Friday, December 10, 2010

At CES, January 2011

I'll be at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on 6th and 7th January 2011, with a demo of the new OneCodec concept ( If you would like to meet me, let me know (

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

High Efficiency Video Coding: HEVC Test Model

The JCT-VC have specified the first version of the Test Model for the new HEVC standard. The Test Model, HM1, will gradually evolve into the final version of the new standard as coding tools are evaluated + added to it. I've posted a summary here together with a link to the JCT-VC document site.

So far, indications are that HEVC will deliver around 2x better compression compared with H.264/AVC, at the expense of a big increase in computational complexity. By the time the new standard is published (around 2013), the hope is that this increased complexity will be well within the capabilities of consumer devices.

There will still be many people who question the need for a new video coding standard. That's why we are developing the OneCodec concept, so that you can deliver improved video coding performance as and when it's needed, without the high cost of switching over to a completely new standard.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Getting the best out of H.264 / talk tomorrow

A free web seminar on H.264 & how to get the best performance. I'll look at coding options, the effect they have on compression and computation and how an H.264 codec can make "good" coding choices.

Register here to join the session:
Wednesday 17th November 2010, 4.30pm GMT / 11.30am EST / 8.30am PST

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Webinar, 17th November: Getting the best out of H.264

Sign up for my next webinar, "getting the best out of H.264", a one-hour presentation on 17th Nov 2010 at 4.30pm GMT (that's 8.30am Pacific time and 11.30am East Coast time in the US). It's free to attend and you get the chance to ask questions during the talk.

Register here:

- Iain

Friday, October 1, 2010

Internet Enabled Television

What will be the next significant development in TV technology? Electronics manufacturers are investing heavily in 3DTV, hoping to capitalise on the success of 3D movies such as Avatar. However, there are indications that consumers are not in a hurry to buy 3D television sets. According to some reports, Internet Enabled Television, IETV, shows signs of being much more popular with consumers.

Internet Enabled TV makes it possible to access "watch again" services such as BBC iPlayer, as well as video sharing services such as YouTube and Vimeo, through your TV set. Also described as "Hybrid IPTV", IETV uses a home broadband connection to provide internet video services on your television.

Interesting links:
HbbTV consortium
YouView platform
"Sales of IETV to out-perform 3DTV", Digitimes, August 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

In Boston for the Embedded Systems Convention

I'm in Boston, giving a talk at the Embedded Systems Convention on Wednesday 22nd September at 4.30pm, with my colleague Maja Bystrom:

Our talk at ESC

We'll be talking about our work on Configurable Video Coding. By exploiting the increased flexibility of programmable processors, a configurable video codec can handle multiple video formats using a single coding “engine”, making efficient use of system resources and reducing the time-to-market for new systems.

I'll be at ESC on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd September.

- Iain

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Book launch tomorrow - tune in for free...

Still time to register for tomorrow's book launch (16 June, 4pm UK time). I'll be giving a 30-minute presentation and answering any questions from viewers. Click to register:

After the talk is over, you will be able to re-play it using the link.
- Iain Richardson.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Book Launch: The H.264 Advanced Video Compression Standard

The new book has been available in the UK for a few weeks and should be available in the US and the rest of the world in June. I will launch the book via a free webcast on Wednesday 16th June 2010 at 4pm BST / 8am Pacific time / 11am East Coast US time. During the half-hour webcast I will give a brief overview of the main chapters. Participants will have the opportunity to post questions which I will answer during the talk. Click here to register for free:

- Iain Richardson

Monday, May 24, 2010

Comparison of VP8 and H.264

Google released the open-source WebM multimedia framework last week:
WebM includes the VP8 video codec. has published a comparison between VP8 and H.264:

