Yesterday we made live a large update to the way we create the audio and video displayed on our site. Most folks might not notice the changes, so here’s a rundown:
- We can now read and make mp3s from 24-bit Flac files. This has been requested for many years and we are thrilled to get it working.
- The Ogg audio files that we create from audio files will now be using an updated “libvorbis” library. (The library we were using before today was from 2001! )
- We are no longer making 64kb MP3s (or zips or m3u playlists of those files). This was a judgement call — given how poor the sound quality is for these files and the fact that most people are getting more and more bandwidth to their devices and computers.
- Simplified back-end system, relying more and more on “ffmpeg” for format conversion.
- We will now (try to) make derivatives from “.aac” (Advanced Audio Coding) files and “.ra”/”.rm” (Real Audio) files.
- General ability to read more kinds of audio files more reliably.
- The Ogg Video files that we create from movies files will now be using an updated “libvorbis” library for their audio. (Previously we were using the “non reference” library ogg encoder. Now we are using the much asked for and newer “libvorbis” library).
- Updated ffmpeg to v0.5. This allows for a much wider range of source audio/video containers and codecs. We will be able to derive HD-quality video formats like DV-50 and DV-100. (For those interested in ffmpeg, changelog).
- Better detection of widescreen movies (so less of our movies on our site will incorrectly appear “squooshed”).
- General ability to read more kinds of video files more reliably.
- Noting the prior point, we were able to get streaming videos for about 170 TV archive items that we could not process previously.