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Advances in the Standard H.264/AVC
Where: San Diego, California USA
When: 31 July – 4 August 2005
Why: ITU-T lent its support to a session within SPIE's (The International Society for Optical Engineering) 50th Annual Meeting.

On the occasion of SPIE’s fiftieth anniversary, ITU-T lent its support to a session titled Applications of Digital Image Processing XXVIII (Advances and Applications in H.264/AVC Video Coding).

H.264 / Advanced Video Coding (AVC) is the leading video codec developed jointly by the Joint Video Team of ITU-T Q.6/SG16 VCEG and ISO/IEC MPEG.

The session included presentations on recent advances, new directions, new application areas, licensing and IP issues, and the economic impact of the standard.

H.264/AVC has seen a steady rise in status over the last year, its success based largely on its increased efficiency over its predecessor. The dramatically increased compression performance of H.264 will enable existing applications like videoconferencing, streaming video over the Internet, and digital television on satellite and cable to offer better quality video at lower cost. It will also allow new video applications such as High-Definition TV on DVD, video on mobile phones, and videoconferencing over low bandwidth connections that were previously impractical because of economics or technology.

H.264/AVC appears certain to be incorporated into several important application specifications including the BD-ROM specification of the Blu-ray Disc Association, the DVB (digital video broadcast) standards for European broadcast television, the HD-DVD specification of the DVD Forum and in a new broadcast TV specification of the US ATSC (advanced television systems committee). H.264 has also been adopted by both 3GPP and 3GPP2, the two partnership projects that define the specifications for third generation mobile.

And the video codec is now being deployed in products from companies including Apple, Sony, BT, France Telecom, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Polycom, Samsung, Tandberg and Toshiba.

2004 also saw the development of a new set of coding tools known as the fidelity range extensions (FRExt). The new FRExt extensions were designed to be used for applications such as standard-definition and high-definition television, enhanced DVD video, content contribution, content distribution, post-production processing, and studio video editing. Additionally a conformance testing specification for H.264/AVC was released. This will allow potential purchasers and manufacturers to ensure that all equipment designed to use the video coding standard will work properly together.

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