Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Video Compression Technology

We're familiar with the more common video compression technologies used for DVR Applications in the market today like MPEG-4 and H.264. We know that H.264 is a higher compression standard over MPEG-4; but do we know why and how is that so? We need not to go deeply into the compression rates comparisons and very technical stuffs. Here's a layman presentation of the Basic Image Compression Standards - what they offer and where they are more commonly used for.



Video Compression Technology

At its most basic level, compression is performed when an input video stream is analyzed and information that is indiscernible to the viewer is discarded. Each event is then assigned a code - commonly occurring events are assigned few bits and rare events will have codes more bits. These steps are commonly called signal analysis, quantization and variable length encoding respectively.

Compression Standards

MPEG stands for the Moving Picture Experts Group. MPEG is an ISO/IEC working group, established in 1988 to develop standards for digital audio and video formats. There are five MPEG standards being used or in development. Each compression standard was designed with a specific application and bit rate in mind, although MPEG compression scales well with increased bit rates. They include:

MPEG-1
Designed for up to 1.5 Mbit/s
ec
S
tandard for the compression of moving pictures and audio. This was based on CD-ROM video applications, and is a popular standard for video on the Internet, transmitted as .mpg files. In addition, level 3 of MPEG-1 is the most popular standard for digital compression of audio--known as MP3. MPEG-1 is the standard of compression for VideoCD, the most popular video distribution format throughout much of Asia.

MPEG-2
Designed for between 1.5 and 15 Mbit/sec
S
tandard on which Digital Television set top boxes and DVD compression is based. It is based on MPEG-1, but designed for the compression and transmission of digital broadcast television. The most significant enhancement from MPEG-1 is its ability to efficiently compress interlaced video. MPEG-2 scales well to HDTV resolution and bit rates, obviating the need for an MPEG-3.

MPEG-4
Standard for multimedia and Web compression. MPEG-4 is based on object-based compression, similar in nature to the Virtual Reality Modeling Language. Individual objects within a scene are tracked separately and compressed together to create an MPEG4 file. This results in very efficient compression that is very scalable, from low bit rates to very high. It also allows developers to control objects independently in a scene, and therefore introduce interactivity.

MPEG-7 - this standard, currently under development, is also called the Multimedia Content Description Interface. When released, the group hopes the standard will provide a framework for multimedia content that will include information on content manipulation, filtering and personalization, as well as the integrity and security of the content. Contrary to the previous MPEG standards, which described actual content, MPEG-7 will represent information about the content.

MPEG-21 - work on this standard, also called the Multimedia Framework, has just begun. MPEG-21 will attempt to describe the elements needed to build an infrastructure for the delivery and consumption of multimedia content, and how they will relate to each other.

JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. It is also an ISO/IEC working group, but works to build standards for continuous tone image coding. JPEG is a lossy compression technique used for full-color or gray-scale images, by exploiting the fact that the human eye will not notice small color changes.

JPEG 2000 is an initiative that will provide an image coding system using compression techniques based on the use of wavelet technology.

DV (Digital Video) is a high-resolution digital video format used with video cameras and camcorders. The standard uses DCT to compress the pixel data and is a form of lossy compression. The resulting video stream is transferred from the recording device via FireWire (IEEE 1394), a high-speed serial bus capable of transferring data up to 50 MB/sec.

H.261 is an ITU standard designed for two-way communication over ISDN lines (video conferencing) and supports data rates which are multiples of 64Kbit/s. The algorithm is based on DCT and can be implemented in hardware or software and uses intraframe and interframe compression. H.261 supports CIF and QCIF resolutions.

H.263 is based on H.261 with enhancements that improve video quality over modems. It supports CIF, QCIF, SQCIF, 4CIF and 16CIF resolutions.

H.264, also known as MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding), is a video compression standard that offers significantly greater compression than its predecessors. The standard offers up to twice the compression of the current MPEG-4 ASP (Advanced Simple Profile), in addition to improvements in perceptual quality. The H.264 standard can provide DVD-quality video at under 1 Mbps, and is optional for full-motion video over wireless, satellite, and ADSL Internet connections.

DivX Compression

DivX is a software application that uses the MPEG-4 standard to compress digital video, so it can be downloaded over a DSL/cable modem connection in a relatively short time with no reduced visual quality. The latest version of the codec, DivX 4.0, is being developed jointly by DivXNetworks and the open source community. DivX works on Windows 98, ME, 2000, CE, Mac and Linux.


Terms

ISO/IEC

International Organization for Standardization - a non-governmental organization that works to promote the development of standardization to facilitate the international exchange of goods and services and spur worldwide intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity.

International Electrotechnical Commission - international standards and assessment body for the fields of electrotechnology

Codec - A video codec is software that can compress a video source (encoding) as well as play compressed video (decompress).

CIF - Common Intermediate Format - a set of standard video formats used in video conferencing, defined by their resolution. The original CIF is also known as Full CIF (FCIF).

QCIF - Quarter CIF (resolution 176x144)
SQCIF - Sub quarter CIF (resolution 128x96)
4CIF - 4 x CIF (resolution 704x576)
16CIF - 16 x CIF (resolution 1408x1152

Reference:
http://www.wave-report.com/tutorials/VC.htm

3 comments:

Shellydesuza said...

Surveillance cameras connected to Video conferencing software at times necessary. Having a good quality cameras is very much necessary for clear videos. Placing the camera in proper position plays an important role in how much area gets focused.

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