Thursday, October 30, 2008

EBU technical review 2008-Q3

The new edition of the quarterly EBU technical review is available at this page and includes the following articles:

  • "Unique Digital Radio" for Europe (Editorial)
  • Technical trial of the EBU P2P media portal
  • MIRO — open and decentralized internet TV
  • HDTV production codec tests
  • Dolby Pulse — combining the merits of Dolby Digital and HE-AAC
  • DTV transmitter power efficiency – new opportunities for reducing costs and environmental impact

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) is currently working on a new video coding standard called VC-2, optimised for professional production and archiving applications, where the emphasis is on quality and low latency.

VC-2 is actually the DiracPro codec, a wavelet-based video compression technology developed by the R&D labs of the UK broadcaster BBC. VC-2 is royalty free.

Declared features are:
  • Intra-frame only (Inter prediction also available if required)
  • 10 bit 4:2:2
  • No subsampling
  • Lossless or visually lossless compression
  • Low latency on encode/decode
  • Robust over multiple passes
  • Ease of transport (can use a range of transport standards)
  • Low complexity for decoding
  • Open Specification
  • Multiple vendor
  • Support for multiple HD image formats and frame rates.
More info on and

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


A few days ago, Euclid Discoveries announced its 3rd granted patent from USPTO on the proprietary EuclidVision technology.

EuclidVision is an object-based video compression system that reportedly produces « a 460% or greater compression improvement over MPEG-4, the standard for digital video, or a 600% improvement over MPEG-2, across a range of video types ».

The official press release is available on this page.

Friday, October 24, 2008

High-Level Synthesis for Multimedia

In the paper "Design of a H.264 encoder in five months using application engine synthesis" (PDF available here), Synfora engineers explain how they have been able to quickly develop a hardware H.264/AVC encoder running in real-time at D1 resolution, using their PICO tool.

Synfora's PICO, like Mentor's Catapult C, is a High-Level Synthesis tool that accepts as input software models written in high-level, untimed languages (such as ANSI C) and produce as output optimized, synthesizable RTL.

Broadband trends

Sandvine has released its latest global broadband research, completed in October 2008. Data was collected from more than 16 million broadband subscribers in over 18 countries and the findings include several interesting facts around the popularity of online entertainment-based applications.

Reportedly, Peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic remains dominant in the upstream direction totaling 61 per cent of network traffic and is also responsible for more than 22 per cent of downstream bandwidth consumption worldwide, although subscribers are increasingly turning to alternatives such as File Hosting/Online Storage web services and SSL tunnels.

The full executive summary of the report is available on this page.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Microsoft announces H.264/AVC support for Silverlight

The new Microsoft Silverlight 2.0 includes support for the H.264/AVC video coding standard.

Following this link you can find a Q&A with Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft, talking about the new Silverlight. Here is an interesting excerpt:

Question: Historically, people have associated Microsoft with VC-1. Does this signal a change in direction?

Guthrie: No. Although we have been working with VC-1 for some time, it’s not widely recognized that Microsoft has also been an active participant in the standardization of H.264/MPEG AVC for many years, and we’ve included H.264 support in several Microsoft products. Microsoft’s Gary Sullivan was the chairman of the Joint Video Team (JVT), which developed the H.264 standard, and he recently accepted an Emmy Award on behalf of the JVT.

Question: Does this mean that Silverlight is moving away from Windows Media?

Guthrie: Not at all. This is about offering our customers more choice. Media producers and distributors around the world have enjoyed the high quality, flexibility and affordability of Windows Media formats for over a decade. As a testament to its pervasiveness, Windows Media can be found in almost every conceivable media scenario from desktop home video to feature films and TV broadcasts.