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Graphics Media

Next-Next Generation Video: Introducing Daala 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-tell-by-the-pixels dept.
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from a post by Xiph.org's Monty Montgomery: "Xiph.Org has been working on Daala, a new video codec for some time now, though Opus work had overshadowed it until just recently. With Opus finalized and much of the mop-up work well in hand, Daala development has taken center stage. I've started work on 'demo' pages for Daala, just like I've done demos of other Xiph development projects. Daala aims to be rather different from other video codecs (and it's the first from-scratch design attempt in a while), so the first few demo pages are going to be mostly concerned with what's new and different in Daala. I've finished the first 'demo' page (about Daala's lapped transforms), so if you're interested in video coding technology, go have a look!"
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Next-Next Generation Video: Introducing Daala

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  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday June 21, 2013 @08:55AM (#44069771) Homepage Journal

    It's the submarine patents that are the bigger worry. Since this codec is based on work that's come from some academic research papers, one can imagine a sufficiently wealthy litigation-mad megalocorp paying developers to stay on top of research and file patent applications citing obvious implementation details and then keeping them under the surface until it's sufficiently advantageous to allow them to surface. This process is 100% the opposite of the intention of the Constitutional provision for IP.

    BTW, the posted whitepaper is really nicely done - good job Xiph team. In a free world everybody would rejoice and be happy for your efforts.

  • by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Friday June 21, 2013 @09:16AM (#44069947) Homepage

    I'm a bit worried about the big focus on "blocks" for such a video codec. Originally, the blocks used in the JPEG image coder was put there to make sure that you could stream-encode images using reasonably cheap silicon back in the eighties. No one really wants the blocks, they were a necessary limitation. Using the same algorithm as JPEG but removing the blocks gives a serious quality boost.

    This codec will never run on hardware that can't handle more than 16 x 16 pixels at once. The lowest specs that will encode these frames will be hand-held cameras, which will have more than enough ram to buffer at least two full frames, and use a small FPGA for encoding/decoding. Everything else will be decoded by a GPU directly to the framebuffer, and likely encoded by the same GPU. Even server farms have these for processing media.

    There's also no issue with streaming as far as I know. Both DCT and Wavelet based coders can packetize the important bits in a frame first, and the less important bit later, so that a slow connection can still decode a degraded image even if not all bits are received. This without splitting the image into blocks.

  • by LourensV (856614) on Friday June 21, 2013 @10:10AM (#44070409)

    Those existing codecs are all very similar technically, and riddled with patents. If Monty can make something new (and he can, see CELT) and work around those patents (and he can, see Vorbis, Theora), then it's definitely a welcome addition. And a codec doesn't have to dominate to be useful; Vorbis is widely used (Wikipedia, all sorts of software that plays sound and music including a lot of if not most video games) and supported on a lot of platforms (including hardware players and set-top boxes) even if it never did completely replace MP3 and AAC. If nothing else, having a free and unencumbered option will keep the licensors of the proprietary codecs at least somewhat honest.

    Incidentally, isn't it about time for Monty to get an EFF Pioneer award? He's been very successfully working on freely usable audio and video codecs for well over a decade now, starting at a time when many people didn't believe that a non-encumbered audio or video codec was even possible. Someone with his skills could probably make a very good living in proprietary codec development, but he chose to start Xiph.org and fight the good fight (and now works for Red Hat). He belongs in that list [eff.org] IMHO.

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