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New codec will be added to the MPEG-4 family

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 12 Oct 2002 7:42 User comments (2)

New codec will be added to the MPEG-4 family International team, Joint Video Team, developing a new video compressing codec that will join the MPEG-4 format family, is currently very close to approving the codec, dubbed as H.264 or MPEG-4 Part 10.
As all of us, who have bothered to read around 5,000 pages of technical public docs that relate to MPEG-4 technology, know, MPEG-4 has multiple "levels" and subsets within its specifications -- pretty much like MPEG-1 had several types of audio encoding schemes included in it (best known of those is definately MPEG-1 audio layer III, also called as MP3 by well-known scientific researchers ;-). Currently the best-known MPEG-4 video compression methods are called as Simple Profile (SP) and Advanced Simple Profile (ASP).

To explain this a little bit -- or confuse you guys even more -- let's use the best-known MPEG-4 encoder in the world, DivX 5 (yes, it is MPEG-4 encoder), as an example of various levels of MPEG-4 codecs. DivX 5's basic, free version can decode (==play) both, Advanced Simple Profile and Simple Profile-encoded MPEG-4 clips, but can't encode Advanced Simple Profile videos, only Simple Profile videos. And the commercial version, DivX 5 Pro can do the same tricks as DivX 5 Free, but can also encode Advanced Simple Profile videos.

Anyway, so.. The new addition to this mess is called H.264 and it claims to result 33 percent better video quality (or 33 percent smaller filesizes, whatever you want) than current Advanced Simple Profile in MPEG-4, pushing the bitrate requirements of acceptable quality streaming video to even lower levels.

Problem is obviously that it if the new codec will get standardized by end of this year as planned, it still has to go through licensing negotiations in order to create a one-stop licensing deal for H.264 -- similiar to the other MPEG technology licenses. MPEG LA, the one-stop clearinghouse for MPEG-4 (and MPEG-2) patenting, has received tons of bad publicity during this year over very badly handled MPEG-4 SP/ASP licensing negotiations. And meanwhile rivals, such as Microsoft are trying to gain momentum with their propietary video formats.

More info from MPEG-4 Industry Forum

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2 user comments

116.10.2002 17:45

I think that this sucks. Why Do you need a License to encode video into Mpeg formats(other than mpeg 1)? By the way, what programs, and what ways are there to decode: mpeg 4 into .avi then mpeg 1, or mpeg 4 into mpeg 1 format?

FoxHound Venom

225.10.2002 3:23

use divx riper

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