A simple description of Video Compression

Video files are usually huge and so without video compression technology, it would have been almost unfeasible to send those large video files through internet even at today’s broadband speeds. There are several video compression techniques which allow you to knock the video size down, while keeping the video sanctity intact. However, due to different video compression methods, differing data will be lost and this often propels variable results.

Emerging from the root words ‘Compression’ and ‘Decompression’ is the term ‘Codec’. When a video is compressed, the process must be reversed (decompressed) in order to read the file. When these two words (compression/decompression) go together, they constitute the term “Codec”. A video codec is a software enabling video compression and/or decompression for a digital video.

Since, different software platforms support different file formats; a slight incompatibility in compression observed during transmission of videos can give a big headache to the installers.

Since, the usage of digital recording devices is increasing in the field of television broadcasting and video surveillance field, the need for higher quality video streaming is also growing. In order to stream the videos, a proper video compression standard should be implemented in order to send and receive the videos.

Video compression technology has come a long way, currently MPEG4, MPEG and H.264 are the files formats which are the widely used video compression techniques. Going into the history, MPEG-1 was the first codec technique which was followed by MPEG2. MPEG4 is said to be a result of massive upgrade to MPEG2 video compression format. MPEG 4 offers the flexibility of shrinking large video files into petite portions enabling faster data transfer on the internet or a wireless network. Supportive players have to be present in order to allow some layers for manipulation in this video codec format.

H.264 is now a widely used video codec format in video surveillance and storage field. Also known as an advanced video coding (AVC) or MPEG4 Part 10 technique, H.264 offers more advantages as it offers inter picture prediction with up to 32 pictures in reference. H.264 is said to offer almost zero data loss on a variety of different platforms. It has the ability to diminish the video file size to a much further extent than the MPEG4 and thus it is ideal for HD Videos.

MJPEG is one of the formats of video codec which has its roots takes out from JPEG format. JPEG is a highly standardized format for compressing images and is usually used in coding web images. MJPEG does the same like JPEG codec, but has the ability to stream each image or frame together. As a result, lower CPU usage is observed than seen in other formats. But this codec format needs high bandwidths for large video file sizes.

Since January 2013, high efficiency video coding or H.265, a proceed to H.264 is being discussed on a bigger note. This is a new video compression standard which has got an international recognition. But in order to see its deployment, we may need more time as the need to replace the compatible chips in various appliances like IP cameras and video servers may take a lot of time.

MPEG 7 and MPEG 21 are the Codecs which are under development and they will surely bring in some added benefits to users, when fully developed.

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