MPEG's Joint Video Team (JVT) has completed technical work on the AVC video coding technology. The JVT will spend the next three months on the final preparation of the text for approval and publication by ISO and the ITU-T, who will refer to the standard as ITU-T Recommendation H.264.
The H.264/MPEG-4 AVC standard promises a significant improvement over all previous video compression schemes. In terms of coding efficiency, AVC is expected to provide at least 2x compression improvement over the best previous standards and substantial perceptual quality improvements over both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4.
AVC is designed to work with a full range of video applications including standard-definition and high-definition broadcast television, low bitrate wireless applications, video streaming over the Internet, delivery of high-definition DVD content, and the highest quality video for digital cinema applications. It makes use of spatial, temporal and psycho-visual redundancies to improve video coding efficiencies.
The new codec, shown in recent demonstrations at industry trade shows, has proven so impressive that it has stolen the limelight from the MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile (ASP). Many codec users have held off implementing ASP in order to achieve the improvements to be available in AVC.
The H.264/MPEG-4 AVC standard has had several names over the course of its development. It was initially known as ITU-T H.26L and is now formally becoming Part 10 of the ISO/IEC MPEG-4 standard identified as ISO/IEC 14496-10 AVC.
The standard will become an official international standard once each of the organizations, ISO and the ITU-T, ratify the technical design that was produced by more than 100 engineers and scientists from around the world. That process will be completed March 17, 2003 when the text of the standard is ready for publication.
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