VOGONS


First post, by typh0id

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Hey all,

I don't know a lot about the individual video formats and codecs but what I am trying to do is convert modern videos (like say ones I've downloaded from Youtube to .mp4 format) to a format that can play in older version of Windows Media Player or Winamp on a Windows 98 machine. I know the codec is more the culprit than the container but I've tried several different programs and several different containers and codecs to convert the files to .avi or .wmv., etc, and nothing will play correctly on the Win98 machine. Usually, the audio will play but no video. I'm not so much looking for a more modern video player that happens to work in 98, but rather I want to make the videos compatible with what I already have (Winamp 5.35 and/or Media Player 6.4). Quality loss in the conversion is not a huge concern to me.

Any advice?

Thanks!

Reply 1 of 20, by furan

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ffmpeg is the tool you want. e.g. ffmpeg -i file.mp4 -vcodec copy -acodec copy file.avi
You would specify the compatible codecs instead of "copy"
I'm sure there's a Windows release but it's very easy to use in Linux.
https://ffmpeg.org/

Reply 2 of 20, by javispedro1

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I don't know what codecs you tried .... the only time I remember having problems is when I tried to encode to WMV9 (using FFmpeg) to play on a PocketPC, and that didn't work (ffmpeg had no wmv9 encoder at the time), and I had to resort to a XP VM with the MS Windows Media Encoder 9 tool to do the job. Not that I'm suggesting that, because the WM9 Encoder can only target down to WMV7, and I'm not sure if there is a way to install WMV7 decoder while still using WM 6.

In case of doubt, you can always encode video to Cinepak, that should work even in Windows 3.1x..
(Just kidding, MPEG(1) is also available on anything from Win95 upwards, and is miles better. That's also an option which has many available free encoders these days.).

Last edited by javispedro1 on 2022-03-16, 13:42. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 3 of 20, by zyga64

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It depends on CPU in Windows 98 machine.

For Pentium 3 and above DivX/Xvid codec is OK.
For weaker CPUs I would try mpeg1(VCD resolution)/mpeg2(DVD resolution) (some older graphics cards have decoding or color conversion support in hardware).
Of course you need codec pack (KLite codec pack, of ffdshow build for Windows9x, or Media Player Classic url which has most of the codecs built in).

For transoding ? AviDemux is very affordable. (for mpeg1/2 try old TMPGEnc)

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2) i420EX /486DX33 /16MB /TGUI9440 /YMF718+GUS
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Reply 4 of 20, by keenmaster486

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For Windows 95/98, use VLC to convert to MPEG1. Use VLC or WMP7+ to play back.

I've been trying to get this to work on Windows 3.1 too, but I've been unable to find an encoder that can produce anything usable by any media player I know of on that OS.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
World's foremost 486 enjoyer.

Reply 5 of 20, by typh0id

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furan wrote on 2022-03-16, 13:33:
ffmpeg is the tool you want. e.g. ffmpeg -i file.mp4 -vcodec copy -acodec copy file.avi You would specify the compatible codecs […]
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ffmpeg is the tool you want. e.g. ffmpeg -i file.mp4 -vcodec copy -acodec copy file.avi
You would specify the compatible codecs instead of "copy"
I'm sure there's a Windows release but it's very easy to use in Linux.
https://ffmpeg.org/

This plus the K-Lite video codec pack (2.88 for Win98) did the trick. I can use ffmpeg to convert to mpeg/mpeg2 and with those codecs installed, even Winamp will play the videos now.

Thank you all so much for the quick responses!

