The VC-2 video codec opens real opportunities for the broadcast market, because it’s an open standard ready for adoption, says Jean-Marie Cloquet, video product manager, Barco Silex
The broadcast contribution facilities are now moving away from SDI to the more flexible and scalable IP network.
At the same time, the video experience will continue to improve through higher resolution, frame rate and color depth increasing the video bandwidth.
The lightweight VC-2 HQ video compression (SMPTE 2042 standard) is the logical answer to reduce the infrastructure cost caused by the uncompressed video bitrate. VC-2 HQ achieves a compression ratio up to 4 times without any compromise on the image quality.
There are currently two ongoing trends regarding the IP transport.
The first one is to directly map the SDI payload to networking packets according to the SMPTE 2022 standards.
The second one, according to the VSF TR-03, consists in a simple encapsulation of each video/audio stream individually to RTP packets.
A big advantage of the VC-2 codec is its suitability to both scenarios.
The SMPTE 2022 mapping is directly supported by the existing SMPTE 2047 standard, while the VSF TR-03 RTP mapping for VC-2 is already drafted in an RFC document proposed at IETF.
The VC-2 video codec opens real opportunities for the broadcast market, because it’s an open standard ready for adoption.
Anyone requiring lightweight compression in his product development has the choice to either implement it himself or to integrate one of the VC-2 libraries available on the market in order to get a faster time to market.
The recently released open source implementation of VC-2 is a real-time software solution to encode or decode a video stream on a usual CPU based platform.
This software library is directly downloadable from the collaborative Github website under the VC2HQEncode and VC2HQDecode projects.
And nowadays, VC-2 is even supported by the FFmpeg package enabling its adoption. To be complete, a GStreamer plugin is also available for the RTP mapping of the VC-2 codestream.
VC-2 being an open standard provides many advantages to the broadcast market.
It guarantees competitiveness of the available solutions on the market and avoids arbitrary pricing.
It will also reduce the chance of being locked to a specific vendor. The adoption of the VC-2 codec is made easy, as anyone can start developing a product at lower cost, or even implementing open source libraries.
These advantages guarantee a safe long-term choice for VC-2 as a codec for the IP based transport in the broadcast market.