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Hi10P: A New Hype In Anime

As a supporter of anime and the North American industry here, it's not that often that I get to touch upon some topics that relate almost exclusively to the Fan-Sub community, and when I do, I usually end up throwing them a mediocre bone or two, or griping about all the illegal downloading.

Today, what I thought I might do, is write up a little something that has been gnawing on my mind for the past few months, and with its proliferation on the rise, I felt that now was the time to confront this newest scourge, or gift from the anime spirits.

What I'm talking about is of course, Hi10P or for those of you less versed in the tech-speak; 10-Bit encoded anime.

So what is it?

Well, if you are a fan of anime, and you have downloaded an episode of that new fan-subbed series that is currently airing in Japan, then there is a strong chance that you have came across the words "Hi10" or "10-Bit" or even the oft misleading, "10P" in the description of that episode, courtesy of the sub-group's encoder person.

The difference between it and what you are probably used to getting, is that what you are used to getting, is 8-Bit encoded files. This new 10-Bit process, reduces the amount of "banding" in the image, and supposedly for less file size, you get a much sharper, and richer image.

Sounds great, yeah?

Well, the issue that is cropping up from one end of the internet to the other, is the fact that it's NOT a universal standard, in fact it's still in its infancy, and fan-sub groups are diving head first into this new format,and taking little consideration as to what the fans are capable of using to view these files.

At the present, most of the files when played back on the standard media players will get a screen loaded with bad pixels, and the notorious "greening" effect throughout, unless of course you are lucky enough to have the perfectly attenuated and tweaked software that will properly render the video image.

And most fans that complain and gripe about the new wonderful 10 bit jobs happening to their anime, are met with ridicule and harassment from the fan-sub groups that are performing this service, and the result is a hodge-podge of total crap.

It's not the fans' fault that the of all the current software, only CCCP is capable of rendering the files, and it sure as hell isn't their fault that the fan-sub groups have made this switch for the overall "good" of the anime community.

The way I see it, the fans never asked for the files to be improved. Sure it looks great, but only a magnifying glass will actually point out the differences between screen-shots in a file that is rendered in 720p, or 1080, and if you can spot those differences, then you are truly worthy of the "has nothing better to do with their life" award.

The bottom line, is that as a whole, the 10-Bit fad is still in its uncertain phase, and I'm sure, that with enough hardware acceleration and some leaps and bounds by the industry, we'll get to a place where we can view this new nuisance with ease. But that day hasn't happened yet.

But rest assured, there are still plenty of groups out there that are not as easily swayed by the glitter and glamor of resplendent quality, and will still make their subs available in the good ol tried and true 8-bit encodes.

God help us the next time the community decides to help us further.