ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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A New Generation of Video Coding Standards

New York, Jun 18, 2002

When George Lucas decided to film his latest hit movie "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones" in an all-digital format, his intention was to create a new heightened level of reality that 35mm film could not possibly capture. He wanted the audience in the theater to feel as if they were part of the movie by creating characters and scenes that were as detailed and life-like as possible. He also wanted to make sure that the quality of his creation, the movie image itself, would remain unchanged from the first showing to the last, with absolutely no scratches, jumps, or flickers.

To help improve the technological marvel of digital imaging, the International Telecommunication Committee (ITU) along with the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) / International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), recently launched a project that will enhance standard video coding performance. The standards, known as ISO/IEC 14496-10 "Advanced Video Coding," are being developed by the Joint Video Team (JVT) and are expected to bring substantial improvements to video coding efficiency, resulting in improved video quality at lower costs. ANSI is the U.S. member body to ISO and, through the U.S. National Committee, the IEC.

According to JVT chairman, Gary Sullivan, the project, which was previously known as H.26L (Improved Video Coding for Multimedia Communication), will create a single interoperable solution for a next generation of standard video coding. The purpose of the project is to improve video coding so that it will increase "compression efficiency," reducing the number of bits per second needed to store or transmit video content of common digital video applications. Formal approval of the new standards is projected for the end of 2002.

The L3.1 U.S. Technical Committee, which is a group of vendors and IT-user experts that develop standards for "Coding of Audio, Picture, Multimedia, and Hypermedia Information," contributed key technical input from the U.S. perspective to JVT's initiative. The group works under the rules and processes of the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), an ANSI member and ANSI-accredited standards developer. In conjunction with JVT, members of the L3.1 committee and INCITS have already begun developing the new video standards, which include enhancing the existing documents for digital TV signals and Internet video.

Sullivan added, "We've brought together the world's experts to focus on creating one design together and will present that design to the industry as the appropriate standard solution for the broad variety of applications of interest."

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