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VBR HD MPEG-2 Encoding Competitive with H.264

Digigami announced its new MegaPEG HD MPEG-2 VBR encoder is capable of matching and, in some cases, exceeding the picture quality while offering reduced bitrates compared to current H.264 encoders.

Recently, Sony Pictures senior VP of advanced technologies, Don Ecklund, was blasted for his assertions about MPEG-2 video quality in defense of Sony's decision to release HD MPEG-2 encoded feature films on Blu-Ray discs.

Proponents claim H.264 is capable of HD encoding feature films at the same bitrates as standard definition DVD. To the extent that this is true, the capability is not unique to H.264. The new Digigami HD encoder can produce 720p content with an average bitrate of 3-7 mbit/s, which is equivalent to the bitrates used in today's standard definition DVD titles. Comparing with H.264 we can see there is no advantage; an improved MPEG-2 encoder can perform this feat well. Score one for MPEG-2.

Digigami took a different approach to improving their video encoder technology. Firstly, the company built a powerful analysis tool (http://www.digigami.com/mpressionist/),which allows employees and customers to quantitatively analyze any existing compressed MPEG-2 footage. The results of different encoders, including H.264 encoders, can be compared quantitatively. Secondly, Digigami used these tools to analyze a large number of commercial DVD titles encoded by different encoders and mastering houses. Based on the findings, they made improvements to the company's core MPEG-2 encoder which eliminates inefficiencies of previous generation encoders - the same goal as H.264. However, these improvements require no changes to MPEG-2 HD televisions, which is the reason for having an ISO standard in the first place.



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