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It's Time to Take Another Look at H.264 SVC

December 14, 2010 | Chris Payatagool
scalable_video_coding.jpgBy Irwin Lazar via Network World

Scalable Video Coding has gained a great deal of market momentum in recent weeks.

Consider the following:

    * Arkadin adding H.264 SVC video (licensed from Vidyo) to its web conferencing offerings
    * Cisco leveraging SVC as the basis for its high-quality video offering within WebEx Meeting Center
    * HP's expanded line of video conferencing products based on Vidyo's H.264 SVC technology
    * KDDI's announcement of SVC-based video services (also licensed from Vidyo) to deliver video conferencing as a service
    * Polycom announcing support for SVC for mobile video to support tablets and video delivery across lossy networks such as mobile services and the Internet

Taken together, all of these announcements underscore the growing role of SVC as an alternative to H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) for delivering high definition video conferencing across any underlying network infrastructure. This is a development that offers the ability of video conferencing buyers to support high-quality video for remote or mobile workers without requiring huge investments in bandwidth.

Standards such as H.264 AVC and SVC define how video is captured, converted, sent among endpoints, and decoded (typically using SIP as the signaling protocol to establish one-to-one, one-to-many, or many-to-many sessions). Up until recently, most video conferencing vendors had standardizing on ITU H.264 AVC (Advanced Video Coding), commonly referred to simply as "H.264" (without the AVC designation). It's worth noting that Microsoft and those who license its technology have taken a different approach using a proprietary codec, RTvideo, as a way of supporting reliable high-quality video over variably performing data networks. Meanwhile, Vidyo, along with Radvision, have delivered SVC-based products, touting the benefits of SVC in terms of its ability to support HD even when there is significant packet loss.

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