Experts from technical standards bodies have agreed the technical design of a new video compression standard which could provide a breakthrough for third-generation (3G) wireless applications.
The standard aims to improve the quality of video pictures broadcast over wireless networks to DVD-like sharpness, and could halve the bandwidth needed for digital video services.
Due to be published in April, the standard could mean the development of more channels and better image quality for pictures delivered over public telecoms networks, the internet and 3G in time for the widespread launch of UK services in 2004.
Applications that could benefit include videoconferencing, streaming, video on mobile devices, telemedicine and distance learning.
Known as H.264/AVC, the standard has been designed by the International Telecoms Union (ITU) and the International Organisation for Standardization and International Engineering Consortium Joint Technical Committee (ISO/IEC) Joint Video Team (JVT).
The standard will also be known as ISO/IEC 14496-10/MPEG-4 AVC (the ISO/IEC name).
Video is seen as key to providing applications that will distinguish 3G from services offered by existing mobile networks, such as email, calendars and contact lists.
"This result is testimony to the dedication and spirit of co-operation achieved between a group of the world's leading coding experts," Leonardo Chiariglione, convenor of the MPEG Committee, said in a statement.
The JVT will spend the next three months on the final preparation of the text for approval and publication by the ISO/IEC and ITU.
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