Broadcast JPEG2000 Alliance Announced

Today at IBC2009 Fast Forward Video (FFV) announced the launch of the JPEG2000 Alliance, “a consortium of broadcast industry leaders dedicated to ensuring that JPEG2000 continues to develop into a leading compression standard.” According to the press release:

In addition to developing their own JPEG2000 technologies and products, these companies will collaborate to ensure widespread acceptance, deployment, and support of the compression standard for the benefit of the media and video industries. Activities will be centered on educating and creating awareness about the benefits of JPEG2000, promoting interoperability between standards and system devices, and promoting the development of tools by members and industry peers.

In addition to FFV, charter members of the JPEG2000 Alliance include 360 Systems, Analog Devices, Barco, Digital Rapids, Doremi Labs, the Fraunhofer Institute, Front Porch Digital, intoPIX, Media Links, Media Matters and Miranda Technologies. I’m taking the time to post this (and I’m hoping you are taking the time to read it) to give a sense of how JPEG2000 is being used outside the cultural heritage community.

I’m not sure what “IBC” stands for (their website doesn’t expand the acronym), but according to their “about” page they are “the leading international forum for the electronic media industry.” Based on the nature of the six partners behind the IBC (International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers, Institution of Engineering and Technology, IEEE Broadcast Technology Society, Royal Television Society, Society of Cable Telecommunication Engineers, and Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers), it seems to be geared towards broadcast media. There is a conference going now in Amsterdam where they expect to have over 49,000 attendees and 1,300 exhibitors.

Use of JPEG2000 for Broadcast Video Transmission

Although my day-to-day work takes me farther away from working with digital collections in general and JPEG2000 specifically, I still have a Google News search set up looking for hits on JPEG2000 topics. An entry appeared yesterday that gives some interesting insight into how motion JPEG2000 is being used in broadcast video transmission: “HBO Opens T-VIPS Video Gateways: Norweigan Vendor Helps Premium Net Ship Content Coast to Coast

The article describes how HBO is using video gateways based on the JPEG2000 standard “to transport high-definition programming from its New York City studios to the HBO Communications Center.” The device, a TVG430 HD JPEG2000, encodes and decodes HDTV signals in motion JPEG2000 for transmission over gigabit ethernet. (Take a look at the data sheet [PDF] for all of the fine details about the product.) The article also describes some of the operational advantages and disadvantages of real-time motion JPEG2000 transmission:

For HBO and other clients, JPEG2000 has proven to have a number of advantages over MPEG formats for video-signal transport, Dolvik said. MPEG signals that are repeatedly encoded and decoded have much poorer image quality than JPEG2000 signals, and JPEG2000 does a significantly better job of error correction. In addition, the latency for JPEG2000 signals is about 120 milliseconds, compared with as much as two to four seconds for MPEG.

A downside to JPEG2000 is that it requires significantly more bandwidth than MPEG. This isn’t a major problem for sending content over IP networks, in which bandwidth has become much less expensive, but it is a significant issue for “the last mile” connection into homes where bandwidth is often extremely limited.

Very interesting to read, even if it doesn’t have a direct impact on libraries and other cultural heritage institutions. It does show, though, that JPEG2000 is gaining market share and mind share in other fields.

The text was modified to update a link from to on January 28th, 2011.