The Coolest Codec Idea You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

At least, I hadn’t. Broadcast International sells the patented CodecSys encoding program that utilizes multiple H.264 codecs to compress video more efficiently than a single H.264 codec could (at least that’s their claim). Why multiple codecs?

According to the company, they’ve fine tuned different H.264 codecs for different types of footage; high motion, low motion, pans to the left, tilts downward, and so on. During encoding, the company analyzes the footage, applies the codecs as necessary and then produces a single standard H.264 encoded file that should be compatible with any H.264 player.

Why hadn’t we heard about the product before? Because of the complexity of their approach, the company requires serious hardware to encode their files, like blade servers from HP or IBM. Not something even a reasonably serious streaming producer could afford.

Interestingly, however, the Fixstars Corporation of Japan ported Broadcast International’s encoder to the PlayStation 3 of all things, apparently because the PS3’s CPU is well suited for rendering the CodecSys codec. They’re offering two levels of software; a prosumer version for $100/year, and a pro version for $1,000. I hope to look at the latter sometime during the summer of 2009. Now that Nehalem’s out, Broadcast International may create a software only version for personal computers, which sounds like a great idea to me.

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The editors of Digital Content Producer and millimeter post live from the NAB Show as the news happens. Check back several times a day for the latest industry news, reports from press conferences, and product introductions.

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