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Video Codecs

GigPeak, a market leader in professional video encoding and transcoding, with over two decades of video quality leadership and technology innovation, offers system vendors the highest quality codecs available on the market. Video codecs are integrated circuits or software that encode or decode digital video. They are used to convert raw, uncompressed video into a compressed standardized format, such as MPEG-2 or H.264 and vice versa, from MPEG-2 and H.264 to uncompressed video. Codecs are essential components in today’s digital broadcast workflow in order to transport as many video channels as possible in the lowest possible bandwidth. In the broadcast workflow, the most commonly used video codecs are MPEG-2 and H.264, with HEVC on the horizon poised to be the next-generation format for video distribution.


MPEG-2 is widely used for broadcast by cable TV, direct satellite broadcast, and over-the-air (terrestrial) systems. While its use has waned in recent years due to the more advanced H.264 codec, it remains in use today due to the large number of set-top boxes, decoders, and systems in place around the world. Some of its best-known uses are in the ATSC broadcast standard for over-the-air and in DVD videos.


H.264 is currently one of the most popular compression formats used for distribution of video content. It was developed by the Joint Video Team (JVT) to create a standard that can provide the same video quality at half or less bitrate than MPEG-2, providing substantial savings for content originators and operators on transport costs. The H.264 standard is natively supported on a large variety of devices with dedicated hardware decoder acceleration from television sets to handheld devices such as phones and tablets.


One of the newest compression standards available, HEVC was developed by the JCT-VG organization to provide an advanced format that can deliver the same quality as H.264 at half the bitrate. It is one of the potential successors to the widely used AVC format. HEVC decode is commonly supported on most Ultra HD (UHD or 4K) televisions sold today.