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April 4, 2006

Microsoft VC-1 codec standardized by SMPTE

Posted by David Hunter at 10:42 AM ET.

Nate Mook at BetaNews reports that the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) has completed the standardization process for Microsoft’s VC-1 codec:

Microsoft submitted the Windows Media Video 9-based codec for standardization in September 2003.

Microsoft’s rationale for embracing standards was to provide the industry with better access to high-quality video compression. This move would for allow easier adoption of Windows Media, as companies would no longer be forced to contact Microsoft directly. Devices such as home video cameras or set top boxes can natively support VC-1, without Redmond’s direct approval.

Licensing fees will still be required through the SMPTE, and Microsoft will receive royalties for the use of its patents.

A number of companies have already implemented VC-1, including MovieBeam and Modeo, a live TV streaming service for cell phones and other portable devices. VC-1 has also been selected for inclusion in both HD DVD and Blu-ray. Warner Bros. Studio already announced its intention to encode movies in the VC-1 format.

Microsoft’s WMV9 format now becomes an implementation of the VC-1 standard.

Redmond competitors RealNetworks and Apple have beaten down the path of standardization as well. Apple is pushing for MPEG-4, which forms the basis of its own QuickTime format, to dominate as the next generation multimedia standard. MPEG-4 will also be a supported format on both HD DVD and Blu-ray discs.

As always, there is great perceived value in having one’s proprietary format blessed by a standards organization.

Filed under Apple, Coopetition, Digital Media, Media Player, Microsoft, RealNetworks, Standards

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