With Video Compression Technology in Play, All Eyes Are Watching for a Miracle Breakthrough

As the size of video files explode in size, it’s too expensive to keep building larger capacity distribution pipes. For that reason, the race to improve video compression technology has taken center stage. The only question today is how efficient can compression get?

A new compression company — Tveon Systems Inc. — has just come out of the blue with promises of a dramatic breakthrough in video compression technology. Located in British Columbia, the company says it has been in “stealth mode” for the past three years while working on its new technology.

If Tveon is on the up and up, it’s technology would drastically decrease bandwidth and storage costs by reducing the file size of HD and 4K videos up to 90 percent — with an average of approximately 75 percent. And that’s with no loss in clarity or quality. It is not clear yet whether Tveon is only a software product, or requires hardware as well. We’ll find out soon.

Teveon compression technology could be streamed online without buffering or stopping and would put high definition video in the reach of nearly every Internet user on the globe. And that includes users with slow connections to their homes.

Tevon’s CEO, Scott Hayward, said to the press that one of the reasons his company has revealed the technology is the recent announcement of another impressive compression scheme called Perseus, announced by London’s V-Nova.

Scott Hayward, CEO, Tveon.

Scott Hayward, CEO, Tveon.

V-Nova is part of a consortium of more than 20 companies including Sky, Intel, Broadcom, the EBU (European Broadcasting Union), HDS (Hitachi Data Systems) and Sky Italia.

V-Nova’s Perseus was able to encode 4K video at 8 Mbps – nearly a third of the then current rate of around 21Mbps for HEVC-compressed 4K material. Perseus requires only software, not new hardware, as HEVC does. Instead, it uses the processors and memory in the receiving devices to decompress incoming videos.

That’s OK, assuming the receiving device has sufficient processing capability and memory. Users of newer equipment will not need new devices. But there are limits on using older gear and so far it’s unknown what those limits are.

Hayward claims Teveon’s technology can do better, delivering 4K video at below 2 Mbps and 1080p images at below 200 Kpbs. But too much information is still missing to make a good comparison between the technology of the two companies.

Tveon, Hayward told reporters, it's based on a patent-pending process that employs two innovations. The first is a way to manipulate the delivery of a single file to various devices using a “just in time” transcoder. The second is a technique for processing the final file.

Working together, the two technologies allow Tveon to manipulate the network so it can deliver high resolution video content at five or six times better rates than now possible. Not much more is known about the technology yet.

Tveon claims it could deliver 720p HD images to mobile phones, and improve video to all low bandwidth Internet customers. Those are gigantic goals. But, first, the company has to prove it’s technology works.

Hayward admitted that many people are skeptical of Tveon’s claims. He said the company is currently obtaining independent verification of its claims. Trials to prove the technology will begin in 30 to 60 days, he said. He estimates an official launch within a year.

The people behind Tveon are Hayward, a former consultant, network architect and engineer who has worked at FourNetwork, Inc., Telus, Shaw Communications, Norcom and AT&T; Dr. Mason Macklem, an expert in perceptual data compression and human visual system modeling; and Adam Clarke, a pioneer in software-based media infrastructure who worked at Philips Broadcast, Thomson Multimedia and Technicolor Grass Valley.

Finally, there is Herre Wiersma, who worked at D-Drive on research projects. His expertise includes functional analysis, combinatorial and numerical optimization, functional programming and data visualization.

In August, FourNetworks acquired a 30 percent equity interest in Tveon.

The marketing race is already on for the next big video compression breakthrough. The next phase — the most important — is to see what works and what doesn’t.

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