Reply 6 of 20, by leileilol

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For the most compatible, 1995-period-correct (and probably MPC compliant), no-codec-pack-needed command....

ffmpeg.exe -i %1 -r 15 -s 320x240 -ar 22050 -acodec adpcm_ms -vcodec cinepak %1.avi

(be advised that ffmpeg's cinepak encoder is SUPER slow)

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Reply 7 of 20, by furan

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leileilol wrote on 2022-03-17, 04:48:

For the most compatible, 1995-period-correct (and probably MPC compliant), no-codec-pack-needed command....

ffmpeg.exe -i %1 -r 15 -s 320x240 -ar 22050 -acodec adpcm_ms -vcodec cinepak %1.avi

(be advised that ffmpeg's cinepak encoder is SUPER slow)

nice

Reply 8 of 20, by BitWrangler

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I actually like a bundle version of MediaEspresso that came on a laptop, I seem to be able to do everything I want to do with that, but not 100% sure it works with generic Win98 players, IIRC I had media player 9 or something and maybe a codec pack on the longest running 98 box, so was converting for early noughties standards at least. Anyhoo, dig through your graphics card and motherboard driver CDs and see if you got a free version. There's a 30 day trial on their site otherwise.

Edit: Also might have come free with CDRWs and DVDRWs.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 9 of 20, by Jo22

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ffmpeg never worked for me. Tried it in the 90s, or so. 😔
Edit: I remember using something else to convert to old formats.
Was it Winamp? Or another video player? Not sure. 🤷‍♂️

Last edited by Jo22 on 2022-03-17, 18:44. Edited 1 time in total.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 10 of 20, by BitWrangler

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Oh it worked in the 90s, just took 2 hours for a 15 second clip on a 486 or so 🤣

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 12 of 20, by BitWrangler

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Dang, what was the command line MPEG converter from linux in the mid-late 90s then? Had ports to DOS and Amiga.

edit: Mayyyybe I was half thinking of the dmpeg util included in VideoForDOS package here, http://ftp.lanet.lv/ftp/mirror/x2ftp/msdos/pr … rt/00index.html and confusing it with the old GNU mpeg codec or things that used it.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 13 of 20, by javispedro1

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MPEG1 is also builtin since Win95, at least starting with OSR2 / ActiveMovie.
Some of the sample video files in the Win95 CD where mpeg1.

I tried ffmpeg's mpeg1 encoder (mp2 for audio) and it works with Windows 95, so at least you can use something more recent than Cinepak.

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -vf scale=380:-4 output.mpg

(ffmpeg will use mpeg1+mp2 by default for the .mpg container, no need to specify codec manually)

For some reason the decoder still seems to crap itself when the video size is larger than around 400x300 , so you have to use stamp sizes (thus the -vf scale option). Or it may be a bitrate thing, I didn't experiment much.

Reply 14 of 20, by Jo22

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For maximum compatibility, I recommend using the MPEG1 specs of the Video-CD or CD-i.
Vintage software should handle this, since that's what they expect to find.

Edit:

Video CD 1.1
The Video CD specification requires the multiplex-ed mpeg-1 stream to have a cbr of less than
174300 bytes (1394400 bits) per second 5 in order to accommodate single speed cd-rom drives.

The specification allows for the following two resolutions :
' 352 x 240 @ 29.97 Hz (ntsc sif).
' 352 x 240 @ 23.976 Hz (film sif).

The cbr mpeg-1, layer II audio stream is fixed at 224 Kbit/s with 1 stereo or 2 mono channels.
It is recommended to keep the video bit-rate under 1151929.1 bps.

Source: https://www.videohelp.com/vcd

Of course, PAL is missing in that description.. 🙄

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 15 of 20, by Jo22

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If you're brave, you can also check out the Ultimotion codec from IBM.
It was its answer to Microsoft's Video for Windows or AVI, so to say.

Ultimotion was designed to be of high quality and to be played back purely through software.

