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The H.264 Advanced Video Compression Standard, Second Edition by Iain E. Richardson

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Chapter 8. H.264 conformance, transport and licensing

Introduction

Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7 covered the basic concepts of H.264 Advanced Video Compression and the key algorithms that enable an H.264 codec to efficiently code and decode video. The purpose of an industry standard is to enable interoperability between encoders, bitstreams and decoders; i.e. the standard makes it possible for a bitstream encoded by one manufacturer's encoder to be decoded by a different manufacturer's decoder. H.264/AVC defines Profiles and Levels to place operational limits on (a) the particular coding tools and (b) the computational capacity and storage required to decode a sequence. Conformance is verified using a theoretical 'model', a Hypothetical Reference Decoder.

Practical applications of H.264/AVC involve transmitting and/or storing coded video information. The standard includes a number of features designed to support efficient, robust transport of the coded bitstream, including Parameter Sets and NAL Units, described in Chapter 5, and specific transport tools, described in this chapter. To help support an increasingly diverse range of video content and display types, 'side' information including Supplemental Enhancement Information and Video Usability Information may be transmitted along with the coded video data.

Video coding is big business, with many worldwide industries relying on video compression to enable digital media products and services. With many thousands of published patents in the ...

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