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    Real World Video Compression
    by Andy Beach
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Google to Open-source VP8 for HTML5 Video

Anyone who works in online video has likely been waiting for this story to hit.  As part of their Google i/O conference taking place in San Francisco this week, Google announced their intention to open source VP8, which they acquired with the purchase of On2 last fall.  This announcment is part of a larger movement dubber WebM that was also announced at the show and will be a driving force for video in HTML5 (if i'm following this all correctly).  In conjunction to the announcement, Adobe's CTO, Kevin Lynch announced that they would be adding support to Flash for the new codec.

So where does this leave H.264?  It certainly means there is legitimate competition for it for the first time since VC-1 gave up the ghost, in terms of adoption and popularity.  Apple is fairly firm behind its 264 support and is unlikely to sway much towards VP-8, so this codec and its adoption is likely to have a polarizing effect (are ya with us, or agin' us?!?!)

Not that anything is likely to happen right away, Google still as to officially release it, support has to begin to creep into both the encoder market and the player/platform side, so for now H.264 is in a strong position, but at least we know the front the next battle will be waged on.  It will be very interesting to see what happens to the H.264 content on YouTube's site.  As a further part of the announcement, Google stated it was converting its entire catalog over, but it was unclear to me whether this meant the h.264 content would be discard (leaving iphone and iPad playback dead in the water).





Heading to Streaming Media East

Hi Folks, I'm sitting at the airport waiting on my ride to the east coast so I can attend Streaming Media East in New York City.  It occured to me today that I havent been to NYC since last August or so and even that was a super quick one day trip.  It's easily been 2 or more years since Iw as there for several days.  Well, I'll have nearly three full days, so hopefully i'll get a chance to play tourist briefly in a town I used to call home.  Streaming Media is a fun show and a good chance to catch up with folks i've known (and worked with) for years. 

This is, of course, my first SME as part of SeaWell Networks.  Who are they?  It's my new daytime job.  With the problems I've had with my blog, I havent had a chance to really explain what i'm up to these days, but suffice to say, I have a new job I like quite a bit with very smart people doing extremely cool work.  Seeing as I have a couple of hours of uninterupted time ahead of me (and a brand new blog engine), I'll write something up and post it quite soon, promise.

Anyway, if you happen to be in NYC between now and Wednesday, let me know and maybe we can get together.  At the very least, if you're in the city this week and work in online media, make sure you drop by SME before it wraps up.



Harmonic buys Omneon 

Harmonic announced this week they were purchasing Omneon for $190M cash plus quite a bit of stock (estimated deal value is $274M).  Many who read here regularly may not be totally familiar with either of these companies (particularly if they work more on the new media side of things).  Well, Harmonic is a creator of video delivery solutions for broadcasters traditionally, though they have been creeping into the Internet video space for quite awhile (a few years back they purchased Rhozet, makers of Carbon Coder (who spun out of Canopus).  Omneon is focused on storage solutions for the video space and likewise have been primarily sold into broadcast and post production type facilities.  

Together, the companies have more than 2,000 customers across 100 countries, with two-thirds of Omneon’s business coming from outside the United States last year. The combined workforce will include 450 engineers working in research and development, and 580 in sales and service--a total of 1,030 people. Harmonic now has 840 employees, Omneon has 280 for a grand total of 1,120. 

Harmonic also reported the executive team from Omneon is expected to join and no news was announced regarding possible layoffs.

 It will be quite interesting to see how two pretty large companies in this space get on together.  Their technologies play very well together in a number of ways, but I have to imagine we'll see quite a bit from them about turnkey solutions for the "TV Everywhere" crowd.





Using x264 Plugin in Compressor

I'll admit it, I've had a love hate relationship with Compressor pretty much since Day One. I love the convenience of having an app tied directly to the timeline for encoding, but have always felt a little disappointed by the options and quality of what was offered for encoding that it offered. Still, I've stuck with it for certain encoding events (such as for dvd content, rough cuts, and archives at high bit rates). It's not that I believe its a bad application, just one that has languished in the shadow of many other priorities. With some much going on in the broad range of tools Final Cut Studio that offers, its bound to happen that some applications don't get the priority we wish they did.

Click to read more ...


Hello Squarespace

Last night I moved rwvc over from the wordpress install I have been using to run it since it's inception over 2 years ago. While I have grown to love wp and the flexibility it offers, there were a variety of frustrating errors that kept creeping up. Here's hoping squarespace will be a stability improvement. This will at least allow me to begin posting again (wp had broken to the point where posting was impossible). In the meantime, you may see the theme change repeatedly while I get the design part of this new site all figured out.

Thanks for your patience with this and now back to our regularly sceduled tech talk!

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