EBU's Camera and Codec Shoot Out

"The EBU, along with Germany's IRT, is in the middle of an intensive codec standards examination, looking at the most widely-used camera systems, their compression codecs and the accumulative impact of multi-generation copying. Interim results were presented at an IBC conference session, with the final evaluations due at the end of October.

Thomson/GV's Infinity with its JPEG2000 camera system, Panasonic Broadcast's DVCPRO-HD and AVC-1, Sony Professional's XDCAM HD-422 and Avid's DNxHD codec were some of the new products under evaluation but the work, largely undertaken by a team at RAI's Technology, Research & Innovation Centre led by Massimo Visca, was massively complex when each was compared and contrasted with established legacy systems.

The overall objective was to see how the assorted kit coped with the various picture formats in common use (720p/50, 1080i/25 and 1080p/25), as well as how much image quality headroom was left after up to seventh generation copying. Also in the evaluation mix were storage requirements, network needs and error resilience while not ignoring the cost of storage and transcoding speeds.

Hans Hoffmann, the EBU's senior engineer and chairman of the session, stressed that the study is not to come up with a 'best buy', but to provide "guidance and neutral information" to broadcasters and users.

The scope and breadth of the study is impressive, and embraced short and long GOP (Group of Picture) comparisons, at various bit, pixel, interlaced, progressive and framerates. The complete results matrix for any single camera system when extended down to a seventh generation copy, through 1080i/25, 720p or 1080p/25 - "very comparable" for Sony's XD-CAM HD-422, for example - must be read for the complete picture.

Massimo Vista said that the final reports had all been agreed with each manufacturer, and would be available for EBU members at the end of October."

Source: IBC