'Perseus' Compression Can Carry 4K Video in 7-Mbps Stream

Compression software that can pack a 4K Ultra High-Definition video stream into 7-to-8 Mbps connections -- about one-third the capacity required in most of today's applications -- will be introduced at next week's NAB Show in Las Vegas. V-Nova Ltd., a four-year old British technology company, unveiled its "Perseus" codec in London last week, calling it a "scalable end-to-end solution for mass-market adoption of live UHD."

The company said the picture quality of Perseus compression equals that of current UHD streaming systems.

Broadcom, Intel, the European Broadcasting Union, Hitachi Data Systems, Sky Italia and Sky Germany are among the 20 organizations in an "Open Innovation" consortium that is backing the project, which is currently being tested on Sky Italia.

Perseus shifts "the entire bitrate-quality curve," said V-Nova CEO and founder Guido Meardi, explaining that the compression software enables transmission of UHD video at High-Definition bitrates, HD at Standard -bitrates and SD video at audio bitrates.

"Perseus makes 4K commercially viable at scale and enables HD over 3G/4G mobile networks," Meardi said. 

The system has been tested and showed compression gains of two to three times compared with H.254/AVC, H.265/HEVC and JPEG2000. It also uses less power than H.265 andH.265, V-Nova said.

V-Nova expects to begin trials in the U.S. by autumn; it has not yet identified partners for the field tests. Streaming media purveyors such as Netflix and Amazon, which are introducing UHD 4K programs, are expected to be V-Nova's prime targets, although the company has not yet indicated any deals with those programmers.  

V-Nova also said Perseus technology would allow wireless viewers users to stream HD video via WiFi and mobile bandwidth in the same bandwidth now required to play audio files. This would include transmission of social media video -- a fast-rising category.

Perseus "allows our partners to differentiate their  products, increase market penetration and provide new services," Meardi said.

Contributor Gary Arlen is known for his insights into the convergence of media, telecom, content and technology. Gary was founder/editor/publisher of Interactivity Report, TeleServices Report and other influential newsletters; he was the longtime “curmudgeon” columnist for Multichannel News as well as a regular contributor to AdMap, Washington Technology and Telecommunications Reports. He writes regularly about trends and media/marketing for the Consumer Technology Association's i3 magazine plus several blogs. Gary has taught media-focused courses on the adjunct faculties at George Mason University and American University and has guest-lectured at MIT, Harvard, UCLA, University of Southern California and Northwestern University and at countless media, marketing and technology industry events. As President of Arlen Communications LLC, he has provided analyses about the development of applications and services for entertainment, marketing and e-commerce.