JPEG 2000 makes worldwide gains

It wasn’t too long ago that the phrase JPEG 2000 would be met with a blank stare or someone saying “not good enough.” But, in the past 18 months, that has changed, and such sports broadcasters as Fox Sports and the Big Ten Network in the US and Sky, Mediaset, Scandinavian networks, and ORF Austria in Europe have embraced the backhaul-transport format.

“In the last year, JPEG 2000 has really taken off,” says Janne Morstel, COO of T-VIPS, a provider of JPEG 2000-based delivery technologies. “It has become the de facto standard for contribution over fiber and fixed lines, and that is a big shift. So it is really cool to see that people see the advantages.”

According to Morstel, those advantages are three-fold: high-quality video, low latency, and the ability to have multiple encodes and decodes without a loss in quality.

At the recent NAB conference in Las Vegas, T-VIPS’s hottest news was the TVG450, an encoder that allows HD-quality video transmission over IP networks. Transmission of 3G, 3D, HDTV, and SD formats over Gigabit Ethernet or DVB ASI links are all possible via lossless and visually lossless compression. And up to one 3G-SDI, two HD-SDI, or four SD-SDI channels can be handled in the same unit.

“We’re ahead of the curve with that product,” adds Morstel, noting that IP-based systems are just now hitting mature status.

T-VIPS hasn’t abandoned MPEG, of course. Its new TVG425 Transport Stream Gateway, which allows transparent handling of MPEG transport, streams over ASI, IP/Ethernet, and SONET/SDH. Advanced features include input-signal monitoring, flexible output diversity, dual network interfaces, input switching between redundant sources, and bidirectional operation.

As for JPEG 2000 via satellite, the challenge is the high bitrate, because JPEG 2000 typically requires 70-150 Mbps, exceeding satellites’ 70 Mbps limit.

Morstel adds that there is still some work to be done on JPEG 2000. Users of MPEG-based compression, she points out, have an enormous toolset to help customize capabilities: “With JPEG 2000, what you configure is what you get, while MPEG allows for different bitrates and parameters for different content.”

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