Japan: Broadcasters Use H.264 for HD Feeds

Two Japanese networks said they have fed HD broadcasts between each other using the H.264 compression standard, which they say is proving to be far more cost-effective than alternative methods and produces high-quality results.

TV Asahi and All Nippon Network recently used a new encoding technique--in tandem with a Fujitsu IP 9500 encoder box--to squeeze HD video into half the bandwidth. (The firms did not say what specific HD format was used.)

Fujitsu said the new technique allows HD content to be sent from one broadcast station or facility to another in a much more practical manner (to include public fiber-optic lines) than would be the case with MPEG-2, according to Electronista.

Both broadcasters and Fujitsu think the development could spur less expensive HD venues and, therefore, result in more channels, because it will help avoid costly private connections (and perhaps encourage replacement of more SD channels with HD options).

The technical HD scheme used by both Japanese broadcasters required a single box on each end of the feed, rather than a rack full of equipment, Fujitsu said.