- Iain

Monday, May 3, 2010

High Efficiency Video Coding Standard

Work is continuing on the new video coding standard, currently known as "High Efficiency Video Coding" (HEVC). A Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) has been set up by ISO/IEC MPEG and ITU-T VCEG. Following a Call for Proposals in January, 27 proposals were submitted to the first meeting of the JCT-VC in April. Elements of some of these proposals have been combined to develop an initial Test Model, a starting point for development of the new standard. The initial Test Model has similarities to earlier standards such as H.264/AVC, including block-based intra/inter prediction, block transform and entropy coding. New features include increased prediction flexibility, more sophisticated interpolation filters, a wider range of block sizes and new entropy coding schemes. Coding performance varies across the different proposals. It looks like we might expect to see a 2x compression improvement compared with H.264/AVC (i.e. half the bitrate at the same visual quality), at the expense of a significant increase in computational complexity (perhaps 3x or more). You can find the technical proposals here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New book...

Just heard that I will receive some advance copies of my new book in a few days. It should be available in the UK very soon; I'll post a note here once I have a confirmed date for US and the rest of the world.

- Iain

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

SKIP macroblocks

Praveen asked the following question:
"I have a question regarding 'SKIP' block coding. When is a block decided to be "SKIPPED". What are the criteria and how is the SKIP macroblock coded?"

A SKIP macroblock is a macroblock (16x16 displayed pixels) for which no information is sent to the decoder - i.e. no coded coefficients, no header and no prediction information. In H.264, an encoder can choose SKIP mode for a macroblock in a P- or B-slice. The decoder estimates a motion vector for the skipped macroblock from neighbouring coded macroblocks and uses this to calculate a motion compensated prediction for the skipped MB. Since there is no residual, the motion compensated prediction is directly inserted into the decoded frame or field.

It's up to the encoder to choose whether to code or skip a MB. Typically the encoder might choose SKIP when the rate-distortion cost of SKIP mode is lower than any coded mode, i.e. when a weighted combination of bitrate and distortion (the quality loss of the decoded MB) is lower. The encoder may also "guess" that SKIP mode is suitable using other criteria such as local scene statistics, in order to save computation.

For a more detailed discussion, see e.g. or our other papers on mode selection.

- Iain

Monday, March 29, 2010

In the Bay area, 26-29 April

I'll be in the SF Bay / San Jose area from 26th-29th April 2010, visiting the Embedded Systems Conference. Please get in touch if you are interested in meeting me.
- Iain Richardson

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The proofs are corrected...

I've made the final corrections to the proofs of my new book, "The H.264 Advanced Video Compression Standard". Hopefully it'll appear in May 2010. You can find some more information here. If you have any questions about the new book, please let me know.
- Iain Richardson.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

Yesterday's webcast

Hundreds of viewers and tens of questions.. Thanks for watching the webcast yesterday, "An Introduction to H.264". If you missed it, you can watch the recording here.

I hope to do more webcasts, explaining H.264/AVC in more depth, perhaps starting with a "book launch" webcast.

If you liked the webcast or any of the other resources on this site, please tell me about it and/or click the "Share This" link on any of the pages on the website.

- Iain Richardson

Monday, March 22, 2010

Webcast today

Today's webcast is an introduction to H.264/AVC. You can register for free at: . It starts at 4pm GMT. Note that the UK is NOT yet on Summer Time, so that's 12noon on the East Coast (US), 11am in Texas, 9am on the West Coast. Hope you can join the webcast...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Webcast on H.264/AVC

I'll be presenting a free webcast on H.264/AVC in association with DCKTN on 22nd March 2010. I will cover the basics of H.264 technology and I'll take questions from participants.

The talk will be presented live on 22nd March at 4pm GMT, that's 11am EST / 10am CST / 8am PST.

You can register here:

Hope you can tune in....

Monday, February 22, 2010

New book - ordering info.

I've put up a page with some information about my new book, H.264 Advanced Video Compression:

Apart from chapters 2 and 3 (video quality and video compression concepts), the material has been completely rewritten. Chapters 4-7 cover the H.264 standard in detail and chapters 8-10 cover performance, implementation and extensions. Please get in touch if you have any questions about the book.
- Iain.