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Valve have done another push towards video content with Steam now partnering with Crunchyroll to offer certain series of Anime for purchase. They also have a bunch of Anime classed games on sale.

I think this is pretty awesome, but I always like to have my shows available on the move, so until you can play Steam video content on mobile devices, I likely won't buy from it. Although, considering the terrible selection Google Play has for Anime, I might actually consider buying from Steam in future.

We also have to think about SteamOS itself, the more video content it has available to get right away, the better. Still, a simple Netflix application would be nice.

Shows you can now find on Steam:

See the full list of anime here.

Anime styled games on sale that support Linux:
See the full list of Anime games on sale here.
8 Likes, Who?
Comments
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lucifertdark 31 March 2017 at 9:21 am UTC
My Sons will be happy to see this stuff as they enjoy a bit of Anime, I can take or leave it as I peaked at Akira & Legend of the Overfiend.
Masush5 31 March 2017 at 9:50 am UTC
RugalizUm don't know how your standards are but for comparison as some people have pointed out, regular TV stream (even at lower resolutions) has better video quality. This is due to Crunchyroll using low bitrate witch results in compression artefacts and also an old codec (seeing as they still use flash) that has poor quality colour. Not to mention the audio quality is also kinda poor with only 200 something Kbits bitrate (and we dont know what the codec is but i doubt it's vorbis).
You can use youtube-dl to download from crunchyroll so it is possible to see exactly what codecs and encoding options they use. They recently made a switch to cloud based streaming and changed their encode settings, so for newly released shows the use x264 core 142 (which is still a pretty old release of x264) and AAC (LC) 44100 Hz audio with a combined bitrate of ~6000 kb/s. Here is an example mediainfo output.

One other thing to note is, that in the past they used to switch out videos one week after their initial release with very low bitrate encodes (about 1300 kb/s) and a lot of their catalog is still only available in this encode. They claim to plan to reencode their entire catalog with the new higher bitrate encode, but so far I cannot confirm this has happened for any older show. Here is an expample of the garbage you get for older shows.

edit: wrong link


Last edited by Masush5 at 31 March 2017 at 9:53 am UTC. Edited 2 times.
emphy 31 March 2017 at 10:07 am UTC
Note that steam will apply the same region restrictions as crunchyroll based on your location. This means that if you happen to travel to foreign countries a lot, unless you use vpn (which is, if I remember correctly, contrary to the steam eula), you will regularly enjoy not being able to watch your purchased product during those travels.
Rugaliz 31 March 2017 at 10:10 am UTC
qptain NemoYes, it's streaming only.

And well, the quality seems fine to me. Here you can check out the image quality and see the bitrates:
image

Btw, despite what it says the audio track is thankfully Japanese.

Admittedly, 200 kbps for audio does seem a bit low, unless it is vorbis or an equally good codec.

Bright scenes are the least affected. I bought Re:Zero and tested the first episode. The dark scenes clearly show compression artefacts. I watched Berserk on Crunchyroll last year as it was airing and it suffered from the same issues. Oh and fast moving scenes also show these artefacts.
Rugaliz 31 March 2017 at 10:13 am UTC
Masush5
RugalizUm don't know how your standards are but for comparison as some people have pointed out, regular TV stream (even at lower resolutions) has better video quality. This is due to Crunchyroll using low bitrate witch results in compression artefacts and also an old codec (seeing as they still use flash) that has poor quality colour. Not to mention the audio quality is also kinda poor with only 200 something Kbits bitrate (and we dont know what the codec is but i doubt it's vorbis).
You can use youtube-dl to download from crunchyroll so it is possible to see exactly what codecs and encoding options they use. They recently made a switch to cloud based streaming and changed their encode settings, so for newly released shows the use x264 core 142 (which is still a pretty old release of x264) and AAC (LC) 44100 Hz audio with a combined bitrate of ~6000 kb/s. Here is an example mediainfo output.

One other thing to note is, that in the past they used to switch out videos one week after their initial release with very low bitrate encodes (about 1300 kb/s) and a lot of their catalog is still only available in this encode. They claim to plan to reencode their entire catalog with the new higher bitrate encode, but so far I cannot confirm this has happened for any older show. Here is an expample of the garbage you get for older shows.

edit: wrong link
How recently have they changed their encode settings? The last shows i watched from Crunchyroll aired last year (2016).
A combined bitrate of ~6000 kb/s should be good...
Arehandoro 31 March 2017 at 10:22 am UTC
I currently have a subscription on Crunchyroll and quality, on its highest level, seems more than fine to me. Although I chromecast it from the phone, when seen on the PC quality somehow seems lower... or lets say the image is less sharp.

Regarding Crunchyroll as a service, until I am able to download the episodes to watch them on the go and they manage to bring most of the content to the UK version -US content is WAY larger- I won't be renewing it this year. Haven't checked on the forums for a while now but latest news few months ago was this won't happen any time soon.

For the time being, Netflix for more mainstream anime and Comixology for manga will do I suppose.

Saw the offers yesterday but couldn't make up my mind whether I really wanted some of the games available for us. A Dragon Ball Xenoverse, or a Naruto game, would be nice to have ported though.
MayeulC 31 March 2017 at 10:29 am UTC
I would need a few things to start buying movies from Steam:

1. A better player. Seriously, I can't even make the videos full screen without Garbage showing up on the screen. And take their documentary "free to play" : a shitty Adobe air player, that didn't work at all on my system. Luckily, they had the Giles laying around...
2. DRM free. I don't buy DRM-ed movies.
3. Available without streaming. Because that's so much more convenient.
4. A proper public API to retrieve movies from something other than the Steam client.
Edit: 5. No region lock. This is somewhat related to 2 and 3, but officially supporting it would be nice.

I think I might as well start my own distribution network (And I have been considering it pretty seriously for quite some time now).
But still, it's great to see things moving a bit in that area at Valve


Last edited by MayeulC at 31 March 2017 at 11:57 am UTC
Masush5 31 March 2017 at 10:36 am UTC
RugalizHow recently have they changed their encode settings? The last shows i watched from Crunchyroll aired last year (2016).
A combined bitrate of ~6000 kb/s should be good...
About 2 weeks ago I believe. For basically all shows release before that you get ~1300 kb/s or sometimes ~3000 kb/s...


Last edited by Masush5 at 31 March 2017 at 10:37 am UTC
Aryvandaar 31 March 2017 at 10:51 am UTC
This is a good step forward, but I'm not going to pay per episode.
rea987 31 March 2017 at 11:05 am UTC
My biggest problem with Crunchyroll is the region blocked content and Flash Player requirement for desktop users. I reject to use VPN for the content (ie Dragon Ball) that I pay for and push my PC to its limit to just watch 1080p low bitrate video due to forced Flash Player. If Steam provides region free content without needing Flash Player, I would seriously consider buying for it. BUT, Steam client's video performance is already mediocre and I haven't notice any of Dragon Ball anime series or movies on Steam yet...
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