Euclid Discoveries announces video-compression breakthrough
Massachusetts-based Euclid Discoveries this week announced that its new EuclidVision compression technology would enable quality video transmissions over data networks with very little bandwidth.
Founded in the concept of object-based compression (OBC), EuclidVision achieves compression ratios of 15,168 to 1 for certain videos, said Euclid Discoveries CEO Richard Wingard. In validated tests, EuclidVision has reduced a “streaming commentator”—one showing the head and shoulders of a subject—from a 23 Mb file to a 1.519 kb file.
Such compression should make video conferencing realistic over almost any network, including wireless networks with effective data rates of less than 4 kb/s, Wingard said.
“The whole idea is to make video ubiquitous, so you don’t have to worry about what kind of network you’ve got,” he said. “It’s going to put video conferencing on the map.”
While mobile video conferencing may be the first application for EuclidVision, many more applications will follow, Wingard said. High-definition video over a DSL is a possibility, and the compression scheme would let surveillance networks transmit higher quality video from remote cameras to an operations center using much less bandwidth and/or power, he said.
“We really solve that by reducing the transmission time and server space required for video without reducing the quality,” Wingard said.
Indeed, Wingard said Euclid Discoveries’ claim that EuclidVision would be able to reduce a 700 Mb MPEG-4 file for a two-hour video to 50 Mb is “conservative.” While the MPEG-4 standard represents a 50% improvement over MPEG-2 compression, EuclidVision is a 600% improvement compared to MPEG-2 and a 460% improvement compared to MPEG-4, he said.
“We’re producing visually meaningful video clips in a bandwidth constrained environment going down as low as 1.6 kilobit per second. This makes many of the bandwidth constraints for digital video moot,” said Jeff Roberts, Euclid Discoveries’ technical product manager, in a prepared statement. “We basically wanted to see how low we could go; we quickly realized that no one gets close to us in terms of operating in a low-bandwidth environment.”
All of this is possible because Euclid Discoveries has managed to harness the power of object-based compression, which the video industry has anticipated but many industry observers have thought would take another decade to develop, Wingard said. In addition to improving compression efficiency, OBC technology greatly reduces the degradation of video quality when there is abrupt motion in front of the camera, he said.
“The potential of object-based technology is so great that it seems counterintuitive to what most people know about compression,” Chuck Pace, Euclid Discoveries’ chief software architect, said in a prepared statement. “By bringing computer-vision algorithms into the video compression world, we’ve taken this first, momentous leap, and anticipate even larger reductions in video file sizes are soon to follow.”