Bruce’s Shorts | 4.20 – How to Choose a Video Codec

Choosing a professional video codec is tricky. Whether you want H.264, JPEG2000 or Perseus you need to understand the complex commercial and business compromises involved. In this short video Bruce Devlin highlights some of the issues that you need to consider..

Choosing a video codec requires serious thought as to how you measure the benefits of a codec. This is not which vendor to choose, but which codec is the best choice for your application. Take three examples.

1. In the UK, industry body the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) needed a specification for files for the exchange of content between broadcasters and their suppliers. They stipulated that the codec and its wrapper must be a recognized standard, the codec must be easily available on reasonable terms, and from more than one supplier.

2. Some video encoding is for archives like the U.S. Library of Congress. A mathematically lossless codec may be a requirement. How long does it take to encode, what compute resources does it need, what is the operational cost? What is the longevity of the standard?

3. Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are used more and more to consume video. For this application bandwidth efficiency is key to codec choice. However, just as important is the need for low power consumption for the player application.

Choosing a codec is not just a technical decision, there are business economics that must be considered.  A standarized codec is the usual choice, but in a fast-moving world, other choices may be more suited to the business applicaton.

Click and view Bruce's succinct roundup of the issues.


Bruce Short's are released every two weeks on the Broadcast Bridge, with a wide range of topics around the issues of advancing technology in the media sector.

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