The DVD Forum has ratified the new H.264 Advanced Video Codec (AVC) for inclusion in the forthcoming High Definition DVD platform.
The H.264 codec, formerly known H.26L, was was developed by the Motion Picture Experts Group (responsible of course, for the various MPEG formats) and the International Telecommunication Union, and has now been ratified into the MPEG-4 codec. The codec enables a variety of video content to be compressed for transmission and decompressed for playback in a highly efficient way.
Apple has already made an announcement to the effect that H.264 will be included in a release of its QuickTime platform next year.
“Apple is firmly behind H.264 because it delivers superb quality digital video and is based on open standards that no single company controls,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing in a statement.
H.264 is intended to be used on a number of platforms, and as such covers a wide spectrum of bandwidth requirements – from HD television to mobile phones. The codec is highly efficient, and has been demonstrated playing back 1920×1080, 24fps HD movies at up to half the data rate of MPEG-2. Less data means room for more channels – or better audio and video.
Don’t expect HD playback performance on your new mobile phone – Apple’s test detailed above required a dual processor G5 to do the playback. The new codec will be more suited to digital television broadcasts to phones and mobile movies with a much lower resolution.
How H.254 works – and it’s not too technical, either