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SMPTE releases VC-1 standard

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers has released its standard for compressed video bitstreams.

SMPTE said release of the VC-1 document, along with supporting Recommended Practices, would guide companies in building interoperable solutions using advanced compression technology.

“The work was contentious at times, and initially some people thought that SMPTE would just 'rubber stamp' the Microsoft document,” said Peter Symes, SMPTE engineering vice president who oversaw the development of the standard. “In fact, many individuals and organizations contributed to the final documents over the two-year development period. Significantly, SMPTE has now been chosen as the organization to standardize two new compression systems.”

Microsoft, who contributed decoder source code and other resources towards development of the process, proposed formal standardization.

SMPTE's Compression Technology Committee has also formed a new working group dedicated to providing maintenance of the test materials and documents, as well as the administration of a bitstream exchange program. Microsoft has contributed source code for a prototype encoder that is available to committee members participating in this program.

The VC-1 documents are SMPTE 421M-2006, VC-1 Compressed Video Bitstream Format and Decoding Process-the Standard itself, as well as two supporting Recommended Practices, SMPTE RP227-2006 VC-1 Bitstream Transport Encodings and SMPTE RP228-2006 VC-1 Decoder and Bitstream Conformance. All three documents can be purchased on the SMPTE Website at

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