional gradient. The mpeg format used to compress these cartoons, however, has been designed for photographic images with soft edges - the exact opposite of cartoons. This is an inefficient way of compressing these files.

I suggest a new video codec designed specifically for cartoons. It digitises the drawings and interpolates lines using spline functions. Since most lines in Simpsons cartoons are simple geometric shapes only a handful of spline parameters is required to describe each line accurately. Then it fills the spaces between the lines with solid colours. That, and the fact that cartoons use a small frame rate of 5-10 fps, would allow very agressive compression which is almost lossless.

This would open up new distribution opportunities for The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park etc. : 40 episodes on one DVD and downloads over dial-up internet - in near perfect picture quality.

The small required bandwith would even allow cartoons to be broadcast over shortwave transmitters using two channels (one for video and one for 64 kb/s mp3 audio). This way you could recieve cartoon channels in even the most remote parts of the world without internet connection. All you need is a small shortwave USB adapter for the laptop. Since it is relatively cheap to set up a shortwave transmitter, a whole new culture of independent channels showing cartoons from less well known artists could emerge, especially in poorer countries.

kinemojo, Dec 11 2006

The Vector-Rendered Cartoon Channel The_20Vector-Rendered_20Cartoon_20Channel
related idea [hippo, Dec 12 2006]


       Nice idea. Only one thing though, 300bps is the maximum avaliable data rate with standard AFSK [Audio Frequency Shift Keying] SSB(SC) [Single Side Band (Suppressed Carrier)] HF transmissions. AM [Amplitude Modulation] would allow slightly better rates but is much wider (RF) bandwidth. To transmit 64Kbps you would need FSK [Frequency Shift Keying] and a wider RF bandwidth. Since Short Wave transmission are made using AM signals you would have to define a new spectrum for the FM [Frequency Modulation] signals needed for your scheme. FM Does not tend to travel as well and FM tends to need a stronger signal to be inteligible.   

       So [+] for the codec, but [-] for the Short Wave stuff.
webfishrune, Dec 11 2006

       Good idea on the compression. As a fond watcher of fansubbed anime, I think this would be a brilliant idea for reducing bandwidth.
gisho, Dec 11 2006

       Could this be a video coding scheme based in the GIF principle?
Jinbish, Dec 11 2006

       The reason you will never get this off the ground is the fact that they don't want you to have 40 episodes on a disk, they would rather you have ten and you by 4 DVD's which brings in greater profit.
Chefboyrbored, Dec 11 2006

       I dunno, [Chefboyrbored]. I reckon they'd love to sell you 40 episodes on one disk, just at the same price as 40 episodes on 4 disks.   

       Nice idea though. (+)
m_Al_com, Dec 12 2006

       I suppose that 40 on one disk could be sold at the same cost as 40 on 4 disks. I personally would rather shell out 20 bucks every 6 months or so rather than have to cough up the 80 bucks in one chunk, then again I am a poor bastard.
Chefboyrbored, Dec 12 2006

       Flash would be perfect for this, but it would require access to the original artwork and labour-intensive conversion.
BunsenHoneydew, Dec 12 2006

       This idea has been mentioned here before as "cartoon codec", before the Crash of 2004. It was actually my idea, but it seems to have vanished.
nineteenthly, Dec 12 2006

       What about 40 on one disk, with the access code to the first 10 sold with the disk, then the access codes to the rest of the 10-chunk sets sold separately?   

       That way you'd only have to traipse down to the store once, and the marketers'd be delighted by the prospect that you actually had the episodes already, but you couldn't access them. How frustrating! And wallet opening!
m_Al_com, Dec 13 2006

       Ten on a disk, four separately sold disks. The fact that a large proportion of an inexpensive DVD would not be used is inconsequential.
david_scothern, Dec 13 2006

       Good compression idea, reminds me of the (pre-www, pre-jpeg) Prodigy modem dial-up service where most pictures were drawn while-u-wait! First, the outline of the image, then a fill routine filled the image with solid colors...
EdisonEnvy, Oct 09 2007


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