Digital Foundry

is creating a 4K gaming video platform

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$5 per month gives you unlimited access to high quality video downloads of Digital Foundry content. While we've built this platform to supply high quality 4K video for offline viewing, we'll also be uploading all of our 1080p content - including Digital Foundry Retro - as top quality downloads. As of October 2020, you'll also get access to the exclusive Digital Foundry Discord server.
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Digital Foundry specialises in technical analysis of gaming hardware and software, using state-of-the-art capture systems and bespoke software to show you how well games and hardware run, visualising precisely what they're capable of.

In essence, video really is at the core of everything we do, and we use YouTube to distribute our graphics comparisons, frame-rate tests and tech analysis, while our written work is found at Eurogamer

But there's a problem we need to address. We create our work to the most exacting standards and YouTube is unable to provide a platform to see our videos at the best quality, owing to a lack of bandwidth. It's a great platform for convenient viewing, but at 1080p, often you don't see the full picture with fast action lost in a sea of macroblocks, and with the arrival of PlayStation 4 Pro and the latest top-tier PC graphics cards, YouTube is unable to fully capture the 4K experience. You can stream ultra HD for sure, but much of the precision detail is lost - and that's really the whole point of 4K in the first place.

The bottom line is this: we need a new video delivery system where we aren't as constrained as we are by streaming bandwidth. We need a platform to be able to show you what 4K gaming actually looks like and at the same time, we can use this system to deliver pristine quality 1080p video too. So we've built one.

We're talking about multi-gigabyte files here, and we've chosen a high quality provider to ensure fast downloads, but the bottom line is that bandwidth isn't free, so we will need to charge a small monthly access subscription fee - but $5 is a small price to pay for unlimited access to top-tier quality encodes of our content and it's also a way to show support for what we do.

Right-click on the thumbnail above and open in a new tab or window to see the difference between a high quality encode and YouTube's version. The difference is even more pronounced in motion.

Digital Foundry has analysed games for nine years now and everything we produce has always been free to view, whether it's video on YouTube or articles on Eurogamer. Nothing will change here - but if you want to see our video content at its best, subscribing to our video download service is the way forward.

Here's a quick FAQ, and we'll update with any further questions you may have!

How are your downloads improved over YouTube quality?
We use a video encoding technique based on the idea of a constant quality level. Typically, the more complex the image, and the more motion there is and the more bandwidth used. It ensures a consistent level of image quality throughout and keeps file-size bloat down. We'll be using the h.264 codec, along with a second HEVC option, both using the MP4 container. As a rough ballpark figure, a 4K 60fps video file can be as much as 500MB per minute of footage, with HEVC running at around half that.1080p will be much lower! We are still looking to optimise our encoding to keep file-sizes down without unduly compromising quality.

How can I play your videos?
Our standard 1080p60 videos should work just fine on any modern computer without too much effort, using the media player of your choice. However, 4K video - especially at 60fps - may require a more powerful computer, or a better media player. For 4K TV owners, we recommend copying our videos onto a USB 3.0 flash drive and running them directly on your TV. Most modern branded 4K TVs should be able to run our videos without issue. In terms of the h.264/HEVC split, most most screens should be able to handle our HEVC content easily.

Want to check out the quality of our video? We've prepared a sample 4K video, comparing Rise of the Tomb Raider on PS4 Pro to a top-end PC. Download it right here.

Do I need a 4K display to run your 4K videos?
No, your media player should automatically downscale the video. 

Are the videos protected by DRM?

Are there any adverts in the videos?

Will you be producing HDR video?
Initially we didn't offer this option, but we've mastered the workflow now and offer occasional HDR video. We aim to do a lot more in 2018, but this is going to involve purchasing more equipment - something that this Patreon helps with handily. You can see all of our existing HDR content right here. As with our other content, HDR videos are also hosted on YouTube, though right now there is limited playback support. We recommend downloading our HDR videos, copying them to a USB stick and plugging that directly into your TV for playback.

Are you planning to produce any exclusive content for subscribers?
In the time that we've been running this Patreon, we've offered a small range of raw capture and trailers. Essentially, when we have cool extra stuff to share, we add it. This is the current range of Patreon goodies we've uploaded.

What will the subscription money be used for?
Primarily you are paying for the bandwidth used for the video downloads. This is not insignificant bearing in mind the high bit-rates we are using. We're offering this option because so much effort goes into producing high quality video and it's a genuine shame that you don't get to see the content as we produced it. The move to 4K makes the need for a quality-driven content delivery platform even more important. Over the last year, producing so much 4K content has warranted significant investment - capture equipment upgrades, SSDs (a lot of SSDs) and to ensure a speedy workflow, we've found much faster editing workstations are essential.

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