Vectorized Streaming Video: British Researchers Aim to Kill the Pixel

The pixel might be on its way out, if a team of British researchers have their way. They’d like to see the vector take over within the next five years, reports ExtremeTech. While vector graphics are well suited for illustrations, clipart, maps and typography, bitmap (which is a grid of pixels) graphics are used for all else, including streaming videos, digital cameras, movie editing, video game textures and more.

“Philip Willis and John Patterson of the University of Bath in England have devised a video codec that replaces pixel bitmaps with vectors,” notes the article. “In a conventional digital camera, images (or videos) are captured as pixel bitmaps and compressed using a codec such as JPEG or H.264. Willis and Patterson have devised a codec called Vectorized Streaming Video (VSV) that converts the bitmap image into vectors.”

But even with the five-year prediction, this writer isn’t convinced it will happen so easily. “I think it will take a lot more than a new codec to kill the pixel. There has been no shortage of new codecs over the last few years, but it has so far proved to be very, very difficult to unseat entrenched favorites such as JPEG, GIF, and PNG.”

“Even WebP, which promised to be better than JPEG in every way, failed to gain traction — and that was with the might of Google behind it.”

Only time will tell. Before then, codec co-inventor Willis remains confident: “This is a significant breakthrough which will revolutionize the way visual media is produced,” he says.

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