Tagged With codecs

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Viewers of Silicon Valley will appreciate the earth-shattering importance of compression algorithms. To most everyone else, it's a geeky bit of maths that's of no particular interest. But when Google promises an algorithm that can cut the bandwidth needed to stream a video in half, things get a little more interesting.

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As the ongoing Meerkatification of humanity proves, the internet (in one form or another) is becoming more and more about video. At peak times, Netflix and YouTube alone account for half of all web traffic. That's an understandably huge burden for ISPs to carry. But as well as making the pipes bigger, we can also shrink down what goes through them.

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Apple Maps still needs work if it wants to supplant Google's offering, but one thing it has gotten right is the use of vector data over raster images. When it comes to downloading new information or zooming in and out, Apple Maps is the superior product. So why not use vectors for say, encoding video, where its space-saving and quality-preserving benefits would be just wonderful? Don't worry, science is onto it.

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From now on, any video you upload to YouTube will be transcoded into Google's WebM codec, joining the "videos that make up 99 per cent of views on the site or nearly 30 per cent of all videos". Google explains it to the non-tech savvy folk like so.

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The iPad's potential as a personal video device is handicapped pretty severely by the limited file formats it supports. CineXPlayer, the latest app to sneak past the App Store approval squad, helpfully plays Xvid videos with zero conversion required.

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If you're a digital-video professional - someone who records weddings, sells stock footage or edits B-roll - chances are good you deal with H.264. But after reading software licence agreements, you might well wonder if you have rights to do so.

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HandBrake has always been the go-to app for ripping your DVDs into MPEG video files for playing back on an iPod or archiving on your network, and now in the 0.9.3 release, the multiplatform app will take any video file as an input source, not just DVDs. That means if you have a tricky video file you need to transcode to play on your PMP, game console or anywhere else, HandBrake has got you covered now.

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Once upon time, video codecs and formats were really only the concern of AV nerds, anime freaks and hardcore not-so-legal movie downloaders. Now, even the most part-time of geeks has to deal with them, whether they're trying to stream a flick across their house with an Apple TV, dump some video onto their phone or just trying to grab last night's episode of Dexter because they, uh, forgot to renew their Showtime subscription that'll work in their media player. It's messy and annoying, but we're here to clean it up. Take a deep breath.

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CNET got their hands on Cowon's new flash-based PMP, the O2, and they think it's one of the year's best dedicated media players. The 4.3-inch touchscreen player has a truly ridiculous list of supported codecs, an SDHC slot to expand its internal 8, 16, or 32GB memory, solid (if not too flashy) GUI, and a surprisingly affordable price: only $US219, $US249, and $US299 respectively.

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The Celrun TV multimedia player comes equipped to the back teeth. The HD multimedia player totes Ethernet, WiFi b/g for basic, network accessible storage; digital and analog TV tuners, IPTV support, DVR functionality, 320GB HDD, two USB ports, as well as RGB, S-VIDEO and HDMI outputs. Add to that the ability to playback H.264, WMV, AVI, Xvid, MOV, VOB, MPEG1/2/4 and a whole host of other supported codecs in between, the Celrun TV is certainly a souped up performer on paper. No idea as yet whether we'll see it Stateside, but if it does make an appearance, we'll be sure to let you know.