OS/2 Warp supported it very well without any stuttering.
However, there's also a codec for Windows 3.1 -pardon- Win-OS/2 available (um4win.zip).

https://www.os2site.com/sw/mmedia/video/index.html

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=H3BYvPDdRcQ

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0nTIkp8Yt_Y

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml3I_lGi2EI

Edit: Here's a chart for you.
https://sites.ualberta.ca/dept/chemeng/AIX-43 … VideoCodecs.htm

Edit: Found a player for the Amiga platform. Still looking for an encoder, though.
http://aminet.net/package/gfx/show/CyberAVI

Edit: Sample files: http://samples.mplayerhq.hu/V-codecs/ULTI/

Edit: Found a bit of information. In the 90s, IBM's "Ultimedia" and "Video In" could be used to create Ultimotion videos.
Also, converting Indeo to Ultimotion was an option.

Edit:
The next big enhancement to MMPM/2 will be additional Software Motion Video capture device drivers.
Video IN/2 supports a wide range of video capture cards, including: IBM Video Capture Adapter/A (MC);
Jovian Logic SuperVia, and QuickVia (MC and ISA); Sigma Designs WinMovie (ISA);
Creative Labs Video Blaster (ISA); New Media Graphics Super Video Windows (MC and ISA);
and Samsung Electronics Ltd. Video Magic (ISA).

The following video capture adapters are being considered:
Videologic Tiger, Supermac Video Spigot, Media Vision Pro Movie Studio, Intel Smart Video Recorder,
Creative Labs Video Blaster 2, and IBM Action Media II.
The addition of these video capture adapters will round out the video capture support on OS/2.

http://www.edm2.com/index.php/What_Is_the_Fut … 2_Multimedia%3F

Edit: This one seems promising.

The OS/2 2.1 MMPM/2-based applications that provide video support are:

Digital Video Player
Video In Recorder
AVI File Utility
Ultimedia Builder/2
Ultimedia Perfect Image/2

Source: http://mireality.co.uk/writing/technology/os2 … ox-to-video-in/

Edit: News snippet added.

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"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 16 of 20, by typh0id

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leileilol wrote on 2022-03-17, 04:48:

For the most compatible, 1995-period-correct (and probably MPC compliant), no-codec-pack-needed command....

ffmpeg.exe -i %1 -r 15 -s 320x240 -ar 22050 -acodec adpcm_ms -vcodec cinepak %1.avi

(be advised that ffmpeg's cinepak encoder is SUPER slow)

This is great! These run perfectly without codecs (I can live with the ultra-long encoding times). Thank you!

But is there a switch to compress these at all? They files come out pretty huge. A 20mb MP4 ended up being a 174mb AVI.

Reply 17 of 20, by KCompRoom2000

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typh0id wrote on 2022-04-09, 18:43:

This is great! These run perfectly without codecs (I can live with the ultra-long encoding times). Thank you!

But is there a switch to compress these at all? They files come out pretty huge. A 20mb MP4 ended up being a 174mb AVI.

I'm not sure if FFMPEG has any switches for compressing CinePak encodes to a smaller size, this may not be possible due to how differently the codec works compared to more modern codecs. Looking at my CinePak encodes, I've noticed that the audio sample rate makes a difference in file size since you're using raw lossless PCM audio for compatibility issues. For example, a 3 minute 30 second long Cinepak video at 320x240 12FPS with 22KHz audio is 75MB in size while the same video with 11KHz audio is 52MB. If you're OK with a lower audio fidelity, you could try encoding replacing "-ar 22050" with "-ar 11025" for 11KHz audio and possibly use "pcm_u8" as your audio codec if you really want it to be as small as possible.

Aside from lowering the audio sample rate or using a different codec, you could try lowering the video resolution to something like 240x180 and/or lower the frame rate to 10 or 12 FPS.

Reply 19 of 20, by javispedro1

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Did you try MPEG-1 ? I keep thinking that for a 98-era machine Cinepak is like a bad joke. If it has enough horsepower to decode it, the MPEG codecs are on another league entirely. And 98 should definitely come with MPEG-1. SE came with MPEG4... (part-2 aka asf aka divx, not h264).

Last edited by javispedro1 on 2022-04-25, 20:52. Edited 1 time in total.