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SMPTE releases VC-1 standard

SMPTE last week released its Standard for Compressed Video Bitstreams.

Release of the VC-1 document with supporting Recommended Practices is intended to guide companies in building interoperable solutions using advanced compression technology.

VC-1 standardization took more than two years of work by more than 120 individuals representing over 75 media and entertainment companies, according to Ingo Höntsch, chair of SMPTE’s Video Compression Technology Committee, which oversaw its development.

Standardization provides stability and allows for a high degree of confidence that users can interchange bitstreams between products from different manufacturers, according to SMPTE Engineering vice president Peter Symes.

Formal standardization was proposed by Microsoft, which contributed decoder source code and other resources towards development of the process.

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 an example encoder that is available to committee members participating in this program.

The VC-1 documents include:

  • SMPTE 421M-2006, “VC-1 Compressed Video Bitstream Format and Decoding Process.”
  • Recommended Practices, SMPTE RP227-2006 “VC-1 Bitstream Transport Encodings.”
  • SMPTE RP228-2006, “VC-1 Decoder and Bitstream Conformance.”

The documents are available for a fee at

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