Friday, April 15, 2005

Nice MPEG2 vs MPEG4 digital signage article

Sound & Video Contractor has a good primer on the basic differences between the MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 variants likely to be used in digital signage networks today. From the article:

"MPEG-1 and -2 use similar basic compression techniques but differ in terms of target bit rate and image quality. MPEG-2 also supports the field-based interlaced video that is the standard for analog video and television. And, in common practice, MPEG-2 encodes video at its full-frame resolution, while MPEG-1 typically reduces images to a quarter-screen resolution, then zooms them back to full screen for NTSC playback. That almost necessarily yields some image quality compromises. You're likely to run across MPEG-1 still — including in digital signage applications — because of its smaller file sizes and lower bit rate and because of its ubiquity in the computer industry. It can be compressed and uncompressed very easily “in software” without monopolizing the system CPU.
Should you wait for MPEG-4? That depends on the immediacy of your needs. If the last few months are any indication, digital signage is a burgeoning market, and that has little to do with MPEG-4. As I've seen from writing about technology for about a dozen years, technology rarely moves as fast as everyone expects. New technology itself is also rarely as important as real solutions to real problems. Technology is just an enabler, and infrastructures can and should be built and rebuilt as products evolve, if and when they increase productivity."

You can read the entire thing here.

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