Ultra HD: New Processing Tech Improves Video Compression

Award-winning engineer Yves Faroudja has come out of retirement to explore how new approaches to compression and processing can help with the transition to Ultra HD. Los Altos-based startup Faroudja Enterprises is currently testing a prototype technology to move 4K in real time, while preserving image quality at reduced bit rates with existing compression systems. Faroudja has filed for eight related patents, and the company has plans to either license the tech or introduce it as software.

videostream“His plan is to effectively pre-process the content before compression and decode it after the decompression at the receiving/display end of the chain (i.e. a TV or mobile device),” writes Carolyn Giardina for The Hollywood Reporter.

“With his process, he believes he can cut in half the bandwidth requirements for video — not only enabling more video to be used, but also potentially opening up the promise of Ultra HD, as well as high frame rates (HFR) and high dynamic range (HDR) imagery.”

So how might this impact the prospects for Ultra HD in the U.S.?

According to Netflix, the bandwidth requirements for UHD is “about 16Mbps.” Yet the average service in the U.S. is 10.5Mbps, according to the recent Akamai “State of the Internet” report.

Therefore, by cutting the requirements in half, Faroudja’s technology could expand the Ultra HD capable market in the U.S. from few today to the vast majority of broadband users. Moreover, it could have as dramatic an impact across the world and really jumpstart the 4K industry. This has the potential to be a game changing technology.

Faroudja, who has 75 patents, has been awarded three Technical Emmys, including the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Emmy, and received SMPTE’s prestigious David Sarnoff Gold Medal.