The DVD Forum has announced that they’ll be choosing the video codec for the next-generation, high-definition DVD standard (tentatively called HD-DVD) by March. Here are the four options in the running:
AVC Also known as H.264, this is the next MPEG-4 video codec. It was created by The Joint Video Team (JVT), which is a cooperative effort of VCEG (the ITU’s Video Coding Experts Group) and MPEG (the ISO’s Moving Pictures Experts Group).
MPEG-4 Video This option is the Advanced Simple Profile flavor of the current MPEG-4 video codec. It’s not competitive with AVC or Windows Media Video 9
MPEG-2 with “enhancement layer” The current generation of DVD uses MPEG-2. This enhancement to MPEG-2 adds a complementary bitstream that makes it more suitable for HD-DVD.
Windows Media Video 9 This is Microsoft’s proprietary video codec, which is derived from MPEG-4 Video.
The DVD Forum’s technical working group has successfully used all three codecs to encode 9 GB of high-definition test content onto a two-layer DVD at bitrates as low as 7 Mbits/sec.
An anonymous source told EE Times that Windows Media Video 9 “doesn’t stand a chance politically” even though it’s technically adequate, and that many chip vendors believe that AVC will win out over an enhanced MPEG-2. This means that — for the first time — content developers may be able to use the same video codec to target mobile devices, PCs, and consumer electronics.