By Avni Rambhia, Sr. Industry Analyst, Digital Media Practice
Do we really need yet another video standard?
Given the alphabet soup of standards we're already grappling with, this answer may be hard to believe, but the answer in this case is - yes. While in many ways MPEG-4 is a new technology - especially for applications like cable distribution in North America and Japan - it is already a decade old. As resolution and quality demands on video rise, and as sheer volumes of channels and video content rise, compression must keep pace with it.
Video is choking global networks - not only mobile but also broadband. Frost and Sullivan estimates that nearly half of global Internet traffic today is video, rising to nearly 65 percent next year. According to a recent study by Cisco Systems, video accounts for four-fifths of primetime Internet traffic in the United States, and that's with only approximately 15 percent of connected households watching. What happens when over the top (OTT) video consumption achieves the same levels of adoption that traditional TV viewing enjoys today? Bandwidth infrastructure is being improved, and technologies like switched digital video (SDV) help tremendously, but the next decade of growth demands a leap forward in compression. At the upper end, new applications like Ultra HDTV (or UDTV) with 16 times resolution of HDTV and a staggering image refresh rate of 120 frames per second are demanding growing bandwidth - these are not practical with current transmission licenses and infrastructure unless dramatic compression improvements are made.