Bandwidth-intensive formats like 3-D TV raise the bar even higher for quality and precision. The creation of 3-D video and particularly the need for the best possible picture quality has ramifications for how content is captured, produced and broadcast. In the contribution phase, left- and right-eye information must be transported along with other metadata required to generate the highest quality 3-D images and must be compatible with all 3-D compression and display systems. To ensure a high-quality viewing experience, it is critical that all the data required to display the left- and right-eye images correctly is conveyed throughout the transport chain with minimal visual impairment.
JPEG 2000 ensures that the horizontal resolution, critical to the reconstruction of 3-D images in our brains, is preserved. A JPEG 2000 encoder can transport two 2K or HD-SDI channels, or the two synchronous left-eye/right-eye video streams that comprise stereo 3-D. Even after the JPEG 2000 video is compressed or decompressed, and throughout real-time transport over Metro Ethernet (metropolitan-area Ethernet), IP-MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) or SDH/SONET (synchronous digital hierarchy or synchronous optical network), the video quality stays true to the original imagery.
JPEG 2000 video compression is ideal for venues where high-quality programming regularly originates, such as stadiums, arenas and remote studios. While prices vary between service providers, commonly available IP links that provide high bit rates are universally less expensive than legacy systems, which translates to significant long-term operational cost savings. Before connecting an encoder, however, it is critical that the service provider understands the quality of service (QoS) requirements of high-quality video and can ensure sufficient bandwidth.
JPEG 2000 requires a high-bit-rate IP network and usually works best with both a primary and redundant link. If you need to do a remote shoot from a non-fixed location, i.e., in front of a burning house, then you probably need to use a microwave or satellite truck with MPEG compression.
Final signal distribution to viewers is a perfect application for MPEG. JPEG 2000 excels as a contribution technology, but is not intended as a distribution technology. That said, stadiums, city halls, remote studios, OB trucks and fixed locations where you need the highest quality video are good choices to consider using JPEG 2000 to maintain optimal video quality. As the cost of dedicated IP networks comes down and bit rates increase, JPEG 2000 video will help control costs when compared to traditional high-end video transport systems. Careful consideration of your outside broadcast requirements, access to high-speed IP networks and JPEG 2000 capabilities provide another choice in your video transport toolkit.
—Dr. Helge Stephansen is chief technology officer at T-VIPS.