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New Video Coding Standard Delivers Major Advances in Image Quality
ITU standard opens new opportunities for entertainment & video telecommunication

Geneva, 23 December 2002 — The technical design of a new video compression standard was agreed this week in Japan. Known as H.264/AVC, it has been developed by a group of the world’s leading technical experts, and promises dramatic improvements in video quality. The new standard is likely to find use in a wide variety of applications from mobile phones to High Definition TV and is destined to revolutionize video picture quality over networks such as the Internet, 3G Wireless and the PSTN.

The new standard is the achievement of the ITU and ISO/IEC Joint Video Team (JVT), a pre-eminent group of experts from these three international standards organizations. The new standard, which will be known as H.264 (the ITU-T name) and as ISO/IEC 14496-10/MPEG-4 AVC (the ISO/IEC name), is expected to be published in the second quarter of 2003.

Digital video is being used in an increasing array of applications that have been fuelled by the development of video coding standards. The new standard follows in the footsteps of earlier mould-breaking video coding advances, such as H.261, H.262|MPEG2-Video (the product of an earlier collaboration between ITU and ISO/IEC) and H.263, but surpasses earlier video standards in terms of video quality, compression efficiency and resilience to packet and data loss, the type of network impairments found on the Internet. Potentially it could halve the bandwidth necessary for digital video services.

In addition to the potential of better image quality, improved data compression offers advantages in terms of bandwidth usage (more channels over existing systems) or greater media storage (more video files onto media such as DVDs.) The many application areas likely to benefit include videoconferencing, video broadcast, streaming and video on mobile devices, tele-medicine and distance learning.

"We have achieved a key milestone in making this important new standard available to the industry at large. It's a credit to the entire team that the technical design was completed in record time and it paves the way for the adoption of this exciting technology in 2003," said Gary Sullivan, chairman of the JVT and the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group VCEG.

"This result is testimony to the dedication and spirit of cooperation achieved between a group of the world’s leading coding experts," said Leonardo Chiariglione, Convenor of the MPEG Committee.

The JVT will spend the next three months on the final preparation of the text for approval and publication by ISO/IEC and ITU-T.

Note for Editors

The JVT is a collaborative effort between the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

For more information please contact:

Mr. Gary Sullivan
Rapporteur, Advanced video coding
ITU-T Study Group 16
Tel: +1 425 703 5308
Fax: +1 425 936 7329

Mr. John Magill
Chairman WP3/16
Tel: +44 1666 510 105
Fax: +44 8700 527 645

Mr. Simão Ferraz de Campos Neto
Counsellor, Study Group 16
Tel: +41 22 730 6805
Fax: +41 22 730 5853


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Updated : 2004-01-06