Friday, June 10

Home-grown open-source video Codec to save BBC millions and make possible 'universal access' to TV programmes

DV Doctor has an excellent post on the BBC's Dirac project to create an open source video codec for streaming video. Also, I'm unbelieveably unable to find permalinks!? So I'm reposting the entire thing here. :(

On a side note: I'm amazed and confused that anyone would not have permalinks at this juncture, especially such cool blog as DV Doctor which is reporting directly on issues of accessiblity and transparency. But alas I searched for permalinks in shock and could not find any. It's slightly ironic and stupifying. DV Doctor please get permalinks so I can share the love with you.

Anyway, I don't believe I need to comment on why this is so cool. It says it all. Long live the open access culture. - DV-related Technology News and Reviews: "The Dirac video Codec created by BBC R&D and co-developed since early 2004 with open-source programmers is set to remove one massive barrier to making available on the internet all BBC TV output ? by saving the corporation very many millions of pounds in streaming license fees in coming years.

If development of the Codec continues at the current pace, it's possible that in as little as six months the BBC will be able to start switching its streaming output away from the expensive proprietary systems it currently uses - Real and, more recently, Microsoft.

Demonstrations at this week's BBC R&D open days of the Codec ? named after the Nobel-prize-winning British physicist Paul Dirac - showed it capable of delivering quality at least as good as MPEG-2 and WM9, and to be usable from a quarter of normal resolution right up to high-definition.

Data-rates, seemingly, still need to be pegged back a little, and other refinements made, but the finished Dirac should remove the need for the BBC to pay the massive licensing fees for streaming technology that threaten to kill the corporation's plan to offer 'universal access' to TV programs on the net.

Real, Microsoft and other firms who've been expecting massive windfall-profits from streaming licensing fees as broadcasters move onto the net should be very worried.

If the final free Codec turns out to be good enough for Auntie, it's certain to be taken up world-wide.

Other highlights at the R&D open days included hard-to-refute demonstrations of why High Definition TV will be big (and massively well-supported by the BBC); comparisons of competing High Definition TV display technologies; demos of currently available kit to feed HD TV sets; and ways of providing around-the-clock signing for deaf viewers to bring them out of their programming ghetto.

Watch this space for more on the implications of Dirac and about other R&D goodies. Oh, and have your say about Dirac in this DVdoctor forum thread where there are some useful Dirac-related links."

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